All Aboard! Cyara’s Agile Release Train (ART) Has Left the Station

This article was originally posted on the Cyara Blog.

Our First Agile Release Train (ART) Has Left the Station
Our First Agile Release Train (ART) Has Left the Station

Well, for me 2020 has started with a bang! Since the new year, I’ve joined the Cyara team as Vice President of Engineering in Melbourne, and it’s been incredibly inspiring to get on board at this time in the company. I am humbled by the engineering talent and encouraged at how closely Engineering and Product Management work together to deliver our customer-centric solutions. One of the traits that makes this team so special is their relentless effort and interest in adopting new ways to work together even better so that we can more effectively scale. I wanted to share a bit about our efforts toward this goal and what that looks like from behind the curtain.

What is Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Anyway?

A major first step in our engineering transformation journey is adopting Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) practices. What does this mean? At a high level, SAFe is a framework designed for scaling agile across enterprises employed to drive faster time-to-market, increase productivity and quality, and improve employee engagement. The trickle-down effect of successfully practicing SAFe development is that we can deliver higher quality and value to our customers – in SAFe, this is called customer centricity – through our products and services, and we can do it faster, too.

How Cyara is Using SAFe

SAFe has four configurations, and we’re implementing what’s called the Essential SAFe configuration, which is fitting for a team like ours that’s focused on delivering a single platform, like the Cyara Platform. With the Essential SAFe configuration, we’ll use set workflow patterns to help guide alignment between engineering, product management, and other business stakeholders. You can learn even more about SAFe here.

What We’ve Done So Far on Our SAFe Journey

  • Hosted a kickoff Team Day in mid-January where we created teams and introduced three program-level “roles”: Release Train Engineer, Product Manager, and System Architect.
    Created vision boxes to define and internalize individual and collective team charters.
  • Set team objectives to deliver on specific, agreed-upon, prioritized capabilities distributed across different Agile teams, including feature and component teams, as well as Systems Teams responsible for DevOps and Infrastructure, while Shared Services Team provide specialized assistance on tasks related to UI/UX, documentation, and security.
  • Completed two days of SAFe training provided by Pretty Agile.
  • Planned our next product release using the SAFe Program Increment model – stay tuned for news on this soon!

Why is Cyara Implementing SAFe?

Here are a few high-level reasons why we’re moving forward, fast, in this direction:

  • SAFe aligns nicely with our culture and values – especially customer obsession! – which you can learn more about here.
  • SAFe takes Agile to the next level, and helps align the entire enterprise, not just the product and development teams.
  • SAFe embraces system design thinking and decentralizes decision-making, which is imperative when developing a solution like the Cyara Platform.
  • SAFe, in addition to meaning great things for our customers, is also good for Cyara, too! Team members already feel better prepared as we embark together on new release development cycles. Everybody wins with SAFe!

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