Johanna Rothman

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.

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.

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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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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?

Facebook Causes Continue to Show Little Promise as Fundraising Tools

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.

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.

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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.

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. You're not supposed to achieve all the objectives each quarter. They're big audacious goals. However, I've stopped recommending OKRs to most of my clients.

Backchannel Discussions Might Create Serendipity

Johanna Rothman

When Mark Kilby and I wrote From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams , we suggested teams add a text backchannel. Even when the backchannel is asynchronous, the information in it increases the value of all the team's communication. The backchannel helps everyone see all the information.

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.

Radical Remote Tip: No Standups

Johanna Rothman

I've worked with several managers and team leaders over the past few weeks as everyone is suddenly remote. Every single person in a leadership position struggles with (agile) team transparency. These leaders think the team members work alone. (I I think they're correct.)

Collection of My Rapidly Remote and Managing in Uncertainty Writing

Johanna Rothman

I wrote a number of posts and newsletters over the past few weeks to help you see alternatives in this age of uncertainty. I hope you use these ideas to generate other ideas or ask more questions and create more experiments.

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.).

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.

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.

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.

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?” ” I said, “Managers might spend as little as a quarter and as much as a year or two. During that time, they kept asking the teams for forecasts of projects. So, much longer than T2-T5.”

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Team Improvement: Management Desires vs Team Reality

Johanna Rothman

Several years ago, a client, Alex, asked me, “What's wrong with this team? They don't want to learn anything.” ” I was surprised. I asked him for more information. “Well, when I ask them to use TDD, they don't want to even learn about it.

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.

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!

Beware of Scams for Writing and Otherwise

Johanna Rothman

While a pandemic might bring out the best and the worst of us, scams persist. I received an email this morning from a so-called “self-publishing” company. They are quite happy to help me get my book to traditional publishers.

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.

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

Hear Me Speak About an Agile Mindset Elise Stevens’ Podcast

Johanna Rothman

I had a blast talking about the agile mindset with Elise Stevens. See Podcast #179: Future-Proof Your Career – Johanna Rothman – Embracing the agile mindset. We discussed a variety of agile topics: What an agile mindset is. Why “agile” is more than sprints. How we can use attraction to change. And more. I hope you listen. The link again: Podcast #179: Future-Proof Your Career – Johanna Rothman – Embracing the agile mindset.

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The Product Manager's Guide to Retention

This book walks through multiple aspects of retention, including why it’s so important, how to best measure it, and how to set goals for the different stages of retention. It also provides strategies for improving retention across the customer journey.

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 ?” ” Emphasis on done. And, while managers might not remember the assumptions you offered with your estimate, they remember that date. I find that maddening.

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. Use formal acceptance criteria on a story or for the iteration or the project. That means you have work that's in progress—not done. You always “finish” at the end of the iteration. And the work that's not done?

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Create & Manage the Project’s Bounds, Part 2 (Constraints and Floats)

Johanna Rothman

In Part 1 , I wrote about the origins of drivers, constraints, and floats. I needed them when we only could release the project once to the customers. You saw the questions that help people choose the project driver. What about the constraints and floats?

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Want Business Agility? Use These Seven Innovation Principles

Johanna Rothman

I'm rewriting/reorganizing the Lead an Innovative Organization book. I realized I have 7 innovation principles: Clarify the organization's purpose. . Manage for effectiveness. Seek outcomes, not outputs. Flow efficiency at all levels. Encourage small-world networks of relationships.

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4 Approaches to Data Analytics for Your Application

Selecting the right solution for your embedded analytics is crucial to the success of your application. But with so many solutions and vendors, how do you make this critical selection? Learn about the different approaches to analytics and the pros and cons for each.

Rework Online Training Part 6: My Guidelines

Johanna Rothman

I'm pretty sure that online training isn't going to go away even when some people return to the office. I have already evolved my workshops to several possibilities of “training”: Short-form webinar (20-60 minutes of me delivering content, minimum interaction). Longer-form offering where people (typically) learn at their own pace. Self-study with some feedback from me. Longer, interactive workshop over days or weeks. There might be other forms.

Create & Manage the Project’s Bounds, Part 1

Johanna Rothman

Do you know your project's bounds? Do you know what your sponsors want from your project? For many years, I heard about the “iron triangle.” ” Sometimes, the triangle was “Scope, Quality, Cost.” ” Sometimes, it was “Scope, Date, Cost.”

Five Tips for Managers of Newly Dispersed Teams

Johanna Rothman

Are you a manager accustomed to Management by Walking Around and Listening (MBWAL) ? You can use MBWAL with collocated teams. MBWAL doesn't work for distributed or dispersed teams. Remember, working remote is Not Business as Usual. And won't be for a while.). And, you might still have this question: “If no one's in the office, how will I know what they're doing?” ” You might be surprised—you didn't know what they did when you were all in the office.

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Insubordination vs Caring About the System

Johanna Rothman

Do I advocate insubordination? Some of my Modern Management Made Easy technical reviewers wonder. And, when I looked at this definition of insubordination , I had to agree. However, when I read that definition, I don't see any mutual problem-solving. I also don't see any mutual purpose or respect.

Design Thinking for Product Teams: Leverage Human Insight Throughout Development

Product teams must increase their exposure hours with customers—seeing and hearing them. Human insights and the design thinking framework can be applied to your development cycle to help you build better products and experiences for your customers.

Checklists for Hiring Remote People

Johanna Rothman

As we move to more remote work, especially in these pandemic times, how do we integrate people so they can succeed? See Hiring Geeks That Fit for all the new employee checklists and how to use them. Want to preview the checklists and templates? Download the HiringGeeksThatFitTemplates for yourself.). I updated the checklists with a middle column, contrasting the actions for remote employees. The Candidate Accepted the Offer. Yes, the hiring manager has work to do before the new employee starts.

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. If remote topics interest you, join Mark Kilby, Jeff Payne, and me on a Coveros webinar about From Chaos to Successful Distributed Teams on Thursday, Aug 5, 2020. Hope you join us. The post Remote Management by Walking Around Pragmatic Manager Posted appeared first on Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant.

Where I Think “Agile” is Headed, Part 1: Do You Need an Agile Approach?

Johanna Rothman

I spoke at Agile 2019 last week. I had both a great time and a heart-rending realization. The great time was meeting and reconnecting with people. The heart-rending realization is our industry is in big, big trouble. Here are my thoughts and where I think the “agile” industry is headed. Problems I See with “Agile” Here's a summary of problems I saw last week: Too many people think “agile” will solve all their problems.

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Five Meeting Tips for Newly-Remote Teams

Johanna Rothman

You probably went from the office to remote so fast, you're still recovering from the whiplash of working from home. I found the biggest change when I started to work remotely was how meetings changed. I've learned these tips over the years. You might find them helpful. Tip 1: Start With Cameras On. When we meet in a conference room, we can see each other. We can see and hear the cues from each person. Nothing surprises us—we can see people roll their eyes or turn red from frustration.

The Heap Book of Questions for Product Managers

In this book, Heap provides a great number of questions, hypotheses, and experiments for you to run in your product. It walks through product use cases, behavioral segmentation, conversion, and more.