Home » Author Archives: Johanna Rothman (page 3)

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.

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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Job Search Trap: I Can Network Only By Computer

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I gave a talk at a networking group recently about Manage Your Job Search. When the members checked in at the beginning they gave themselves points for their activity the week before. They only got one point for applying for a job. They got 15 points for going on an informational interview, and 15 points for networking at an event. ...

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Managers Manage Ambiguity

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I was thinking about the Glen Alleman’s post, All Things Project Are Probabilistic. In it, he says, Management is Prediction as a inference from Deming. When I read this quote, If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing. –Deming I infer from Deming that managers must manage ambiguity. Here’s where Glen ...

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Capacity Planning and the Project Portfolio

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I was problem-solving with a potential client the other day. They want to manage their project portfolio. They use Jira, so they think they can see everything everyone is doing. (I’m a little skeptical, but, okay.) They want to know how much the teams can do, so they can do capacity planning based on what the teams can do. (Red ...

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People Are Not Resources

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My manager reviewed the org chart along with the budget. “I need to cut the budget. Which resources can we cut?” “Well, I don’t think we can cut software licenses,” I was reviewing my copy of the budget. “I don’t understand this overhead item here,” I pointed to a particular line item. “No,” he said. “I’m talking about people. Which ...

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Hiring Trap: I’ll Wait for the Best Person

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A senior product manager had a great interview the other day. “I know the industry. I worked on the first generation of their product. I know their customers. I could do this job. I understand their problems. I showed them how I’d solved their problems in the past. I can do this again. “It’s a little junior for me, but ...

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How Pairing & Swarming Work & Why They Will Improve Your Products

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If you’ve been paying attention to agile at all, you’ve heard these terms: pairing and swarming. But what do they mean? What’s the difference? When you pair, two people work together to finish a piece of work. Traditionally, two developers paired. The “driver” wrote the piece of work. The other person, the “navigator,” observed the work, providing review, as the ...

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Do You Encourage People to Bring You Problems?

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One of the familiar tensions in management is how you encourage or discourage people from bringing you problems. One of my clients had a favorite saying, “Don’t bring me problems. Bring me solutions.” I could see the problems that saying caused in the organization. He prevented people from bringing him problems until the problems were enormous. He didn’t realize that ...

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