Johanna Rothman

“Agile Coaching” Is Not the Goal

Johanna Rothman

I've met a number of agile coaches recently. They tell me they're hired as Scrum coaches or as Scrum Masters. They see their job as “better Scrum.” ” It would be lovely if that was their one and only job.

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Help Managers Visualize Their Problems

Johanna Rothman

I've been working with several managers at organizations large and small, who want to capitalize their software “earlier.” ” These managers have some strongly-held beliefs about the people: People are resources. Resources can multitask on several projects at a time.

How I Make My Decisions to Speak at Conferences

Johanna Rothman

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash. Consultants who make money speak at conferences. I love to speak. Give me a microphone—I am a happy person. I keep having to turn down speaking requests, both domestic and overseas. I would love to go, to learn and to meet people.

Successful Geographically Distributed Agile Teams Book Milestone

Johanna Rothman

I’ve been pair-writing a book with Mark Kilby , From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver. We hit a big milestone today: We published the first complete draft today. We’ve been working on this book for a year.

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Embedded BI and Analytics: Best Practices to Monetize Your Data

Speaker: Azmat Tanauli, Senior Director of Product Strategy at Birst

By creating innovative analytics products and expanding into new markets, more and more companies are discovering new potential revenue streams. Join Azmat Tanauli, Senior Director of Product Strategy at Birst, as he walks you through how data that you're likely already collecting can be transformed into revenue!

Reflecting on Agile Thinking with Roy Osherove

Johanna Rothman

Years ago, Roy Osherove interviewed me about project management, agile thinking, hiring, and management. We had a great conversation. See Roy's Archived Interviews page for my interviews with him.) I just listened to some of the questions and answers. If you are not sure about effective management, listen to the interviews. After a nudge from one of my recruiter friends/colleagues (Recruiting Animal, @animal ), Roy and I recorded another interview.

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Feedback and Feedforward for Continuous Improvement Posted

Johanna Rothman

I’m a monthly contributor to the Gurock blog. This month’s article is Feedback & Feedforward for Continuous Improvement : Using Double-Loop Learning Challenges Our Assumptions. Single-loop learning is when you “Plan the work and work the plan.”

Management Signals

Johanna Rothman

I’m catching up on my podcasts and just listened to Seth Godin’s Akimbo episode about honest signals. (Do Do listen.) It’s about the signals we send that are honest or dishonest and why we might choose one, the other, or both.

Why Managers Believe Multitasking Works: Long Decision Wait Times

Johanna Rothman

When I teach any sort of product/project/portfolio management, I ask, “Who believes multitasking works?” ” Always, at least several managers raise their hands. They believe multitasking works because they multitask all the time.

How Little Can You Do (& Still be Effective)

Johanna Rothman

Back in Manage It!, I suggested that for requirements, the questions should be, “How little can we do?” ” and still have a great product. My argument was this: the longer the project (regardless of approach), the more risk there is. Can you reduce risk by reducing the requirements? That would allow you to release earlier with less risk. Not to release a bad product. No, to release a smaller product.

Nine companies share 30+ best practices for creating embedded analytics products

In this 4-part series, product and technology leaders share insights for successfully going to market with a data product. Find out how you can embed analytics in your solution, from building your business case to designing and launching your product.

Customers, Internal Delivery, and Trust

Johanna Rothman

Your customers can't take your product more often than once or twice a year. Because the product doesn't need to leave the building, the teams don't release internally. Nor do the teams demo on a regular basis. The teams miss the feedback loops so critical for an agile approach. Their agile transformation falls apart. Rethink Your Definition of Customer. What if we expanded our thinking of “customer”?

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Designing an Organization for a Product Approach, Part 2

Johanna Rothman

In Part 1 , I suggested that when we organize by function, the recognition and rewards might prevent a successful agile transformation. In this part, I’ll discuss an option for a product-oriented organization. Consider a Product-Oriented Organization.

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Writing Advice for Conference Proposals

Johanna Rothman

I'm a shepherd for the XP2019 and Agile2019 conferences. I read the proposals, offer feedback, and then shepherd the papers through to completion once we accept the proposals. I love reading experiences. I'm a total sucker for them.

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Project Work vs Product Work

Johanna Rothman

We hear a lot these days about project-based organizations vs. product-based organizations. Much of what we do in software is in service of products. Products tend to evolve over time. When we work on projects, we learn from the experience.

Top 10 industries for monetizing data: Is yours one of them?

Find out which industries, use cases, and business applications are the best opportunities for data monetization. Understand what data is being monetized, who wants it, and why. Use data you already own to create new revenue sources. Download the eBook today!

Divide and Conquer Creates Need for Management Control

Johanna Rothman

Several recent clients want help with these problems: Estimation isn't accurate. Because the estimation isn't accurate, management can't predict when they can release anything. Managers can't manage the capitalization (a way to move from expensing software to capitalizing it).

Balance Innovation, Commitment, & Feedback Loops: Part 3: Low Innovation Products

Johanna Rothman

What if you don't need to experiment to reduce risks? You may have technical risks in terms of getting it “all” done. Especially for a given release date. In that case, you have a low need for product innovation. Your planning feedback loops can be longer. I've seen this occur in some of these circumstances: A port from one platform to another. We know what we have to do. The technical risks are not in the knowing, but in how things work or will work on the new platform.

Starting a Product Organization Transformation, Part 6

Johanna Rothman

I’ve been thinking about my clients who’ve had success moving from a project-based/resource-efficiency organization to a product-based/flow efficiency organization. They had these things in common: A senior person made it safe for the managers to create experiments.

Balance Innovation, Commitment, & Feedback Loops: Part 1: High Innovation Products

Johanna Rothman

Many of my clients are trying to use short feedback loops in agile approaches. That desire bumps up against their management's desires for longer commitments. This continuum might help them think through their needs for commitment and innovation. High Need for Product Innovation and Change. The more need for product innovation and change, the shorter the feedback loops need to be.

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Add Value with a Dashboard Refresh: What You Need to Know

Speaker: Miles Robinson, Agile and Management Consultant, Motivational Speaker

Dashboards and analytics can really set your application apart, but that doesn't mean you can implement them and forget about them. Are they adding value to your product? Do your users benefit from them anymore? What should be improved, and what do we have the resources to improve? Join Miles Robinson, former UX and Design Manager, as he explains the different ways to refresh your dashboards - and how to determine what's the best path to product dashboard success. You'll leave with an understanding of how to figure out the best next steps specifically for you and your application.

Possible Organization Changes for a Product Approach, Part 5

Johanna Rothman

How do we move from a project-based organization towards a product organization? There are at least two systems of work we need to change: The management system and the culture of management. How the teams work and their team culture. I’m not sure it’s that simple to explain.

Individual Contributor vs. Team Member

Johanna Rothman

Many people draw distinctions between people who do management-kind of work and people who do “individual contributor” kind of work. I’ve been asking if they mean individual work or team member work. Sometimes, they do mean individual work. More often, they mean team member.

Visualize Work to Reduce Agile Meetings

Johanna Rothman

Many new-to-agile teams use some form of iteration-based agile approach. Often, in the form of Scrum. Back in Time You Spend in Agile Meetings (near the bottom of the post), I enumerated all the possible meetings.

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Possible Changes for a Product Approach, Part 4

Johanna Rothman

How could we organize if we want flow efficiency? We would reward managers by their span of service instead of control, part 3 , stop organizing by function, and move to something that looks like a product-based organization?

The Complete Predictive Analytics Lifecycle for Application Teams

Speaker: Sriram Parthasarathy, Senior Director of Predictive Analytics, Logi Analytics

Applications with predictive analytics are able to deliver massive value to end users. But what steps should product managers take to add predictive analytics to their applications? In this webinar, we’ll walk through an end-to-end lifecycle of embedding predictive analytics inside an application. Find out how a real-world application decided what predictive questions to ask, sourced the right data, organized resources, built models, deployed predictive analytics in production, and monitored model performance over time.

Objectives & Accountability vs Responsibility & Autonomy, Part 2

Johanna Rothman

I explained about objectives and the differences between MBOs and OKRs in Part 1. I’m tackling the issues of “accountability” in this part. Examine Accountability. What does accountability mean to you? I’m serious about that question.

Visualize Your Constraints

Johanna Rothman

As I work with people to use agile approaches, I see many organizational constraints. Organizational constraints: Culture, Product/Portfolio, Project. I’ve been trying to find a visualization for what I see. I don’t know if I’ve got it yet, but here is my sum-of-the-parts image.

Balance Innovation, Commitment, & Feedback Loops: Summary

Johanna Rothman

Is it possible to balance the product innovation and feedback we need, with the commitment our management wants? Maybe. I tried to how my thinking for these questions in this series: When does it make sense to ask for or offer estimation and commitments? When does it make sense to ask for more feedback instead? How about when it does make sense to create small or larger estimates for the product? Let's start with the need for very fast product feedback.

Balance Innovation, Commitment, & Feedback Loops: Part 2: Moderate Innovation Products

Johanna Rothman

What if you can plan for a few weeks or even a month-plus at a time? You don't need the extremely short feedback cycles (hours to a day) because you're not doing high innovation. You don't need to change what the team does every few days. You can estimate and commit to maybe a month's work at a time. On the other hand, you need to change your work more often than a two or three month period. That much estimation seems like a waste. And, the commitment part? You laugh at that.

5 Product Traps - And Better Paths

Speaker: Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant, Rothman Consulting Group

Is your agile team overloaded with feature requests, with no time for discovery? Do your roadmaps read like impossible wish lists? Well, you’re not alone. It may seem impossible now, but what if we said that with a few changes, you could be meeting deadlines with the ability to predict progress with accuracy, be happy with your progress against the roadmap, and be making time for near-continuous discovery? Johanna Rothman has seen this all too often across many different organizations. She will take us through five common traps that agile product teams fall into – and likely you are in several of those traps right now. And good news - she has ways to avoid them!

Manage Your Intellectual Property

Johanna Rothman

When we manage product development for organizations, we work for hire. The company hires you, pays you a wage, and in return, your intellectual property belongs to them. When you’re creating a product larger than one person can create, this is an excellent proposition. While “one person” may have had the original idea, we need many people to refine the idea and bring that product to market. Books and consulting are all different beasts. You can write a book by yourself.

When OKRs Become MBOs and Accountability, Part 1

Johanna Rothman

I have personal and professional goals. Sometimes, I state them as objectives: complete this book, learn that thing. Those are personal objectives. My personal objectives look like MBOs, Management By Objectives.

Agile Transformation is a Journey, Part 6

Johanna Rothman

Part of what makes an agile transformation difficult is the cultural change required. That’s what makes an agile transformation a journey. A client said to me, “I want the agile. The agile is good stuff: faster delivery of smaller stuff that we can get revenue for. I want it now.

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Frequent Releasing Can Lead to Short and Frequent Planning

Johanna Rothman

Agile approaches can help a team release more often. When a team releases more often, the product people can replan the product roadmaps. The project portfolio people can replan the project portfolio. Not every team releases often enough to take advantage of replanning small and often.

Demo 75

5 Key Considerations for Top-Notch Product Dashboards

Speaker: Miles Robinson, Agile and Management Consultant, Motivational Speaker

So you want to set your product apart with the latest analytics, but you’re not sure where to start. How do you know what your customers want? And how can you make sure that you’re solving their problems? And wait a second, is it even feasible for your team to take this on right now? Join Miles Robinson, Agile and Management Consultant, as he covers five key considerations for you to keep in mind when you’re updating your software or app to offer the latest in embedded dashboards. You’ll leave with a better understanding of where to begin on creating actionable, insightful dashboards.

Shorter Feedback Loops Help Us Learn Faster

Johanna Rothman

I’m working on my roadmapping talk for Agile 2018. I finally had the transforming idea about how to position the talk: Roadmapping and product planning are about feedback loops. The shorter the feedback loop, the faster and more often we can learn.

Time You Spend in Agile Meetings

Johanna Rothman

Whenever I teach agile approaches, I discuss the possible meetings a team might choose. Some people turn to me in dismay. They start adding up all the meeting time and say, “That’s a lot of meetings.” ” Could be. Especially if you use iterations.

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Leaders Manage Uncertainty

Johanna Rothman

One of the problems I see in projects and organizations is when people wish for certainty. Too many agile project managers and Scrum Masters want a known velocity. They don’t realize that velocity is a relative capacity measurement , not a guarantee.

Defining the Manager’s Role for a Product Approach, Part 3

Johanna Rothman

This series is about how you might move to a product-based organization. Part 1 was about how when we organize by function, the recognition and rewards might prevent a successful agile transformation. Part 2 was about one possibility for moving to a product-based organization. Before we get to who moves where, we need to consider the manager roles. Moving to a product-based organization means we change the way we view and reward managers. Measure Managers Differently.

What Users Want: How and Why to Build Knowledge into Your Product

Speaker: Nils Davis, Principal, NPD Associates

Usage data allows PMs, the product team, and the whole organization to make better decisions. Good usage intelligence gives you the ability to be smarter, more active, more decisive, nimbler, and to minimize risk. But what if you don't have that data - such as before you have users? Or, what if the right decision seems to fly in the face of the data you have? Or, what if your product offers more than just the standard features? To get deeper into these questions, Nils Davis asks, "What is the most interesting thing about Instagram?" (Because who doesn't like a product that Facebook paid $1 billion for when it had fewer than 50 employees and no revenue?) Nils will use the example of Instagram’s Filters to talk about how putting prebuilt knowledge in your product can change the way your product is used for the better - putting you in the company of most market-leading products. Finally, he’ll tie it all together by explaining how the way you interpret and use usage data can impact the way your tell your product’s story, and ultimately, how your users use your product.