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ABSTRACT Release Train Engineer Starter Guide

Being a SAFe® Release Train Engineer (RTE) is an exciting challenge to stretch and grow your facilitation, coordination, and leadership skills as you join an Agile Release Train (ART). There is a scarcity of information about this role, so we created this Guide to explore the Lean-Agile environment from the RTE’s perspective.

Whether you are a new or established/RTE, or perhaps you aspire to be an RTE or are a business stakeholder learning the Release Train Engineer role, we think you will learn something new in this reference guide. Our Release Train Engineer Starter Guide will walk you through recommendations on enabling self-improvement for yourself and the ART. Learn more about how to develop meaningful PI Objectives. We explore scaled agile activities like Syncs and the PI Planning Event. We detail the RTE’s intent in different scenarios and ceremonies.

There is so much an RTE does, and we hope this Starter Guide provides some additional insight as you facilitate 35 to 100+ people towards Lean-Agile execution.

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.– Robert Greenleaf

How to be an Effectve RTE

An effective Release Train Engineer uses their knowledge to tailor Lean-Agile to work well within the ART’s specific environment. The RTE facilitates the Lean-Agile processes to speed the workflow and to grow the agility of the ART’s people, improving the ART’s value delivery.

First thing is first, and that is to understand the traits and responsibilities of an RTE. We have identified a long list of RTE Responsibilities as a Servant Leader that fall under these four categories:

  • Optimize the flow of value

  • Coach

  • Facilitate the ART processes and events

  • Support the ART externally

Use this list to see where you can excel and where you can improve. Learn about an RTE Backlog and how you can use that to align dependencies, commit to realistic deliverables, and maintain a steady pace.


Whether you are facilitating a Scrum of Scrums, a PO sync, or what we call a Triad Sync, it is always good to understand where everyone is coming from and where they are on their agile journey. Discover how you can support them as they build trust in you. Dive into the Guide for leading questions and other helpful ideas that you can use in your Syncs to make the most of these timeboxed activities.

It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.– Shonda Rhimes

PI Planning

PI (Program Increment) Planning is an RTE’s time to shine. It provides alignment between the agile teams, System Engineers, Architects, the Product Manager, Business Owners, and stakeholders.

The RTE adds so much value to the event, from the pre-work of getting everyone on the same page on how to read boards and write Objectives to coordinate the event’s logistics – whether you are virtual or in-person. Your role is to enable everyone to meet the PI Planning goal. Walk the walls to as teams as they fill the Team Boards and Program Boards. Put your facilitation skills to use as you guide the various activities of the PI Planning Event like the Scrum of Scrums or review by management. Don’t miss a step and read the entire breakdown of tasks in the Guide.

Download the complete Release Train Engineer Starter Guide

Inspect & Adapt

What’s a dependable way for the RTE to ensure continuous improvement? Inspect & Adapt (I&A)!

Learn more about how this event supports the Lean pillar of relentless improvement with these three parts:

  1. PI System Demo of completed features

  2. Review metrics (quantity) and quality of the solution

  3. Retrospective and The Problem-Solving workshop


There is so much an RTE does, we found one article couldn’t do it justice. Download the Guide, print it, and keep it close for when you need a quick reference.

Have a question about being an RTE? Let us know.

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