Johanna Rothman

Announcement: Conference Proposal Book is Available

Johanna Rothman

I'm delighted to announce I published the Conference Proposal book! I collated all the conference proposal posts into a book. And, I added more content only available in the book. The book is through copyediting. You can buy it on Leanpub now in all electronic forms.

Books 73

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.”

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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.

Geographically Distributed Agile Teams Webinar Dec 17, 2019

Johanna Rothman

I'm stoked to do a webinar with Tom Henrickson, 8 Principles for Successful Distributed Agile Teams. My slides are all ready. And, I bet Tom will ask me a question that sets me off on a rant. If you want to listen to me rant in real time, please join us.

API Analytics: The Ultimate Guide to Grow Your Platform Business

API product and platform owners have their own unique challenges. Learn how to leverage data to convert, understand, and support your customers better.

Measure Cycle Time, Not Velocity

Johanna Rothman

I'm not a fan of measuring velocity. Velocity is a point-in-time measure of capacity. That means that when things change for the team or in the code, the velocity often changes. See Velocity is Not Acceleration.). Instead, I like to measure cycle time.

Component Teams Create Coupling in Products and Organizations

Johanna Rothman

Many of my clients feel stuck with their component teams. They feel they must implement across the architecture, not through it. That's because the people are organized in component teams. As the organization grows, so does the number of component teams.

The Creation Experience Does Not Mirror a User’s Product Experience

Johanna Rothman

I wrote about how I felt about milestones after achieving a significant milestone last week ( How Do You Feel When You Achieve a Significant Milestone? ) I specifically wrote about my feelings.

Create Feedback Loops (Agile Approaches) for Hardware Products

Johanna Rothman

In Costs of an Agile Approach for Hardware Products , I suggested that an iteration-based approach for hardware was too expensive. I focused on the actual development costs. Let me talk a little about the team and alternatives here. What Does a Hardware Team Look Like?

Agile 57

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.

Vision 104

More Effective Agile Leadership

Speaker: Steve McConnell, CEO, Construx Software

In this talk, Steve McConnell, CEO of Construx Software, distills hundreds of companies’-worth of real-world experience into the proven Agile leadership practices that work best. Steve will seamlessly thread together traditional approaches, early Agile approaches, modern Agile approaches, and the principles and context that underlie them all—creating an invaluable resource for Agile leaders, their teams, and their organizations.

Want to Work With Me to Start Your Consulting Practice?

Johanna Rothman

I'm conducting a Hudson Bay Start for a new offering: Advise, Influence, and Serve Clients for Mutual Profit: (Re)Start Your Consulting Practice. What do I mean? Several people have asked me for help in creating or sustaining their consulting practices.

Project Portfolio Problems Masquerade as Project Problems

Johanna Rothman

A potential client called me. “What's a good tool to see the state of my projects? I need a tool.” ” I asked, “What problems do you see?” ” “Everything is late. No one's synchronized. I can't tell where the projects are.” ” “How many projects do you have in progress?” ” “At least 100.” ” (I was pretty sure I now understood the problem.) “How many people do you have working on the projects?”

Agile Approaches Can’t Save Impossible Projects: Fixed Cost, Scope, Date

Johanna Rothman

You've got an impossible project. You have no flexibility. The project is a fixed-price, fixed-scope, fixed-date project. And, you have a specific team to do the work. There are other impossible projects. Such as when you have a collection of people who multitask among several projects.).

Agile 77

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.

Agile 85

Win the Digital Transformation Game with the Product Mindset

Speaker: David DeWolf, Founder and CEO, 3Pillar Global

No matter what your idea is, no matter how good it is, and no matter how well you know your market, 3 out of 4 digital initiatives do not succeed. To better understand how to win, we should first understand why we’re failing. In this webinar, David DeWolf will share his experiences and lessons learned to help you succeed in playing the “product” game, instead of the “IT” game.

What Decision Will You Make Based on This Data?

Johanna Rothman

Does your team have to keep two sets of “books”? You have an agile roadmap to see where you're headed. You have a smallish backlog of the near/upcoming work. You're delivering on a frequent basis.

Demo 82

Create a Conference Proposal the Conference Wants and Accepts, Part 1: Frame the Proposal

Johanna Rothman

You want to present a talk, workshop, experience report at a conference. (Or, Or, a lightning talk, Pecha Kucha, or more.) You have something important to share. How can you create a proposal that the program committee will accept? I'm writing this series to explain how to do just that. The series parts are: Understand who and what purpose the proposal serves. Understand the four parts of the proposal: title, abstract, description, and learning objectives.

Agile Project Manager, Scrum Master, or Product Owner?

Johanna Rothman

I spoke with a project manager recently. She told me her story. I used to facilitate project teams as a project manager. Why a project manager? Because the project had a beginning and an end. We had (and still have) too many products to keep the same teams on them for a long time.

Agile 60

Say No to Mandatory Fun

Johanna Rothman

I keep encountering managers and consultants who want to make work “fun” for people. As a goal, “fun” is a bunch of hooey. Before I was a consultant, I held various Director-level positions at local companies. Each organization had mandatory fun days. In one organization, we played softball. Yes, everyone—especially the managers—had to play softball as part of a team. The management team expected me to play softball even though I was six months pregnant.

BI Buyers Guide: Embedding Analytics in Your Software

The business intelligence market has exploded. And as the number of vendors grows, it gets harder to make sense of it all. Learn how to decide what features you need and get an evaluation framework for every technical and non-technical requirement you could imagine.

Consider Product Options with Minimum Outcomes

Johanna Rothman

Do you have trouble fitting “all” of the necessary work into an iteration? Your managers might want to push you to do more. Or, the product owner thinks you can do more. Or, the team wants to do more (see Beating a Team's Goal.). Agile approaches are not about doing more.

Create a Conference Proposal the Conference Wants and Accepts, Part 5: Write Your Bio

Johanna Rothman

Your bio establishes your expertise, authority, and credibility in your field. If your conference proposal has a speaking experience field, use that field to explain your expertise, authority, and credibility. I like to think of the bio and speaking experience fields as ways to connect with and invite the right people to your session: These fields help the program committee realize you know what you're talking about.

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 84

Create a Conference Proposal the Conference Wants and Accepts, Part 3: Write the Abstract

Johanna Rothman

You decided who your session is for: the people with the problems. You've got the outcomes. Now, it's time to write the abstract. Conference proposals always have a short abstract. Some conferences, such as the Agile 20xx conferences, also have “Information for the Program Team.” ” You might think of that as the outline or more information about what you're proposing. I'll address that later. This part is about the abstract. Start Your Abstract.

Architect Your Organization for Effectiveness, Productivity, and Joy

Speaker: Ron Lichty, Consultant: Interim VP Engineering, Ron Lichty Consulting, Inc.

As a senior software leader, you likely spend more time working on the architecture of your systems than the architecture of your organization. Yet, structuring our teams and organizations is a critical factor for success. In fact, the impact of software architecture parallels the impact of organizational structure. We are excited to welcome Ron Lichty, co-author of a seminal book on managing software teams and a well-known speaker, he’ll speak to organizing for effectiveness, productivity and joy.

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.

Create a Conference Proposal the Conference Wants and Accepts, Part 4: Complete the Proposal

Johanna Rothman

You know who your audience is because you framed the proposal. You started with outcomes , and you refined those outcomes when you wrote the abstract. Now it's time to complete the rest of the proposal, excluding your bio and the title. Bios and titles are different from the rest of the proposal. Those will be separate posts.). Every conference proposal seems to be a little different. The one part every conference requests is the type of session. Define Your Session Type.

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.

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.

Books 99

The Essential Guide to Building Analytic Applications

Embedding dashboards, reports, and analytics in an existing application presents some unique opportunities—and poses unique challenges—to software teams. Download this eBook to hear 16 product experts share insights on business intelligence, UI/UX, security, and everything that goes into building a successful application with analytics at its core.

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.”

Projects, Products, and the Project Portfolio: Part 2, Assess & Rank the Work

Johanna Rothman

Part 1 was about seeing the value in the various projects. I called the value stream a product so that people would think about who would use it and why. I suggested that we stop work on specific products when you have more products than teams.

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.

Costs of an Agile Approach for Hardware Products

Johanna Rothman

I had a conversation with a hardware engineer whose organization got the mandate, “Go agile or bust!” ” They're attempting to manage their technical and schedule risk with two-week iterations. And, they're trying to show finished product , not simulations. And, even though they work independently, they're supposed to have a standup every day. None of that makes sense. What's the Cost of Change for Interim Deliveries?

Agile 46

An Adult Conversation About Estimates

Speaker: Beekey Cheung, Software Consultant, Professor Beekums, LLC

Estimates are a contentious topic in software development. Most of our development teams hate providing estimates and many managers are starting to view them as unnecessary. As senior software leaders, how can we determine whether estimates are helpful or harmful to our teams? We are excited to be joined by Beekey Cheung, a software consultant and blogger known as Professor Beekums, who has helped many leaders and teams go from fearing estimates to using them appropriately. He'll walk us through the value of estimates, how to overcome the hesitancy many have in giving them, and how to provide better estimates.

One-on-Ones: Regular and Sacrosanct

Johanna Rothman

When Esther and I wrote Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management , we didn't really think one-on-ones were a secret. But, managers weren't conducting the one-on-ones regularly. The managers canceled for other “higher priority” meetings.

“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.

Agile 92

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.

Where I Think “Agile” is Headed, Part 2: Where Does Management Fit?

Johanna Rothman

In Part 1 , I wrote about how “Agile” is not a silver bullet and is not right for every team and every product. This post is about how management fits into agile approaches. Too often, managers think “agile” is for others, specifically teams of people. Teams need to figure out how to manage their WIP, collaborate with the customer, and deliver something small every day. Team-based “agile” is not enough.

Agile 70

The Definitive Guide to Predictive Analytics

By embedding predictive analytics, you can future-proof your application and give users sophisticated insights. The Definitive Guide to Predictive Analytics has everything you need to get started, including real-world examples, steps to build your models, and solutions to common data challenges.