Chaco Canyon Consulting

About Rick


I work Rick Brennerwith organizations that are developing complex products or services in markets so fast-moving that to succeed, their people need state-of-the art teamwork. The techniques I've developed and collected include some unusual twists. They're drawn from a variety of sources — solid practice, history, psychology, and my own experience and education. Using a mix of presentation, metaphor, humor, and simulation, I guide my clients in applying these ideas and inventing new ones.

My focus is improving personal and organizational effectiveness. I have expertise in abnormal situations, such as technical emergencies, understaffed and highly fluid organizations, and high-pressure project situations.

Trained in electrical engineering and theoretical physics, I'm a former software engineer and entrepreneur. I worked in the computer industry and in defense systems for 15 years, as an engineer, an engineering manager, and a project manager. Towards the end of that time, while researching advanced software development environments under a U.S. Department of Defense contract, I concluded that we as engineers could probably do as much to increase project productivity by improving how we work together as we could by inventing new technologies. I began to study the work of Gerald Weinberg, Dani Weinberg, Jean McLendon, and Virginia Satir, and this led me through several years of independent study to my current field of focus. My practice now emphasizes training and consulting to executives and to project groups in dynamic companies, where success depends on high performance.

I've held positions at Symbolics, Inc., and at Draper Laboratory, both of Cambridge, Massachusetts. At Symbolics, I was responsible for development of all products based on Macsyma, a large and very sophisticated computer algebra program. At Draper Laboratory, I was a principal investigator in a DARPA program, the Evolutionary Design of Complex Software, where I conducted research into advanced concepts for real-time software development environments based on dynamic object-oriented programming languages. From 1993 to 2014, I taught a course in business modeling at the Harvard Extension School. I hold a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT.

In 2002, I served as Vice Chair for BOSCON, a conference sponsored by the American Society for Quality, Boston Section. I'm a professional member of NSA New England, the New England chapter of the National Speakers Association, where I was a member of the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2004. I was honored to be Chapter Member of the Year for both 2001 and 2007. In 2006-2007, I was Chair of the Boston Software Process Improvement Network (SPIN), where I served in a variety of offices and on the Steering Committee from 1999 to 2007. In 2010 and 2011 I served on the board of the Agile New England Chapter of the ACM, and I'm a member of the Project Management Institute. I'm the creator and moderator of the LinkedIn.com discussion group, Office Politics, Workplace Politics and Organizational Politics.

Follow me at Twitter: I'm @RickBrenner. I invite you to look around my Web site and send me your comments. Contact me if you think there might be a project we could undertake together.

Where There's Smoke There's EmailTroubled by email flame wars? Or a blizzard of useless if well-intended messages from colleagues and subordinates? Read Where There's Smoke There's Email. Check it out!
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What People Say About Rick's Programs
  • "Rick is a dynamic presenter who thinks on his feet to keep the material relevant to the group."
    — Tina L. Lawson, Technical Project Manager, BankOne.
  • "Rick truly has his finger on the pulse of teams and their communication."
    — Mark Middleton, Team Lead, SERS
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