Caleb Brown

About Caleb Brown

Caleb Brown is an Agile trainer, organizational coach, and Certified Scrum Professional with a focus on the the “People Side” of software. While practices and technology are part of what enable organizations to succeed with Agile, Caleb likes to concentrate on using the cultural piece supported by whatever practice, process, framework, or technology is needed to be successful. Having worked on the technical side of the software industry since 1999, and as CollabNet’s Product Owner and Master ScrumWorks Trainer since 2007, Caleb has gained deep insight into the inherent challenges with Agile adoption. His trainings and expertise in helping global organizations understand where process ends and tooling picks up, is well respected and highly sought after.

Agile Leadership Workshop – More Answers from the Expert

Over the past two weeks I have been fortunate enough to be allowed to run 5 workshops on Agility in general. While these have been sales or marketing funded, I was allowed to run them without any interference and we were able to come up with some great interaction and engagement. One thing I did promise to each workshop was that any question I couldn’t answer during it I would type up and send out in a follow up email. Below is a collection of all the unanswered questions I was able to gather, I hope I didn’t lose any, …

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Grasping Agility; Hardening Sprints: A Fat Free Candy!

0ZrZMy0

I wanted to start off this blog with a succinct definition of “Hardening Sprint” so we are all on the same page. I couldn’t find one. I found a lot of words on the Scaled Agile Framework site that talk about and apparently justify Hardening Sprints if you want to read that. I decided to work up a quick definition of a “Hardening Sprint” myself: A pre-planned iteration in which we will do all the things we should be doing all along, but won’t. I’m reminded of a particular label that is very common on candy in stores these days. …

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Agile at Scale for only 3 easy installments of $19.99! Guaranteed!

Infomercial

I’ve just returned from the Scrum Gathering put on by the Scrum Alliance in New Orleans. I enjoyed the event quite a lot, New Orleans is a great town, and there was a great deal of information and energy at the sessions I attended. One of the goals I had was to get some education on these agile at scale things such as the Scaled Agile Framework and Disciplined Agile Delivery. I am asked frequently about Scaled Agile Framework in particular, and until attending the gathering I only really knew what I had read about it online. After the gathering? I know more, enough that I …

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Grasping Agility: Why I’ve moved away from Agile Zealotry, and you should too

My introduction to Scrum was when I was working in a support department. Our manager had heard of these marvelous “stand up meetings”, which he proceeded to implement for us. They consisted of the entire department standing up for 20-30 minutes and listening to him talk about a variety of subjects, but mostly just ranting about what we were doing wrong. It wasn’t until years later when I was actually working with real Scrum teams and helping people to both understand the 15 minute timebox on the Standup, and to enforce it, that I realized what it was he had …

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Grasping Agility: “Done” & the Sisyphusian Condition

Realm-of-the-complex

Done. It’s a good feeling to be done with something,  but more than just a good feeling, it’s an essential feeling. The problem with Agile adoption is that getting to truly “done” from wherever we started is often an astonishingly difficult thing to do. For decades software hasn’t needed to actually be done, ever really. Part of this is the nature of software, “finished” is just with a stage, a version, a patch, a piece of the whole larger thing we are building. Software is nearly always going to be Sisyphean. Our initial reaction to this, as an industry, was …

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Grasping Agility: Agility, Personality and Failure

agile

I’ve never been much of a blogger. The concept of short but frequent commentaries on subjects causes the perfectionist in me horror.  I hate failing on a deep visceral level. Even my small failures tend to cause me distress for weeks or months after whatever the mistake was. My personality tends to stop me from starting things that may fail, but others deal with failure in other ways. Some try to hide the failure, others deny that a failure is actually a failure and continue to go along without making any sort of correction. In business today my personal preference …

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Forecasting in Agile

Agile Forecasting

This question came in and I was asked to see about answering it: We are struggling with how to forecast feature delivery to stakeholders / customers in Agile – esp for a client data migration project where we seem to keep finding bugs and exceptions. How is forecasting handled in Agile? I spend a lot time answering this question, primarily because our software ScrumWorks assists in doing this in a variety of ways, and it’s my job to sell ScrumWorks. The underlying concepts and methods are not software dependent however, just easier. So I am going to run through some …

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Transitioning to Agile in Government

transition

I’ve had a fascinating 5 years working in the Agile Business Line at Collabnet. When I started I worked in Technical Support, from there I moved into Technical Sales, and from there into Agile Training and Coaching with a twist. The twist is that nearly all of the work I do within the Agile industry is with people who are beyond that initial adoption stage. They typically understand what Agile really is and what the basics of practicing it are. This means that I have spent little time evangelizing Scrum and Agile to developers, and a lot of time working …

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Transitioning to Agile: Complex Releases Q&A

webinar Q&A

Q: At what point does an agile user story become a task and what is the best way to balance informing the development team of the intended functionality versus telling the development team how to complete the functionality? The user story is broken down into multiple tasks, typically during the Sprint Planning Meeting, but increasingly I see this happening with the team on a per Backlog Item basis. If we are ever in a situation were we are telling the development team how to complete the functionality that might indicate that we are having some issues with roles. Based on …

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Transitioning to Agile: Headlight Reporting Q&A

Q&A

We had a great turnout for the first in our Transitioning to Agile Webinar series, and many questions came in that we were unable to answer. Below you will find my answers to the questions that we weren’t able to get to on during the Webinar. Q: Can Scrum succeed without XP engineering practices? Won’t the rate of progress drop to a crawl if you’re trying to deploy every two weeks without taking advantage of the XP practices related to quality and automation? Possibly, but I can’t imagine trying to practice Scrum without at least many XP practices. Scrum and …

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