图灵访谈之二十四:专访Johanna Rothman

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Johanna Rothman是世界知名的管理顾问,早年曾与软件业界公认的泰斗级人物、思想家杰拉尔德•温伯格(Gerald M. Weinberg)共事,并从他那里汲取到诸多软件工程与项目管理方面的经验。她擅长高科技产品开发管理,于1994年创办了Rothman咨询公司,帮助企业改善产品研发的管理水平,最大化管理和技术人员的生产力,提升产品质量。

Johanna Rothman将自己的经验和观察写入书中,她的书实用而兼具深度,完全没有学究气。其中《项目管理修炼之道》一书曾荣获Jolt生产效率奖,并位列“软件工程最佳百书”的第67名。

近期,图灵社区有幸邀得Johanna Rothman接受访谈,以下是中英文对照版的访谈记录。

iTuring: As we know, you majored in Computer Science and then were engaged in project management. After that, you incorporated a company to do software development consulting. Would you please briefly talk about some milestones or turning points in your interesting career?

图灵社区:我们了解到,您主修了计算机科学专业,然后从事项目管理工作,后来经营公司承接软件开发咨询。在您这么有意思的职业生涯中,有哪些里程碑或转折点呢?

Johanna Rothman: I was also a tester for a while, so I have a holistic perspective. That was a turning point. I had always tracked my defects in my engineering notebook, but now I was paid to look for other people's defects. And they didn't always appreciate knowing about them! So I had to learn ways of telling developers—people whom I identified with as my peers—about their problems. That was a turning point.

Johanna Rothman:我还做过一段时间的测试,因此能拥有整体性的视角。那正是我的转折点。我一直在我的工程笔记上记录自己的缺点,而现在则可以凭藉寻找他人的缺点而获得报酬。他们有时候还不太高兴获知自己的缺点呢!因此,我需要学会如何与这些作为我的同事的开发人员交流他们的问题。这真的是个转折点。

At that same company, no one organized the testing part of the release. We had about 100, maybe 120 people working on the release. And we had no one working on the coordination of the beta test. That drove me nuts. So I started running that part of the project. No one told me to, but no one told me I couldn't. So I did. When we had our next project, I assumed I would run the beta test again. So did everyone else! That’s when I started running large-ish projects.

正是在这个公司,发布版的测试工作没有人来组织。当时有100多个,可能是120个工程师在做发布版。我们没有任何人担当beta测试的协调工作。那真是让我抓狂。因此我开始承担项目的测试部分。没人让我这样做,但也没人告诉我不能这样做啊。于是我就去做。当我们开始下一个项目的时候,我就假定自己会再次承担beta测试。其他所有人也都是这样想的!那就是我运作较大型项目的开端了。

After a couple of beta test projects, the company asked me to run the entire software release, which was a program. Then, I ran a hardware/software program. The rest is history.

经过几个beta测试项目后,公司就让我负责整个软件发布版,那是个整体方案。然后,我就开始运作硬件/软件的方案。剩下的事情你们都知道了。

iTuring: What working process do you usually take when you join a problematic development team as a consultant?

图灵社区:以咨询师的身份加入有问题的软件开发团队时,您一般会以什么样的流程来开展工作呢?

Johanna Rothman: First, I see what's actually going on. The problems might be in the team. But the problems might be in the management decisions before the project even gets to the team, or that management changes the project goals as the project proceeds. Or that the team is distributed and no one has accounted for that in the way the project is organized. So it's critical to look and see what’s going on before deciding what to do. That's my working process: observe first. Then decide what to do.

Johanna Rothman: 首先,我要了解实际的状况。可能是团队有问题;也可能在团队还没承接项目时,管理决策就有问题;还可能是在项目进行中管理层变更了目标;或者项目团队分散各地,却没有人负责项目的组织工作。因此,在决定对策之前,了解并掌握状况是至关重要的。这就是我的工作流程:首先是调研,然后再决定要做什么。

**iTuring:**You discussed the impact of “power” on your career in a previous interview. In your opinion, what are the positive and negative effects of power in project management?

图灵社区:在此前的访谈中,您提到过“权力”对职业生涯的影响。请问您是如何看待“权力”在软件项目管理中的正面和负面作用呢?

Johanna Rothman: Power is what you make of it. Power is not inherently positive or negative—it's how you use it. If you use it to stab people in the back, it's negative. But if you use it to accomplish work, to lift everyone up, it's positive.

Johanna Rothman: 所谓权力,都是人造的。权力本身无所谓正面负面——要取决于如何使用。如果权力用于暗箭伤人,那就是负面的。如果用于完成工作、用于催人奋进,那就是正面的。

I've been writing a lot about influence this year and leading influence tutorials, which always leads us to a discussion of power. In effect, other people give you power. So you have an obligation to use your power wisely. And, if you use it to create a positive work environment and release a great product, then you have used your power well.

今年,我写了很多关于影响力的文章,也带了影响力的培训,经常会讨论到权力。实质上,权力都是他人所赋予的。因此需要逼迫自己睿智地运用权力。如果能以之营造正面的工作环境,并发布优异的产品,那就是权力运用得当了。

iTuring: Looking back on your project management career, what lessons would you like to share?

图灵社区:回顾多年的项目管理生涯,请问您有哪些值得分享的教训呢?

Johanna Rothman: Don't think you can predict the future! If you really had a crystal ball, you could go to Las Vegas, or the equivalent place in China and gamble and make a lot of money. Especially in projects, things happen. Sometimes, those things are great. More often, those things are not so great. So you have to be prepared to accept what happens and replan.

Johanna Rothman:别妄图去预测未来!如果觉得自己真的能预测未来,那就去拉斯维加斯或中国的类似地方(澳门)赌上几手,赢几座金山银山吧。不过,在项目管理中,变幻才是永恒。有时候,发生的是好事;更多时候,发生的是坏事。因此,我们需要准备好接受现实、重新计划。

iTuring: Software development has been constantly advancing at the technical side in recent years. At the human side, how do you think the management of software development is evolving?

图灵社区:近年来,软件开发在技术层面上持续地进步。那么,在人的因素上,您觉得软件开发的管理层面有哪些改进呢?

Johanna Rothman: Here in the US, more managers are realizing that maintaining a sustainable pace is how you get the most out of people. I hope it's the same in China. And, a few more managers are starting to realize that multitasking prevents people from making progress. I do hope the Chinese managers are realizing that too.

Johanna Rothman:在美国,越来越多的经理人认识到,保持持续的进步是使人们产生最大效能的方式。但愿在中国也是如此。此外,还有些经理人开始意识到,多任务会阻碍人们进步。我也很希望中国的经理人能够意识到这一点。

iTuring: Listening is one of the most important skills for a project manager. Would you suggest some important listening techniques for them? And what is the most common mistake others make while listening?

图灵社区:倾听是一个项目经理非常重要的技能,请问您在倾听时都有哪些技巧、技能?人们在倾听时,最常犯的错误是什么?

**Johanna Rothman:**Talking, or getting ready to talk! I do this too, which is why I recognize it. Active listening, staying in the moment, really listening with your whole being to the other person is difficult and takes energy. Sometimes I take notes, which helps me stay in the moment.

Johanna Rothman: 诉说,或者诉说的冲动!我自己也犯这样的错误,这也是为什么我能认识到这一点。积极聆听、专注当下、全身心地聆听别人讲话是非常困难且消耗精力的。有时候我会做点笔记,这能帮助我专注当下。

iTuring: As a new project management skill, Kanban System seems quite easy to implement. Do you think so? What is the pitfall people tend to fall into while implementing it?

图灵社区:看板,作为新涌现的项目管理技能,看起来很容易实施。您认为是这样吗?使用看板时,最容易陷入的误区是什么?

Johanna Rothman: I do think Kanban is easy to implement. People sometimes have trouble limiting the amount of work in progress for each queue. The other thing I've seen is that if the team is not cross-functional, sometimes the team needs columns such as “In Development” and “Ready for Test” and “In Test”. The “Ready for Test” is a queue that might not have a WIP limit, but “In Development” and “In Test” do have WIP limits. This is good because then the board tells you right away if you have a problem where the developers are over-developing or not. I really like Kanban for pointing out the bottlenecks in a team.

Johanna Rothman:我确实认同看板是易于实施的。有时候,人们会在限制每个队列的进行中任务数量方面遇到困难。我还见到过另一个情况,如果团队不是跨职能的,那么有时候就会需要如“开发中”、“可测试”、“测试中”等列。“可测试”是可能没有WIP限制的队列,但“开发中”和“测试中”却是有WIP限制的。这样的好处是,当开发人员处于过度开发时,看板能马上让你看到问题的所在。我非常欣赏看板能指出团队瓶颈的功能。

iTuring: In your opinion, agile development isn't an excuse of working without discipline. Compared to other developing methods, it requires a more disciplined team. Could you share your experience on developing such a team?

图灵社区:您曾经指出,敏捷并非不按规范工作的借口。相对其他软件开发生命周期,敏捷需要团队遵守更多纪律。 是否能分享在培养敏捷团队的纪律方面的心得呢?

Johanna Rothman: Every time I work on an agile team, I am happily surprised at how much more we accomplish in the same amount of time. Everyone is so focused on quality. Everyone is so focused on schedule. Everyone wants to make sure we deliver what the product owner wants. When agile works, it's like a well-oiled machine. It's fun.

Johanna Rothman:每次在敏捷团队中工作时,我都很惊喜地发现,在同样的时间内,我们竟然能够多完成如此多的工作。每个人都如此专注于质量、专注于日程。每个人都希望确保我们所交付的是客户所需要的内容。当真正达到敏捷的状态时,我们就像一台运转畅顺的机器,那是有趣的体验。

That's because in agile the entire team focuses on a team definition of done. You can't get a feature to done unless the team agrees it's done and you can demo it to a product owner. And, it's a feature, not a piece of the architecture. So, you can't spend months working on infrastructure without a feature.

究其原因,在敏捷过程中,整个团队都关注团队对“完成”的定义。如果不是整个团队都认可的“完成”,并能演示给客户看,那就不算完成一个特性。那是一个完整的功能,而非整体架构的一个碎片。因此,我们不能经年累月地开发不包含任何特性的基础架构。

I've worked on several teams like this, and every time, even when we had our frustrations, we felt as if we were delivering a high quality product. We never worried about that.

我曾在几个这样的团队中工作过。每一次,即便我们遇到挫折,感觉仍像在交付高质量的产品一样。对此,我们从未担心。

iTuring: You are a co-host of PSL (Problem Solving Leadership) workshop, and we think China needs such activities too. Would you please briefly introduce the workshop, and how you organize PSL workshop?

图灵社区:您是PSL(Problem Solving Leadership,解决问题的领导力)研讨班的主办人之一,我们认为中国也很需要类似的活动。是否可以简要介绍这个活动及其组织方式?

Johanna Rothman: PSL is about how each individual human being solves problems. We, as instructors, help participants see what their default ways of problem solving are. Then we help them see alternatives. Then we practice, practice, practice! The workshop is all simulations and debriefs in teams. That way it is safe to learn. If you make a mistake, it’s not a problem.

Johanna Rothman: PSL研讨班的主旨是每个人如何解决问题。作为讲师,我们会帮助学员认清他们自身解决问题的默认方式。然后,我们会让他们了解其他方式。接着,我们不断实践,实践,再实践!整个研讨班的过程,都是以团队组织的模拟和探讨。那是一种很安全的学习方式,即便犯错也没关系。

iTuring: Have you ever worked with Chinese software development teams? What do you think of them? What advice would you like to give them?

图灵社区:您是否有跟中国的团队合作过?对中国的软件开发团队,有哪些看法和建议呢?

Johanna Rothman: I have not yet been to China, so I have not worked with Chinese software development teams. I suspect that since Chinese people are human, they are like many of the other people I have worked with! My advice is this: treat the other people as if they are human, too. Observe what is happening. Make your best educated guess about what to do, don't be afraid to replan if you see things are not working according to your plan.

Johanna Rothman:我还没到过中国,所以并没有跟中国的软件开发团队合作过。我想,既然中国人也是人,你们跟我合作过的其他国家的人应该差不多吧!我的建议是:将其他人视为人。观察正在发生的事情,调用你们的全部学识来推断行动计划。如果情况的发展并不尽如计划,也要敢于去重新计划。

iTuring: You once mentioned that you wrote many books and papers because you were used to exploring a subject by talking/writing about it. Can you talk about how writing helps you exploring and solving problems?

图灵社区:您曾经谈到,因为要通过演讲或写作的方式来研究某个主题,所以您创作了那么多图书和论文。是否能描述一下,创作是如何帮助你探索和解决问题的?

Johanna Rothman: When I write about a problem, I have to clarify my thoughts, or people don't understand what I am saying. I have to break the problem apart and put it back together. I need to use examples, which always helps the reader.

Johanna Rothman:当阐述某个问题时,我必须厘清自己的思路,否则人们会不知所云。因此,我需要切割问题,然后重新组合。我还需要使用例子,而这种方式常常对读者很有帮助。

If I can write it down and make sure other people can understand it, then I am sure I understand it fully.

一旦我能够描述清楚,确保其他人都能理解,那我就能保证自己是完全理解了这个问题。

iTuring: Manage It! ranks No. 67 among the Top 100 Best Software Engineering Books, Ever. Its Chinese edition is also selling very well. Are you working or planning on a new book on software management? Apart from the content in Manage It!, what suggestions would you like to give Chinese readers about further study?

图灵社区:《软件项目管理修炼之道》被评为软件工程有史以来最佳百书的第67位,中文版销量也非常理想。请问您是否还在创作或有计划创作软件管理方面的新书吗?在本书的内容之外,您会给中国读者哪些进一步学习的建议?

Johanna Rothman: I just released a beta book about finding a job using kanban and agile on leanpub, Manage Your job Search. It's not translated into Chinese yet. I will be releasing another hiring book soon.

Johanna Rothman:我刚刚在leanpub发布了一本关于使用看板和敏捷方法来找工作的新书Manage Your job Search的beta版。这本书还没有翻译为中文。我还将发布另一本关于招聘的新书。

I am working on an agile program management book that I will release on leanpub, tentatively titled Agile Program Management, which is how you manage large agile projects. By large, I mean many teams, starting with three teams and moving up from there. This book will address the issues of geographically distributed teams, because once you move into large programs, you have distributed teams. I hope to have something available sometime this summer. Maybe.

我还在创作一本关于敏捷方案管理的新书,将会在leanpub上发布。这本书可能会叫做Agile Program Management,主题是如何管理大型的敏捷项目。基本上,我觉得很多团队都是从三个团队开始,然后不断扩张的。这本书将会讨论地理上分布各处的团队的问题,因为一旦要管理大型的方案,就需要面对分布式团队。但愿这本书能在今年夏天发布一部分吧,但愿啦。

iTuring: Thanks a lot for your time.

图灵社区:感谢您拨冗接受我们的采访。

Johanna Rothman: Thank you!

Johanna Rothman:谢谢!


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