Release Train Engineer(RTE): Roles & Responsibilities

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10th Feb, 2023
Release Train Engineer(RTE): Roles & Responsibilities

RTE or the Release Train Engineers are the servant leaders and coaches in the Agile Release Train framework. They are responsible for guiding the teams and delivering value to the products by facilitating ART practices and procedures. The Release Train Engineers communicate with the stakeholders, manage the risks, and assist in the management. They also ensure continuous improvement and development.  

RTE Roles and Responsibilities

In the Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe Release Train Engineer (RTE) plays a key role. Many people ask, ‘what is the role of the release train engineer’. They're in charge of making sure the Agile Release Train (a collection of agile teams) works well together and follows the SAFe® processes.  

Just the way a scrum master is a servant leader for an agile team, the role of the release train engineer or RTE is of a servant leader and coach for an Agile Release Train (ART). They understand how to scale lean and agile processes. To learn more about Agile roles and responsibilities, enroll in KnowledgeHut Agile courses online.  

Simply put, a Release Train Engineer (RTE) or the SAFe® release train engineer is a servant leader and instructor for the Agile Release Train (ART). The responsibilities include coordinating, assisting, and mentoring teams according to Lean/Agile concepts. The trains cannot operate and drive themselves despite having self-managing and organizing teams.

Here the RTE's role, as a servant leader, is most effective. They know how to scale Lean and Agile principles and are aware of the specific opportunities and difficulties that come with supporting and synchronizing a large development program.

A bachelor's degree or similar work experience is required for RTE applicants. Although certifications are usually necessary, the SAFe® Release Train Engineer certificate is the only one created particularly for the RTE position. The certification program assures that all certificate holders have the skills needed to manage Agile Release Trains in businesses of all sizes. An employee will become a more effective scrum master and coach for the entire organization after completing the exam and receiving RTE certification. You can enroll for agile courses online and start your preparation on the go.

The RTE makes ART processes and implementation easier. People often say — ‘release train engineer is a servant leader. They help to escalate roadblocks, manage risk, ensure value delivery, and promote continuous improvement. Many others also help with the Lean-Agile transformation, coaching leaders, teams, and Scrum Masters on the new methods and attitudes. They assist in customizing SAFe® to the needs of the organization, as well as standardizing and documenting methods.  

What is Expected From an RTE?

  • Members of the agile release train, such as scrum masters, agile team members, and business owners, should know the lean-agile mentality and techniques
  • Assist the product manager in getting ready for PI. Help teams with feature estimation and the aggregation of estimates for larger pieces of work like capabilities and epics by planning and ensuring the vision, roadmap, and program backlogs are ready
  • Using the agile release train, they must improve the flow of work
  • Assist in the management of risks, dependencies, and roadblocks
  • Promote DevOps principles inside the organization to aid in the design and continuous enhancement of a continuous delivery pipeline
  • To assist continuous improvement, collect program flow measurements and other important metrics
  • Coach Lean-Agile methods and mindsets to leaders, teams, and Scrum Masters
  • Assist in the management of risks and dependencies
  • Impediments should be escalated and tracked
  • Contribute to the resourcing of major bottlenecks
  • Encourage teamwork as well as System and Solution collaboration
  • Architects/Engineering Collaboration between the Product and the Solution
  • Management, Product Owners, and other stakeholders will assist in ensuring that strategy and execution are in sync
  • Resolve contingencies and complicated issues, provide leadership to project teams, and act as a consultant/coach to management
  • Keep a watchful eye on any potential hazards or roadblocks that could stymie growth
  • Evaluate the Development Operations and improvise workflow
  • Develop and assist the lean user experience. Operation excellence and program execution are also collaborated by the RTEs
  • All the lean budgets and work execution is done by the RTE. They also manage the teams and define SAFe® operational policies. RTEs act as the subject-matter expert
  • Encouraging people to use Agile and SAFe® best practices and methods
  • Continuously refine and keep linked to developing issues and discussions in the greater community of Agile adopters

When the ART is included 

The RTE roles and responsibilities include the following when a solution requires many Agile Release Trains to collaborate as a solution train: Join the solution's team—in the same solution, train engineers and other RTEs to attend solution training events like Pre- and Post-PI Planning Meetings. An Agile Release Train is a virtual organization made up of several teams that work together, ranging from five to more than ten. ARTs are cross-functional and have the ability to constantly deliver value across all product areas.

RTE Skills 

There is a set of certain skills and skill responsibilities that the RTE needs to follow:  

  • People — maintaining pleasant employee and team experiences is one of the Release Train Engineer's most critical responsibilities. To guarantee that goals are reached, they must develop an environment that promotes teamwork and provide advice to the employees. They also manage the teams.  
  • Program Increments (PI) — they are time frames in which an Agile release train delivers incremental value. It is in the form of software and systems. In Agile software development, it equals an iteration. RTEs are responsible for creating and communicating annual calendars for iterations, facilitating planning and preparedness, and summarizing and publishing PI objectives. These offer visibility and transparency.
  • Coaching and teaching — the RTE must teach their teams, leaders, and scrum masters about Lean and Agile management techniques and beliefs in conjunction. They also construct road maps.
  • Agile Release Train success indicators — the RTE oversees keeping track of and reporting on the ART's progress.

RTE Versus Project Manager

  • The roles of release train engineers and project managers are diverse, and such skills as managing issues, risks, and dependencies, quality assurance, and time management, as well as people and communication management, are crucial for their success. 
  • In contrast to the project manager, whose job is more about planning and coordinating team members, the release train engineer is responsible for mentoring, enhancing, and encouraging all employees, teams, and the overall work environment.

Know About SAFe®

Agile measures develop over a short period of time. Agile refers to the process of constantly altering a product in response to changing client and environmental needs. A Scrum Master is usually in charge of guiding a team.

The SAFe® technique provides an additional layer when applied to more complex products and larger organizations. It allows teams throughout an organization to work together to achieve improved collaboration and target optimization. This layer is responsible for leading these teams through an Agile Release Train. While dealing with the problems, specific SAFe® RTE roles and responsibilities should be kept in mind.

It’s Time You Considered RTE as a Career

A Release Train Engineer's responsibilities include acting as the hub for all the teams and playing an important role in any ART. To streamline product development, they must keep their knowledge and best practices around Agile values and principles up to date.  

Release Train Engineers have organizational abilities. They acquire and learn Lean-Agile principles and apply them in their management. These are the servant leaders who have a holistic approach to working with people. They build the community spirit with the ART framework. They assist agile teams in their grasp of SAFe® and lean-agile principles, as well as program execution and event facilitation. KnowledgeHut SAFe release train engineer training course will help your prepare for these skills.


Mounika Narang


Mounika Narang is a project manager having a specialisation in IT project management and Instructional Design. She has an experience of 10 years 
working with Fortune 500 companies to solve their most important development challenges. She lives in Bangalore with her family.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What do the RTEs not do?
  • They are not supposed to prioritize work. The ART project manager will see through the details of the features and priorities
  • They do not assign tasks. The agile team would self-organize the tasks
  • They cannot control team processes, but they can look for the essential elements
2What is the scrum of scrums in facilitation and how is it related to RTE?

Instead of a regular ART Sync, the RTE would facilitate frequent scrum of Scrums' events with all the scrum masters, as well as PO Sync events with the product manager and product owners for a big agile release train.

3What is the reporting structure of the RTE?

Although SAFe® does not mandate a reporting structure, the RTE often reports to the development organization or an APMO. It is considered a component of Lean Portfolio Management in SAFe®. A program manager frequently fills this function in businesses that already have a PMO.