Johanna Rothman

When is “Agile Scaling” the Answer?

Johanna Rothman

At the Influential Agile Leader workshop earlier this year, I led a session about scaling and how you might think about it. I introduced the topic and explained that “scaling” might not be the answer.

Agile 80

Product Planning, Information Persistence, & Product Lifetime

Johanna Rothman

I've been thinking a lot about planning recently. Many of my clients want to create long-term plans, based on data with short validity, even for products in a high state of change.

Product Roles, Part 1: Product Managers, Product Owners, Business Analysts

Johanna Rothman

We have many words for people who shepherd the business value of a product. The many words aren't a problem, as long as we can all agree on what these various people are and they take responsibility for.

Announcement: Make the Most of Your One-on-Ones Workshop

Johanna Rothman

If you wondered why I've been so quiet here on the blog, it's because I've been managing my own product development. This announcement is that Esther Derby and I have teamed up to offer online workshops based on Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management.

Why Conversational AI Is Key to Customer Service in the Customer Experience Era

In today’s hyper-competitive market, every business must become a customer experience-first business. Customer satisfaction has become more important than price or any individual feature. Read the new Tractica white paper to learn how important conversational AI is to your CX strategy.

Product Roles, Part 6: Shorten Feedback Loops

Johanna Rothman

I started this series discussing the issue of the various product-based roles in an agile organization. I suggested a product value team because one person becomes a bottleneck. One person is unlikely to shepherd the strategy and the tactics for a product.

Product Roles, Part 5: Component Teams to Create Slices

Johanna Rothman

As I've written these product role posts, a number of you have asked about how to use component teams. You might have a security team. Maybe a performance team. Regardless of my desire, you have component teams. You want a more agile approach to manage the interdependencies among the teams.

Tactical Ideas for Agile Budgeting, Part 1

Johanna Rothman

Too often, organizations want to budget for an entire year. The managers run around for two or three months in advance of that fiscal year, attempting to predict a ton of things: Estimates for not-well-defined projects or features, Capital equipment or tool needs, “Headcount” aka, people needed. Then, the organization doesn't finalize the budget until after the year starts.

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Technical Debt, Loans & Costs

Johanna Rothman

I listened to The Ultimate Metric: Identifying the Right Problems to Solve. The guest, Janelle Klein, said: Technical debt is not a loan. I thought that was brilliant. She went on to explain that when we talk about “debt” managers think they have dials to manage the debt. Uh oh. Wrong. When managers think in cost accounting terms, such as mortgages, they think they can: Predict the cost of maintaining that debt, in both money and time. (Do Do nothing to pay off or manage that debt.).

Strategy Behind More Agile Budgeting, Part 2

Johanna Rothman

I suggested ways to think about more agile budgeting in part 1. I didn't tell you why. How do you budget your own money and time? If you're like me, you have a plan for the year. I evaluate the plan—my products, services, and clients—on a regular basis. I always evaluate monthly.

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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!

“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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Product Roles, Part 4: Product Orientation and the Role of Projects

Johanna Rothman

Many people in the agile community promote a product orientation over a project orientation. That's possible because an organization has product or feature teams. That works until you have more products than teams. That's when you might still need projects to accomplish everything.

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 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.

4 Steps to Developing Your Customer Care Strategy

The quality of a customer care strategy can make or break a company, but simply resolving a customer service issue or complaint is no longer enough. Learn the 4 steps that address the major points you need to consider when building a customer care roadmap.

Product Roles, Part 3: Product or Feature Teams vs Project Teams

Johanna Rothman

An agile approach requires a cross-functional team. That means that everyone on the team focuses on the same intent. That intent might be an entire product. It might be a feature set as part of a larger program. But, the team focuses as a team.

Agile Milestone Criteria for Projects and Programs

Johanna Rothman

You've got interdependencies across the organization for a given project or program to release a product. You can see demos. That's not the problem. You need enough insight or prediction to start the marketing campaign or to create training videos or product documentation.

Agile 69

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.”

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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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. Download the eBook now, and find out how you can embed analytics in your solution, from building your business case to designing and launching your product.

Seeing the Close-to-the-Customer Conundrum

Johanna Rothman

Too-typical “telephone” game. Especially when we use agile approaches, we want to be close to our customer. If you've ever had a chance to sit with a customer, you've learned how effectively (and fast!) the team and the customer learn from each other.

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.

Product Roles, Part 8: Summary: Collaborate at All Levels for the Product

Johanna Rothman

Too many teams have overloaded Product Owners. The teams and PO have trouble connecting the organization's strategy to what the teams deliver. The teams, PO, management, all think they need big planning. Too often, the POs don't do small-enough replanning. They're not living the principles of the agile manifesto. That insufficient collaboration means the PO doesn't always connect the strategy to the tactics. Or, the PO can't decide on changes at the tactical level or the strategic level.

Designing an Organization for a Product Approach, Part 1

Johanna Rothman

If you’re thinking about an agile transformation, you already know about feature teams. You might even call them/use them as product teams. You might wonder about organizing all the work as product work. See Your Current Organization. Many organizations use functions to organize people.

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!

Product Roles, Part 2: The Product Value Team

Johanna Rothman

In an ideal agile world, the team would work directly with a customer. When you have a small product that serves maybe three types of customer (new, expert, admin for example), and that customer is down the figurative hall, you might not need any product people.

Cost vs Value Measurements for Agile Approaches

Johanna Rothman

Some of my clients have struggled with their project governance as they move to agile approaches. In the past, they've asked for estimates and costs—by requirement—and then tracked the variance for those estimates and costs. The governance people do not record assumptions. They only record estimates and actuals. They want to “measure” the project success by adherence to estimates of date and costs, not by when the project creates which kind of value.

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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.

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.

Plan for Product Launch Success with Data and Analytics

Speaker: Piyanka Jain, President and CEO, Aryng

When you launch new feature (or an entirely new product), there are many questions that you'll need to answer. Is the feature being adopted? Do your customers like it, or does it need to be improved? Was the launch successful? Well, that all depends on how you define success. Join Piyanka Jain, President and CEO of Aryng, as she explains why - and how - you should use data and analytics to define and track a successful launch.

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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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.

Agile Transformation Secrets Series Posted

Johanna Rothman

I just finished a series for my Pragmatic Manager newsletter about Agile Transformation Secrets: Part 1: Manage for Change. Part 2: Emphasize Collaboration. Part 3: Principles Over Practices. I wrote this series because I find that many people get a little confused about an agile transformation. They think an agile approach will work because they can predict and commit better. They don't realize encouraging change is a better approach. They think an agile approach will help with full utilization.

Agile 59

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.

Agile 63

The Magic of Intent: Start Knowing The Goals of Your Users

Speaker: Terhi Hanninen, Senior Product Manager, Zalando, and Dr. Franziska Roth, Senior User Researcher, Zalando

It's important to know your users - what are their preferences, pain points, ultimate goals? With user research and usage data, you can get a great idea of how your users act. The tricky part is, very few users reliably act the same way every time they use your product. Join Terhi Hanninen, Senior Product Manager, and Dr. Franziska Roth, Senior User Researcher at Zalando, as they explain how they were able to reach a new level of user understanding - by taking their user research and segmenting their users by point-in-time intent. You'll leave with a strategy to change how your product team, and organization at large, understands your users.

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).