Skip links

SAFe® ART Quickstart explained

There are many ways to successfully launch an Agile Release Train (ART) to begin realizing the benefits of SAFe. However, experience has shown that the easiest and fastest way to do this is through the SAFe ART Quickstart approach.

Business Agility is the ability to rapidly adapt to market and environmental changes in productive and cost-effective ways and it is something many enterprises strive for. Many of them have decided to use SAFe® for Lean Enterprises (SAFe®) to accelerate their journey to achieve business agility. The reason why, are outstanding business benefits SAFe can provide: reduced time to market, increased productivity, improved quality and more engaged employees. Confused where and how to begin? SAFe offers a great solution to accelerate your SAFe transformation towards achieving business agility – with SAFe® ART Quickstart approach.

Using this approach, all teams on the ART are trained together, and the first Program Increment (PI) planning session is completed in just one week. While this may seem daunting, hundreds of rollouts have proven that this is the easiest and most pragmatic way to help 100-plus people transition to the new way of working.

Quickstart weekly schedule:

Source: Scaled Agile, Inc.

Day 1 – 2 – The Agile team big room training takes place.
Day 3 – 4 – Team training is followed immediately by PI planning. This way, the teams are still present and in context and their first PI planning experience builds on the prior day’s training.
Day 5 – This day is reserved for mentoring people in their new roles, tool training, discussion of needed Agile technical practices, open space, and any other activities that the teams need to get ready for the first iteration.

The First PI Planning Session

During the Quickstart, PI planning serves to help build the teams’ backlogs based on current priorities. It also reinforces the training they’ve just received. The very next week, the teams will plan their iteration in the normal fashion and start executing the PI. Obviously, getting off to a good start with PI planning is essential to the success of the first PI. It demonstrates a commitment to the new way of working for all the teams and stakeholders.

An effective session will:

  • Build confidence and enthusiasm in the new way of working
  • Start to build the ART as a team-of-Agile-teams and the social network that it relies on
  • Teach the teams how they can assume responsibility for planning and delivery
  • Create full visibility into the mission and current context of the program
  • Demonstrate the commitment of Lean-Agile Leaders to the SAFe transformation

This first planning session is, therefore, a critical event for SPCs, other leaders, and change agents. To ensure a good outcome, an experienced SPC will typically co-facilitate the session.

Benefits of the Quickstart approach:

• The Agile teams will be fully formed
• Teams engage in collective learning that starts forming the social network that the ART depends upon
• The features for the PI will be ready
• Teams form their own identities
• Executives, Business Owners, and other key stakeholders will be trained and aligned with the new ways of thinking and doing
• Specialty roles, such as Product Owners and Scrum Masters will be prepared for their new responsibilities

Who will benefit?

• Executive sponsors and Business Owners
• Change agents and Certified SAFe® Program Consultants (SPCs)
• Product Managers and Product Owners
• System Architects and Development Managers
• Release Train Engineers and Scrum Masters
• Agile team members

Highly Recommended Prerequisites

• The Value Stream Workshop should be held prior to the SAFe ART Quickstart to identify the first value stream and ART to launch

• Leading SAFe training for Executives, Business Owners, and other key ART stakeholders (Product management, System Architects/Engineers and Release Train Manager, and Development Managers) → Go to Leading SAFe course

• SAFe Scrum Master training for all Scrum Masters on the ART  → Go to SAFe Scrum Master course

• SAFe Product Management/Product Owner training for these roles on the ART → Go to SAFe Product Management/Product Owner course

• A well-defined vision, roadmap, and program backlog


What You’ll Learn and Accomplish

• How to plan, execute, and learn together as an Agile team with an ART
• How to conduct a Program Increment (PI) planning event
• How to prepare for the SAFe ART Quickstart and launch your first ART

How will Agilephoria help you with Quickstart?

@ Scaled Agile, Inc.
The original article about SAFe® ART Quickstart can be found here.
SAFe and Scaled Agile Framework are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.