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.

7 Tips for Valuing Features in a Backlog

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Many product owners have a tough problem. They need so many of the potential features in the roadmap, that they feel as if everything is #1 priority. They realize they can’t actually have everything as #1, and it’s quite difficult for them to rank the features. This is the same problem as ranking for the project portfolio. You can apply ...

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Trust, Accountability, and Where Does the Time Go?

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As more of my clients transition to agile, many of them have a fascinating question: How do I assess who is doing what on my team? When I ask why they want to know, they say it’s all related to reviews, rewards, and general compensation. They are still discussing individual compensation, not team compensation. When I ask why they want ...

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Do You Need a Degree to be Hired to Develop Software?

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I retweeted a link to Here’s a Thing: There’s No Correlation Between a College Degree and Coding Ability. I was a bit surprised by some of the reactions to that link. One colleague said, “I question whether people who wait until a college assignment to learn to code have the same obsessive interest in the topic.” I was quite surprised. Back ...

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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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