What are the ART roles in SAFe?

An Agile Release Train (ART) is a feature of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). It is a long-term, dedicated cross-functional team that works toward a singular goal. The train is made up of multiple agile teams. They work on a fixed schedule and share the vision, product backlog, and roadmap defined by SAFe.

Principles of an agile release train

An Agile Release Train works with the SAFe principles and processes. Independent agile teams provide the structure and guidelines to align and collaborate effectively. Furthermore, effective teams embrace Agile best practices and use Scrum or Kanban project management methods.

Fixed schedule:

ARTs organize deliverables based on a known schedule. The Program Increment (PI) cadence determines the schedule. Typically, the schedule lasts 12 weeks.

Bi-Weekly cadence:

Similar to how Agile teams work in sprints, trains work in two-week cycles, called system increments.

Known velocity:

The velocity, or how much work the train can deliver in a PI, is based on historical data. Moreover, teams break down projects into smaller chunks to prioritize features.

Develop on cadence, release on demand:

The development schedule remains fixed. Furthermore, the release date depends on when the project is complete. This allows teams to provide continuous value to customers.

PI planning:

Program increment planning is typically an in-person event where the ART’s agile teams come together to determine the strategic objectives for the upcoming PI.

Innovation and planning:

When a program increment ends, the train has an innovation and planning (IP) event to conduct program increment planning, continue education, and do infrastructure work.

Inspect and adapt:

There is also an inspect and adapt (IA) event at the end of each program increment. Furthermore, this is the time teams evaluate progress and identify improvement backlog items in a problem-solving workshop.


Agile Release Trains consist of five to 12 high-performing Agile teams (total of 50 to 150 people). It is made up of dedicated full-time team members, which provides stability for the train and growth opportunities for team members. Teams include scrum masters and product owners. Additional critical ART roles include:

Product Manager:

Product managers own the product vision and strategy. Furthermore, they prioritize what features align with the organization’s overall product vision.

Release Train Engineer (RTE):

RTEs are similar to scrum masters. They oversee execution and align product teams around shared processes. They help make improvements, remove blockers, and manage risks and dependencies.

System Architect:

The System Architect is in charge of the system architecture across the entire agile release train.

Business Owner:

These are the stakeholders who are responsible for the business outcome.

Agile release train in a nutshell

Agile Release Trains are designed to achieve better cross-functional collaboration and transparency and keep projects tightly aligned to the business goal. Lastly, this framework comes with additional processes and planning and requires a top-down approach that isn’t designed for start-ups and smaller teams.

What are the ART roles in SAFe?

Agile teams are the basic building block of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Agile teams are high-performing, cross-functional teams that apply and practice Agile principles effectively. This team works in iteration, and each iteration is typically 2 weeks long. Each Agile Team is a group of 5 to 11 people and has two specialized roles: Scrum Master and Product Owner.

Scrum Master acts as a coach for the team, also facilitates team events, and removes impediments to the team’s progress. Now, let’s talk a little bit about the product owner. The product owner acts as a customer for the team questions. He is the one who owns and prioritizes the team backlog.

In SAFe, the team of 5–12 agile teams is known as Agile release train or ART. In other words, it is a virtual organization of 5–12 Agile teams or 50 to 125 individuals that plan, commit, develop, and deploy together.

What are the ART roles in SAFe?

ARTs are Organized Around Value. What does it mean? It means as Agile teams are cross-functional, we want ARTs to be cross-functional as well. Each ART cuts across organizational and political boundaries to facilitate the flow of value from concept to cash. It defines, builds, validates, and releases the values to the customer in the shortest sustainable time.

What are the ART roles in SAFe?

An ART delivers a continuous flow of value from one PI to another PI. Each PI or program increment is usually 5 iterations or 10 weeks long as suggested by SAFe. The ART plans its work during a face-to-face cadence-based event called the PI Planning event. Agile teams execute this plan during iterations. Interestingly, teams don’t plan any development or testing work for the last iteration which we call IP iteration or innovation and planning iteration.

What are the ART roles in SAFe?

IP Iteration is the last iteration and provides a buffer for meeting PI Objectives as well as dedicated time for PI planning, innovation, continuing education, and Inspect and Adapt (I&A) events. Three parts of the I&A event are -

  • The PI System Demo

  • Qualitative & Quantitative Measurement

  • Problem Solving Workshop

ART demonstrates and evaluates the current state of the solution and then identifies improvement backlog items via a structured, problem-solving workshop. After this event ART again plans the work for the next PI during PI planning events.

What are the ART roles in SAFe?

That’s how this ART does continuous exploration, continuous integration, and continuous deployment with the help of some more individuals. Like each Agile team has two specialized roles: Product owner and scrum master. For the successful execution of the Agile release train, there are some roles in the Scaled agile framework on a program level. These roles are Release Train Engineer (RTE), Product Management, System Architect/Engineering team, Business Owners, and System Teams.

  • RTE acts as a chief scrum master for the train

  • Product management owns, defines, and prioritizes the program backlog

  • System Architect/Engineering is an individual or team that defines the overall architecture of the system.

  • Business Owners are key stakeholders of the Agile release train

  • System Teams provide processes and tools to integrate and evaluate assets early and often.

We hope this article helped you know about the concept of ART and how team events work.

You can also read the article by author Shaily Rajwanshi (SAFe Program Consultant (SPC 5.0), Business Agility Coach/Trainer, Certified Kanban Management Professional) on