Home » Author Archives: Johanna Rothman (page 4)

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.

Are You Running from Problems or Solving Them?

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Back when I was a manager inside organizations, I had many days that looked like this: Meetings at 9am, 10am, 11am. Working meeting through lunch (noon-1pm) Meetings at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. I finally got a chance to check my email at 4pm. That’s when I discovered the world had blown up earlier in the day! (This is before cell phones. ...

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Estimation and the Sunk Cost Fallacy

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I’m not a fan of using schedule or cost estimate as a way to value the projects in your project portfolio. If you do, you are likely to miss the potentially transformative projects or programs. In Manage Your Project Portfolio, I have an entire chapter devoted to ways to evaluate your project portfolio: business value points (not story points), waste, ...

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Design Your Agile Project, Part 4

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If you are thinking of agile as part of a program, each team has to have its own approach to agile. Why? Because each team has its own risks and problems. You don’t need to standardize agile for anyone. If you treat people as if they are adults and explain the principles that you want (working software all the time ...

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Design Your Agile Project, Part 3

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What do you do  for geographically distributed teams, if you want to move to agile? First question: does the team want to move to agile? Or, does the management want to move to agile? I am serious. I might take the same actions, but for different different reasons. In either case, the team needs to learn about what agile and ...

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Who Solves Which Problems?

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Many years ago, I was part of a task force to “standardize” project management at an organization. I suggested we gather some data to see what kinds of projects the client had. They had short projects, where it was clear what they had to do: 1-3 week projects where 2-4 people could run with the requirements and finish them. They ...

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Design Your Agile Project, Part 2

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The point of using agile is to get finish something valuable-to-the-business quickly, to get feedback. Why? For several reasons, but the first one is so you can change the project’s priorities. The second is so you can change the project portfolio. The third is to get feedback on what you’ve done. Okay, you can exchange one, two, and three if ...

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Design Your Agile Project, Part 1

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The more I see teams transition to agile, the more I am convinced that each team is unique. Each project is unique. Each organizational context is unique. Why would you take an off-the-shelf solution that does not fit your context? (I wrote Manage It! because I believe in a context-driven approach to project management in general.) One of the nice ...

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Cost of Delay Due to Other Teams’ Delay, Part 5

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Imagine you have a large program, where you have several teams contributing to the success of one business deliverable. You are all trying to achieve a specific date for release. One team is having trouble. Maybe this is their first missed deliverable. Maybe it’s their second. Maybe they have had trouble meeting their deliverables all along—they have “delivered,” but the ...

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Cost of Delay Due to Technical Debt, Part 4

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Cost of delay part 1 was about not shipping on time. Cost of delay part 2 was due to multitasking. Cost of delay part 3 was due to indecision. This part is the cost of delay due to technical debt. One of the big problems in backlog management is ranking technical debt stories. It’s even more of a problem when ...

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