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Release Train Engineer vs Program Manager: Top Differences

Updated: Mar 1

Release train Engineer

Managing multiple projects and collaborating with agile teams are crucial roles performed by experts in organizations. When we are talking about experts, we also mean Release Train Engineers and Program Managers who are partly responsible for the successful completion of a project. Being part of an organization, both the professionals take care of the management part, so agile professionals getting confused with the specific part they play as a professional is natural.

In this blog post, let’s discuss their specific roles and how a Release Train Engineer is different from a Program Manager.

Roles of a Release Train Engineer and a Program Manager

A Release Train Engineer is a servant leader whose job is to manage ARTs and add value to the project. Their role includes risk mitigation, escalating processes, and budgeting with alignment to the project goals. There are different Release Train Engineer certificate courses available for any individual aspiring to become an RTE in a large enterprise.

Some of the important Release Train Engineer Training programs to advance your career are:

1. SAFe Release Train Engineer Certification course specific to Release Train Engineer role.

2. SAFe Program Consultant certification. Though this course is not specific to the RTE role, it helps candidates with understanding the roles of an RTE better and can assist you in becoming a leader to facilitate training sessions for agile professionals.

A Program Manager oversees multiple projects to meet the business goals. They are responsible for checking whether the projects contribute to the development of a company. So, they need technical expertise to manage multiple projects.

Some of the important certification courses to become a Program Manager are:

1. Program Management Professional (PgMP)

2. Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

3. Project Management Professional (PMP)

4. Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

5. Certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

If you are aspiring to become an RTE, check this: “SAFe Scrum Master vs. Release Train Engineer: Decoding Agile roles.”

Top Differences Between a RTE and a Program Manager

Top Differences Between a RTE and a Program Manager

Here are some Best Agile Courses to advance your career: “6 Popular Agile Certifications in 2023.”


In conclusion, the Release Train Engineer and Program Manager are considered two significant professionals accountable for running multiple projects in a company. Apart from some similarities they mark their positions by fulfilling specific roles with different skillsets in an organization.

How about gaining some insights on Lean and Agile strategies? Check this: “Choosing between Lean and Agile Supply Chain Strategies: Which is Right for You?”


1. What are the main focuses of a Release Train Engineer?

A Release Train Engineer is accountable for five important activities. They are improving the agile release train relentlessly, facilitating PI Planning, supporting the PI execution, optimizing the flow of the agile team, and coaching them to produce a valuable product.

2. What are the steps followed by Release Train Engineers in PI execution?

Release Train Engineers must follow certain steps such as tracking the features in the ART Kanban, synchronizing events like ART sync and PI system demo, supporting ART backlog refinement, promoting DevOps and continuous delivery among agile teams, and supporting business owners making decisions.

3. What are the skills required to become a Program Manager?

Strong project management skills to handle complex projects, proper program management methodologies knowledge, better understanding of the business and strategic goals, managerial skills, and budgeting and resource allocation knowledge.

4. How do SAFe RTE and RTE differ?

SAFe RTE is a role that is more focused on the Scaled agile framework. Whereas RTE is a servant leader accountable for managing roles assigned to them such as facilitating ART events, collaborating with stakeholders, and removing impediments for relentless improvements in any organization.

5. What are some important tools used by Program Managers?

There is a variety of tools used by Program Managers depending on the requirements such as JIRA and ASANA for project management, SLACK and ZOOM for communication and collaboration, and Power BI, Toggl, and many other tools to maintain a proper management process.

6. What is the need for KPIs in the Program management approach?

KPIs play is vital role in determining the progress of a program. It helps Program Managers allocate resources, generate quantifiable data to check the performance of the programs, track the progress over time, and make data-driven decisions to mitigate the risks.

About Advance Agility

We, at Advance Agility, are the new-age Agile Coaching, Consulting and IT services company. We enable end-to-end Digital Transformation. Agile execution is integral to our being. We are doing SAFe implementation with small, medium and large organization across the globe. Our vision is to be the leading Agile execution player globally. To keep adding value at every process stage. We are on a mission to empower our clients, move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting human centric approach to business agility. Embracing the change is in our DNA. Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with End-to-end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitor.

Connect with us at to learn about SAFe and SAFe Implementation. We provide various SAFe certification courses along with DevOps, Scrum, Agile Coaching and more trainings. Write to us at for any agile training or consulting needs. We are always looking for competent agile trainers as well. So if you are a good trainer or want to become one, do get in touch with us to that we can learn, grow and achieve together.



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