The SAFe framework purposes a key role in the smooth running of projects: the Business Owners. But what is this essential role for the proper functioning of an organization with SAFe?
For those who do not know about SAFe, here is an article that briefly talks about it: The SAFe framework in agile.
We had previously seen a specific SAFe roles in dedicated articles that I can only advise you to read:
What are Business Owners?
Business Owners, which can be several within the same Art (Agile release train), are the stakeholders who are responsible for business, technical, compliance and ROI (return on investment).
Some of these Business Owners who can be considered key stakeholders, must be able to take strong decisions and participate in certain Art Ceremonies (Agile Release Train).
The SAFe website offers a list of questions relevant to defining all the Business Owners that the Art must contain:
- Who is the real responsible for the expected business results?
- And who can lead this Art to develop the right solution?
- Who can talk about the technical skills of the solution at the beginning of the project and in the near future?
- And who could participate in the planning, help in removing obstacles and speak on behalf of development, business and customers?
- Who can approve and defend Program Increment (PI) planning knowing that they will not be able to satisfy everyone?
- And who can help coordinate efforts with other departments and organizations in the company?
As you can understand, the term Business Owners is much more general than the Product Owner or the RTE (Release Train Engineer). However these people taking this posture of Business Owners are essential to the smooth running of SAFe.
Responsibilities of Business Owners
Now, let see the responsibilities of the Business Owners either before the PI planning or during the PI planning.
Business Owners before PI Planning
The period before the PI Planning is a relatively busy period. Business Owners will:
- make sure you can participate in the PI planning if necessary
- understand and ensure that business objectives are understood and accepted by all key stakeholders, RTE, Product Management and System Architects (Agile Release Train)
- prepare the communication of the business context that will be presented taking into account the key events, the external dependencies and possibly the suppliers.
Business Owners during PI Planning
Business Owners attending this PI Planning will have different things to do. They must :
- provide the relevant elements of the business context
- participate in PI Planning’s key activities such as presenting the vision, creating the schedule, assigning business values to the PI Objectives and validating the final planning
- play a key role in creating planning, understanding big stories and planning them
- look at important external commitments and dependencies
- constantly move around the room to share business priorities with all teams in order to maintain and align all stakeholders around the key objectives of the train.
- participate in the “Management Review and Problem Solving” (end of the first day of PI Planning) to adjust the scope if necessary.
Business Owners during PI execution
Business Owners will also have important roles during the PI execution. They must :
- actively participate in ongoing agreements to maintain alignment of activities and development because the priorities and the scope may change
- help validate the definition of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for the program Epics and guide the decision to rotate or persevere on the delivery of this MVP.
- attend the demo system to see the product’s progress and make constructive feedback
- attend the planning meeting and retrospectives of each of the iterations.
- participate in release management, focusing on scope, quality, deployment options, releases and market considerations.
Conclusion Business Owners
I have not put everything in this article but I think this concept of Business Owners must be clearer for you. Indeed, this role doesn’t represent a person specifically as could the role of Scrum Master; in fact, it represents a group of people essential to the good progress of the project.