Remote SAFe® training with ABB – we don’t cancel, we adapt!

Embracing the agile mindset we decided to adapt instead of cancel. The well-needed and since long planned classroom training in the SAFe® methodology (provided by Scaled Agile Inc. Scaled Agile Framework®) was no longer possible to hold face-to-face due to COVID-19 circumstances. When the course provider opened up for remote trainings, this opportunity was seized.

A SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager training to apply Lean-Agile values and principles and economic prioritization, and develop the skillsets needed to guide the delivery of value in a Lean enterprise was held remotely with Product Owners, Product Managers and EPIC owners within ABB Power Grids, T&SD G&PQS.

More than 20 participants from India, Switzerland and Sweden all took part from their respective home offices. To support the training, all material was digital. The workbook was downloaded by each participant in pdf, with editable fields for own notes. Instead of whiteboards for exercises, a digital counterpart was used (iObeya). All participants got iObeya access, and could move “post-its”, type comments and restructure in real time.

Two SAFe SPC instructors from Frontit were involved, Kristina Rosén as the main course responsible and Andreas Axelsen, as video and chat responsible. The technical setup and exercise preparation was done by Karin Thorburn, T&SD G&PQS. To get quick feedback a Mentimeter service was also used. Three teams were formed for group exercises; all with their own MS Teams meeting to switch over to for breakout sessions.

All in all, the training went very well! The participants showed great engagement and there were very few technical interruptions or issues with the digital format in the remote set-up. Given the challenging situation the overall experience was very positive!

Rickard Johansson, EPIC owner in T&SD G&PQS, commented “the training went extremely well and hopefully we will continue to work with digital white boards and Mentimeter also when we are back in the office”. Remote trainings could be an option also in the future, especially in global business!

David Strinnholm, Line manager T&SD G&PQS, concluded that “one of the key elements for the successful training was the great preparations and the adaptions to the T&SD business and processes”.

Participants were in the end of the training asked to state their biggest take-aways and the need for Alignment and Transparency were some of the items that were raised, which are two of the SAFe core values together with Built-In Quality and Program Execution.

A result from the remote training is the decision to use the digital whiteboard and iObeya with imported feature notes from Microsoft Azure in the next PI planning (quarterly planning) to be held in June. The conclusion from the training is that we all successfully came together regardless of physical location!