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What Is The Role Of An RTE In Agile?

There are several leadership positions in Agile that help push projects forward and move more smoothly. If you’re hoping to better understand Agile leadership roles, you’re probably wondering what is the role of an RTE in Agile?

RTE stands for Release Train Engineer and is common in enterprises that use the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) in project management. A simple RTE Agile definition is a coach or servant leader for the Agile Release Train (ART). RTEs are also sometimes described as Agile Release Train Engineers, Super Scrum masters, or Chief Scrum masters. Whereas a scrum master is in charge of ensuring the Scrum framework is carried out, the RTE is in charge of the whole ART.

An ART is a virtual and self-organizing collection of Agile teams that work cross-functionally to deliver shared value. These teams include a Scrum master, a product owner, and team members, and they collaborate on an 8-12 week period called a program increment. During the PI, they are charged with delivering technology products their customers need.

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What are the responsibilities of an RTE?

The RTE role in Agile involves a number of responsibilities, including managing ART events and processes, communicating with stakeholders, escalating and tracking impediments, managing dependencies and risk, and encouraging collaboration between teams. It is the job of the RTE to facilitate program increment (PI) planning, create calendars to schedule them, and communicate this information to the relevant stakeholders. 

The role of an RTE in Agile is also to share additional knowledge with Scrum masters and other teams, ensure the processes operate within lean budgets and make sure teams understand and adhere to outlined guardrails. 

Becoming a Super Scrum master requires RTE Agile training that is held across a three-day course, where someone with extensive Scrum master experience learns more about the RTE role in Agile, and how to plan and implement a PI. Because ARTs typically include over 100 people, the RTE role in Agile requires advanced facilitation skills, vast knowledge of the Agile mindset, and strong communication and negotiation skills.