An Agile Team is a cross-discipline group of 5-11 individuals who define, build, test, and deliver an increment of value in a short time box. The team has two speciality roles: Scrum Master and Product Owner.
The Scrum Master (SM) is a team coach, whose duty it is to foster an environment for high performance, continuous flow and improvement.
The Product Owner (PO) defines Stories and prioritises them, whilst maintaining the conceptual and technical integrity of Features the team is responsible for.
Stories are short descriptions of a small piece of desired functionality sized so they can be completed in a single Iteration. Stories make up the Team Backlog, and are expressed in the user’s voice, e.g. “As a (user role), I want to (activity) so that (value)”. Stories can be Enablers.
An Enabler supports the activities needed to extend the Architectural Runway to provide future business functionality. These include exploration, architecture, infrastructure, and compliance. Enablers are captured in the various backlogs and occur throughout the framework.
The Architectural Runway consists of the existing code, components, and technical infrastructure needed to implement near-term features without excessive redesign and delay.
A Feature is a service that fulfils a stakeholder need. Each feature includes a benefit hypothesis and acceptance criteria.
Iterations are fixed-length timeboxes that provide the development cadence for Agile Teams building Features. Each Iteration delivers a valuable increment of new functionality. One type of Iteration is a Sprint.
A Sprint is a type of Iteration following the Scrum methodology. It proceeds via four sequential stages and works to deliver Features from Stories on the Team Backlog:
- Iteration Planning is an event in which an Agile team determines the goals for the Iteration, and how much of the Team Backlog they can commit to.
- An Iteration Execution is how the Agile Team develops an increment of a high-quality, working, tested system within the timebox. Progress through an Iteration Execution is monitored by the use of e.g. Kanban boards and daily stand-up meetings.
- An Iteration Review is a cadence-based event at the end of each Iteration Execution in which the team reviews the previous Increment’s results and adjusts the Team Backlog based on feedback.
- The Iteration Retrospective is an event held at the end of an Iteration cycle 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.
In addition, 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 Team Backlog contains Stories that originate from the the Program Backlog, as well as Stories that arise from the team’s local context. Team Backlog’s are the responsibility of the Product Owner. It contains a list of “want to do” items and Non-functional Requirements.
Non-functional Requirements are constraints or restrictions on attributes of the system such as security, reliability, performance, maintainability, scalability, and usability. They are common to all Team Backlogs, and form part of the Solution Intent.
Solution Intent is a repository for storing, managing, and communicating the knowledge of current and intended Solution behaviour. Where required, this includes both fixed and variable specifications and designs; reference to applicable standards, system models, and functional and non-functional tests; and traceability.
The Program Backlog is the holding area for upcoming Features, which are intended to address user needs and deliver business benefits for a single Agile Release Train.
The Agile Release Train (ART) 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. ARTs are led by Release Train Engineers.
A Release Train Engineer (RTE) is a servant leader who facilitates program execution, impediment removal, risk and dependency management, and continuous improvement.
Value Streams represent the series of steps that an organisation uses to implement Solutions. There are two types of stream: operational and development. The former contains the steps and people who deliver end-user value using the Solutions created by the development value streams. The latter contains the steps and the people who develop the Solutions used by operational value streams.
Solutions are products, services, or systems delivered to the customer. In Essential SAFe, each ART has the ability to deliver a largely independent solution to the customer. Large Solution SAFe supports solutions that require multiple ARTs, which form a Solution Train. ARTs function simultaneously to build the solution in fully integrated increments, measurable via a Solution Demo that occurs at least during every Program Increment.