Author Archives: Johanna Rothman

About Johanna Rothman

www.jrothman.com

Who Decides What Done Means for a Program?

2012 Johanna Rothman When I start working with new-to-agile teams, one of the first things we do is to discuss what done means. Chances are good they have not discussed what done means before. The developers dont agree with each … Continue reading

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Should you Commit, Kill, or Transform?

2012 Johanna Rothman If youre working on more than one project at a time, or if your managers are asking you to do so, its time to make some decisions. You shouldnt start every project. You shouldnt even finish every … Continue reading

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Always Ask the Zeroth Question About Your Projects

2012 Johanna Rothman Sometimes, you wonder why you are doing this project. You spend all this time on it, you’re sure there isn’t much value from the project, and still, the project is on the top of your manager’s list. … Continue reading

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Make Your Mission Possible

Copyright 2008 Johanna Rothman, originally published in Better Software Janice strode down the hall and made a sharp right at a cubicle decorated with dragons. “Hey, Steve, got a minute? I need your help with a problem.” “Janice, the last … Continue reading

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Transitioning to Agile in the Middle of a Project

This article was previously published on stickyminds.com “My company has decided to transition to agile after the team and I started this project,” Gina complained. “I know what agile is, but I still don’t understand how I’m supposed to transition … Continue reading

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Perfect Software And Other Illusions About Testing

Jerry Weinberg’s latest book, Perfect Software And Other Illusions About Testing is now available from Dorset House Publishing . Here’s what some early reviewers had to say about the book: “Finally! A book about software testing written by someone who … Continue reading

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How Much Building Is Too Much?

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Collaborating With Other Consultants

©2004, Johanna Rothman This article was originally published in Diamond Harvard Business Review, May 2003. – I’m so busy, I barely have time to think. I don’t have enough money to hire on someone full time, but I’d like to … Continue reading

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Climbing Out of Technical Debt

© 2002 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com Have you ever had a conversation like this one? Vice President: In the last release, you were able to bring the release date by over a month by cutting the testing. Do that again, ok? … Continue reading

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Choosing Facilitation

© 2003 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com Meetings are a fact of our lives. Most of the time we don’t need a facilitator to help move our meeting along; we can manage to accomplish the goals of the meeting without a formal … Continue reading

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Getting Ahead

©2005 Johanna Rothman. This article was previously published in Computerworld, April, 2005. I was talking to a relatively young developer the other day. I asked him about his career plans. “Oh, I don’t do career planning myself. I wait until … Continue reading

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Treaties to Deal with Communication and Conflict

©2002 Gerald M. Weinberg, www.geraldmweinberg.com On a typical day, I get 100-200 email messages, and some of my clients in large projects receive even more. Though emails improve my ability to communicate clearly and quickly, they may also prove a … Continue reading

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Use All Four Parts of Project Estimation

©2004 Johanna Rothman. Project work estimation has three components: the initial first cut, commonly known as a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess), tracking the estimate against the actuals, and using the schedule to see what’s happening in your project. If … Continue reading

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Using Appreciations, Personalized Thank-You’s

©2003 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com The project retrospective was proceeding nicely. We’d had lunch, and we entered the mid-afternoon low-energy lull. I decided it was time to change gears for a few minutes, to move the energy back up a couple … Continue reading

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Watch for Falling Rocks: Unpredictable Risks

©2000 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com I was recently driving on some back roads in New Mexico, and saw the sign “Watch for Falling Rocks.” I turned to my husband, Mark, and said “Now, why do they tell us to watch for … Continue reading

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Welcoming New Hires

©2000 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com You’ve hired a candidate. She starts on Monday. What will she think at the end of her first day? Will she be in the “honeymoon” phase, or will she be disappointed with your organization? Being a … Continue reading

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What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?

©2005 Johanna Rothman If you’re like most of my clients, you have too much to do. Recently, an Engineering Director, Stephanie, explained all the things she “had” to do: monitor the projects, participate in the requirements sessions, draw up a … Continue reading

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What’s Wrong With Wednesday?

2005 Johanna Rothman Many of the project schedules I review contain milestone completions on Fridays and new task or phase beginnings on Mondays. With a Friday or Monday milestone, what you’re really saying is that people can work overtime all … Continue reading

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What to Do When Your Project Slips

©2001 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com You’re not going to meet schedule. Maybe requirements have taken longer. Perhaps in the middle of implementation, you uncover something requiring redesign. Maybe developers haven’t met one milestone yet and you’re worried about the test time. … Continue reading

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Convincing Management That Context Switching Is a Bad Idea

© 2005 Johanna Rothman (This article previously published in Better Software.) The last few times I’ve taught project management, I’ve explained that multi-project context switching wastes time. The project managers agree with me. But then they ask the question, “How … Continue reading

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Staying Sharp

©2003 Gerald M. Weinberg, www.geraldmweinberg.com I’m not the kind of person who hangs out in nightclubs. In fact, the last nightclub I can remember visiting was in Miami Beach in 1957. What I remember about it is what the stand-up … Continue reading

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So, Sue Me

©2007, Gerald M. Weinberg This morning’s news brings a story of a small manufacturer of add-on hardware suing large computer manufacturers for alleged illegal price-cutting. I was surprised. I thought the lawyers had finally learned the futility of suing hardware … Continue reading

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Schedule Chicken

2005 Johanna Rothman I perform project and process assessments as part of my consulting work. During one assessment, a senior manager took me aside, and said, “I want you to tell me what you think of our testers.” “All of … Continue reading

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Hiring Testers

©2002 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com This article originally appeared on stickyminds.com Summary: Whats the best way to wade through those thousands of resumes youve received for the new testing position? To start, you could ruthlessly weed out those who dont show … Continue reading

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How 2 Buddy

©2004 Johanna Rothman www.jrothman.com Introduction If you’ve hired new people or transferred people into your group, you know that they’re not immediately productive when they start. If you’re lucky, they start to be useful in a month, but you most … Continue reading

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How Much Work Can You Do?

Developing and Managing Your Project Portfolio (c) 2005 Johanna Rothman This article appeared previously on stickyminds.com. I meet many managers in the course of my work, and they all share a common complaint: They have too much work to do. … Continue reading

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Implement by Feature

©2007 Johanna Rothman This article was previously published in Better Software, May 2005. Brent and Deidre, both technical leads, poked their heads in Myrtle’s door. “Myrtle, we have a problem.” “OK, come on in. What’s up?” Deidre started. “Remember on … Continue reading

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Planning for Technical Management Time

©2005 Johanna Rothman I recently spoke with a manager who’d just incorporated another group of four people to his original three. “I was doing fine with my three people before I took over this group. I had time to manage, … Continue reading

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Managing the Group Meeting

©2003 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com Does your staff look forward to flu season so they don’t have to attend your group meetings? Are you looking for ways to escape your manager’s meetings? Boring group meetings tend to be a result of … Continue reading

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Managing the Interview

This article is an excerpt from Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People, (Chapter 9: Planning and Conducting the In-Person Interview, p. 182-184) by Johanna Rothman. Published by Dorset House, 2004. … Continue reading

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Multiprojecting: The Illusion of Progress

©2005 Johanna Rothman This article was originally published on Stickyminds.com Your CIO has two projects he wants finished in the next month. “We can share this project manager and that test team on both of these high-priority projects,” he declares … Continue reading

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Focus Your Project

©2003 Johanna Rothman www.jrothman.com Do you ever wonder what you’re really supposed to focus on for your project? Companies create a variety of products, and different releases of those products, for many reasons. Some product releases can tolerate glaring defects; … Continue reading

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What’s On Your Not-to-do List

©2005 Johanna Rothman This article originally appeared on stickyminds.com. I’ll bet you’re one of those people who have too much to do. (I haven’t met anyone in the past few years who didn’t have too much to do, so it’s not … Continue reading

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Estimates: Precision vs. Accuracy

©2003 Johanna Rothman www.jrothman.com Jim, a new project manager, struggled to define the projects parameters: schedule estimate, people estimate, requirements outline, and necessary capital equipment. Jim proudly walked into his managers office, and proceeded to walk through his project plan … Continue reading

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Starting With Rolling Wave Planning

©2006 Johanna Rothman Some project managers considering moving to iterative, incremental, or agile lifecycles, stumble when it comes time to move to rolling wave planning. They aren’t sure how to start it, how to continue it, or how to see … Continue reading

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Plan to Re-plan

©2003 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com Do you sometimes feel partway through a project, that you now have some key information that would have helped you plan the project’s tasks better? If so, you’re not alone. Software projects typically unfold in unforeseen … Continue reading

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