About 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.

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Performance Reviews Are Not Useful; Feedback Is

I have received some wonderful feedback from some of my managers. Back when I was a young engineer, one of my managers gave me the feedback at an annual review that I didn’t quite ...
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Do You Value Management?

I’ve met many managers who were in the wrong position. Sometimes, it was the Peter Principle. Sometimes, it’s managers who have been founders or who have been technically great ...
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Give Credit Generously

I had a boss who was great at saying, “Terri did this. Jen did that. JR did this other thing.” We all knew who had learned about different areas of the system, who had succeeded ...
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How Many People Can You Manage as a Manager?

In my first management role, I “managed” one person.  My managee didn’t need much management. He guided me into how to manage him more than I managed him. He saved me from making ...
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Why Do We Estimate, Anyway?

I’ve been thinking about estimation these days. After the healthcare.gov site fiasco, and all the schedule games–many of which are estimation problems, I thought about why we estimate. The ...
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What is the Future of Work?

I just read Scott Berkun’s The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work. For me, it was a mixed read. Yes, you can make a totally distributed team work. What you need ...
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Is Offshoring Less Expensive? Exposing Another Management Myth

I was in the midst of an assessment when the CIO came to me, and shut the door. “I have a serious question for you.” I nodded for him to continue. I put aside my papers to show ...
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Trust, Agile Program Management, & Being Effective

If you read my most recent post, Comparing Teams Is Not Useful: Exposing Another Management Myth and the comments, you will see that I rant about the business of normalizing story points ...
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Telecommuting, Hoteling, and Managing Product Development

There are two sides of this conversation about telecommuting: the employee side and the management side. I hope you stick around for both sides. You can yell at me at the end. Employees: ...
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Organizing an Agile Program: Part 2, Networks for Managing Agile Programs

In Organizing an Agile Program: Part 1, Introduction, I discussed the difference between hierarchies and networks. I used Scrum of Scrums as an example. It could be any organizing hierarchy. ...
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