Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Building Great Release Train Engineers – a talk with Mattias & Yuval


In the scaled Agile framework, one key role is the Release Train Engineer (RTE). But who should I look for to fill this role? What are the first few process improvements experienced RTEs typically do? Yuval Yeret (AgileSparks) and Mattias Skarin (Crisp) took the time to discuss the traits of a good RTE.

What are the traits of a good RTE?

Yuval: The easy answer to this question is that you are looking for a Scrum master for a team of teams. Going beyond that, when it comes to specific traits, you are looking for someone who cares about process and improvements, someone who has the ability to orchestrate things. But at the same time, someone who also knows when to step back and let the teams organize themselves. A good RTE is a great communicator and can see and understand what is happening.

Mattias: Firstly, a good RTE should be a people person, someone you’d like to talk to and bounce ideas with. Someone who builds trust and energy with their presence. In essence, a good RTE is the Uber Scrum master across teams. Secondly, a good RTE is systematic and makes sure the process events are run and planned in advance. Thirdly, a good RTE should be a good problem solver.

Let’s be even more specific, if you narrowed it down to three, which are the top 3 traits of a good RTE?

Yuval: Then I would say, (1) Someone who can be a coach and a servant leader; (2) someone who knows how to bring people together who work well together; and (3) someone who is passionate about improving things.Mattias: I would pick a people person, who is also systematic, and a good problem solver.

Name 3 things an RTE should do.

Yuval: The key task is to facilitate the Agile release train events. (for example PI planning, Art sync, Inspect & Adapt workshop). Over time, a good RTE builds in the capability in the release train to do more and more on their own. Finally, the RTE should facilitate the removal of obstacles and risks. He or she does not necessarily need to solve them all by himself, but rather, make them transparent and make sure that the most important ones are being tackled.

Mattias: I will concur with Yuval here. The part I would add is the focus on relentless improvement, always trying to make things a little bit better.

So on to improvements. Which event ‘that keeps the train on the tracks is the most common for companies to adjust to after running SAFe for a while?

Yuval: An early step is normally making the PI planning (Big Room Planning) more concise, such that you can run it in a day. This could happen through the removal of dependencies or by simplifying specific activities. One example would be making the draft plan review more fun, and less sequential. The final part I see RTE tweak is the Inspect & Adapt workshop. There are a few emergent patterns here: let people organize into teams according to the problems they want to see solved or, run it as an open space.

Mattias: Early tweaks include making the PI planning run successfully within a day and improving the quality for feature candidates entering the Big Room Planning (through adding and keeping a definition of “Ready”).

I know you are coming to Crisp in November to run the Advanced RTE training class. Who is the class for and what can I expect to learn?

Yuval: The class is for you as an RTE who has been running your own Agile release train for a couple of increments. We don’t go through the basics in this class. By grounding the participants in the Lean/Agile principles, we teach tips and tricks to the RTEs. For example, how to adapt the PI planning but at the same time stay aligned with the principles of Systems Thinking, Presume variability, and Preserve options. The goal is to inspire and build the RTE’s confidence to go beyond and adjust the basic practices, knowing they are well grounded on principles.
In this class, we expect RTEs to share knowledge and best practices so you can learn from each other (you probably have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve) in addition to picking up nuggets from the trainer.

Will we spend time on discussing what RTEs find challenging in their company?

Yuval/Mattias: Yes! There will be time set aside for this. And during the course, there will be plenty of time to engage with Yuval (trainer) and Mattias (host) who both are experienced Agile trainers in Scaled Agile scenarios.

This article was originally posted on the Crisp blog. If you’re not familiar with it, it is one of our must-read Agile blogs. We are proud to be collaborating with Crisp on bringing high-quality pragmatic SAFe training to Sweden.

Subscribe for Email Updates:



Agile Marketing
Nexus vs SAFe
Legacy Enterprise
The Agile Coach
Process Improvement
Test Driven Development
Agile India
Portfolio for Jira
Artificial Intelligence
Nexus and Kanban
Jira Cloud
Lean Agile Management
Risk-aware Product Development
Continuous Integration
Applying Agile Methodology
Legacy Code
Principles of Lean-Agile Leadership
Business Agility
Lean Agile
Agile Project Management
Certified SAFe
Software Development Estimation
Iterative Incremental Development
Continuous Delivery
lean agile change management
Managing Projects
Risk Management in Kanban
Nexus Integration Team
Releases Using Lean
Lean Agile Basics
Built-In Quality
Change Management
Professional Scrum Master
Large Scale Scrum
Nexus and SAFe
Limiting Work in Progress
speed at scale
Agile for Embedded Systems
Scrum Values
Agile in the Enterprise
Engineering Practices
Kanban Kickstart Example
Quality Assurance
RTE Role
Agile Games and Exercises
Agile Risk Management
Professional Scrum Product Owner
ART Success
Scrum Master Role
Agile Israel
Sprint Retrospectives
System Archetypes
System Integration Environments
Jira Plans
Agile Assembly Architecture
Systems Thinking
Rapid RTC
Agile Exercises
Accelerate Value Delivery At Scale
Hybrid Work
Agile Contracts Best Practices
Risk Management on Agile Projects
Agile Outsourcing
Kanban Game
Development Value Streams
Lean Software Development
Agile Product Ownership
Lean Budgeting
Coaching Agile Teams
Achieve Business Agility
Agile Techniques
Release Train Engineer
Agile Testing Practices
Product Management
Elastic Leadership
Effective Agile Retrospectives
Operational Value Stream
Software Development
Games and Exercises
Daily Scrum
An Appreciative Retrospective
Scrum Master
PI Objectives
Reading List
System Team
Lean Startup
Product Ownership
Agile Project
AI Artificial Intelligence
Agile Release Planning
Introduction to ATDD
Agile Development
Value Streams
Managing Risk on Agile Projects
Sprint Planning
Lean-Agile Software Development
Manage Budget Creation
Scrum With Kanban
Advanced Roadmaps
Professional Scrum with Kanban
Agile Israel Events
Continuous Deployment
A Kanban System for Software Engineering
Lean-Agile Budgeting
Implementation of Lean and Agile
What Is Kanban
Agile Games
Scrum Primer
Sprint Iteration
Acceptance Test-Driven Development
Agile Product Development
Implementing SAFe
IT Operations
Agile Community
Agile Program
Agile Release Management
Lean Agile Organization
Jira admin
Agile and DevOps Journey
Story Slicing
Lean and Agile Principles and Practices
Lean Risk Management
Continuous Planning
Scaled Agile Framework
SAFe DevOps
Kanban 101
ScrumMaster Tales
Scrum and XP
Pomodoro Technique
Scrum Guide
Lean Agile Leadership
Agile Basics
Lean and Agile Techniques
SAFe Release Planning
Enterprise DevOps
PI Planning
Program Increment
Introduction to Test Driven Development
Kanban Basics
Continuous Improvement
Entrepreneurial Operating System®
Perfection Game
ALM Tools
Agile Mindset
Agile Delivery
The Kanban Method
Kaizen Workshop
Enable registration in settings - general

Contact Us

Request for additional information and prices

AgileSparks Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter, and stay updated on the latest Agile news and events

This website uses Cookies to provide a better experience
Shopping cart