Home » Author Archives: Johanna Rothman

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.

Making Release Frictionless, a Business Decision, Part 2

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In Part 1, I talked about small stories/chunks of work, checking in all the time so you could build often and see progress. That assumes you know what done means. Project “done” means release criteria. Here are some stories about how I started using release criteria. Back in the 70s, I worked in a small development group. We had 5 or 6 ...

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Product Owners and Learning, Part 5

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When I think of POs and the team, I think of learning in several loops: The PO learns when the team finishes small features or creates a prototype so the PO can see what the team is thinking/delivering. The team learns more about its process and what the PO wants. If the Product Manager sees the demo, the Product Manager ...

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Product Owners and Learning, Part 4

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Part 1 was about how the PO needs to see the big picture and develop the ranked backlog. Part 2 was about the learning that arises from small stories. Part 3 was about ranking. In this part, I’ll discuss the product owner value team and how to make time to do “everything,” and especially how to change stories. Let’s imagine you started ...

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Product Owners and Learning, Part 3

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Part 1 was about how the PO needs to see the big picture and develop the ranked backlog. Part 2 was about the learning that arises from small stories. This part is about ranking. If you specify deliverables in your big picture and small picture roadmaps, you have already done a gross form of ranking. You have already made the big ...

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Product Owners and Learning, Part 2

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In Part 1, I talked about the way POs think about the big picture and the ranked backlog. The way to get from the big picture to the ranked backlog is via deliverables in the form of small (user) stories. See the wikipedia page about user stories. Notice that they are a promise for a conversation. I talked about feature sets ...

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The Case for and Against Estimates, Part 5

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If you’ve been following the conversation, I discussed in Part 1 how I like agile roadmaps and gross estimation and/or targets for projects and programs. In Part 2, I discussed when estimates might not be useful. In Part 3, I discussed how estimates can be useful. In Part 4, I discussed #noestimates.  Let me summarize my thinking and what I ...

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The Case for and Against Estimates, Part 4

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When we think about the discussion about estimates and #noestimates, I have one big question: Where do you want to spend your time? In projects, we need to decide where to spend our time. In agile and lean projects, we limit the work in progress. We prefer to spend our time delivering, not estimating. That’s because we want to be ...

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The Case for and Against Estimates, Part 2

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In the first part of this series, I said I liked order-of-magnitude estimates. I also like targets in lieu of estimates. I’ll say more about how estimates can be useful in part 3. In this part, I’ll discuss when I don’t like estimates. I find estimates not useful under these conditions: When the people estimating are not the people doing the ...

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The Case for and Against Estimates, Part 3

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In Part 1, I discussed order-of-magnitude estimates and targets. In part 2, I said how estimates can be misused. In this part, I’ll discuss when estimation is useful. Here are several possibilities: How big is this problem that we are trying to solve? Where are the risks in this problem? Is there something we can do to manage the risk ...

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