Home » Author Archives: Johanna Rothman

Author Archives: Johanna Rothman

Johanna consults, speaks, and writes about managing product development. She helps managers and leaders do reasonable things that work. You can read more of her writings at jrothman.com.

Why Managers Ask for Estimates and What They Need to Know

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In many of my transitioning to agile clients, the managers want to know when the project will be done. Or, they want to know how much the project will cost. (I have a new book about this, Predicting the Unpredictable: Pragmatic Approaches to Estimating Cost or Schedule.) Managers ask for estimates because they want to know something about their ability ...

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Four Tips for Managing Performance in Agile Teams

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I’ve been talking with clients recently about their managers’ and HR’s transition to agile. I hear this common question: “How do we manage performance of the people on our agile teams?”                 Reframe “manage performance” to “career development.” People on agile teams don’t need a manager to manage their performance. If they are ...

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7 Tips to Starting a Job Search

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Do you have a resolution to find a new job this year? Check out these tips for a better, streamlined job search. Develop your LinkedIn Profile along with your resume. You need both. You might want to read 7 LinkedIn Profile Tips and Tricks in 2014 That Make a Difference. You  cannot afford to ignore LinkedIn. It is just as important ...

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Job Search Trap: It Doesn’t Matter What I Look Like

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If you are a technical person, you probably dress in a casual way for work. I do. When it’s time to meet people, either when you network or when you interview, do you wear the same clothes that you wear to work? When I meet people at networking meetings, they are casual. And, I wonder when some of them last ...

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How Do You Serve Your Organization?

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A recent coaching client was concerned about the progress his team was making—or really, the lack of progress his team was making. We spoke about the obstacles he had noticed. “The team doesn’t have time to write automated tests. As soon as they finish developing or testing a feature, people get yanked to another project.” “Are people, developers and testers, working together ...

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When Should You Move from Iterations to Flow?

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I’m writing part of the program management book, talking about how you need to keep everything small to maintain momentum. Sometimes, to keep your work small, teams move from iterations to flow. Here are times when you might consider moving from iteration to flow:             The Product Owner wants to change the order of features ...

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Who Removes Your Obstacles?

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In self-organizing teams, teams remove their own obstacles. It’s a good idea. It can be difficult in practice. In Scrum, the Scrum Master is supposed to facilitate removing the team’s obstacles that the team can’t remove. It’s a good idea. It can be difficult in practice. And, what if you aren’t doing Scrum, or you’re transitioning to agile and you ...

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Make Stories Small When You Have “Wicked” Problems

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If you read my Three Alternatives to Making Smaller Stories, you noticed one thing. In each of these examples, the problem was in the teams’ ability to show progress and create interim steps. But, what about when you have a “wicked” problem, when you don’t know if you can create the answer? If you are a project manager, you might ...

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Three Alternatives for Making Smaller Stories

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When I was in Israel a couple of weeks ago teaching workshops, one of the big problems people had was large stories. Why was this a problem? If your stories are large, you can’t show progress, and more importantly, you can’t change. For me, the point of agile is the transparency—hey, look at what we’ve done!—and the ability to change. ...

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Five Tips for Tactical Management

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Sometimes, you just need to get on with the work. You need to give yourself some breathing room so you can think for a while. Here are some tips that will help you tackle the day-to-day management work:                 Schedule and conduct your one-on-ones. Being a manager means you make room for  the ...

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