Home » Author Archives: Johanna Rothman (page 2)

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.

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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Is Your Culture Working the Way You Think it Is?

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Long ago, I was a project manager and senior engineer for a company undergoing a Change Transformation. You know the kind, where the culture changes, along with the process. The senior managers had bought into the changes. The middle managers were muddling through, implementing the changes as best they could. Us project managers and the technical staff, we were the ...

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Small Internal Releases Lead to Happy Customers

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If you saw Large Program? Release More Often, you might have noted that I said, You want to release all the time inside your building. You need the feedback, to watch the product grow. Some of my clients have said, “But my customers don’t want the software that often.” That might be true.  You may have product constraints, also. If ...

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Large Program? Release More Often

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I’m working on the release planning chapter for Agile and Lean Program Management: Collaborating Across the Organization. There are many ways to plan releases. But the key? Release often. How often? I suggest once a month. Yes, have a real, honest-to-goodness release once a month. I bet that for some of you, this is counter-intuitive. “We have lots of teams. ...

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Six Tips for Interviewing Scrum Masters, Part 2

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Now that you know what you expect from your Scrum Master’s job (the deliverables), and you know the essential and desirable skills (the first three tips), you can focus on creating the interview questions and audition. (If you have not yet read Six Tips for Interviewing Scrum Masters, Part 1 for the first three tips, please do so now.) Tip ...

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Six Tips for Interviewing Scrum Masters, Part 1

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People want to know the “secret sauce” for hiring Scrum Masters and agile coaches. I wish it was easy to provide a standard set of questions. Because your agile team is unique, your questions should be different. However, there are some common qualities, preferences, and non-technical skills among Scrum Masters. First, do a job analysis for your Scrum Master. I ...

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Creating a Succession Plan for Your Technical Team

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We often think about a succession plan for managers. But, if you’re not thinking about a succession plan for your technical team, you’re falling prey to local shortages, and hiring the same old kinds of people. You’re not getting diverse people. That means you may not be able to create innovative, great products. It also means your people might be ...

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