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.

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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What is the Future of Work?

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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 to do:               Make all of the work visible Keep everyone focused on one project at a time Keep all ...

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Trust, Agile Program Management, & Being Effective

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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 for predicting cost or schedule for a program. That led to several comments re SAFe for programs or other frameworks or lifecycles for programs. Everything Starts With Trust ...

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Telecommuting, Hoteling, and Managing Product Development

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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: You Owe the Company a Full Day of Work I’ve been thinking since Marissa Meyer’s announcement what I would say about the end of telecommuting at Yahoo!. ...

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