Johanna Rothman

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Agile 74

Why “Build or Buy?” Is the Wrong Question for Analytics

Every time an application team gets caught up in the “build vs buy” debate, it stalls projects and delays time to revenue. There is a third option. Partnering with an analytics development platform gives you the freedom to customize a solution without the risks and long-term costs of building your own. Learn when and why it makes sense to build, buy, or take a combined approach to embedded BI.

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.

Take Advantage of Project Advances

Johanna Rothman

Project advances might be rare. However, you can take advantage of seeing the conditions to create your advance. I’m at the Agile 2018 conference this week. Yesterday, I was scheduled to deliver my Agile and Lean Roadmapping talk at 10:45 am. However, the room was full 15 minutes in advance.

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 73

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.

Agile 68

New Study: 2018 State of Embedded Analytics Report

Why do some embedded analytics projects succeed while others fail? We surveyed 500+ application teams embedding analytics to find out which analytics features actually move the needle. Read the 6th annual State of Embedded Analytics Report to discover new best practices.

Accelerating Your Agile Journey Podcast

Johanna Rothman

I had the chance to talk with Andy Kaufman on his podcast, Accelerating Your Agile Journey, PPP 2017. We’ve had the chance to speak informally and more formally on his podcast. This time, we had a wide-ranging discussion.

Agile 58

Planning: Risk Management to Manage Uncertainty

Johanna Rothman

Many organizations plan to create certainty, guarantees of some variety. What if we thought about agile planning as a way to manage uncertainty?

Updated Distributed Agile Teams Book Available

Johanna Rothman

You might remember I’m working on a book with Mark Kilby. It’s From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver. We just published a new version of the book. We rearranged the entire book.

Books 53

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.

Agile 81

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.

The Product Cloud: An Integrated Toolchain Transforming Product Management

Explore how this integrated tool chain will transform modern product management. Authored by leaders in each category, this eBook offers definitive insight and advice on the key workflows integral to the success of modern product teams.

Podcast about the Business of Writing and Consulting

Johanna Rothman

Consultants and writers share a common problem: we are business owners. That means we manage our businesses. Yes, I manage my own product development and my business. The great Joanna Penn interviewed me and the podcast is now live: Strategy And Business Plans For Authors With Johanna Rothman.

Estimation Article Posted: When to Estimate and When Not to Estimate

Johanna Rothman

Do estimates make you slightly crazed? Maybe you want to roll your eyes at the organization’s confusion between your estimate (guess) and a commitment. You’re not alone. I wrote an article about estimation, How to give IT project estimates—and when not to estimate at all. If you’ve ever struggled with estimating work, give it a read. You might also want to read Predicting the Unpredictable: Pragmatic Approaches to Estimating Cost or Schedule.

The Manager’s Role in an Agile Transformation

Johanna Rothman

Agile transformations are tough. That’s because wherever you start, the agile transformation creates culture clashes. Often, teams start with agile approaches. Teams discover the agile approach and practices that work for that team.

Agile 69

Agile Transformation: Possible Organizational Measurements, Part 4

Johanna Rothman

“What should I measure???” ” is one of the questions I see when I work with people going through an agile transformation. Too often, managers measure people as individuals. Traditional measurements focus on resource efficiency instead of flow efficiency.)

Agile 77

How to Package and Price Embedded Analytics

Just by embedding analytics, application owners can charge 24% more for their product. How much value could you add? This framework explains how application enhancements can extend your product offerings.

Apply “How Little” Thinking to Agile Management Control

Johanna Rothman

Most managers I meet want to do a good job. They want to provide the vision for the people doing the work. They want to provide coaching if people need it. They want to know that people can deliver the outcomes the organization needs and the managers want.

Agile 64

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.

Agile 78

Looking for Stories of Success with Follow-the-Sun

Johanna Rothman

Mark Kilby and I are almost done with the chapter on geographically dispersed teams with no (or very few) hours of overlap in our book about distributed agile teams. We are looking for any example of a team—agile or not—who successfully used/is using Follow the Sun.

Agile Transformation When Failure Is “Not” an Option

Johanna Rothman

One of my clients has many reasons for wanting an agile transformation. Their old products are at the end of their lives. They need agile approaches so they can get feedback from customers as they develop the new products. They need to deliver to their customers more often.

Agile 68

The State of Product Leadership

Insights from 300 Technology Product Management Executives and Managers.

Agile Transformation: Introduction & Answering Why (Part1)

Johanna Rothman

Introduction to an Agile Transformation series… I’ve seen several agile transformation challenges. Since I want to address those challenges, this is a series of posts about agile transformation. The problems I’m planning to address are: Understanding why agile, why now.

Agile 72

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 75

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 71

Understanding Distance for a Geographically Distributed Team

Johanna Rothman

As Mark Kilby and I work through the images and text for the geographically distributed teams book, I wanted to clarify what collocated and distributed mean. Collocated teams sit near each other in space. However, not everyone agrees on what is “near.” ” Allen Curve.

The Data-driven Product Manager's Handbook

Using insight and guidance to deliver exceptional product experiences.

Agile Transformation: More Possible Organizational Measurements, Part 5

Johanna Rothman

I’ve been thinking more about possible measurements in an agile transformation journey. The first Possible Measurements post focuses on product throughput measurements. This post will focus on measurements you might see when the culture changes with an agile transformation.

Agile 68

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.

Knowing When You Release Value

Johanna Rothman

Sometimes, teams have trouble releasing their work, showing the value of the work they’ve completed. There are many possible reasons for this release problem: The team doesn’t have sufficient working agreements about what “done” means.

Agile Approaches Require Management Cultural Change

Johanna Rothman

Ron Jeffries, Matt Barcomb, and several other people wrote an interesting thread about prescriptive and non-prescriptive approaches to team-based agile. The issues are nuanced and for me , don’t lend themselves to a Twitter discussion. Learning how to write short and coherently is a different post.). If you don’t want to read the entire thread, here is a summary: People often need help with their agile approach. Some people start with Scrum in its entirety.

Agile 76

Iterate Your Way to a Top Analytics Product Experience

Speaker: Richard Cheng, Associate Product Manager, Mark43

Mark43 is on a mission to bring public safety data management into the 21st century. To fix traditionally paper-heavy and error-prone processes, they needed a secure and easy-to-use product experience that simplified and unified crime data collection and management. Tune in to this webinar to hear how Mark43 Product Manager Richard Cheng went about researching, prototyping, and iterating to deliver analytics and business intelligence tools to police departments, emergency call centers, and other public safety agencies, bringing Mark43 users a positive and effective product experience. Haarthi Sadasivam, Technical Product Marketing Manager at Looker will join the conversation on best practices.

Resisting Change or Resisting a Pushed Solution

Johanna Rothman

I spoke with an aspiring coach earlier this week. He asked me if people I ever coached were “resistant.” ” I don’t label people as “resistant.” ” If I need to label them, I think about this term, “People with data I should hear.” ” I like to think about what people resist, especially people in technical organizations. We are in the business of changing how other people work and live with our technology. Do we resist change?

Please Help A Pair Select a Title for a Geographically Distributed Agile Teams Book

Johanna Rothman

I’ve been a part of geographically distributed teams since the mid-80s. I’ve taught and written about agile distributed teams for several years. Now, I’m pair-writing a geographically distributed agile teams book with Mark Kilby. We’ve tweeted a little.

Books 63

Minimums Article Posted

Johanna Rothman

We, as people who create products, often have big, audacious ideas. That’s great. The problem is this: How can you make minimum, bite-size stories that the team can deliver on a frequent basis? You might need these minimums: A minimum marketable feature. A minimum viable product.

Agile Transformation: Practice Change, Part 2

Johanna Rothman

Agile culture is about the ability to change. You need to know why you want to change, but once you know that, agile cultures promote change.). We (as agile teams and organizations) deliver something to get some feedback and learning.

Agile 66

Products for Product People: Best Practices in Analytics

Speaker: Andrew Wynn, Senior Product Manager, Looker

Who builds products for the product people? As a product manager, you know how helpful custom tailored data solutions can be to doing your job well. But proper data analytics solutions take work to deliver - it's not as simple as just building a dashboard. Learn product analytics best practices from Andrew Wynn, Product Manager at Looker. He will give the "meta" perspective from a practitioner who is building products that anybody, including product managers, can use to access, analyze, and act on data to make important decisions.