The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) includes a position called Release Train Engineer (RTE). They are in charge of ensuring that the Agile release train works effectively together and adheres to the SAFe protocols. A Release Train Engineer serves as a leadership role, and an instructor for an Agile Release Train (ART), much like a Scrum Master serves as a leadership role for an Agile team. They understand how to scale Lean and Agile processes. The Agile Release Train (ART) is a self-organized group of Agile teams. It is a simulated institution that collaborates on commitments, strategies, and execution. The key value distribution element in the Scaled Agile Framework is the Agile Release Train.
The Release Train Engineer functions similarly to a typical Scrum Master. In reality, it is a Chief Scrum Master who leads the Scrum of Scrums in SAFe. The Agile Release Train will include a Scrum Master for every Agile team. The Release Train Engineer leads the Scrum of Scrums, in which these Scrum Masters engage in. The Release Train Engineer communicates to the Product Owner throughout retrospective meetings. Typically, the RTE answers to the Agile Program Management, which really is a component of the Lean Portfolio Management in SAFe.
These tasks are the same as those of a typical manager. So, what makes the Release Train Engineer and Scrum Master unique? And what are the features and responsibilities of becoming a release train engineer or a Scrum Master?
A Release Train Engineer, who is expected to be permanent in the job, is necessarily required on an Agile release train. When they are not leading program-level activities, their daily tasks include the following:
- Training members of the Agile Release Train, such as Scrum Masters, Business Owners, and Agile team members, on the Lean-Agile attitude and techniques.
- By using the Agile Release Train, improving the flow of work.
- Recording program flow measurements and other valuable data to aid in continuous improvement.
- Assisting the Product Manager in preparing for PI and making sure that program backlogs, objectives, and roadmap are ready.
- Supporting teams with function assessment and the consolidation of estimations for bigger pieces of work for example capabilities and epics.
- Assisting in the management of risks, dependencies, and barriers.
Although SAFe does not specify a clear chain of command, the Release Train Engineer often responds to the development organization or an APMO, which is considered a component of Lean Portfolio Management in SAFe. A Program Manager frequently fills this function in firms with established PMO groups.
While most newer Release Train Engineers have the organizational abilities required to accomplish their duties, they might have to acquire and embrace Lean-Agile Mindsets. They might have to shift from managing and coordinating operations to taking on the role of a servant leader. Servant leadership is a theory that indicates a holistic perspective of work, people, and a sense of community. The emphasis is on assisting teams and Agile Release Trains in becoming self-reliant. Typical Servant leader behaviors include: Listening to teams and assisting them in identifying problems and making decisions; Creating a mutually beneficial atmosphere; Recognizing and sympathizing with others; Encouraging and promoting every individual’s personal growth as well as team development; Instead of using authority, coaching individuals with compelling questions; Considering things that aren’t only about your day-to-day activity and using systems thinking; Endorsing the efforts of the teams; Being open and respecting others’ openness.
In a nutshell, the Scrum Master fosters Scrum for the wider team by making sure that the Agile Methodology is implemented. He or she is dedicated to Scrum principles and behaviors, but should also be adaptable and receptive to possibilities for the team to enhance their productivity.
A team would handle its own tools and methodologies in an idealized Agile environment. However, we have discovered that several teams making the transition to Agile depend primarily on the Scrum Master as the process owner. It requires a while for a team’s responsibilities and authority to spread. The function in this transformational environment might be as simple as arranging Scrum events or as extensive as any other Scrum member of the team. Even though the Scrum Guide describes how such a Scrum Master supports another Scrum’s responsibilities, it is not a full list of tasks. Likewise, we find that Scrum Masters frequently execute any or all of the following activities, which are not all described by Scrum:
- Standups – Conducting regular standups or daily Scrum as and when necessary.
- Iteration/Sprint planning sessions – Securing the team from scope creep and over-commitment. Assisting in estimating and creating subtasks.
- Sprint evaluations – Attending the meetings and providing input.
- Retrospectives – Making a list of areas for improvement and a task list for Sprint Planning.
- Board administration – It entails serving as the Scrum board’s administrator. Checking that the cards are updated and that the Scrum tool, whether Jira software or others, is functioning properly.
- One-on-one interactions – Engaging with stakeholders and team members personally as necessary. Differences of opinion within the team over processes and work styles should be resolved. Although many Scrum professionals are opposed to one-on-one meetings, believing that these conversations should take place during standups, certain teams (especially modern teams) choose to have these frequent face-to-face contacts with individual team members. The Scrum Master could determine that these interpersonal encounters and trying to get to know one another are important for team growth.
- Internal Consultation – Scrum Masters ought to be ready to consult with members of the team and various stakeholders about how to work effectively with the Scrum team.
- Reporting – Analyzing burndown charts as well as other portfolio analysis tools on a routine basis to learn what is produced and when.
- Blockers – Assisting the team by removing exterior obstacles and managing internal bottlenecks via procedural or workflow enhancements.
- Busy work – If somehow the Scrum team is just not running well, it is considered to be the Scrum Master’s responsibility. Perhaps that entails repairing damaged computers, rearranging desks, or even changing the heat. Scrum Masters must be willing to do almost everything to aid their teams and must not shy away from getting beverages or food if that is what the team truly requires.
Every Scrum team needs a Scrum Master. Without it, you’re performing something that falls just short of an actual Scrum, which is frequently referred to as Scrum-but. When first commencing out with Scrum, having somebody in the position who’s seen Scrum in action can be extremely beneficial. Even greater if he/she has witnessed several instances of it working. As a result, Scrum Masters are frequently employed as consultancies instead of full-time employees.
However, each Scrum team is unique. Most skilled teams undertake the roles described above as a collective while taking pride and contentment in the process’s shared administration. The Scrum Master job is rotated among the team, with members of the team guiding retros and standups in rotation. And for other teams, having the same individual perform the job every day is the best option.
Regrettably, misinterpretation of the Scrum Master job frequently leads to current managers assuming it is their duty. To further appreciate why this might be an issue, consider comparing the Scrum Master to non-Scrum positions you might already have in your business and why it is critical to keep the positions distinct.
When considering recruiting a Scrum Master, one factor stands out amongst the rest: only do it if your business is dedicated to Scrum and is involved in the process. Every one of the aforementioned positions could oversee a development team in a range of methods, but a Scrum Master could only be functional if everyone on the team is committed to Scrum. That’s it.
With something like a Scrum Master assisting each team in managing their process, the whole business may benefit significantly. In addition to consistently delivering value to your clients (the primary purpose of Scrum), colleagues and managers would have the time to concentrate on what they are doing best. Product managers may concentrate on strategy, while engineers can produce the finest code possible.
While hiring a Scrum Master can give various advantages. However, there remain numerous issues that can develop from the job being misused. Those difficulties include:
Expecting that you could just shift project managers who have become used to management & control leadership further into the role of Scrum Master and expect them to be efficient.
Appointing someone to the post of Scrum Master who has no prior skillset working in an Agile environment.
Believing a Scrum Master’s job is to be like that on each and every team, regardless of how many times the team has operated collectively, their awareness of Agile ideals and values, or their industry knowledge. A smooth functioning team would most likely require far less instruction from such a Scrum Master as compared to a team that is inexperienced in working together as well as to Agile ideas and principles.