SAFe Release Train Engineers are important aspects of any SAFe framework and have specialised roles as part of the Solution Train. SAFe Release Train Engineers, or RTEs are essentially servant leaders who have transitioned from their original roles as managers and directors. They have adopted a Lean-Agile mindset and focus primarily on providing the necessary needed for the teams, ARTs, and Solution Trains, ensuring that they are self-organising and self-managing.
Typically, those chosen for the role of SAFe Release Train Engineer have excellent communication and organisation skills and are able to create an environment of mutual influence while encouraging and supporting the personal development of each individual within their organisation or team. The role takes on more than a day to day presence and it focused on the long term sustainability and success of a project.
With that being said, the role of a SAFe Release Train Engineer is very involved and critical to the success of the project and the organisation as a whole.
The Role Of SAFe Release Train Engineers
Now that we understand the role of a SAFe Release Train Engineer, what are their specific responsibilities of an RTE? The following is an excerpt from the SAFe guidelines which illustrate the role of a SAFe Release Train Engineer:
- Manage and optimize the flow of value through the ART and Solution Train using various tools, such as the Program and Solution Kanbans and other information radiators.
- Establish and communicate the annual calendars for Iterations and Program Increments (PIs).
- Facilitate PI Planning readiness by fostering a Continuous Exploration process which drives the synthesis of a Vision, a Roadmap, and Backlogs, and through Pre- and Post-PI Planning meetings.
- Facilitate the PI planning event.
- Summarize Team PI Objectives into Program PI Objectives (the RTE) and publish them for visibility and transparency.
- Summarize program PI objectives into Solution PI Objectives (the STE) and publish them for visibility and transparency.
- Assist tracking the execution of features and capabilities (see Metrics).
- Facilitate periodic synchronization meetings, including the ART sync at the Program Level and the value stream sync for Solution Trains.
- Assist with economic decision-making by facilitating feature and capability estimation by teams and the roll-up to Epics, where necessary Coach leaders, teams, and Scrum Masters in Lean-Agile practices and mindsets.
- Help manage risks and dependencies.
- Escalate and track impediments.
- Provide input on resourcing to address critical bottlenecks.
- Encourage collaboration between teams and System and Solution Architects/Engineering.
- Work with Product and Solution Management, Product Owners, and other stakeholders to help ensure strategy and execution alignment.
- Improve the flow of value through value streams by improving and assessing the DevOps and Release on Demand competency.
- Help drive the Lean User Experience (UX) innovation cycle.
- Work with the Agile Program Management Office (APMO) on program execution and operational excellence (see Lean Portfolio Management).
- Understand and operate within Lean Budgets and ensure adherence to Guardrails.
- Facilitate System Demos and Solution Demos.
- Drive relentless improvement via Inspect and Adapt workshops; assess the agility level of the ART and Solution Train and help them improve .
- Foster Communities of Practice and the use of engineering and Built-In Quality practices.
As you can see, the role of a SAFe Release Train Engineer is very detailed and transparent. This makes them much more effective and enables them to manage their team and the project more efficiently as well.
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