Brent Barton is a Principal at River Rock Endeavors, LLC, a software product and professional services company. Brent’s executive management background and nearly two decades of experience in software technology gives Brent the ability to provide valuable guidance concerning engineering capability and organizational proficiency. As a consultant and trainer, Brent has helped small, medium and Fortune 100 organizations overcome intractable problems and successfully deliver mission-critical solutions. Brent has used Agile practices for a decade as a Chief Technology Officer, development manager, project manager, software developer, ScrumMaster, Product Owner, coach, consultant, and trainer. Brent applies agility, pragmatism, persistence, organizational constructs, and process disciplines to help organizations outperform their status quo.
Brent became one of the earliest Certified Scrum Trainers and has been implementing Scrum in organizations since 2005. Brent uses a practical and engaging teaching style that incorporates modern adult learning styles. Brent’s conversational and experience-based training style provokes thoughtful discussions and challenges that create a great learning environment for software and business professionals to solidify their understanding and decide on next actions. His years of experience practicing, coaching and spearheading agile transformations provide a foundation for him to be effective in a broad range of industries and organizational structures. Brent has trained thousands of people in Scrum and Agile practices both in formal training environments and in coaching situations. Samples of clients include: Computer Associates, NIIT, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Medco, Pegasystems, Phillips, Precor, RIM, SolutionsIQ, and Vertafore.
Brent has written several important papers on Agile and organizational change: “Implementing a Professional Services Organization Using Type C Scrum “ (IEEE), “Establishing and Maintaining Top to Bottom Transparency Using the Meta-Scrum” (Agile Journal), and “All-Out Organizational Scrum as an Innovation Value Chain” (IEEE). Brent also helped develop AgileEVM, a mathematically proven method that connects Scrum and traditional Earned Value Management techniques.
Prior to forming a new company, Brent was a founding partner at Sterling Barton, LLC, a botique consultancy focused on optimizing software delivery and technical due diligence. Prior to that, Brent was the Chief Technology Officer at SolutionsIQ, a professional services company in Redmond, WA with $50 million in annual revenues. Within this role, Brent had up to 110 people report to him. As the first Agile consultant and Certified Scrum Trainer for SolutionsIQ in 2005, Brent developed public training services and a first-class, industry-recognized Agile consulting department for helping leading companies achieve success with their agile adoptions. Brent personally led numerous successful initiatives in many organizations from small product companies to fortune 50 businesses.
Brent’s path to agility began in 1999 while at Intel with the realization that frequent integration and automated builds reduced problems to small, identifiable issues that were easily resolved. Brent found even more tangible value from using Agile practices while supporting the National Basketball Association for online selectable highlights as the main contact and engineering manager in the Enhanced Video Services Division (a conduit for Intel Architecture Labs technology and Intel Capital). During the 2000 basketball season, Brent’s team consistently performed with quality, timeliness and flexibility. Brent found that consistently adopting more and more Agile practices yielded better and better results.
Brent has a long history of implementing new programs, including the role of trainer for the technical support department in an ecommerce start up during the 1990’s. Also, Brent helped build and deploy new software in a traditional company adopting client server systems. To do this effectively, Brent installed and configured the systems and trained everyone in the branches on how the computers work. Most people had never used a computer in a business environment before and with Brent’s support learned to take advantage of these increased capabilities.
While at San Jose State University, Brent was part of a team developing computer simulation models for heat flow and electromigration patterns in the newly emerging VLSI integrated circuit technology for Hewlett-Packard’s Research and Development labs in Palo Alto, CA. Brent graduated with a degree in Mathematics and studied several sciences and many software disciplines including: data structures, expert systems, and numerical analysis.
Brent’s career began in a more traditional business atmosphere serving all types of businesses in the Silicon Valley. With a diverse background, Brent was able to support many new business initiatives and company needs as a tribology advisor (the theory of lubrication), fluid delivery technician, account manager, and operational support roles. During his tenure, Brent was one of the earliest people to tour inside the NUMMI plant (New United Motors Manufacturing, Inc., a joint venture of Toyota and GM): the first Lean Implementation in the United States. This unique facility demonstrated a stark contrast to the other manufacturing plants Brent visited. This became important as Brent started searching for ways to improve software development and was instrumental in his alignment with agility.
Before graduating from college, Brent Barton was in the United States Coast Guard. Graduating with distinction from machinery technician school, Brent served as a crewmember aboard small search and rescue boats. As the Coast Guard transitioned from primarily search and rescue to law enforcement via centralized authority in the 1980’s, Brent learned first-hand the importance of local decision-making authority (“Command in the field is always right, and the rear echelon is wrong, until proven otherwise” – Gen. Colin Powell).