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responsibilities of a release train engineer rte

Updated: Jul 3, 2023


Roles and responsibilities of RTE

The Release Train Engineer (RTE) is a servant leader and coach for the Agile Release Train (ART). The RTE’s major responsibilities are to facilitate the ART events and processes and assist the teams in delivering value. RTEs communicate with stakeholders, escalate impediments, help manage risk, and drive relentless improvement.


ART Events - Facilitated by Release Train Engineer

ART Sync


The Release Train Engineer is the facilitator of the program-level SAFe events. Below are the Program and team Level Events they are responsible for:


1. Program Increment (PI): A Time Box (8-12 weeks) event during which an ART releases an increment of Value using a working software. The duration of the PI is inversely related to the volatility of an organization, the higher the volatility in a particular environment, the smaller the time box because they will need more touch points and need to be able to adjust more regularly and more rapidly. RTE’s facilities the PI Planning readiness by fostering a continuous exploration process that drives the synthesis of a vision, a Road-map, and Backlogs, and through Pre-and-Post PI Planning events.


PI Anti Partners

1. To plan work for the IP iteration during PI planning

2. To wait for the IP iteration to fix defects


2. Scrum of Scrums (SOS): The RTE facilities a weekly SOS, time-boxed for 30-60 minutes, The SOS help coordinates the dependencies of the Agile Release Train and provides visibility with the progress and any impediments. The team engaged with SOS is composed of individual members of the various development teams. Scrum Masters are the ones required to attend SOS, Program Owners and members of the team sometimes attend SOS.


3. Program Owners (PO) Sync: It is held for the Program Owners and Facilitated by the RTE. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that the ARTs are on track to meet their PO objectives and also to access any Scope Adjustments. PO Sync is time-boxed 30-60 minutes and is followed by a meeting after to solve any problems.

4. System Demo: It is a biweekly event that provides feedback from stakeholders about the effectiveness and usability of the system under development. This demo also helps ensure that integration between teams on the same ART occurs on a regular basis—at least once every iteration.


5. Prepare for PI Planning: This is a program event that is facilitated by the RTE. It is a continuous event to ensure that the backlog has been refined and the team understands the top 10 features before the Planning event takes place, this is so the teams have time to digest information and ask any questions. The RTE will look at the logistics of how the PI events will be run. To make sure the 2-day planning goes smoothly, RTE must be ready with and should be clear of the goals the program wants to achieve in the near term and long term.


6. Inspect and Adapt: Inspect and Adapt is done with the PI time-box expires to drive relentless improvement. The RTE will Facilitate the Inspect and Adapt event at the end of the PI, where the teams will hold a final system demo also known as a PI System Demo. There will also be a problem-solving section where the teams will identify what challenges they faced and any improvements they will make going into the next PI.


7. ART Sync: Combines the ARTs Scrum of Scrums and PO Sync into a single event

Team Events - Facilitated by Scrum Master


1) Iteration PlanningThis is an event in which all team members determine how much of the Team Backlog they can commit to delivering during an upcoming Iteration. The team summarizes this work as a set of committed Iteration Goals.


Teams plan by selecting Stories from the team backlog and committing to executing a set of them in the upcoming iteration. The team’s backlog will have been seeded and partially planned during the Program Increment (PI) Planning meeting.


2) Daily Stand-Up - Each day, the team meets at the same time and place to coordinate their work by answering the following questions: What did I do yesterday to advance the iteration goals? What will I be able to complete today to advance the iteration goals? What’s preventing us from completing the iteration goals? The DSU is key to team synchronization and self-organization. It’s most useful when held in front of a BVIR so that team members can highlight the stories they are referencing. The DSU is strictly time-boxed to 15 minutes and is not a problem-solving or status meeting for management. Instead, its purpose is to coordinate the team’s activities and raise blocking issues and dependencies, many of which will need to be resolved afterward. High-performing teams use the DSU to find opportunities to help each other so that the entire team succeeds in delivering its committed iteration goals. The Scrum Master writes down topics that need further discussion on the ‘meet after’ board. During the meet after, only the involved parties stay to discuss these topics in more detail. Ineffective DSUs may be a symptom of deeper problems that require a systemic approach for resolution, which often becomes the responsibility of the Scrum Master. (Note: Although the DSU is a Scrum event, many Kanban Teams also hold a DSU in front of their Kanban board to coordinate work and identify bottlenecks or WIP problems.)


2) Iteration Execution – Is how Agile Teams manage their work throughout the Iteration time-box, resulting in a high-quality, working, tested system increment.

Developing high-quality systems is a challenge for every Agile team, Agile Release Train (ART), and Solution Train. No matter the preparation and no matter the planning, without effective iteration execution, scaling is nearly impossible and solution quality is compromised. During the iteration, each team collaborates to define, build, and test the Stories developed in the course of Iteration Planning


3) Iteration Review This is a cadence-based event at the end of each iteration in which the team reviews the previous increment’s results and adjusts the team backlog based on feedback.


During the iteration review, each Agile Team measures and then demonstrates its progress by showing working stories to the Product Owner (PO) and other stakeholders to get their feedback. Teams demo every new Story, Spike, Refactor, and Nonfunctional Requirement (NFR). The preparation for the iteration review begins during Iteration Planning


4) Iteration Retrospective – This is an event held at the end of the iteration for the Agile team to review its practices and identify ways to improve. The retrospective is based on the qualitative and quantitative information presented during the iteration review.


5) Backlog RefinementThis is an event held once or twice during the iteration to refine, review, and estimate future stories and enablers in the team backlog. contains user and Enabler Stories that originate from the Program Backlog, as well as stories that arise locally from the team’s local context. It may include other work items as well, representing all the things a team needs to do to advance its portion of the system. The Product Owner (PO) is responsible for the team backlog.

Summing Up SAFe's most significant component is ART. A release train engineer assists agile teams in a variety of ways in order to improve both themselves and the product. The RTE is in charge of the Agile Release Train (ART), ensuring that it serves its needs while simultaneously striving to improve it.

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