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In SAFe, one Agile team is a cross-functional team of 5-11 individuals who define, build, test, and deliver one increment of value in a short time box.

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Because communication quality diminishes together team size increases, Agile enterprises tend to favor collections of smaller teams. Because that example, it’s generally far better to have actually two teams of five civilization than one team the ten.

Solution distribution requires vast and diverse skills. Technical teams define, build, test, and-where applicable-deploy, some aspect of systems value. Company teams collaborate with them to carry out a variety of assistance that includes:

InfrastructureContracts and also suppliersEnd-user trainingLegal guidanceMarketingSecurity and compliance expertiseFitness because that useSolution knowledge

Both types of groups strive for fast learning by performing occupational in tiny batches, assessing the results, and also adjusting accordingly. All safe Agile teams include two key roles, the Scrum understand and Product Owner.

No train can exist without Agile teams; they strength the Agile release Train (ART) and ultimately the whole enterprise. ARTs space responsible because that delivering bigger solution value. All groups on the train collaborate with other teams, contribute to its Vision and Roadmap, and also participating in arts events. In addition, they are mostly responsible for building the continuous Delivery Pipeline and DevOps capabilities.


By building and also supporting the remedies that deliver value to your customers, Agile groups fuel the enterprise. As defined in SAFe’s Team and Technical Agility competency article, the Agile activity <1> stood for a significant turning allude in how software and systems were developed. It developed a cohesive collection of values, principles, and also practices that sparked the development of high-performing teams. In SAFe, Agile teams space the structure blocks for creating and delivering value. Without reliable Agile teams, composed of empowered and motivated individuals, organizations cannot accomplish the more comprehensive business services of Lean-Agile development.

These teams space self-organizing and also self-managing, account to supply results that satisfy the needs and expectations of your customers and stakeholders. Castle are additionally accountable to every other and to other teams for moving quality work on time.

By moving work come the teams and trains, rather of bringing world to the job-related Enterprises deserve to largely remove the ‘project model’ of functioning (see skinny Budgets). They produce long-lived teams and teams of teams, devoted to relentlessly improving their ability to deliver solutions. This is how SAFe different from the traditional technique in i m sorry managers straight individuals come activities. For sure teams—not your managers—determine because that themselves what stories they can implement in one iteration and how come implement them. Lean-Agile Leaders carry out the vision, leadership, and also autonomy necessary to foster and promote high-performing teams. As a result, assigning job-related to separation, personal, instance team members is no longer required as groups are greatly self-reliant. This permits decentralized decision-making every the means to the level of the separation, personal, instance contributor. The primary responsibility that Lean-Agile Leaders then is to coach and also mentor Agile teams.

Teamness and also High-Performing Teams

Great teams require more than talented individuals. Team composition and also dynamics play a far-ranging role. In fact, that is on a team has actually less affect on team performance than just how the team works together <2>. High-performing teams share many common ‘teamness’ characteristics:

A safe environment for taking threats without fear of embarrassment or punishmentAlignment on a common vision with clear goals and purposeDiversity of expertise and skills to do quick, effective decisions independentlyThe common trust that allows for healthy and balanced conflictAccountability to each other and the company by reliably completing top quality work and meeting commitmentsUnderstanding of their work’s broader impact top top the organizationFun through their work and also with every other

SAFe’s business Agility competency provides much more information on exactly how Lean-thinking people and Agile groups create far better business outcomes.

Agile Teams room Cross-Functional

Agile teams expectancy functions and also are created of 5-11 members from throughout the organization who are committed to their team full-time. This eliminates the hand-off and delays that pushing value v silos causes. Every Agile team has actually all the skills necessary to construct increments of value in a brief timebox (Figure 1). They can:

Define – individually elaborate and also design features and stories to accomplish their missionBuild – save on computer all skills necessary to produce the artifacts to accomplish their missionTest – ensure an artifact’s quality and also performanceDeploy
– whereby applicable, deploy increments of value
Figure 1. Agile teams are cross-functional

Agile teams Contain 2 Specialty Roles

Agile teams have two specialty roles. The Product Owner defines Stories (along with various other team members) and prioritizes the team backlog to rationalization the execution of program priorities. At the very same time, they also maintain the theoretical and technical integrity of the work-related the team is responsible for. The Scrum Master is a servant leader and also coach because that the team. This function instills the agreed-to Agile process, help facilitates the removed of impediments to progress, and also fosters an environment for high performance, consistent flow, and relentless improvement.

Figure 2. Agile teams incorporate two specialty roles

Agile Teams have actually Well-Defined Responsibilities

Responsibilities vary based upon team type. Technology-focused teams, including software and also hardware, develop technical solutions. Business-focused teams create other occupational products–marketing campaigns, contracts, and also customer resolution. Teams frequently fulfill the adhering to responsibilities.

All teams:

Develop and also commit to Team PI Objectives and also iteration goalsEstimate the size and also complexity of their workUse pairing and also other practices for constant reviewDetermine the technical style in their area of concern, in ~ the architectural guidelinesConduct research, design, prototype, and other expedition activitiesImplement and integrate alters in small batchesCreate the job-related products characterized by their featuresTest the occupational products characterized by their featuresDeploy the work assets to staging and also productionSupport operational service solutionsSupport and/or develop the automation necessary to construct the consistent delivery pipelineContinuously improve the team process

Software, hardware, IT, operations, and other technology-focused teams:

Use design and also implementation ideal practices come build high-quality components and also solutionsManage transforms in a mutual repositoryExecute acceptance tests and maintain the test instances in a mutual repository

Business-focused teams (product marketing, sales, support, training, security, compliance, legal, etc.)

Collaborate with the technology-centric teams using similar cadence structures and alignment to common objectivesUnderstand and define the company opportunityDefine the business processes and operational worth streams the technical options supportAssure iterative and adaptive practices when developing their distinctive work productsPerform work-related in little batches with quick feedback indigenous customers and stakeholdersEmphasize many little experiments with rapid feedback over a couple of large, sluggish initiativesAdapt Lean-Agile principles to their distinct practices and policies

Additional guidance for applying Agile to certain business and technical domain names can be uncovered in the service and technology article.

Agile Teams space Organized approximately Value

SAFe rule #10 – Organize about value, guides enterprises come organize people and also teams around one goal: the continuous delivery of worth to the customer. But to perform so, castle must consider how best to style their Agile Teams.

In their book, Team Topologies, Mathew Skelton and Manuel Pais, explain four an essential teams types that enhance and simplify this task of organizing around value, (Figure 3). These team ‘topologies’ provide insights on just how to organize equipment builders and create a clear version for organizing Agile teams within SAFe. The 4 team topologies are explained in detail below.

Figure 3. The four fundamental team topologies

Stream-Aligned Teams

The ax ‘stream-aligned’ emphasizes the prominence of arranging teams to supply a continuous ‘stream’ of value within the breakthrough value stream the builds, runs, and also supports the product or solution. Skelton and also Pais define a stream-aligned team together follows:

A currently of work, empowered come build and deliver client or user value as quickly, safely, and also independently together possible, without requiring hand-offs to various other teams come perform components of the work. <3>

One the the most far-reaching benefits of arranging teams in this method is customer centricity; every team has actually a straight relationship come the customers they serve. Stream-aligned teams apply design thinking techniques to better understand this customer personas —building and supporting their preferred features. It stands to reason that many teams in a Lean-Agile enterprise must be stream-aligned.

In SAFe, teams operate within art that accomplish larger development value streams. Rarely have the right to a single stream-aligned team build an entire solution. More commonly, stream-aligned teams support a section of the development value stream, set to one of the complying with aspects:

A details solution or systems subsetA collection of featuresA details customer personaSpecific procedures in the client journeyA specific business domainCompliance and also regulation requirementsNew product innovation

The determining variable is even if it is the stream-aligned team has actually the authority and responsibility come build and also deliver customer value v minimal dependencies on various other teams. This calls for that stream-aligned groups be cross-functional and also include all the an abilities necessary to build and also support whatever features and components they need. This also ensures the stream-aligned teams are long-lived, emerging knowledge developing efficiencies over prolonged periods of time.

For each team type, Skelton and Pais specify a set of intended behaviors. Within the context of SAFe, we interpret these obligations for stream-aligned groups as follows:

Know her customer – build and also maintain direct relationships through customers and develop a deep knowledge of the sector segments served.Develop a steady circulation of brand-new features – features define a client need and also the connected benefits. New features should make up the bulk of the work a stream-aligned groups delivers.Apply style Thinking – know the difficulty space, check out solution options, validate with customers, and incorporate feedback.Apply constant improvement practices – reserve volume for boosting the processes and tools needed to execute the work.Build in top quality – take responsibility for ensuring all work meets suitable quality standards throughout development.Collaborate – identify and also manage collaborations with various other teams top top the ART and shared servicesRespond to customer needs – reaction to brand-new feature requests, incidents, and readjust the course of action.Support the solution in production – stream-aligned groups take responsibility for supporting their solution facets in production. In various other words, “they build it; they operation it.”

Complicated-Subsystem Team

While it is a reasonable ambition is to have primarily stream-aligned teams, that unlikely that this will be the only team type required. As solutions come to be bigger and an ext complex—often including a mix of hardware and software components—they will certainly likely encompass subsystems. Building and operating few of these subsystems requires specialist knowledge and also expertise.

Skelton and also Pais recognize this by defining the purpose of a complex subsystem team:

A complicated-subsystem team is responsible because that building and also maintaining a part of the system that depends heavily on specialist knowledge, to the level that many team members have to be experts in that area of knowledge in order to understand and also make alters to the subsystem. <3>

Requiring stream-aligned teams to gain and maintain the requisite an abilities to the necessary proficiency levels across all potential subsystems would create too much cognitive load. The teams can come to be overwhelmed through the complexity, can not to emphasis on a domain they have the right to truly master. Instead, complicated subsystem groups pick up a large portion of the load, taking responsibility for building and maintaining those parts of the mechanism that require deep and ongoing technological expertise.

A facility subsystem team could construct things together as:

Highly devoted system components, frequently used across multiple systemsSafety-critical solution elements, which have a high expense of failureSpecialty algorithms or organization rules the are vital for fitness of use in the domainA part of a cyber-physical device (e.g., one engine regulate module in an autonomous vehicle)

While every solutions deserve to be decomposed right into subsystems, not all subsystems require complicated subsystem teams. The level that expertise, complexity and also risk need to be the only deciding factors for creating complex subsystem teams. As a stormy guide, a single ART need to contain no much more than 1-3 complicated subsystem teams.

The responsibilities and behaviors of complicated subsystem teams include:

Build, maintain, and also support the facility subsystem – recognize and also commit come the vital technical facets they build.Maintain their level that expertise – continue to advancement the expertise and an abilities required to work within the subsystem domain.Collaborate with stream-aligned teams – certain the subsystems are occurred to meet customer requirements.Plan and also prioritize effectively – align the subsystem roadmap v the needs of the stream-aligned teams.Develop suitable interfaces – hide the complicated nature that the subsystems behind well-documented, easy to usage interfaces.Takes duty for integrated quality – assure quality, performance, and architectural robustness of the subsystem.

Platform Teams

A an innovation or computing platform is a collection of solutions that the stream-aligned teams deserve to access, typically via a set of self-service APIs. Much like the facility subsystem teams, platform teams (and the communication they maintain) are developed to reduce a stream-aligned team’s cognitive load. Moreover, they need to be allocated in a means that increases the autonomy that the stream-aligned teams.

Platform teams are defined as follows:

Platform team carry out the underlying interior services required by stream-aligned teams to supply higher-level services or functionalities, for this reason reducing your cognitive load. <3>

This focus on platform teams as ‘service providers’ heavily influences the method they work. Platforms room treated as ‘products’ occurred for their customers, which in this situation are the stream-aligned teams that make use of them. Customer Centricity and also Design Thinking use in this context also. Additionally, the services they administer should be fine documented, easy to use, fit for purpose, ‘thin,’ and also offer reuse opportunities.

Responsibilities and also behaviors that platform groups include:

Collaborate through stream-aligned teams – ensure the communication are developed in line with customer requirements.Build the communication incrementally – build and deploy in increments and also secure regular feedback and validation native customers.Focus ~ above usability – carry out platforms the are straightforward to use via self-service capabilities and supporting documentation.Commit to support and maintenance – for sure the platform’s sustainability and uptime, and also commit to appropriate service-level agreements.Lead by example – store the platforms ‘thin’ and develop lock on peak of various other platforms where applicable.

Enabling Teams

The tools and techniques because that solution development are constantly changing, offering organizations through regular opportunities to integrate brand-new practices and also technologies. Back this brings numerous benefits, it also represents challenges to developing the necessary skills and expertise across all the teams. ‘Enabling’ teams are vital construct. They can carry out support and guidance to other teams, assisting castle in getting these brand-new skills and getting increase to speed with these arising technologies.

Enabling groups are defined as follows:

Enabling teams … assist stream-aligned groups acquire lacking capabilities, usually about a particular technical or product monitoring area. <3>

One instance of an enabling team in safe is the mechanism Team, i m sorry assists ART groups with (among other things) building and supporting the constant delivery pipeline. Part more specialized examples of permitting teams might carry out expertise and support in the following areas:

DevOps implementationAutomated testingContinuous integration and also build toolingEngineering high quality practicesSecurityEnvironments and configuration

Enabling groups may also be concentrated on help stream-aligned groups the first couple of times they need to integrate with a particular subsystem or platform. However, allowing teams are not over there to solve quality worries caused through stream-aligned teams. Rather, they job-related with castle for short periods, commonly for a PI or so, to increase their skills and embed the compelled capabilities. Depending upon their charter, enabling teams might be persistent and also move to support another team, ART, or part of the organization. Or, they might be created for a particular purpose and also then it is in decommissioned and return come their continuous work.

Responsibilities and behaviors of enabling teams include:

Innovative – identify opportunities for improvement, consisting of adopting brand-new technologies and practices.Collaborate proactively – determine the teams they should work with, recognize their details requirements, and also check development regularly.Communicate regularly – save the teams and the broader organization abreast of new technologies and also emerging best practices.Promote a constant learning culture – in ~ their very own team, the groups they room working through currently, and throughout the more comprehensive organization.

Agile Teams typically Blend Agile Methods

SAFe teams use Agile practices of an option based mainly on Scrum, Kanban, and also Extreme Programming (XP) to improve their performance. To ensure lock are solving the best problem, teams use Design Thinking. Teams use Built-In Quality techniques to journey disciplined content creation and also quality. Collective ownership, pair work, standards, test-first, and consistent Integration help keep things Lean through embedding quality and also operating efficiency directly into the process.

However, because SAFe is a flow-based system, most teams also apply Kanban come visualize your work, develop Work in process (WIP) limits, and also use Cumulative circulation Diagrams (CFDs) to show bottlenecks and vital opportunities for boosting throughput. Some teams select Kanban together their major practice. This is since the planning and also commitment elements of Scrum might not use as successfully for workloads that are task and demand-based, and also where priorities change an ext frequently (e.g., assistance teams).

Agile Teams space on the Train

In SAFe, Agile groups building and also evolving the solution space on the train and also operate as a high performing team-of-teams. They power the art by collaborating to build increasingly beneficial increments of functioning solutions. A usual framework governs and also guides the train. They plan, demo, and also learn together, as portrayed in figure 4. This alignment enables teams to much more independently explore, integrate, deploy, and release value.

Figure 4. Agile groups plan, demo, and also learn together

Plan Together

All teams attend PI Planning, where they support plan and also commit to a set of PI objectives. Working in the direction of a shared vision and also roadmap, lock collaborate on methods to achieve the objectives. Clear content authority roles facilitate the planning and also execution process. The Product Owner is component of a larger Product Management team. The team’s individual Team Backlogs are moved in part by the Program Backlog.

In addition, as component of the ART, all Agile teams get involved in a common method to estimating work. This offers a meaningful way to aid decision-making authorities guide the food of action based on economics.

Demo Together

Delivering complex, high-quality solutions calls for intense inter-team cooperation and collaboration. To assistance this, teams occupational on a typical ART cadence and also publish and also communicate iteration purposes at the start of every iteration. They also update other teams throughout the art sync and proactively manage dependencies by interacting with team members of various other teams.

Teams apply Built-In top quality practices and also engage in constant exploration, consistent integration, and consistent deployment. This takes place within the team and throughout the train—working toward an aggregated system Demo to finish each iteration.

Learn Together

To attend to today’s uncertainty and opportunity, SAFe’s consistent Learning culture (CLC) obstacles organizations to produce a society of fast and effective learning at every levels. Teams and individuals space the love of the Learning Organization (a CLC dimension) that drives creation for the enterprise. For sure fosters Innovative human being (another CLC dimension) through countless practices including time and space for innovation, experimenting and also feedback, and ‘innovation riptides’.

All for sure teams engage in relentless improvement (see obelisk 4 in the Lean-Agile perspective article and also the 3rd dimension in CLC for much more information). In enhancement to iteration retrospectives and advertisement hoc process improvements, teams additionally participate in arts Inspect and Adapt (I&A) events, where they identify and also prioritize innovation backlog items the are integrated into the following PI plan sessions. The teams and also the ART progression forward one iteration and PI in ~ a time. Learning is not minimal to retrospectives. It wake up continuously and also is also facilitated by neighborhoods of exercise (CoPs), developed to assist individuals and also teams advance their functional and cross-functional skills.

Explore, Integrate, Deploy, and also Release Independently

Planning, demoing, and also learning together creates the alignment that enables teams come independently and also reliably provide value. Agile groups drive value through the entire consistent delivery pipeline. Collaborating with product management around constant exploration, they repetitively integrate, and they repeatedly deploy their work to staging and also (ideally) production environments. When Agile groups strive to individually deploy and also release their parts of solutions, some technical, regulatory, and also other hurdles might hinder them. In those situations, groups coordinate and align your deployment and release to production.

Agile teams help validate feature hypotheses by deploying to production early and also frequently. They design their systems in ways that allow decoupling the equipment from the release, permitting the ability to release on demand.

Collaboration and also Culture

Agile groups are urged by a common vision and their appointment to carrying value to customers and stakeholders. Each team member is fully devoted to a single team and works strongly to assistance its goals. Team members consistently and proactively engage with other teams to control dependencies and resolve impediments. Relationship within the team are based on trust, promoted by a usual mission, Iteration Goals, and team PI Objectives. Using regular feedback loops that are built into the discovering cycle, cooperation improves continuously. Each tangible distribution of value motivates trust, to reduce uncertainty and risk, and builds confidence.

Constant communication and collaboration, in addition to fast and also empowered decision-making, permits groups to accomplish their responsibilities. Organizations strive come collocate teams, although this is not constantly practical. For dispersed team members working offsite, workspace facilities and an innovation exists to permit communication and also collaboration. (See the progressed topic article, Working efficiently in Agile v Remote Team Members for extr guidance.) conventional team occasions depend rather on the method of choice, yet they frequently include a day-to-day Stand-up, Iteration Planning, Iteration Review, backlog refinement, and Iteration Retrospective.

Learn More

<1> Manifesto for Agile software Development.<2> Guide: understand team effectiveness. Https://<3> Skelton, Mathew, and also Manuel Pais. Team Topologies. IT revolution Press, 2019.<4> Leffingwell, Dean. Scaling software program Agility: best Practices for huge Enterprises. Addison-Wesley, 2007.<5> Lencioni, Patrick. The five Dysfunctions the a Team: A leadership Fable. Jossey-Bass, 2002.<6> McChrystal, Stanley (Retired General), et al. Team of Teams: new Rules that Engagement for a complicated World. Penguin publishing Group, 2015.

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<7> Marquet, David. Turn the ship Around. Penguin Group, 2013.