BONUS: Modern Management trilogy by Johanna Rothman

In this episode, we talk with Johanna about some key insights and tips from her latest book series: Modern Management.

In this episode, we talk about the latest books from Johanna Rothman, which she collectively called “Modern Management” trilogy. 

The trilogy comprises three parts: a) Practical Ways To Manage Yourself, b) Practical Ways to Serve and Lead (Manage) Others, c) Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.

We start this episode, by talking about one critical transition for Scrum Masters: from expert to coach. When we start our Scrum Master journey, the focus of our work changes from delivery to helping others succeed with delivery. In that transition, we need to learn to manage ourselves and our work differently. Johanna shares insights from her book “Practical Ways to Manage Yourself”, which includes many stories and tips that Scrum Masters can take advantage of. 

How to overcome the “I’ll do it, I’ll be faster” Anti-Pattern 

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SUPER SPECIAL: LIVE Q&A on #Remote work with Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby

Many of us are going #Remote because of the #covid19 situation world-wide. In this very special episode we cover tips, tricks and techniques on how Scrum Masters can help their teams go #Remote to thrive, not just survive.

In this episode, we mention a treasure trove of resources to help you in your adaptation to #Remote work. You can find those below

Resources for going #Remote and Distributed Agile teams

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Facilitating #Remote Retrospectives for recently distributed teams

At the time I write this blog post, there’s the #covid19 epidemic going on. What this means in practice is that many of you will have changed recently to work with a #Remote team, so we are putting together a set of resources for all of our listeners jumping, head first, into working with #Remote teams.
In this post, I’m putting together a few ideas and lessons learned on remote retrospectives, and how to get started in your #Remote work journey.

How to facilitate remote #Retrospeectives

We have an episode with Aino Corry on how to facilitate #Remote retrospectives. When it comes to facilitating a remote retrospective, Aino shares these 4 guidelines:
  1. get people to participate actively
  2. get everybody on video (if at all possible)
  3. pace them forward all the time (e.g. using strict timeboxes)
  4. use round-robin (or some other technique) to get everybody to talk
In that podcast episode, we also discuss some anti-patterns to be aware of. Listen to Aino shares her experience on hosting #Remote retrospectives.

If you are looking for a tool to facilitate #Remote retrospectives, you may be interested in checking out these tools, which all have a free plan:

Working with, and facilitating #Remote teams

Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby share their experience with #Remote teams. The research work they did is available on their recently published book, and we go into the key lessons in this Scrum Master Toolbox episode on #Remote teams.
One of the key differences to co-located teams they highlight is how distributed team members need to develop their “affiliation” to each other and form a team even when they are not meeting each other in the corridor.
Mark shares a few ideas, like setting up a #water-cooler channel in your favorite chat application. My self, I love to have coffee sessions with my colleagues. Set up a calendar invite, make everyone optional, prepare a coffee cup and chat with your colleagues. 

First things first, team agreements

Whatever you do regarding #Remote retrospectives, don’t forget that your situation has just changed. It is time to set up a working agreement for the team that takes into account the fact that you are now distributed (even if you had one before, the situation has changed).
In this blog post on the Management 3.0 website, Lisette Sutherland from Collaboration Superpowers, shares her own approach, and the benefits from a #Remote team working agreement session. The main takeaway is to divide work into 3 areas:
  • Information: What kind of information do you need when working with your team? What needs to be actively shared? What can be passively shared?
  • Communication: What kinds of communication do you need to setup now that you are #Remote?
  • Collaboration: How do you share progress information and offer/request help when needed?
Remember, the team is as much in a new situation as you are. Help them find their new way of working.
Stay healthy, #stayhome (if you can).

BONUS: Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby share tips on how to help Distributed teams succeed

When Johanna visited Agile 2017, one of the largest Agile conferences that year, she was disappointed that the main advice people were giving on stage was: “don’t do distributed”. She then met Mark and started sharing her experience on how she had been able to make distributed agile work in her consulting work.

From that disappointment and both Johanna’s and Mark’s experience, a book was born: From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver.

The most important lessons about making Distributed Agile work for your team

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BONUS: Johanna Rothman explains how you can create a successful agile project

Johanna Rothman is a prolific Agile author with at least 13 books at the time this is being written. She has worked as an Agile manager and has consulted many Agile managers all over the world. In this episode, she shares some of the hard-earned lessons from her very active career. All of that and much more is also available in her book: Create your Successful Agile Project.

We start by reviewing some of the most effective practices that Johanna discovered and developed over her career – and there’s a lot to learn, so dig in!

As an example, Johanna shared how she had little success with Agile Retrospectives until Diana Larsen and Esther Derby’s Agile Retrospectives book came out. Another example is how she discovered the importance of having ~ 1-day User Stories, a practice that I also discovered and wrote about in the NoEstimates Book.

Creating successful Agile teams with Agile Leadership

The cornerstone of successful agile projects are the teams that work on the project. So Johanna devotes a part of the book to the practices that lead to creating great teams and we review some of those in this episode. From the management approach to the setup of the team. All of those aspects combine to either create or destroy the teams we have in the project.

Next, we discuss the aspects of Agile Leadership that can lead to successful projects. Johanna has written many books on this topic alone (from hiring to portfolio management), but there’s one message she wants you to take: Scrum is not enough. Leadership can create the conditions in which Scrum cannot succeed, so we need a new kind of Leadership that Johanna describes in the book, and introduces in this episode.

Start simple, but start NOW

Some companies, teams, and leaders get overwhelmed with all the prescriptive Agile (paradox!) they are exposed to. Johanna has a simpler suggestion: start where you are. In this episode, she describes some of the things you should take into account and several small things you can start with today. So, what are you waiting for? Listen and start acting! 🙂


About Johanna Rothman

People know Johanna as the “Pragmatic Manager.” She provides frank advice—often with a little humor—for really tough problems. She helps leaders and managers do reasonable things that work.

She has written many books. At least 13 if my count is right.

She also writes articles for all kinds of places, including Better Software, IEEE Software, and Cutter IT Journal to name just three. She’s keynoted on five continents and is not sure (yet) she wants to go to Antarctica.

Johanna can help you create projects, teams, and organizations that work.

You can link with Johanna Rothman on LinkedIn and connect with Johanna Rothman on Twitter.