Home » Author Archives: Johanna Rothman (page 5)

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.

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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Cost of Delay Due to Indecision, Part 3

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In Part 1, we discussed the cost of delay of not shipping on time. In Part 2, we discussed the cost of delay of multitasking. In this part, we’ll discuss a cost of delay due to management indecision. Here’s a problem I encounter often. A middle manager calls me, and asks for an estimation workshop. I ask about the environment. ...

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Cost of Delay Due to Multitasking, Part 2

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In Cost of Delay: Not Shipping on Time, Part 1, I introduced you to the notion of cost of delay. I said you could reduce the cost of delay by managing your projects: have shorter projects, using release criteria, or selecting a lifecycle that manages the risk. Sometimes, you don’t have short projects, so projects get backed up, and your ...

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If Managers Don’t Give Performance Reviews, What Happens?

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There’s a great comment to my recent Management Myth: Performance Reviews Are Useful. The writer has these questions, which I have paraphrased: 1. How do bonuses work? Here’s the problem with bonuses in a team-based organization (agile or not). How can you tell who has done which work? Who actually knows who has contributed what? The team does. This is ...

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Performance Reviews Are Not Useful; Feedback Is

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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 finish my projects. “Oh, you mean on the project I just finished last week?” I wanted to know if it was just that one. I thought ...

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Do You Value Management?

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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 and got promoted into management positions. Because they are so intelligent, and because they do not read about management, they don’t know or don’t care about management. That leads them to ...

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Give Credit Generously

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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 at which parts of testing or development or project management. It was great. She didn’t just tell us. Nope, our boss told her bosses. That’s ...

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How Many People Can You Manage as a Manager?

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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 too many mistakes. It was great practice for me. Later in my management career, I managed a “team” of 15 testers. They were not a team. They ...

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Why Do We Estimate, Anyway?

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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 larger the effort, the more we need to estimate. And, the more your estimate will be wrong. The more we estimate, the more we have schedule games. The smaller your effort, ...

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