RTE, The SAFe Release Train Engineer

What is RTE?

AgileFire Agile Release Train

 RTE, release train engineer, is a specific role from SAFe. Within the SAFe product development ecosystem that fundamentally focuses on facilitating and managing all the communications and activities at a program level. One program is synonymous with one train or a group of people up to 125. If that role is not available, there may be potential issues, not maybe, there will be potential issues when it comes to governance. At the train level in terms of all the activities and the processes. In my view, RTE is called a unicorn, that mythological, joyous creature that solves anything. An RTE is very hard to find but very critical for a train. SAFe installation, if we call it an installation, the whole setup within an enterprise might break loose if RTE is not performing the job correctly. It’s a role that helps.  In simple words, safe also quotes the same thing. You can look at RTE as a chief El Jefe scrum master for 125 people, but that is not enough justification to explain RTE’s role. That’s the definition part of it.

Any certification gives you that badge of confidence

Why should people get RTE certified?

As with any other certification, the certification intends to provide a universal scale.  Not just RTE,  any certification gives you that badge of confidence by a neutral entity.  In the world that states that a person who gained that certification has inherent knowledge and experience to perform the role. Perform the role of that particular certification in a substantially satisfactory way. It’s a kind of verification, validation of content, and experience. Now RTE certification is critical because it’s a pivotal role in SAFe in the smallest form, be it essential safe or even a small company. However, you want to. Getting the RTE certification will help you enhance your knowledge. That is the secret sauce one needs to understand to make sure the work is getting done correctly. It is not a traditional PMI way of doing projects. Project managers are nothing but paper pushers in a way if you look at it. Glorified paper pusher because they do not get involved in the process of things. However, RTE helps you get in touch with human beings called team members and work with them.  The RTE is the specific individual who works with human beings called team members to solve real transformation problems. It is not just a work kind of thing. So it goes back to whoever is in that role of I want to do this because I want to help with the transformations. They don’t necessarily need to go for SPC alone.

Even an SPC can make a great RTE provided they have the attributes of managing the workflow. That’s why I would strongly recommend an RTE certification. Those of you who are in the enterprise to those keen on helping solve your team members’ problems. Not at the team level but at the train level as they inherently forget about the class.  The class teaches 50% of the content; the remaining 50% is the magic sauce that we at AgileFire teach you how to be good RTEs. We may not make you great immediately after the exam, but we promised to support you in becoming excellent in your RTE journey.

 The remarkable thing about the release train engineer course is only an SPCT can teach it in a public setting in an internal environment; it can be different criteria. But it’s unique, only SPCTs can teach the public course, and the cool thing Ramesh worked as a release train engineer for four and a half to five years.   So it isn’t like he’s speaking hypothetically. He is teaching from having worn that hat for a long time.

 We deeply understand the challenges, the anti-patterns, what the organization’s going to try to pull you into doing, what you have to do, the fight you have to fight, and the things you have to do to facilitate that and you bring that to the class. That’s another one of those things. Why you would choose agile fire is you’re going to get somebody who has done the role. It isn’t just theoretical; you’re going to get practical, real-world experience, married into the training. That’s important.

What is the timing for an RTE to get certification?

Would you say a person that’s just going into the role should take it, or is it a scrum master who thinks they might be an RTE that should take it, or is it an RTE that’s been doing the role for two or three program increments?

RTE specific role since experiential learning is a lot more than a typical SPC. There are no prerequisites from the SAFe point of view. They say, Oh, hey, if you are a scrum master, understand SAFe come and do it. However, I would wait. I recommend that people wait for at least three to six months to attend the RTE course after working in the RTE role. I know that’s an oxymoron. What we are saying is gain some experience, either by talking to RTE, be part of the community, the practice of RTE. Work as an RTE in a Train for at least three months.  Why three months?

Typically one PI, we call it program increment, is three months, one time, from the start to the end of a train’s life cycle.  Once you finish that, you will get to know the ups and downs and the gaps you need to fill in as a specific individual filling that role RTE. So, then it becomes meaningful for you, right? Otherwise, you just come for a three-day course again; it goes back to why. Why do you want to get the RTE cert? At your door, because I want a certificate now, go for it. Get a badge like how you know cows get a badge, you know, but that’s not the intent. Be passionate about whatever you are doing. That passion should show up when you come to the class so that you’re not sitting there with the video off, voice off, and then sitting there in the remote class. However, participate, bring in the real-life problems you might be experiencing. There is a reasonably good chance that we from AgileFire would be able to solve that. We have seen a thing or two. That’s the way you should approach it. I would say anywhere from one to two PIs is an excellent opportunity to have a hands-on experience as an RTE.

 We’ve seen it where we’ve had people who have taken the RTE exam, played the role as an RTE for a few PIs, then retook the course because it made more sense to them the second time around.


…one to two PIs is an excellent opportunity to have a hands-on experience as an RTE.

And by the way, from AgileFire standpoint, if you have already taken a course with us and become an RTE. It happens. The world happens; you had an opportunity; the budget was available. Your boss wants you to get certified whatever the reason is you participate as an RTE. Now that you have an opportunity and you had that epiphany moment, the aha moment. Like whoa. Okay. Great. Call us, get in touch with us. We might give you just a participatory fee because you’re not going to take the certification exam anymore. Spend time with us for three more days for the upcoming class. We will invite you because that is the very concept of AgileFire alumni that we always boast about. We are there for you guys. We are there for you always.