Johanna Rothman

Why Very Few (If Any) People Are “10x” Developers—Or Managers

Johanna Rothman

Steve, a software development manager, thought John was a “10x” developer. He explained that John could: Coded faster than anyone else. Write and release full applications over a weekend. “Mind-meld” with the users. No one else in Steve's group could do this.

Technical Women Are Software Managers

Johanna Rothman

One of my reviewers for the Modern Management Made Easy books asked a fascinating question: I've never seen this many women in management or in senior leadership positions. Do these stories reflect your experience? Yes, the stories reflect my experience. Let me offer a little history.

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Three Ideas to Create Safety in Remote Retrospectives

Johanna Rothman

A Scrum Master asked, “How can I engage my team during a remote retrospective? People tell me things they think we could change. Then, we get into the retro and I know people are looking at their phones, not engaged. Got ideas?” ” I do. These ideas refer to safety.

Managers Need to Work as Teams

Johanna Rothman

We hear about agile teams, in the form of product or feature teams. However, too many managers still work independently. That’s a problem when the teams have organizational problems a single manager can’t solve. Instead of managers working alone, what if we had teams of managers?

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Are Your Embedded Analytics DevOps-Friendly?

Does your analytics solution work with your current tech stack and DevOps practices? If not, any update to the analytics could increase deployment complexity and become difficult to maintain. Learn the 5 elements of a DevOps-friendly embedded analytics solution.

Conferences Speakers and “Making Room” for Other Voices

Johanna Rothman

I've spoken professionally at conferences for 25 years. I enjoy it. And, several people—all men, so far—have suggested I should “make room” for other voices. To me, that's a solution in search of a problem. I ask them what problems they want to solve.

Managers: See Your Cycle Time to Reduce Your Team’s Lead Time

Johanna Rothman

Do you have any idea how long it takes you to make decisions? Or, to clear impediments? Or to report to your team or your boss about your action items? Each of those items is a deliverable. That means we might be able to measure the cycle time for each of these deliverables.

How to Use Other People’s Words and Not Plagiarize, Part 2

Johanna Rothman

Many of us writers integrate other people's ideas. Or, we use those ideas as inspiration for our writing. Can we avoid plagiarism and still acknowledge other people's work the right way? And, if you can, get “credit” for your “thought leadership?”

Pros and Cons of OKRs

Johanna Rothman

Some organizations find OKRs help them create superior objectives and achieve some of them. OKRs are Objectives and Key Results.) The idea is that every quarter you use the company purpose to create audacious Objectives. Each objective then has 3-5 Key Results so you can measure how well you do.

Managers: Make Work Easier for Working Mothers

Johanna Rothman

Everyone feels the pressure right now. Many managers feel pressure to deliver more and better products and services. That pressure rolls downhill to the people doing the work. And, the people doing the work, especially if they're parents?

Digital Trends Report 2020

As part of our goal to continue helping our community during these times, we wanted to share with you this critical data on the state of digital products across industries and provide context on how businesses are responding to the changing winds.

Writing Workshop to Free Your Inner Writer Open for Registration

Johanna Rothman

I have finally opened my first writing workshop, Writing Workshop 1: Free Your Inner Writer again. It took me a while to figure out how to organize the workshop so everyone (including me) could succeed. I'm planning to offer the workshop once a quarter.

Why Minimize Management Decision Time

Johanna Rothman

I wrote Unearthing Your Project's Delays a couple of years ago. I told the story of Cliff, a manager who wanted to understand why the projects were so late. I gave several talks about that article. One eagle-eyed fellow asked me this question, “How long was the time from T0 to T1?”

Agile Maturity vs Ability to Change

Johanna Rothman

Several of my clients want to use some sort of maturity assessment for their agile transformations. Often, the maturity levels demand adherence to specific practices or processes. Some of those practices and processes work for my clients now. I'm not so sure about others.).

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What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 3, Incremental Lifecycles

Johanna Rothman

So far, we've discussed the lever of canceling a project at any time with the serial lifecycles in Part 1. That's assuming you replan and/or cancel. We added another lever of looking for more feedback with iterating over the requirements in the iterative lifecycles in Part 2.

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Testing at Every Stage of Development

Up to 80% of new products fail. The reality is harsh and the reasons why are endless. Perhaps the new product couldn’t oust a customer favorite. Maybe it looked great but was too hard to use. Or, despite being a superior product, the go-to-market strategy failed. There’s always a risk when building a new product, but you can hedge your bets by understanding exactly what your customers' expectations truly are at every step of the development process.

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 7, Lifecycle Summary

Johanna Rothman

What risks does your project have? Do you need feedback loops so you can: Cancel the project at any time (to manage schedule and cost risks. Assess technical risks so you can rework the architecture or design to manage feature set risks.

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What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 6, Create Your Agile Approach

Johanna Rothman

I discussed the origins of the agile approaches in Part 5. In this post, I'll discuss how you can create an agile approach that fits your context. Why should you create your own agile approach? Because your context is unique to you, your team, project, product, and culture.

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What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 2, Iterative Lifecycles

Johanna Rothman

Back in Part 1 , I wrote about how stage-gate approaches were as agile as we could use at the time. We had one delivery, so our agility was about canceling the project if we couldn't finish it.

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Management Rewards: Doing Work vs Creating an Environment

Johanna Rothman

My agile transformation clients struggle with this big question: How do we effectively reward managers? The more the organization wants or needs an agile transformation, the less the current reward structure works. How do you incent the managers? What makes sense for management compensation?

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How Embedding AI-Powered Analytics Can Give You a Competitive Advantage

Embedding dashboards and reports aren’t enough. Futureproof your application by offering instant, actionable insights that will give you and your customers a competitive advantage.

Estimates Anchor Expectations; Forecasts Include Uncertainty

Johanna Rothman

What happens when you use the word “estimate?” ” For many of my clients, “estimate”== guarantee. Which is not what those words mean. Even if you update the estimate based on data, too many managers still want to know, “When will it be done ?”

Three Ways to Stop Agile Death Marches

Johanna Rothman

Your team says they use Scrum in two-week iterations. And, in order to “finish” everything inside the timebox, you don't do any of these things: Refactor to simplify the code or the tests. Create automated tests.

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Eliminate Busy-Work to Create Engagement

Johanna Rothman

One of my colleagues, Al, private-messaged me. “I'm so much more effective now that we're remote. I get a ton more work done. I'm so much happier. I love where the product is going. How can I do more of this?” ” Al feels productive and engaged. Why does he feel this way?

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 1, Serial Lifecycles

Johanna Rothman

Are you trying to make an agile framework or approach work? Maybe you have technical or schedule risk. Maybe you've received a mandate to “go agile.” ” Maybe you'd like to experiment with better ways of working.

6 Ways to Secure (More Of) a Budget for Your Customer Education Program

Whether you’re looking to kickstart or expand your customer education program, you need access to a budget. Learn how you can demonstrate the positive ROI of customer training and make the case for securing a larger budget in our latest eBook!

What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 4, Iterative and Incremental but Not Agile Lifecycles

Johanna Rothman

Which levers does your team need to manage risk in your project? Do you need to cancel the project if you can't finish a phase? You might not have the time. You might not have the ability to do this project. That's the point of Serial lifecycles in Part 1. Maybe you need feedback from customers.

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What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 5, Origins of Agile Approaches

Johanna Rothman

The original signatories of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development wanted to solve these specific problems: How can we: Bring more adaptability to software development? Stop “ plan the work and work the plan ” thinking? Release something of value earlier? Especially since teams now had these levers, from the iterative and incremental approaches: Prototype something for fast feedback. Release something and obtain feedback.

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This Is Not and Cannot Be “Business as Usual”

Johanna Rothman

Many organizations heeded the COVID-19 warnings and sent people home to work as remote teams. The managers want to proceed as if the people can work from home and have “business as usual.” ” They've made these requests to their staff: Work at home, as if you were at the office. Keep the same hours and availability.). Don't use so much wifi bandwidth when you VPN in from home. Work alone so we don't have to manage bandwidth.).

7 Tool Tips for Your Newly Distributed or Remote Team

Johanna Rothman

Yesterday, you worked in an office with everyone else. Today, you're supposed to work from home—and so is the rest of your team. And not just for the next few days, but for the next few weeks. What tools do you need? My list of the most important tools: A good microphone and headset so you can hear people, even in somewhat noisy environments, like a home with other people. A camera so people can see you. A dedicated chat backchannel so everyone has a place to ask and answer questions.

The Connected Journey: Developing your Empathy to Strengthen Strategies for Customer Relations

Speaker: Esther Kieft, Delivery Manager (Group Technology) at Domino's Pizza Enterprises

It is well known that empathy is a key ingredient in creating lovable products, yet not all products offer the best customer experience. From meeting stringent deadlines to insufficient resources being available to carry out customer research, there is a range of reasons why customer empathy could be missing in product development. Join Esther Kieft, as she breaks down using empathy at a distance to evaluate the problems that customers are experiencing during this global health crisis.

Delegate Problems and Outcomes, Not Tasks

Johanna Rothman

I encourage managers to delegate work. When managers insert themselves into the middle of the work, these problems occur: Managers slow the team down. Managers prevent people from learning. Managers don't do their management work. That environment creates problems for everyone. Then I read Elisabeth Hendrickson's Delegation is Overrated. I realized two things: Some managers delegate tasks. The delegators don't define the outcomes they need.

Remote Management by Walking Around Pragmatic Manager Posted

Johanna Rothman

Do you subscribe to my Pragmatic Manager email newsletter? I've been writing a ton about remote work. I sent How to Manage by “Walking Around” When You’re Remote a few days ago.

We Won’t Return to Normal; We Will Discover Normal

Johanna Rothman

Many people talk about “going back to normal.” ” We aren't going to return to normal. That old normal is gone, at least for a year, if not longer. (I I suspect we will cycle between remote work and office work for the foreseeable future.). What we can do is discover a new normal. Discovery requires different skills than delivery. Discovery requires short experiments where we can learn something, maybe every day. I think about the various risks for discovery and delivery.

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What’s Your Organization’s Tolerance for Experiments?

Johanna Rothman

As I complete the Modern Management Made Easy books, I realize I need to explain how much tolerance an organization has for experiments. The more clients I have, the more I realize most organizations have a sweet spot for how much they can tolerate experiments or bets. Each person has an affinity for more or less change. And, most of us have some tolerance for experiments or bets. Most of us, in our non-work lives, flex more than our organizations do.

Product Analytics Playbook: Mastering Retention

Why do your users churn? In this guide you'll learn common product pitfalls and how to fix them.

Optimize for Respectful Remote Meetings

Johanna Rothman

I've had the pleasure—and displeasure—of many remote meetings over the past few weeks. The difficult meetings had a common root cause: the meeting leaders attempted to do a direct transfer of how they lead an in-person meeting to remote/WFH meetings. When that occurs, they miss the ability to optimize on our separation by choosing how to treat people and by how we create a meeting environment. When we optimize for respect, we often have better meetings. (I

Three Tips for Managing Your Newly-Remote Day

Johanna Rothman

You're “working” from home. The kids are home, and you're supposed to lead their schooling. Your spouse is home. And, you're not supposed to go anywhere. Yeah, COVID-19 reality stinks. You CANNOT work the same way you did before. Expecting people to “ just ” pick up where they left off? Unreasonable expectations. Here's what you can do: Tip 1: Frame the Days as Experiments.

Hear Me on Techie Leadership Podcast

Johanna Rothman

I had the chance to be on Andrei Crudu's Techie Leadership podcast. He asks questions about successes and failures as a leader. When we're on podcasts, it's tempting for us to tell stories about other people. I do have plenty of stories about leaders in my consulting experience. And, I thought I should share some of my most memorable successes and failures. I'm not perfect. You've figured this out by now!) And, I like to show what I've learned.

What Writers Can Do About Intended Plagiarism, Part 3

Johanna Rothman

Part 1 was mostly about unintentional plagiarism. Part 2 was about copyright and when to reference other people's work. Now, you're pretty sure someone has used your words. You're not talking about someone scraping your blog for your posts. You really mean Person A has stolen your words and passed those words off as Person A's words. It depends on the form that they chose to use your words. Let's start with presentations. Someone Plagiarizes Your Solo Presentation.

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6 Steps to Improving Your Application’s Analytics Experience

No one designs bad dashboards and reports on purpose. So why do so many applications have terrible analytics experiences? Download this ebook for secrets to creating dashboards and reports your users will love.