The Release Train Engineer is termed as the servant leader of the Agile Release Train. Servant Leadership is an interesting concept popularized by Robert Greenleaf in 1970 with his publication “The Servant as the Leader”.
“To serve the many, you first serve the few” – Ken Jennings
A servant leader possesses empathy and compassion. They support and encourage the personal growth of the people that they are leading and to guide them through difficult times. They are eager to help in identifying problems and to find a solution for them. These attributes are a prerequisite coupled with a Lean-Agile Mindset of a Release Train Engineer (RTE).
The role of the Release Train Engineer is vital for driving the Agile Release Train.
The main list of activities that an RTE usually do, are listed below:
- Guide, coordinate, organize and align all the teams in the Agile Release Train.
- Participating in the Pre and Post PI Program Increment (PI) meetings to prepare the vision and the backlog for the PI.
- Conduct Planning session and aligning the PI objectives.
- Summarize the objectives so that they are clear and visible to all the teams in the Agile Release Train enhancing transparency.
- Communicating start and end dates of the Iterations communicated to the teams that become the part of the Agile Release Train.
- Operating within Lean-Budgets, and provide insight in economic matters to facilitate feature estimation.
- Frequently communicate with the stakeholders. The coordination with the Product Management and Product Owners ensure that the Agile Release Train adheres to the strategy that has been devised.
- Perform risk analysis.
- Conducts Program Kanban and maintains an optimum flow of value that the Agile Release Train has to deliver and improve the quality using Continuous Delivery Pipeline.
- Remove bottleneck situations by providing resources and facilitation.
- Facilitate system demos are set by the Release Train Engineer ensuring Lean-User Experience.
- Finally, at the end of the iteration, conducting Inspect and Adapt sessions where continuous improvement is encouraged. The status is reported to the Lean Portfolio Management.