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HomeBlogAgileRelease Train Engineer vs Scrum Master - Critical ART Roles

Release Train Engineer vs Scrum Master - Critical ART Roles

19th Feb, 2024
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    Release Train Engineer vs Scrum Master - Critical ART Roles

    We may have heard about release train engineers- many people opt for this professional course and ask about the Release Train Engineer vs. Scrum Master comparison.

    If you wonder what these two are and how they differ from each other, we can help you. A scaling framework that can help your organization organize the goals and other determinants is called a Scaled Agile Framework. RTE or the release train engineer is the most common personal role of the framework; they are a leader and would serve the objectives of the program increment. You can opt for the RTE certification online and usually has a duration of 3 days.  

    It is a relatively new concept; as the name suggests, they drive the train or the organization. RTE vs. Scrum Master is not hard to get; when you release, it is the master only who becomes the train engineer.  

    If you want to become a Release Train Engineer, go for certified Scrum Master course and get new career opportunities in multiple industries.  

    Critical ART (Agile Release Trains) Roles

    People face many challenges and mindset changes. Managers have to embrace it and cater to it according to their needs and demands. The Agile overview and knowledge are mandatory for both roles.  

    A scrum master is a master, whereas the release train engineer is the chief scrum master. There is no scrum master vs. release train engineer competition.

     Let us explore the ART roles-

    • We have a servant leader (the release train engineer) who facilitates the execution of the program and the removal of impediments. They also manage the risk and dependency of the management. This helps in the continuous improvement of production.
    • Product managers have the vision, roadmap, and new features for the programs. These all are mentioned in the program backlog and work with ‘what gets built.’ They have a responsibility to work along with the product owners and customers. They will communicate and understand the needs of the clients. Project managers validate all the solutions.
    • The team architecture is handled by the system architect or the system engineer. These engineers define all the non-functional requirements or the NFRs. These also in life system elements, subsystems, and interfaces.
    • The business owners further handle all the business outcomes of the trainers. These are also the stakeholders of the ART.
    • Lastly come the customers. They are the ultimate buyers of the products.

    Release Train Engineer vs. Scrum Master

    Although people have explained how the manager can become a traditional one to the RTE

    Fundamental Difference

    Whatever a company or an organization starts, objectives and deadlines must be set. They all do; it is essential for a clear mind frame and ideas behind the work. If one has to succeed, they have to have a clear vision. The PI objectives are also important, along with the trials on carrying them forward. Iterations would not have any deadlines as they will only end when they have to; just the PI would have deadlines accordingly.


    The teams work together in coordination. They have to make sure the goals are adequately assisted, and everyone is heard. Now, this is new, right? A leader, making everyone else talk? That is surprising, but so not! In a healthy work environment, one of the most crucial factors is to make everyone talk, get their ideas, and work on them. Of course, you’re the manager, and you get to choose the pros and cons, but listening and implementing them wouldn’t challenge you as a leader. They’ll make you more skilled as a reputed leader.

    Reporting Structure

    All the team members have to work in coordination; they have to make the same goals with synergy to achieve the best. That would help in the good outcomes and performances of the people. Multiple agile teams work for the same purpose and set them ahead. The collaboration would allow the products and routines, making the whole project successful.  

    When do They Come into the Picture?

    You have to believe in your team and give in the trust. A task assigned has to work entirely on faith and honesty. You cannot monitor them now and then. It is essential to direct the team and later let them self-organize and work according to their needs and comfort. Faith and trust are necessary for an agile framework.

    Teams can make their decisions in an Agile framework. They have to have the lean-agile mindset that would drive them and let them conclude their solutions. You are just there to help and make them believe in your approachability.

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    Characteristics for Successful Scrum Masters and Release Train Engineers

    • They manage and guide the value flow in the Scrum Agile framework. The RTE uses tools like information radiators and program and solution Kanbans. 
    • The Release Train Engineer carries out all the PI or the program increments. They would establish a draft and work by the same. They will also communicate within the annual calendars for all the iterations and the PI. 
    • They will plan all the events involved in the PI. After the planning, the RTE will guide the team about its objectives and summarize all the essential information. They have to give transparency and visibility to the team members about the same.   
    • Release Train Engineer will track all the capabilities and assist in monitoring the features.   
    • All the information or the guidance needed to set the economic standard is also given by the RTE. 
    • They will only lead the scrum masters, agile leaders, and other team members about the Agile working.   
    • When in an organization, there are a lot of tasks to be accomplished. They will make the goals and implement them; they will also let you get exposure to various new jobs and principles. The product quality may improve with time, but what about the risks and dependencies- this is also well-managed by the Release Train Engineers. They are making a plan, drafting it, and making sure the capabilities of each employee are met to execute the same- They will hence also know the needed risks and dependencies. RTEs will also devise a task according to coping with the situations.   
    • They would want the teams to be adaptive and coordinate properly. The Release Train Engineers also build team ethics and communication. The UX is also well-driven by the RTEs.   

    We have concluded that if a person wants to challenge their knowledge within the Agile framework, they will pursue their career as a Release Train Engineer. It is a highly demanding job that would make you go through every little detail about the Agile rules and regulations.

    The first essential skill you need is PI planning and understanding how the program increment planning works. Scrum masters would know how to sprint plan, but as you get into the shoes of the RTE, you have to understand how to work in a dynamic environment. The complexities should be well coped with, and the central role- is to plan the PI. It requires a lot of prior work. 

    You have to focus on the whole product, solutions, and system. You must have worked with one team and delivered the required team deliveries and the risk management and solutions, but the rate has to handle all the teams. This implies that they have to see the issues, risks, and control across all the groups. You have to ensure all the team’s success and drive the product or solution’s success. You will handle the scrum masters, too; make sure to guide, coach, and mentor them appropriately. There has to be continuous and cultural learning too. There may be 185 people in the agile release train, and the release train engineer has to work hard to ensure qualitative results within the SAFe. You have to engage people towards learning better and working harder after every delivery. Motivation has to be given at every point, although everyone has a different hold on team handling. Ensure you have leadership and social skill sets in the SAFe framework.

    Become a project management expert with our PMP online training. Start your journey towards success now!


    Leaders are trained professionals that a manager or a traditional manager master should know. They have to follow the leader's mind frame; they cannot be judged. You’re not there to interfere and be bossy but rather a guide, motivator, coach, and mentor. You’ll be the one the team would look up to. You have to be the one who’s always available and make sure all the teams are working in a synchronized manner. Therefore, it is essential to be knowledgeable and embrace humility so your team members can rely on you without hesitation. KnowledgeHut Scrum Master course will support you in finding the right job opportunity.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Is a Release Train Engineer a Scrum Master?

    The Release Train Engineer functions the same way as a regular Scrum Master. A Chief Scrum Master leads the Scrum of Scrums in SAFe. Each Agile Release Train agile team will have its own Scrum Master. The Agile Release Train (ART) is a long-lived team of Agile teams that incrementally develops, delivers, and, when relevant, operates one or more solutions in a value stream in collaboration with other stakeholders.

    2What is the role of the Release Train Engineer Scrum Master?

    The Release Train Engineer (RTE) is a servant leader and instructor for the Agile Release Train (ART). The RTE's primary responsibilities are to facilitate ART activities and procedures and assist teams in producing value. While the scrum master coaches the product owner and development team, RTE coaches the entire ART, Product Management/Chief Product Owner, and its immediate environment. Meanwhile, consider some a Great Release Train Engineer (RTE).

    3Why is it important for the Scrum Master to help the team focus on daily and iteration goals?

    To teach issue-solving strategies and assist the team in becoming better problem solvers. To facilitate team events, such as (where appropriate) the Daily Stand-up, Iteration Planning, Iteration Review, and Iteration Retrospective, to ensure that they are productive and stay within the timeframe.

    4What falls outside the scrum master’s responsibility?

    Scrum masters are not supposed to do the following-

    • Organise the development team instead of teaching self-organizing.
    • They shouldn’t attempt to solve every problem of the Development Team.  
    • Should not solve the same issues.
    • Make decisions for the Development team.  
    • Being in charge of the daily scrum.  
    • Supervising the Development team.
    5Who should scrum masters report to?

    The Scrum Master reports to an IT leader. The traditional IT roles of an Agile team (developer, testers, analysts) often report to a single manager in this model, and the Scrum Master is included among the other positions.


    Lindy Quick

    Blog Author

    Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

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