The Robots Have Arrived

You knew it was going to happen some day, right? We would all be replaced by robots. Well, since I am retired from Agile Coaching now, I recruited a robot to take my place. And she has a sidekick for any of you who want a deeper understanding of agility and better business practices, not to mention the powerful forces working overtime to create chaos on Planet Earth.

Introducing my two AI constructs:

  • Agile Explainer: Interactive guidance on Agile Software Development and related methods from basics to advanced.
  • Systems Explainer: The powerful world of Systems Thinking at your fingertips.

These are specialty GPTs that are remarkably good if I do say so myself. I am not too worried about people in Systems Thinking going unemployed. That was my earlier career and it did not pay my bills back in the 1970’s. Agile expertise is another matter, though. The Agile Explainer has access to a whole lot of information and is ready to answer your questions, and maybe ask a few of its own. Use it if you can’t find a coach when you need one. Fun challenge: ask the GPT your question first then ask your coach, see how well the conversations align. Play Stump the Agile Coach!

I apologize for the pay wall. At this time (11/23), you will need a ChatGPT Plus or Enterprise account to use these. OpenAI did not give a free option. They have LLMs to feed, after all.

Enjoy and please don’t be too mad at me. It was going to happen eventually.

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Goodbye to Agile Crossing

My blog has always had a pretty personal tone. This post may be the most personal of all. If i thought more than 3 people will read this, I might feel a bit shy. But here goes, better late than never.

I have been slow to announce my retirement from the Agile space. The reason is that I already announced it three times before it actually stuck. Fun work kept popping up that I could not resist. Plus there was the weirdness of the Covid shutdown when a lot of my colleagues re-tooled for remote training and coaching. I maintained some coaching capability but passed on the training shift as a poor investment at this late point in my career.

As of April of this year, I am no longer taking clients for training or coaching. In thanks to all of my friends, collaborators and clients, I re-purposed my website at to be a sort of memoir with pictures from my Agile career. Have a look if you ever had a class with me or helped out in a Coaches Clinic. There may be a picture that sparks a memory, hopefully a pleasant one. As an added bonus, I have made many of my training materials available for free at

There is a slim chance that I may still post an article or two here. I have a lot of drafts in a folder somewhere. And I have a lot of mini-lectures to share, though they are starting to decay for lack of repetition. If there is any topic you may have heard from me in a class or coaching session that you would like a reminder of, let me know and I will see what I can do.

I am busy with other endeavors that I hope to announce formally (LinkedIn, I guess) in the coming months. Who cares, really? But moving to a new business domain may bring new connections so I will follow the protocols.

While the Agile world is full of great people and more are moving up the ranks as some of us retire, I can’t help but leave the community with a couple of modern tools to fill some of the space I am vacating. Stayed tuned for the next post…

Cheers and hopes for a more peaceful Planet Earth and Human Race,

Roger Brown November, 2023

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Agile Coaching in the Age of COVID-19

On August 18, 2020 I joined some colleagues for a MeetUp session on the Business of Agile Coaching. I have done similar sessions on this topic over the years. This was one of an annual series presented by the San Diego chapter of the Agile Coaching Exchange. You can find out more about the group and the session here. (ACE is a great group with local chapters in the US and UK.) Slide decks from some of my prior sessions can be found here. My friends on the panel were Alicia McClain, John Eisenschmidt and Brandon Raines. 

In this year’s session, we wanted to add some commentary around the current state of affairs, how the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted business for most of us in the US and many beyond. Since my personal response was to just step back from my one active client and let my fellow coaches do the real work, I did not have a lot to offer myself. So I went to one of my strongest sources, the Scrum Alliance™ Certified Team Coach® and Certified Enterprise Coach® community for lessons learned. This community is close to my heart, having been a founding team member for both programs. (more…)

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Why Hire an Agile Coach?

I was honored to present at the Scrum Alliance(r) Austin Scrum Gathering in the Champions of Agile Track on May 23, 2019. My topic was “Why Hire an Agile Coach?”.

The slides from my talk are available here.

I don’t think anyone recorded the talk and I don’t know a good way to condense 45 minutes of information (and informed opinion) into text, so I will just summarize the objectives and conclusions here:

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Agile Agency: State of the Art 2018

I did some Scrum training for a creative agency earlier this year. The workflow at this company is not an obvious fit to Scrum as originally designed for software. To help find the best fit, I did a survey of how other agencies are applying Agile/Lean principles and frameworks to their work. A summary of my findings, with references, is in this deck at SlideShare.

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Just Say No

Scrum is, by design, a “pull system” rather than a “push system”. The Scrum Team determines how much work they will pull in to each Sprint. The Product Owner determines what items are ready to be pulled in according to priority.

There are legacy forces that work against pull systems, trying to push work into both Product and Sprint Backlogs. These include stakeholder requests, maintenance fixes and client feature changes. Scrum is designed to absorb feature requests and changes by buffering them into the Product Backlog. Maintenance work is buffered by defining a set percentage of Sprint time for fixes and paying down technical debt. Ideally, a new product is built using Agile engineering practices that make maintenance virtually unnecessary.

There are times, however, when the legacy forces overpower the Scrum machine. (more…)

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