How Would You, as a SAFe Consultant, Handle Conflict between Teams in an Agile Release Train

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Nader Talai

Within an Agile Release Train, itโ€™s great to try and prevent conflict as much as possible but that doesnโ€™t mean that having conflict is necessarily bad. It can actually be good in some cases, and be a driving force towards positive change and improvements. In the simple sense, conflict just means that people have a different understanding of what needs to be done, or what is right and wrong. And when teams find themselves in this position where they are not seeing eye to eye, it is important that we are able to work on a resolution.  

So what do we do when we have conflict between teams in the Agile Release Train?  

The first thing to do when a team experiences conflict within the Agile Release Train, is that you have to establish a team agreement and a working agreement in the Agile Release Train. So one of the things that are included in the Agile Release Train working agreement is how we deal with conflict when we are not happy about things, and most importantly how we address it within our teams and across teams in ART.  

In the effort towards establishing a working agreement on how we address conflict, the solution that we are after must ultimately be aimed at collaboration on all fronts. At this stage of determining how best to approach conflict within the Agile Release Train, we may look at:  
๐Ÿš€ What are the sources of dissatisfaction between the services that we are delivering.  

๐Ÿš€ What is the dissatisfaction and why is it there? 
๐Ÿš€ What can we do in order to resolve it?  


Resolving the issues associated with dissatisfaction could involve:  

๐Ÿš€ Changing behaviors.  

๐Ÿš€ Understanding what needs to change and why.  


Arriving at an agreement about how to resolve conflict within the Agile Release Train as early as possible is very important too. This is because I have found that when teams donโ€™t coordinate or collaborate as early as possible, you end up with a collision. So a lot of times when teams experience conflict or pressure, they end up putting pressure on other teams in the Agile Release Train to perform or solve the problem. Having expectations that other teams are just going to take on all the work and resolve everything, is also where a lot of teams within the Agile Release Train collide.  
This is why it is important that within the Agile Release Train, there are concise efforts made towards planning and foreseeing potential issues down the line. So that in the next Iteration planning, we can address any challenges with reference to the guidelines and working agreement we established at the beginning of the working relationship.  

This is how you manage and prevent conflict within the Agile Release Train.  

Interested to learn more? 

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As deeply experienced agile coaches and practitioners, our team is invested in continuous learning through each client engagement and uses the data and evidence we gather from each implementation to inform our training, coaching, and consulting services. 

In a nutshell, empirical process control or empiricism.  

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