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What is an Agile Release Train?

In the Scaled Agile Framework® SAFe® an agile release train (ART) is a team of agile teams. Additionally, it includes an associated group of stakeholders. An ART frequently delivers valuable functionality into a system.

Agile release trains align to an organisation’s value streams. They have between 5 and 12 agile teams and include 50 and 125 individuals. ARTs should include all the necessary skills and experience required to deliver the features into the system.

Coordinating an ART

Work for the ART is co-ordinated in a two-day planning workshop called ‘PI Planning’. PI planning forecasts achievements for the next 8-12 weeks, called the programme increment or ‘PI’. At this event, the teams plan their own work and also collaborate with other teams to uncover and then resolve cross-team dependencies. One of the key outputs from the PI Planning event is a set of PI objectives. These objectives are what the members of the agile release train are committing to deliver before the end of the programme increment.
Agile release trains are not project or programme teams, created to deliver a specific set of functionality and then disbanded when delivered. They are a stable team of teams that pick up new projects or initiatives as and when they have the capacity to deliver the work.
An ART looks to deliver valuable work at the end of each iteration (or ‘sprint’). The teams within one ART must integrate their work each iteration so that it is demonstrated to stakeholders.

ART roles

The key coordination roles for an agile release train are, product manager, system architect, release train engineer and business owner.
  • Product Manager. Prioritises features. Ensures they are well described and understood.
  • Release Train Engineer. Responsible for ensuring the teams within the agile release train work well together. Ensures the teams follow the processes.
  • Business Owner. Key stakeholders who are ultimately responsible for the business outcome.
  • System Architect. Responsible for designing and sharing the architectural vision across the agile release train. Also, ensures the work fit for purpose delivery.

Role-related Training

As a Silver Scaled Agile Transformation Partner, Agility in Mind brings its extensive experience in helping organisations transform and succeed using agile methods, applied through the Scaled Agile Framework, to help global enterprises.

Our training courses include the following as public, private, and Live Virtual Classroom. If you would like to attend one of our SAFe training courses, check out our training schedule for dates or, contact us to find out how we can provide a private course for you and your teams.

Courses we offer include: SAFe for Teams, SAFe Scrum Master, SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager and Leading SAFe.

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