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Problem-solving workshop: Step-by-Step

A problem-solving workshop is held by the Agile Release Train and its purpose is to address systematic problems. The workshop that concentrates on identifying the problems, not just addressing the symptoms, is facilitated by the Release Train Engineer and time-boxed to maximum of two hours. What are the six steps of the workshop?

In SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprises®), problem-solving workshop is done during the Inspect & Adapt (I & A) event. I & A  is held at the end of each Program Increment, and it forms the basis for relentless improvement, one of the four pillars of the SAFe House of Lean , and a dimension of the Continuous Learning Culture core competency.

During the three parts of I & A event (PI System Demo, Quantitative and Qualitative measurement, and Retrospective and problem-solving workshop), the ART demonstrates and evaluates the current state of the solution and teams reflect and identify improvement backlog items. In this article we are going to concentrate on the last part of the event, problem-solving workshop, during which teams systematically address the larger impediments that are limiting velocity.

Problem-solving workshop consists of 6 steps

Step 1: agree on the problem to solve.

Clearly stating the problem is key to problem identification and correction. It enables more focused investigation, time-saving, and avoids ‘ready, fire, aim’ approach. On the other hand, a problem that is not well defined, may result in failure to reach the proper countermeasure. To identify and agree on the problem to solve, the teams should spend a few minutes clearly stating the problem, highlighting the ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, and ‘impact’ as succinctly as they can.

Step 2: Apply root-cause analysis and 5 whys

The Root-cause analysis and the ‘5 Whys’ technique is used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. It helps to avoid assumptions and logic traps, trace the chain of causality in direct increments from the effect to a root cause.

The root cause analysis (fishbone or Ishikawa) diagram features 5 main ‘bones’ that represent typical sources of problems in development (tools, people, program, process, environment). Team members then brainstorm causes that they think contribute to the problem to be solved and group them into these categories. Once a cause is identified, its root cause is explored with the 5 Whys technique. By simply asking ‘why’ multiple times, the cause of the previous cause is uncovered, and added to the diagram. The process stops once a suitable root cause has been identified and the same process is then applied to the next cause (© Scaled Agile, Inc.).

Step 3: Identify the biggest root-cause using Pareto analysis

Team uses Pareto analysis (or 80/20 rule) to narrow down the number of actions that produce the most significant overall effect. It is based on the principle that 20% of root causes can cause 80% of problems and it has proved useful where many possible sources and actions are competing. Once the team writes down all the causes-of-causes, they identify the biggest root-cause using dot-voting – every team member has five dots on its disposal, and he can allocate them to one or more items he thinks are most problematic. Then they summarize votes in Pareto chart that shows collective consensus on the most significant root-cause.

Step 4: Restate the new problem for the biggest root-cause

Team picks the most voted item from Pareto chart. They restate it clearly as a problem and add economic impact of the problem to the description.

Step 5: Brainstorm solutions

During the brainstorming activity that lasts about 15 – 30 minutes, team brainstorms as many possible corrective actions as possible. The goal of activity is to generate as many ideas as possible, without criticism or debate. Team members should let their imagination soar and explore and combine all the ideas that arise and in the end dot-vote to identify top contenders.

Step 6: Identify improvement backlog items (NRFs)

In the end of the problem-solving workshop, up to three most voted solutions are identified. Solutions are then rephrased as improvement stories and features to be fed directly into the PI Planning event that follows the I & A event. During that event, the RTE helps ensure that the relevant work needed to deliver the identified improvements is planned. This closes the loop, thus ensuring that action will be taken, and that people and resources are dedicated as necessary to improve the current state. In this way, problem-solving becomes routine and systematic, and team members and ART stakeholders can be assured that the train is solidly on its journey of relentless improvement (© Scaled Agile, Inc. ).

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What’s an agile release train (ART), and how do you manage one

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You’re heading a cross-departmental software development project, charged with delivering a complex application on time and within budget. The pressure is on, and various teams need a systematic way to manage the ever-evolving requirements, ensure frequent releases, and maintain a high level of collaboration.

That’s why you need agile release trains (ARTs), an innovative approach that bridges the gap between large-scale software development and agile project management methodologies.

What’s an agile release train?

An ART is a team of teams working to complete a shared project. This is typically long-term work that involves cross-functional teamwork and broad expertise to successfully execute. Picture an ART as a fleet of train cars moving along the product development process, with each train representing a distinct agile team. Each group works collaboratively within timeboxed iterations, churning out valuable product increments at the end of each iteration, known as a “program increment” (PI). This orchestrated effort enables rapid and consistent delivery of features, fostering adaptability to changing requirements and enhancing the end product's overall quality.

The ART method is a feature of the scaled agile framework (SAFe ® ), a set of organizational workflow approaches aimed at assisting agile development teams. Creating and managing ARTs is one way to help agile teams succeed. The ART structure does this by encouraging cross-communication and collaboration between otherwise distinct and often siloed departments, keeping all teams moving forward.

Through team PI planning, all teams can converge to discuss dependencies, priorities, and objectives for an upcoming iteration. This synchronization not only minimizes bottlenecks but also promotes transparent communication and cross-functional problem-solving.

What’s the role of the release train engineer?

The release train engineer (RTE) is what you might consider the train’s conductor. These engineers ensure trains work well together and follow SAFe processes. This typically involves extensive project-specific product knowledge and project management skills like task prioritization and delegation, effective communication, and the ability to motivate various team types. The RTE also acts as the Scrum Master for the entire project, focusing on getting each team to success.

6 key principles behind agile release trains

For various cross-departmental teams to effectively work together, they must agree with and respect certain values and priorities. Here are six common principles that bind ARTs:

  • Customer value: An unyielding focus on delivering value to customers connects all teams involved and affects every task in the project.
  • Fixed PI time, variable scope: While each PI timeline is rigid, the work involved in each increment can change as needed.
  • Biweekly system increments: SAFe agile trains work in two-week timeboxes, delivering a new system increment each time.
  • Innovation and planning (IP): SAFe ARTs must hold end-of-increment meetings to assess previous PIs and plan future ones.
  • Inspect and adapt (I&A): ARTs also attend I&A events at the end of each increment to evaluate progress and determine what items they want to take from the backlog into the next PI.
  • Develop on cadence, release on demand: This principle showcases an agile team’s care for customer value. ARTs stick to development cadences — clearly defined PIs — that follow customer demands. As ARTs develop features and new products, items release when it’s best for customers, the market, and the business. Product managers typically decide when to release products or features, setting PIs accordingly.

Agile release train roles and responsibilities

ARTs convincingly symbolize the adage, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” These trains combine diverse perspectives and expertise to create an unstoppable product development vehicle.

Here are some common roles you might find in an ART:

  • Customers/Users: These are the end-users receiving the product or service the ART develops.
  • Release train engineer: The train’s conductor, this leader coordinates all PI events, including sprint planning, IPs, and I&As.
  • Business owners: These are the most important internal stakeholders and are held accountable by external stakeholders for the development project’s outcome. They also tend to have the most “skin in the game.”
  • Scrum Master: When paired with the Scrum agile framework, the Scrum Master guides their team through meetings and teaches and implements ideal agile processes.
  • Agile teams: This includes every on-the-ground worker focused on task deliveries.
  • Product managers/Product owners: These teammates focus on a product or service’s market value and ensure launch is successful.

How to create and manage an agile release train: 5 steps

Ready to embrace the ART framework for effective, value-driven, and flexible collaboration? Here are five steps for creating and managing an ART.

1. Train all teams

If you haven’t already implemented Agile at Scale , start by embracing agile practices at every level of your business. This includes understanding agile principles, roles and responsibilities, and organizational structures.

Then, share this knowledge and what you’ve learned about ARTs with the entire team. Make sure this information is available to employees who will be involved in future ARTs, like product managers and systems teams.

Training yourself and your employees ensures everyone understands the value and reasoning behind implementing this new framework to encourage employee buy-in.

2. Conduct value stream mapping

Value stream mapping involves visualizing and improving upon every step of the product development process with a focus on delivering customer value. Value here means anything a customer might pay for or enjoy, like a new feature or quicker delivery. This process is essential for ART implementation as it promotes agile principles like prioritizing customer needs and continuously improving.

For every product development project, create a value stream map that illuminates the current execution process to determine weaker areas where you can offer more customer value. Under-utilized talent, unclear information, and delays are common weaknesses that affect how successful the final product is to end-users and clients.

3. Define roles and responsibilities

Within each ART, help project leaders delegate roles like RTEs and product owners. Initial training should teach everyone what these titles mean but have useful job descriptions on hand if folks need reminding.

4. Plan and execute PIs

Ensure all ART leaders know how to plan for PIs, which includes:

  • Prioritizing sprint backlogs
  • Running PI planning meetings
  • Hosting IPs and I&As
  • Working closely with all project managers to track task progress
  • Creating and following an external stakeholder update cadence
  • Adding team contributions to release train project progress docs

5. Review often

Check in with all ARTs to ensure this new method is going smoothly. You might schedule retrospectives with team leaders every few months or at the end of each project to gain feedback you can implement for future initiatives. And you could even chat with external stakeholders to make sure they enjoy this more agile and iterative approach to project work.

Agile release train best practices

Implementing organization-wide process changes is tricky. You must handle diverse perspectives and training on new communication cadences and workflows. But successfully integrating ARTs into your product development process isn’t impossible. Follow these tips to encourage success:

  • Share your reasoning: Asking employees to adjust current practices might cause frustration and avoidance. To encourage buy-in, clearly state why you want to make this change, backing your reasoning with persuasive data that supports your choice. This shows your team you’ve made a thoughtful decision and think this option has the company’s best interests at heart.
  • Offer support throughout the transition: Provide training workshops, mentorship, and Q&A meetings throughout this transition so employees feel well-supported and prepared to take on this change.
  • Celebrate successes: While agile frameworks focus on continuous improvement, only discussing challenges and improvement areas can be demotivating. Acknowledge every success — like the first completed ART-led project or a great PI planning session — to encourage and motivate your team.

Power your agile release train journey with Tempo’s tools

To kick-start your transition to the ART product development approach, try Tempo’s suite of project management tools. Plan work with Roadmunk and track progress with Structure . You can also use Jira-based Kanban board planning tools to create your value stream maps and monitor task times for more accurate insights into improvement areas.

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a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

What is an Agile Release Train (ART)?

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The Agile Release Train (ART) is a long-lived team of agile teams that, along with other stakeholders, incrementally develops and delivers value. It provides alignment and helps manage risk and dependencies by providing program-level cadence and synchronization. This Agile Release Train cheat sheet breaks down the purpose, principles, events, and members of the ART.

The Purpose of an Agile Release Train

The purpose of the Agile Release Train is to deliver value through a synchronized cadence. The ART is made up of cross-functional teams that enable a continuous flow of value delivery. It brings together all the people that are needed to plan,  execute, and deliver valuable products and solutions.

The Principles of an ART

The ART operates on a set of principles defined by the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe ® ) :

Dedicated people

  • Most of the members of the ART are dedicated full-time to the ART, focusing on the continuous delivery of products and solutions. 

Synchronized cadence

  • All teams on the train have the same cadence of iterations, usually two weeks. It provides a synchronized start and stop time, allowing predictable delivery of smaller product/solution increments. 
  • There is an additional cadence of a Program Increment (PI) usually 10 – 12 weeks that enables the organization to make larger solution delivery more predictable.  

PI Planning

  • The expected outcome of this event is that all of the ART members have a shared understanding of the PI objectives, visibility on work needed to accomplish the objectives, and have surfaced risks and dependencies. The entire release train comes together during this process to enable a team of teams to commit to achieving the objectives with confidence and set reasonable expectations with stakeholders. 
  • Program risks are discussed openly and remediation efforts are public. Dependencies are not merely identified, they are discussed with all involved parties, and agreed-upon actions are captured and visualized on the program board.

Innovation and Planning (IP) iteration

  • Occurs at the end of every PI to allow the train to innovate and learn. Teams are highly encouraged to dedicate time to continuing education and preparing for the next PI Planning event.

Inspect and Adapt  

  • Held at the end of the PI, teams showcase completed and integrated solutions and review Program Metrics along with a structured problem–solving workshop to reflect on improvement ideas.
  • This is a great opportunity for leaders to engage, take ownership, and support resolution of organization-level impediments that teams are unable to fix on their own.

Develop on cadence, release on demand  

  • Teams on the ART develop on a synchronized cadence and release on demand. Decoupling deployment and release from the development cadence accelerates the delivery of a continuous flow of value to the market and customers. It also provides flexibility to the organization with how and when to release to customers.

ART organized around value  

  • Stream Aligned Team – Stream-aligned teams focus on a single, impactful stream of work. It can be a single product or service, a single user journey, or a single user persona. The team is empowered to build and deliver customer or user value as quickly, safely, and independently as possible, without requiring hand-offs to other teams to perform parts of the work.
  • Complicated Subsystem Team – A complicated-subsystem team is responsible for building and maintaining a part of the system that depends on specific skills and knowledge. Most team members must be specialists in a particular area of knowledge to understand and make changes to the subsystem. 
  • Platform Team – Platform teams enable stream-aligned teams to deliver work. While the stream-aligned team maintains full ownership of building, running, and fixing an application in production, the platform team provides internal services that the stream-aligned team can use.
  • Enabling Team – The enabling team seeks to primarily increase the autonomy of stream-aligned teams by growing their capabilities with a focus on problems, rather than solutions.

Agile Release Train Roles and Responsibilities 

Each member of the ART plays a significant role: 

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ART Events Cadence and Synchronization

Agile Release Train (ART) events and components

ART Events:

  • SOS – Once a week (30 – 60 mins)
  • POSync – Once a week (30 – 60 mins)
  • System Demo – Atleast once every two weeks (30 – 60 mins)
  • PI Planning Prep – Once a week (30 – 60 mins)\
  • Inspect and Adapt – Once every PI (3 – 4 hours)
  • PI Planning – Once every 10 weeks (2 days)

Team Events:

  • Daily Stand Up – Every Day (15 mins)
  • Iteration Review – Once every two weeks (30 – 60 mins)
  • Backlog Refinement – At least once every week (30 – 60 mins)
  • Iteration Retro – Once every two weeks (30 – 60 mins)
  • Iteration Planning – Once every two weeks (2 hours)

PI Planning Prep – Is a collaborative meeting to continuously prepare for the upcoming PI. The product community works closely with the Business, Architecture, and Delivery groups to prioritize and refine the next set of Features; Create any wireframes or mockups needed, and decompose Features into stories for the upcoming PI.

PI Planning – Is a two day planning session where the entire ART comes together to align development to business goals, commit to the team and program objectives for the PI, identify dependencies and risks, and come up with a plan to address those.

Inspect and Adapt – Is a workshop, held during the IP Sprint that includes a final System Demo, review of quantitative and qualitative metrics, and a Problem-Solving Workshop. This event is fundamental to the principle of relentless improvement of an ART. 

ART Sync – Is a combination of PO Sync and Scrum of Scrums

  • PO Sync – Promotes visibility into progress towards meeting PI objectives, reviews scope adjustments/tradeoffs, and assesses program risks. 
  • Scrum Of Scrums (SOS) – Facilitated by the RTE, SOS helps to coordinate dependencies across the ART and provides visibility into progress, impediments, or learnings across the ART.

Tips for a Successful ART

The success of an Agile Release Train depends on three key aspects:

1. Successful Launch

  • Train the leaders, change agents, and team members
  • Identify the first ART through a Value Stream Workshop 
  • Define the ART and its structure 
  • Leaders should have a clear message about why the ART is being formed and the shared goal(s) they intend the align the ART around
  • Staff critical roles like RTE, System Architects, and Product Managers along with the typical Scrum roles like Scrum Master, Product Owners, and Development Team members
  • Set the date of the first PI Planning and communicate it
  • Execute the first PI with the goal of dedicated IP Sprint at the end of the PI
  • Close the PI with an Inspect and Adapt workshop 

2. Continued Support 

  • Any change is hard. Members that make up an ART and those that are required to support it might feel that the decision was imposed and will resist the change. Leadership should be crystal clear on the intent, transparent with communication, and supportive of the angst many might feel. Leaders at all levels should try to be available to guide members of the ART.
  • Leaders should model behavior by moving away from directing the day-to-day work in support of the Product Owner and agile team, to defining the work, attending the Inspect and Adapt workshop,  taking ownership of impediments, sharing progress on impediment removal, and broadly communicating team/ART successes.

3. Celebrate Wins 

  • Lack of celebration is one of the top reasons why teams are not motivated and is a wasted opportunity. Celebrating small wins helps build momentum, improve morale, and reward hardships.

Every organization is different and one size does not fit all. While SAFe implementation is fairly straightforward, being overly prescriptive isn’t recommended. Leaders should focus and invest in skilled people and empower teams for successful implementation. 

If you’d like to learn more about ARTs or talk about getting the best results from your SAFe implementation , get in touch with Agile Velocity today. 

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Agile Release Train

What is an agile release train.

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.

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Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential. —The Agile Manifesto

Essential SAFe

The Agile Release Train (ART) is the heart of Essential SAFe. ARTs are virtual organizations formed to span functional boundaries, eliminate unnecessary handoffs and steps, and accelerate value delivery by implementing SAFe Lean-Agile principles and practices.

The Essential SAFe  configuration (Figure 1) includes the following constructs:

  • Team and Technical Agility – Describes the critical skills and Lean-Agile principles and practices that high-performing Agile teams and Teams of Agile teams use to create high-quality solutions for their customers.
  • Agile Product Delivery – Is a customer-centric approach to defining, building, and releasing a continuous flow of valuable products and services to customers and users.
  • Lean-Agile Leadership – Describes how Lean-Agile Leaders drive and sustain organizational change and operational excellence by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential.
  • The essential level roles, artifacts, and events
  • A minimal spanning palette

a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

Essential SAFe provides a starting point for implementing SAFe.  Also, there are ten critical success factors needed for an ART to realize the majority of the framework’s benefits (see the last section of this article.)

Essential SAFe provides the relevant roles, artifacts, events, and mindset for ARTs to deliver one or more desirable, feasible, viable, and sustainable Solutions, or parts of a Solution.  The ART’s long-lived, flow-based, self-organizing nature is what powers SAFe and ultimately enables Business Agility . Many trains are virtual, spanning organizational and geographic boundaries; others follow a line of business or product line management reporting structure.

The highlights of Essential SAFe include:

  • Agile Release Train – Is a long-lived team of Agile teams, which, along with other stakeholders, incrementally develops, delivers, and where applicable operates, one or more Solutions in a value stream.
  • Continuous Delivery Pipeline – Describes the workflows, activities, and automation needed to provide a constant release of value to the end-user.
  • Customer Centricity – Is a mindset and a way of doing business that focuses on creating positive experiences, such as the customer journey, which takes buyers through the full set of products and services that the enterprise offers.
  • Design Thinking – Is a customer-centric development process that creates desirable products that are profitable and sustainable over their lifecycle.
  • Program Increment (PI) – Is a timebox in which an ART delivers incremental value. PIs are typically 8 – 12 weeks long, and the most common pattern for a PI is four development Iterations  followed by one Innovation and Planning (IP) iteration .
  • Iterations – Are fixed-length timeboxes that provide the development cadence for Agile teams building Features and components. Each iteration delivers a valuable increment of new functionality.
  • Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration – Provides the teams with an opportunity for exploration and innovation, dedicated time for planning, and learning through informal and formal channels.
  • ScrumXP – Is a lightweight process for Agile Teams to deliver value continuously. ScrumXP uses the Scrum framework for managing the team and their work as well as XP-derived quality practices.
  • Team Kanban – Is a Lean method that helps teams facilitate the flow of value by visualizing workflow, establishing Work in Process (WIP) limits, measuring throughput, and continuously improving their process.
  • Built-In Quality – Ensures every solution increment is high in quality and can readily adapt to change.
  • DevOps – Is a mindset, culture, and a set of technical practices. It provides communication, integration, automation, and close cooperation among all the people needed to plan, develop, test, deploy, release, and maintain a system.

ARTs are self-managing and self-organizing teams of Agile teams that plan, commit, and execute together. There are roles on the Agile Team and additional ART roles that help guide and direct the ART, align the teams to a shared mission, and provide the necessary Lean governance:

  • Product Management – Represents the internal voice of the customer and works with customers and Product Owners to understand and communicate their needs, define system features, and participate in validating results. They are responsible for the Program Backlog.
  • System Architect/Engineering – Is an individual or small cross-discipline team that truly applies Principle #2, Apply Systems Thinking . They define the overall architecture for the system, help identify Nonfunctional Requirements (NFRs), determine the significant elements and subsystems, and help design the interfaces and collaborations among them.
  • Release Train Engineer (RTE) – Is a servant leader and the chief Scrum Master for the train. The RTE facilitates optimizing the flow of value by ensuring the ART events and artifacts function correctly, including the Program Kanban, Inspect & Adapt (I&A) workshop, ART Sync, and PI Planning.
  • Business Owners – Are a small group of stakeholders who have the business and technical responsibility for fitness for use, governance, and return on investment (ROI) for a Solution developed by an ART. They are primary stakeholders in the ART and actively participate in ART events.
  • Agile Teams – Are cross-functional groups of 5-11 individuals who can define, build, test, and deploy an increment of value in a short time box. Each ART is composed of 5 – 12 Agile teams and includes the roles and infrastructure necessary to deliver fully working and tested business solutions.
  • Product Owner (PO) – Is content authority for the team backlog and responsible for defining stories and prioritizing the backlog.
  • Scrum Master – Is a servant leader and Agile team coach that helps the team to remove impediments, facilitates team events, and fosters an environment for high-performing teams.

Essential SAFe has multiple activities to help coordinate the ARTs and teams:

  • PI Planning – Is a cadence-based, face-to-face planning event that serves as the heartbeat of the ART, aligning all the teams on the ART to the shared mission.
  • System Demo – Provides an integrated view of new features from the most recent iteration delivered by all the teams in the ART. Each demo provides ART stakeholders with an objective measure of progress during a PI.
  • Inspect & Adapt – Is a significant event where the current state of the solution is demoed and evaluated. Teams then reflect and identify improvement backlog items via a structured problem-solving workshop.
  • Scrum of Scrums – Helps coordinate the dependencies of the ARTs and provides visibility into progress and impediments
  • Product Owner (PO) Sync – Provides visibility into how well the ART is progressing toward meeting the program PI objectives, to discuss problems or opportunities with feature development, and to assess any scope adjustments.
  • ART Sync – Combines the ARTs Scrum of Scrums and PO Sync into a single event.

Team Events

  • Iteration Planning – Is an event in which an Agile team determines the Iteration Goals and how much of the team backlog they can commit to during an upcoming iteration. Team capacity determines the number of stories and enablers that are selected.
  • Iteration Execution – Is how the Agile team develops an increment of a high-quality, working, tested system within the timebox.
  • Iteration Review – Is a cadence-based event at the end of each iteration in which the team reviews the previous increment’s results and adjusts the team backlog based on feedback.
  • Iteration Retrospective – This is an event held at the end of the iteration for the Agile team to review its practices and identify ways to improve. The retrospective is based on the qualitative and quantitative information presented during the iteration review.
  • Backlog refinement – Is an event held once or twice during the iteration to refine, review, and estimate future stories and enablers in the team backlog.

The following Essential SAFe items help coordinate the ART and its teams:

ART artifacts

  • Features – Features are services that fulfill stakeholder’s needs. Each includes a name, benefits hypothesis, and acceptance criteria. They are sized to fit within a PI.
  • Enabler Features – Enabler features support the activities needed to extend the Architectural Runway to provide future business functionality and include exploration, architecture, infrastructure, and compliance.
  • Program Epics – Program epics are epics that a single ART can deliver.
  • Program PI Objectives – Program PI objectives describe the specific business and technical goals the ART intends to achieve in the upcoming PI.
  • Program Backlog – This is a holding area for upcoming Features, which are intended to address user needs and deliver business benefits for a single Agile Release Train (ART). It also contains the enabler features necessary to build the Architectural Runway .
  • Program Kanban – Manages the flow of features and enablers through the Continuous Delivery Pipeline .
  • Vision – This is a description of the future state of the solutions under development. It reflects the customer and stakeholder needs as well as the features proposed to meet them.
  • Roadmap – This is a schedule of events and milestones that communicate planned deliverables for a solution over a planning horizon.
  • Architectural Runway – Consists of the existing code, components, and technical infrastructure necessary to support the implementation of prioritized, near-term features, without excessive redesign and delay.
  • Solution – Solution is the product, service, or system ARTs deliver to the customers, whether internal or external to the enterprise.
  • Solution Context – Solution Context describes how the system will interface and be packaged and deployed in its operating environment.
  • System Team – Is a specialized Agile Team that assists in building and supporting the Agile development environment, typically including the developing and maintaining the toolchain that supports the Continuous Delivery Pipeline.

Team artifacts

  • Stories – Are the vehicle that carries customer requirements through the Value Stream into implementation. The teams use stories to deliver value within an iteration, and the Product Owner has content authority over their creation and acceptance.
  • Enabler stories – Provide the exploration, infrastructure, architecture, or compliance groundwork needed by another story or feature.
  • Team PI objectives – Are a summarized description of the specific business and technical goals that an Agile team intends to achieve in the upcoming PI.
  • Iteration goals – Are an output of the iteration planning event and provide a high-level summary of the business and technical goals that the team agrees to accomplish in the upcoming iteration. They help ensure alignment with the PI Objectives.
  • Team backlog – Consists of user and enabler stories; most stories are identified during PI planning and backlog refinement events.

Ten Critical ART Success Factors

SAFe has proven to scale in all situations, from complex software and systems development to bond trading and medical devices to memory chips and fighter aircraft. But, with such a robust framework, the question becomes: how closely does an organization need to follow various SAFe practices to get the desired result?

Also, when diagnosing SAFe implementation problems, it sometimes becomes apparent that enterprises may have skipped or stopped performing some of these critical practices.

To support these challenges, the following Ten Critical ART Success Factors (Figure 2) are a subset of Essential SAFe that describes the minimal SAFe elements necessary for success.

a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

#1 – Lean-Agile Principles

SAFe practices are grounded in fundamental Lean-Agile Principles . As organizations adopt SAFe, their continuous improvement activities find even better ways of working.  These principles guide those improvement efforts and ensure the adjustments are moving on a continuous path to the ‘shortest sustainable lead time, with the best quality and value to people and society.’

#2 – Real Agile Teams and Trains

Real Agile Teams and ARTs are fully cross-functional. They have everything, and everyone, necessary to produce a working, tested increment of the solution. They are self-organizing and self-managing, which enables value to flow more quickly, with a minimum of overhead. Agile teams that cannot define, build, and test their work are not true Agile teams. ARTs that cannot deliver solutions or part of them are not true ARTs.

#3 – Cadence and Synchronization

Cadence provides a rhythmic pattern, which offers a steady heartbeat for the development process. It makes routine those things that can be routine. Synchronization allows multiple perspectives to be understood and resolved at the same time. For example, synchronization is used to pull the various assets of a system together to assess solution-level viability.

#4 – PI Planning

No event is more powerful in SAFe than Program Increment (PI) planning . It provides the rhythm for the ART and connects strategy to execution by ensuring business and technology alignment. Aligning the entire ART on a common vision and goal creates substantial energy and a shared sense of purpose.

#5 – Customer Centricity, DevOps and Release on Demand

SAFe enterprises create a positive customer experience across their full set of products and services.  They adopt a DevOps mindset, culture, and applicable technical practices to enable more frequent and higher-quality releases as the market demands .  These practices provide faster validation of hypotheses and produce greater profits, increased employee engagement, and more satisfied customers

#6 – System Demo

The primary measure of the ART’s progress is the objective evidence provided by a working solution in the System Demo . Every two weeks, the full system— the integrated work of all teams on the train for that iteration—is demoed to the train’s stakeholders. Stakeholders provide the feedback the train needs to stay on course and take corrective action.  This replaces other forms of governance that create additional work and slow flow.

#7 – Inspect and Adapt

Inspect and Adapt is a significant event held every PI. It is a regular time to reflect, collect data, and solve problems. The inspect and adapt event assembles teams and stakeholders to assess the solution and define improvements and actions needed to increase the velocity, quality, and reliability of the next PI.

#8 – IP Iteration

The Innovation and Planning Iteration occurs every PI and serves multiple purposes. It acts as an estimating buffer for meeting PI objectives, and provides dedicated time for innovation, continuing education, PI Planning, and Inspect and Adapt.  IP Iteration activities realize many Lean-Agile principles that enable business agility.

#9 – Architectural Runway

Architectural Runway consists of the existing code, components, and technical infrastructure necessary to support the implementation of high priority, near-term features, without excessive delay and redesign. Insufficient investment in the architectural runway slows the train and makes the ART’s delivery less predictable.

#10 – Lean-Agile Leadership

For SAFe to be effective, the enterprise’s leaders and managers must take responsibility for Lean-Agile adoption and success. Executives and managers must become Lean-Agile leaders who are trained—and then become trainers in—these leaner ways of thinking and operating. Without leadership taking responsibility for the implementation, the transformation will likely fail to achieve the full benefits.

Last update: 21  July 2021.

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IMAGES

  1. Problem-solving workshop: Step-by-Step

    a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

  2. What Is A Problem Solving Workshop And How It Can Help Your Team

    a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

  3. what is a problem solving workshop in safe

    a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

  4. 5 benefits of the Agile Release Train for a single team

    a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

  5. What Is Problem-Solving? Steps, Processes, Exercises to do it Right

    a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

  6. 7 Steps to Improve Your Problem Solving Skills

    a problem solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action

VIDEO

  1. Back to School

  2. Workshop on Problem Solving & Ideation

  3. Problem Solving Workshop: Overview

  4. Problem solving and Ideation Workshop

  5. Problem solving and Ideation workshop

  6. Honest Agile Ep 1. What is Dysfunction Mapping

COMMENTS

  1. Inspect and Adapt

    The Inspect and Adapt (I&A) is a significant event held at the end of each PI, where the current state of the Solution is demonstrated and evaluated. Teams then reflect and identify improvement backlog items via a structured problem-solving workshop. The Agile Manifesto emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement through the following ...

  2. Problem-solving workshop: Step-by-Step

    Step 1: Agree on the problem to solve. Clearly stating the problem is key to problem identification and correction. It enables more focused investigation, time-saving, and avoids 'ready, fire, aim' approach. On the other hand, a problem that is not well defined, may result in failure to reach the proper countermeasure.

  3. PDF Inspect and Adapt Workshop

    Three main elements of the Inspect and Adapt workshop In this hands-on workshop, your ART teams will be guided through a rigorous approach to problem-solving that will result in improvement actions for the next PI. This includes: Who will Benefit? • All members of the Agile Release Train (ART) including Agile teams, business

  4. SAFe in a Nutshell

    The importance of the Inspect & Adapt ceremony in SAFe™ cannot be understated. It enables every Agile Release Train (ART) to embody "relentless improvement" as referenced in the SAFe House of Lean, maintain its overall health and deliver ever-increasing business value. The Inspect & Adapt Workshop is essentially the release train ...

  5. The Sun Never Sets on the Problem-Solving Workshop

    A fundamental agile principle is "…the team reflects at regular intervals how to become more effective" The SAFe Inspect and Adapt Problem Solving workshop is a wonderful opportunity for everyone on an Agile Release Train (ART) to reflect on becoming more effective.However, what happens when the ART teams are massively distributed, such that the Sun truly never sets on the ART?

  6. Inspect and Adapt in SAFe

    A key aspect of SAFe is Inspect and Adapt (I&A), which Scaled Agile refers to as a significant event held at the end of each program increment (PI). A Program Increment or "PI" is a timebox that's typically eight to 12 weeks long, during which an Agile Release Train (ART) delivers incremental value in the form of working, tested software ...

  7. Agile Release Train

    The Agile Release Train (ART) is a long-lived team of Agile teams that incrementally develops, delivers, and often operates one or more solutions in a value stream. Details. ARTs are teams of Agile Teams that align to a shared business and technology mission. Each is a virtual organization (typically 50 - 125 people) that plans, commits ...

  8. Agile Release Train

    The more alignment you have, the more autonomy you can grant. The one enables the other. —Stephen Bungay, author and strategy consultant Agile Release Train Details Agile Release Trains align teams to a shared business and technology mission. Each is a virtual organization (typically 50 - 125 people) that plans, commits, develops, and deploys together. ARTs are organized around the ...

  9. What's an agile release train (ART)? Key principles and steps

    6 key principles behind agile release trains. For various cross-departmental teams to effectively work together, they must agree with and respect certain values and priorities. Here are six common principles that bind ARTs: Customer value: An unyielding focus on delivering value to customers connects all teams involved and affects every task in ...

  10. What is an Agile Release Train (ART)?

    The Agile Release Train (ART) is a long-lived team of agile teams that, along with other stakeholders, incrementally develops and delivers value. It provides alignment and helps manage risk and dependencies by providing program-level cadence and synchronization. This Agile Release Train cheat sheet breaks down the purpose, principles, events ...

  11. Inspect and Adapt

    The Inspect and Adapt (I&A) is a significant event, held at the end of each Program Increment (PI), where the current state of the Solution is demonstrated and evaluated by the train. Teams then reflect and identify improvement backlog items via a structured, problem-solving workshop. The Agile Manifesto emphasizes the importance of continuous ...

  12. Solution Train

    The Solution Train is the organizational construct used to build large and complex Solutions that require the coordination of multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs), as well as the contributions of Suppliers. It aligns ARTs with a shared business and technology mission using the solution Vision, Backlog, and Roadmap, and an aligned Program ...

  13. Agile Release Train

    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.

  14. Scrum Master

    In SAFe, Scrum Masters assist their teams in meeting delivery goals. They coach teams in self-organization and self-management and help them coordinate and participate in Agile Release Trains (ARTs) events, increasing the effectiveness of SAFe across the organization.. SAFe Scrum Masters are integral members of an Agile Team and share responsibilities for the team's overall performance.

  15. PI Planning

    Solution Trains often hold an additional management review and problem-solving workshop after the first day of planning to address cross-ART issues. Alternatively, the RTEs of the involved trains may talk with each other to discuss the problems for the ART's specific management review and problem-solving meeting.

  16. A problem-solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what

    A problem-solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action?a. To build the Continuous Delivery Pipeline.b. ... the workshop which is conducted for problem solving, focuses on identifying the root or the real cause of the problems, this is the action what the ATR will take. Explore all similar answers.

  17. Iterations

    Additionally, everyone in the ART collaborates to identify and address systemic problems in the problem-solving workshop portion of the I&A. The following sections describe the ART and Agile Team activities within each iteration in the PI. Agile Release Train Activities. Getting feedback is critical to an ART's high development velocity.

  18. The Sun Never Sets on the Problem Solving Workshop

    A fundamental agile principle is the team reflects at regular intervals how to become more effective. The SAFe Inspect and Adapt Problem Solving workshop is a wonderful opportunity for everyone on an Agile Release Train (ART) to reflect on becoming more effective. However, what happens when the ART teams are massively distributed, such that the.

  19. Essential SAFe

    Simplicity-the art of maximizing the amount of work not done-is essential. —The Agile Manifesto Essential SAFe The Agile Release Train (ART) is the heart of Essential SAFe. ARTs are virtual organizations formed to span functional boundaries, eliminate unnecessary handoffs and steps, and accelerate value delivery by implementing SAFe Lean-Agile principles and practices. The Essential SAFe ...

  20. Release Train Engineer

    It is a misuse of our power to take responsibility for solving problems that belong to others. Release Train Engineer They communicate with stakeholders, escalate impediments, help manage risk, and drive relentless improvement. Although Agile Release Trains (ARTs) are composed of self-organizing and self-managing teams, these trains cannot drive or steer themselves. That is the responsibility ...

  21. a problem-solving workshop focuses the agile release train t

    a problem-solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action. Home. Agile. a problem-solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action. askedNov 24, 2020in Agileby sharadyadav1986. a problem-solving workshop focuses the agile release train to take what action. #problem-solving-workshop.

  22. A problem solving workshop focuses the agile release

    100+. University of the Fraser Valley. SCRUM. SCRUM HISTORIAS. sandin98. 2/16/2020. A Problem-Solving Workshop focuses the Agile Release Train to take what action? To identify the root causes of the problems To deliver the PI System Demo To build an Architectural Runway To build the Continuous Delivery Pipeline.