Johanna Rothman

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.”

Questions to Ask Before Estimating an Agile Program Posted

Johanna Rothman

My most recent article on is 3 Questions to Ask Before Estimating an Agile Program. In both Create Your Successful Agile Project and Agile and Lean Program Management , I talk about the reality of estimates in most settings.

Agile 26

When Teams Don’t Finish Work in a Sprint: 3 Tips to Seeing and Finishing Work

Johanna Rothman

Sprints, by definition, are a timebox. You’re supposed to say, “Pencils down!” ” at the end of the sprint, show your work and reflect. One of the big problems with new-to-agile teams is their inability to finish work inside a sprint. Each team is unique.

Alternatives for Agile and Lean Roadmapping: Part 2, Rolling Wave Planning Inside One Quarter

Johanna Rothman

In Part 1 , I wrote about thinking in feature sets and how to quickly create a feature set of—with any luck—smaller features. That’s because features don’t arrive at the same rate and they change in value, during a quarter.

Selling Data and Decisions to your Team

Speaker: Cait Porte, SVP Product and Customer Experience, Zmags

Gathering support for a product feature or enhancement is a critical skill for Product Managers. Talking to customers, working with key stakeholders in the business and convincing development that a feature is necessary can be a daunting task. Join Product Management expert Cait Porte as she covers how to sell your ideas internally by leveraging data to drive decision making.

Three Ways to Think About Value

Johanna Rothman

I was on vacation last week, thinking about value. Depending on my role, I might think of value as: Delivery of a feature or story, assuming it’s the right level of quality and when I want it. Information about the story.

Demo 14

Organizations Are Not Families, Part 1

Johanna Rothman

I read Joe Berkowitz’s story in Fast Company, John Oliver Was Right: It’s Time To Confront The Dustin Hoffmans In Your Life. There’s a link to a video excerpt in which Hoffman discusses the idea that the people felt like a family. Mr. Berkowitz says this: There is no template for how to be a good man in the #MeToo era. I disagree. There is a template. My father called it being “professional.”

Discussing Teamwork and Measures on Agile for Humans

Johanna Rothman

Ryan Ripley interviewed me on his podcast, Agile for Humans 83 about Create Your Successful Agile Project. We had a blast. I didn’t stint on my opinions or on my experience with agile teams.

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.

Agile Metrics for Team and Product Progress

Speaker: Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant, Rothman Consulting Group

You’ve seen team metrics like velocity. Velocity is not an accurate measure of a team's progress towards "done." So what should you use instead? Join Johanna as she discusses the measures that are actually useful in understanding what your team does, where the work is, and how long the work really takes - and in addition, we’ll examine what it takes to explain the team’s progress to others in terms of the product backlog burnup chart, ways to talk about what’s done and not yet released, and how to show others working product.

Alternatives for Agile and Lean Roadmapping: Part 5, the Product Value Team

Johanna Rothman

If you need to plan more often than once a quarter, how do you know how to replan? Instead of incurring the time and cost when you bring everyone together, consider the Product Value Team. (In In past writing and presentations, I’ve called this the Product Owner Value Team.

Pairing Improves Writing

Johanna Rothman

I’m writing a geographically distributed agile team book with Mark Kilby. We have a 30-minute timebox each morning to write. (We We take time off for holidays, vacations, travel, etc.). Because we’re writing together, we first had to understand what we wanted to write in this book.

Agile Practice Guide Interview with Mike Griffiths

Johanna Rothman

Last year, I was part of a geographically distributed team who wrote the Agile Practice Guide. Shane Hastie interviewed us during Agile 2017. His interview (which was a ton of fun!) is here: Johanna Rothman and Mike Griffiths on the Agile Alliance/PMI Agile Practice Guide.

Alternatives for Agile and Lean Roadmapping: Part 1, Think in Feature Sets

Johanna Rothman

Many teams and organizations try to create one-quarter roadmaps. Here are the problems I see: Teams spend a ton of time estimating what they might do and then they select what will fit into a quarter. They feel or are asked to commit to all that work.

Alternatives for Agile and Lean Roadmapping: Part 6, Managers Want Commitments

Johanna Rothman

You’ve started thinking in feature sets. Maybe you’ve experimented with rolling wave plans inside one quarter , so you can change and replan as you need to support your project or program. You’ve discussed flow-based roadmapping as a way to create MVPs and MVEs, release smaller value more often so you can make better decisions.

Demo 15

Connecting Analytics to Strategy - Keeping Your Corporate Objective In Sight

Speaker: Tom Evans, Senior Principal Consultant and Trainer, 280 Group

Data analytics has transformed the way many product managers approach product enhancements, creating strong demand for product managers with skills and expertise in defining and analyzing product metrics to make more valuable product decisions. But there is one essential element that is often left out of the conversation, and that is strategy. How does my product decisions support the overall strategy of the business, and am I tracking the right metrics based upon that strategy?

Creating an Environment of Teamwork

Johanna Rothman

A colleague asked my opinion on the various teambuilding activities she was considering for a new-to-agile team, to help them get to know each other and work together. All the activities she considered were simulations of various kinds. I suggested she reconsider the simulations and focus on the work to help people learn to work together. I’m not against teambuilding. However, I wonder if we overdo simulations, especially in new-to-agile teams where people don’t have the context.

Announcing Create Your Successful Agile Project

Johanna Rothman

I have a new book in beta, Create Your Successful Agile Project: Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver. The in beta part means that it is in copyediting, and then onto layout and print. It’s a process.). I’m so excited about this book.

Books 12

Investment Thinking vs. Cost Thinking

Johanna Rothman

I have a new column up on, 3 Questions to Ask Before Estimating an Agile Program. Often, management wants an estimate for the program. I suggest that before a program manager ask the teams to estimate, she learn the answers to these questions from management: How much would you like to invest in time, money, or learning before we stop? Are you ready to watch the program grow as we build it so you can stop us when you don’t want to invest anymore?

Build Respect in Organizations, Not Families, Part 2

Johanna Rothman

I wrote about treating each other with respect in Organizations Are Not Families, Part 1. In these respect posts, I’ll address possible ways we can treat each other with respect. These are not the only ways. You might have better ideas than I do. Please do comment if you’ve seen alternatives that work better. I started to write before I realized I was echoing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Do check that out if you are not familiar with the hierarchy of needs.

Mixing Qualitative & Quantitative Data with Storyboarding

Speaker: Tristan Kromer, Lean Agile Coach, Kromatic

Qualitative vs. Quantitative is a silly argument. Qualitative data from UXers should not compete against the quantitative data product owners need for their business model. Both are necessary to have a complete understanding of where the desirability of the product meets the viability of the business.

Measure Your Cost per Feature

Johanna Rothman

As Mark Kilby and I work on the geographically distributed teams book, I realized this morning that we need to define cost per feature. I already wrote Wage Cost and Project Labor Cost and the management myth that it’s cheaper to hire people where the wages are less expensive. (It It might be, but it might not be.) That’s because of the cost to create a fully developed and tested feature.

Respect and Romance in Organizations, Part 5

Johanna Rothman

It took me a couple of days reviewing these posts to realize I’d missed one of the biggest problems in organizations especially when it comes to human interactions: romance. When I was single, I did date people who were my peers in my organizations. I still see office-romance occur with a fair amount of frequency. When the two people in question are peers, it’s often easier to manage a couple or a breakup, for the people and the management.

Build Respect in Organizations, Not Families, Part 4

Johanna Rothman

I started this series positing that respect is the cornerstone for how we might treat each other, to manage our interactions with success, especially in light of the #MeToo conversation. The series so far is: Organizations Are Not Families, Part 1. Why the metaphor of family-as-org demeans the people working there. Build Respect in Organizations, Not Families, Part 2 , had some ideas for building respect in terms of physical and psychological safety.

Families vs Organizations and Organizational Culture, Part 6

Johanna Rothman

I’m (finally!) circling back around to Joe Berkowitz’s statement : There is no template for how to be a good man in the #MeToo era. I said that respect provided that template. And, we can say “good people” instead of only men because abuse of power is not limited to men. See Power, Management, and Harassment: It’s a Cultural Problem.). Here’s the kicker: The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.

Creating the "Right" Product Roadmap With Data

Speaker: Sunil Parekh, Head of Product Management, SimplyInsured

Data can be qualitative or quantitative, and comes from multiple sources: customer interviews, product usage & funnel analytics, company financial performance, and internal stakeholders. How do you use that data to create a product roadmap that is aligned with your organization’s business needs?

Build Respect in Organizations, Not Families, Part 3

Johanna Rothman

I started this series positing that respect is the cornerstone for how we might treat each other, to manage our interactions with success, especially in light of the #MeToo conversation. The series so far is: Organizations Are Not Families, Part 1. Why the metaphor of family-as-org demeans the people working there. Build Respect in Organizations, Not Families, Part 2 , had some ideas for building respect in terms of physical and psychological safety.

Alternatives for Agile and Lean Roadmapping: Part 4, Resilience, Prediction, & Feedback

Johanna Rothman

One of my clients was trying—valiantly—to make their quarterly planning sessions work. They prepared, getting the big hotel room. They had plenty of supplies. The planning even went well. However, within two weeks, their plan had no relation to reality.

Creating Agile HR, Part 8: Summary

Johanna Rothman

Let me circle back around to what HR does, as in Part 1 : Administration and Benefits. Compensation and rewards. Education and training. Recruitment. Hiring. Of these, it makes sense to change the compensation and rewards approach, recruitment and hiring if the organization wants to create an agile culture. It’s possible to create a more agile approach to education and training.

Announcing Influential Agile Leader, 2.0, June 7-8, 2018

Johanna Rothman

Gil Broza and I are thrilled to announce the updated version of our flagship workshop, the Influential Agile Leader. We’re leading the workshop in the Boston area, June 7-8, 2018.

Using a Non-Revenue North Star Metric

Speaker: Ashley Carroll, Partner, Social Capital

In this session, we’ll look beyond revenue as the primary metric in product analytics. What other metrics are applicable as your north-star, and how do you establish reliable data sources? By taking an experimental approach to your KPIs, you’ll establish more useful analytics that reduce churn in the long term.

Listen to the Agile Uprising Podcast with Me

Johanna Rothman

I had a great time recording with two of the guys from the Agile Uprising Podcast. See Create Your Successful Agile Project with Johanna Rothman. We discussed the book. I had an opportunity to rant and rave about many things: agile project managers (no, the term is not an oxymoron).

Writing Workshops Registration Open

Johanna Rothman

I have finally finished recording the videos for my writing workshops. Writing Non-Fiction Workshop 1: Enhance Your Business and Reputation (Q1 session starts Jan 2018). Writing Non-Fiction Workshop 2: Secrets of Successful Non-Fiction Writers (Q1 Session starts Jan 2018).

Prags Have a 40% Off Thanksgiving Sale

Johanna Rothman

The Pragmatic Bookshelf is having its annual Black Friday sale, starting Nov 22, and running through Dec 1. All ebooks are 40% off. Yes, all of mine and everyone else’s. Including Create Your Successful Agile Project ! Use the code turkeysale2017 to get the discount.

Shift-M Podcast Posted About Hiring

Johanna Rothman

Yegor Bugayenko asked me to be a guest on his podcast to talk about Hiring Geeks That Fit. I gladly accepted and the podcast is now up: Shift-M/10. We spoke about many issues in hiring: Laundry list/shopping list problem in job descriptions.

Guest on Tom Cagley’s SPaMCast 468

Johanna Rothman

Tom Cagley interviewed me for his Software Process and Measurement Cast (podcast) a couple of weeks ago and the podcast is live. See SPaMCAST 468 – Johanna Rothman, Create Your Successful Agile Project. We had a blast. I ranted and raved (as I am wont to do) and had a great time discussing some of the chapters in the book. If you don’t listen to Tom Cagley’s podcast on a regular basis, do consider it. He’s a curious guy and he asks terrific questions.

Alternatives for Agile and Lean Roadmapping: Part 7, Summary

Johanna Rothman

Let me summarize what I’ve been talking about in these posts. The problem I’m seeing is that too many teams and organizations plan too much in too much detail too soon. Instead of architectural BDUF (Big Design Up Front), it’s project planning as BDUF. They expect one single person (a product manager or a product owner) to do all that planning. That’s a legacy of waterfall thinking.

The Ladder of Evidence: Get More Value From Your Customer Interviews and Product Experiments

Product Talk

One of the best signs of an effective product team is a regular cadence of customer interviews and product experiments. But it’s not enough to simply check the box on these activities; we need to make sure that we do them effectively.

When 2 Become 1: The Roles of Product Manager and Product Owner

bpma ProductHub

By Jennifer Gridley – As we approach Valentine’s Day, some may be enjoying The Spice Girls’ 1996 hit for its romantic message. But since this is the BPMA, we’re thinking about the oft-merged roles of Product Manager (PM) and Product Owner (PO). And we’re not alone.

10 Tips for Creating an Agile Product Roadmap

Roman Pichler

1 Focus on Goals and Benefits.