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.

The Case for and Against Estimates, Part 4

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

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

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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The Case for and Against Estimates, Part 1

After the article I referenced in Moving to Agile Contracts was published, there was a little kerfuffle on Twitter. Some people realized I was talking about the value of estimates and #noestimates. Some folks thought I was advocating never estimating anything. Let me clarify my position. I like order-of-magnitude estimates. I don’t hire people without either a not-to-exceed or an ...

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When is Agile Wrong for You?

People often ask me, “When is agile  right or not right for a project?” I’ve said before that if the team wants to go agile, that’s great. If the team doesn’t, don’t use agile. That answer is insufficient. In addition to the team, we need management to not create a bad environment for agile. You might not have a great ...

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Velocity is Not Acceleration

I see a lot of confusion around velocity in new-to-agile teams. Too many people treat velocity as an acceleration measurement. That is, they expect velocity to increase to some large number, as a stable state. Velocity is a rate of change coupled with direction. When managers think they can measure a team with velocity, they confuse velocity with acceleration. As I enter ...

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Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 5: How Flow Changes Everything

The discussion to now: Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 1: Seeing Your System Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 2: Effect on People Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 3: Managing Performance Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 4: Defining Accountability When you move from resource efficiency (experts and handoffs from expert to expert) to flow efficiency (team works ...

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Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 4: Defining Accountability

This is the next in a series of posts about resource efficiency vs. flow efficiency: Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 1: Seeing Your System Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 2: Effect on People Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 3: Managing Performance Managers new to agile often ask, “How do I know people will be accountable?” Let’s tease ...

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Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 3: Managing Performance

Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 1: Seeing Your System explains resource efficiency and flow efficiency. Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 2: Effect on People explains why flow efficiency helps you get features done faster. Here, in part 3, I’ll address the performance management question. New-to-agile (and some experienced) managers ask, “How can I manage performance? How will I ...

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Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 2: Effect on People

If you haven’t read Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency, Part 1: Seeing the System,  I explain there about optimizing for a given person’s work vs. optimizing for features. Some people (including managers) new to agile have questions about working in flow vs. optimizing for a person. The managers ask: How do I know the work won’t take longer if we ...

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