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。
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?
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.
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.
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.
iTuring: What working process do you usually take when you join a problematic development team as a consultant?
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?
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.
iTuring: Looking back on your project management career, what lessons would you like to share?
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.
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?
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.
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?
**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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
If I can write it down and make sure other people can understand it, then I am sure I understand it fully.
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?
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.
Johanna Rothman: Thank you!