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What's my role in the Release Train?
Finding you place on the Release Train
If you work in a small team, you might wonder how you can fit into the agile release train (ART), which is a large-scale framework for delivering value in an agile way. A typical ART consists of multiple teams that work together on a common vision, roadmap, and backlog, and align their iterations and releases. The ART also has roles such as product managers, system architects, release train engineers, and business owners, who provide guidance and support to the teams.
You might think that your team is too small to use an ART, or that you will lose your autonomy and flexibility if you do so. However, there are benefits to the ART, even if you have a small team. Here are some tips on how to find your place on the agile release train when you only have a small team.
Identify your personal value stream. A value stream is a sequence of activities that deliver value to the customer. Your personal value stream aligns with your skills, expertise, and goals.
Find your chores. Once you have identified your value stream, you can look for chores that match it. An example of typical ART chores are:
PI (Release) Planning and roadmaps
building new versions for release to QA and PROD
Installing new versions in QA and PROD
Validating and promoting a build from QA → PROD
Coordinating schema and/or data changes tied to releases
Demoing-back the completed features to the customer
Align your team with the ART. After you have found your personal chores, you need to align with the rest of your team. Have a group activity to outline the release train steps and make sure each step is covered by an individual.
Collaborate with other team members and roles in the ART. Being part of an ART means that you are not working in isolation, but rather in collaboration with other roles in the ART.
Retain your autonomy and flexibility. While being part of an ART requires some alignment and coordination with other team members, it does not mean that you have to lose your autonomy and flexibility. You can still work on your primary deliverables while participating in the ART.
By following these tips, you can find your place on the agile release train when you only have a team of 4 people. You can benefit from being part of a larger system that delivers value in an agile way, while still maintaining your identity and agility.