What is a release train engineer ?

A release train engineer (RTE) is a servant leader who facilitates program level processes and execution, drives continuous development, manages risks and escalates impediments while also acting as a full time chief scrum master for a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). 

SAFe is a collection of organization and workflow patterns that was created with the intention of scaling Lean and Agile software development practices. A servant leader is a person within the organization who focuses on providing whatever support is needed to the project teams and Agile release trains (ARTs).

An ART is a group of teams in an Agile software development environment that is responsible for incrementally developing, delivering and operating one or more solutions in a value stream. The ART works with other stakeholders to perform these continuous improvements.

Release train engineers are important to an organization's Agile framework because they drive ART events as well as help teams deliver value. Furthermore, RTEs facilitate the constant improvement which the ART is responsible for, help manage risk, deteriorate obstacles and interact with stakeholders.  

Release train engineers should have a comprehensive understanding of how to scale Lean and Agile practices as well as an awareness of the unique opportunities and challenges involved in the facilitation and continuous alignment of a large development environment. The role of the RTE is to manage risks, escalate impediments, confirm value delivery and assist in driving consistent improvement.