Who is Johanna Rothman

The next person in our Who is series, is Johanna Rothman. Johanna coached me a few months ago to help me find sustainable pace back. I asked her to coach me, because I loved her book managing your project portfolio. She maintains a few very interesting blogs: managing project development, hiring technical people, create an adaptable life. Multiple people in the who is series have mentioned her as a person to invite. That was too late, she was amongst the first I invited. (I only publish her today because she was so yentle to swap places with someone who had good reasons to be published earlier.)


What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I worked in a factory between my junior and senior years in high school. It was horrible. Not the heat, although that was bad. Not the work, although that was mind-numbingly boring. It was the inefficiencies of the office work that made me nuts. I alphabetized and chronologized paperwork for six weeks. I thought I would go out of my mind. It was relief to go onto the factory floor. That’s when I realized I had to do something about the office work, if I ever worked in an office.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?
I would have done some form of engineering. I started school as pre-med, but that lasted only six weeks. I only got B’s on my first exams, so clearly med school was not in my future. When I discovered computer science, I knew I had found my home.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?
Patience. I have more patience than I had years ago. I need more patience now to manage my physical issues, and to be more human with my clients. Practicing patience is good for me.

What drives you ?
I need to see what the next step is in my career, get there, excel at it, and repeat. Again and again and again…

What is your biggest achievement?
I don’t know how to answer “biggest,” so I’ll change the question to something I can answer. I’m proud of these professional achievements: that I’ve written several books and that I’m working on several more. I’m proud of starting and maintaining the AYE conference with my fellow hosts, which has added experiential sessions to conferences worldwide. I’m proud that I have learned to collaborate professionally, with Esther Derby, Gil Broza, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, Shane Hastie, Don Gray, and Jerry Weinberg.

Personally, I’m delighted that my daughters have grown up as two fabulous people and that I’m still married to a great guy.

All of these is my “biggest” achievement.

What is the last book you have read?
I’ve read a plethora of books recently. I wrote the foreword for Dan Rawsthorne’s *Exploring Scrum*, I’m about to write a review for Naomi Karten’s *Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals*, and I’m in the middle of Chris Sterling’s *Managing Software Debt*, and those are just the technical books. I’m rereading some of the Lois McMaster Bujold and Heinlein books on my Kindle, and I just finished Nora Roberts‘s *Search*.

And, I just read Larry Constantine’s nom-de-plume’s Lior Samson’s Bashert. I really enjoyed that too, and need to write a review.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
What is the next book about? Agile program management. And no, there is no One Right Way, but there are several guidelines and suggestions I have about ways that you can be successful.
And, because my older daughter is in the midst of a job search, I’m writing a short handbook, tentatively called, “An Agile Approach to Your Job Search.” It’s too easy to get bogged down and depressed by the bigness of your job search. Agile can make that easier. So she’s trying out what I’m suggesting and reviewing the book for me.

Who do you think I should ask next?
Esther Derby and Don Gray

Update: if you liked this, please buy the “Who is agile” book. It contains similar answers from other agilists. And Johanna’s answer to the question: What are you looking forward to most in the next few months?