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Agile Release Train (ART)

The definition of Agile Release Train (ART)

Agile Release Train (ART), is a term from the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). The ART is a group of cross-functional Agile teams composed of roughly 50-125 people.

Small to mid-size organizations may have a single ART, whereas a large organization may have two or more ARTs. Regardless of company size or number of ARTs, each ART has its own goals and objectives – both from a business and a technology standpoint.

Specifically, the ART includes:

  • Every team (engineers, QA, Scrum Masters, dev managers, Product Owners)
  • Product and Solution managers
  • Release train engineer
  • System architects/engineers
  • Business owners
  • Optional key stakeholders, such as other executives.

Though a train analogy may not convey agility, the ART is nonetheless focused on continuous delivery of value to the business in the form of the solutions it builds (i.e. products or groups of features) and oftentimes operates.

As mentioned above, the ART is composed of cross-functional teams and individuals, meaning that all skill sets required to plan, build, deploy, operate, and maintain the hardware and/or software solution will be present.

The ART works on a fixed schedule known as a Program Increment (PI), which is typically 12 weeks or 6 sprints.

In the train analogy, the ART leaves the station on schedule with the set of ready features from the backlog. Any new features have to be picked up by the next train (i.e. the next PI). Along the way, a new system increment is delivered every two weeks. As part of the system increment delivery, the ART participates in a system demo that shows off the progress of the entire system working together.