Chris James expresses a deep appreciation for the Release Train Engineer. He has to, in a way: as CEO of Scaled Agile, RTEs are his bread and butter. But as CEO he’s also a Business Owner himself, working with the RTEs of Scaled Agile’s own ARTs – and from that perspective he’s seen some room to improve for many who drive that Train. So, Chris James’ keynote for this year’s RTE Summit on November 9th… dives into the business-RTE relationship.
“Most RTEs assume the role after having started out as a Scrum Master. They’ve coached a team first, then several, then at some point they’re asked to drive a Train. Those origins and that history gives them a naturally team-oriented, developer-oriented point of view. Whether they become a relevant business partner, however, depends in my view on their ability to learn to take business owners’ concerns into account as well. To think like a business owner, if you will.”
A feel for the business side
He continues: “Their ability to empathize with business, impacts their chances of getting the business to move their way in return – and thus their ability to eliminate certain impediments. It’s give and take – and I intend to share some insights over the years of what works and doesn’t work so well here.
“Another area I intend to dwell on is the role of the RTE as a change agent. Whether its embracing Lean Portfolio Management, implementing new templates for team setup or any other high-impact change, the RTE has a major role to play.”
Discourse rather than delivery
Mr James isn’t just visiting the RTE Summit to give the audience a piece of his mind, though. He’s also interested in theirs: “How SAFe is applied and appreciated in practice is of great importance to us, and to me of course. I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to hear back from the community.
“I aim for my contribution to be a live one – not pre-recorded, because I want to be open to input from the audience while I’m up there. Afterwards of course, I’ll be listening in on case presentations, speaking with people in the virtual hallways… this is where we learn where SAFe should go from here.”
More from Chris James?
Chris James will be speaking at the 5th annual RTE Summit on November 9 – 10, 2020. Register now!