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Johanna Rothman @johannarothman How to Create a Career Ladder for Real People: Vertical and Lateral Movement

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Current Career Ladder Problems • Only go in one direction: Up • But many people have non-linear careers • Few organizations have effective parallel tracks • Many senior people become “managers” because they get more money • Based on personal “deliverables” (achievements) instead of team-based deliverables 2

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman “Personal” Deliverables Drive Rewards • How many principal or consulting engineer slots does your organization have? • Many fewer than the manager roles • The only real way to move up/more money is to take a management role. 3

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Lewin’s Equation: B= f (P,E) • Each person’s Behavior is a function of the Person and their Environment • Most performance “problems” arise from the environment • Environment is all of: • How the team works, separately or together • How safe the people on the team feel to discuss their concerns and challenges. • The physical location and how the person and team use that location. • How much trust the team members offer each other. • How organization policies and procedures help the team perform their work. 4

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Problems with a “Dual” Track • Two losses: • Team loses a great technical contributor • Person might not want management, so might not want to be a manager • Too few people realize management is a career change 5

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Personal Deliverables: Anti-Agility • Bold statement: No one works alone on any product • Especially not on an agile team 6

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Solo Achievements Ignore Agile System • Agility: • Short feedback loops • Learn together • Team works together in flow efficiency 7

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Flow Efficiency Shortens Feedback Loops • Resource efficiency slows work • You wait for the next piece of work. • Work queues behind experts. • When we optimize for individual busy-ness, we slow the team • When teams work in flow efficiency, they finish as fast as possible. 8

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Consider: How Does Your Team Work Now? • As individuals (resource efficiency) • As sub-teams inside the team (flow efficiency?) • As an entire team (flow efficiency) • We need people from outside the team (resource efficiency) 9

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman How your team works now reflects the culture of your organization 10

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Culture • Team culture • Department culture • Organizational culture • HR creates the organizational culture with the reward system 11

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman See Flow Efficiency with Value Stream Map 12

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman When Team Works Together 13

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Change Our Language • From “Individual Contributor” to “Team Member” • From “Resources” to “People • Humans are resourceful people • Move the culture of the organization to a team-oriented approach • Including management cohorts 14

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman We Need “Agile” Career Ladders 15

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Career Ladders Serve Several Purposes • Where to hire a person into the organization? • When to promote someone • Criteria for the behaviors you want to reinforce and reduce 16

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman (Agile) Behaviors to Reinforce • Collaboration to learn and deliver together • Feedback and coaching (to create psychological safety) • Ability to ask for help • Experimentation (to increase learning speed and feedback loops) • Adaptability • Influence (not coercion) 17

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Consider Which +/- Behaviors 18 More of Less of Any “More of?” Any “Less of?” Collaboration Heroics Listening Rescue people Receive & Offer feedback and coaching Know-it-all Big design up front Ask for help Work solo Blaming Experimentation Inflict help Unwanted advice Adaptability Unending meetings Influence

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Agility Requires Collaboration & Influence to Drive Rewards 19 Less influence More influence

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Three Key Areas for Collaboration & Influence • Technical Ladder: • Code and product across team, extending to the organization • Solution-space domain expertise • Product-Focused Ladder: • Facilitate the team(s), either directly or through the product • Problem-space domain expertise • People Leadership • Focus on the culture • Industry, customer expertise • When we clarify the areas of leadership, we can create a jungle gym for a ladder 20

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Several Types of Leadership 21 Less influence More influence

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman What About “Technical Leaders?” • IME, technical leaders focus on code-based leadership, often through influence 22

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Influence • When we show: • Competence • Which expertise expressed as outcomes? • Trustworthiness • Build small wins every day • And we build rapport • Base influence on: • Mutually agreeable outcomes • Short- and Long-term objectives 23

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Code- and Product-Focused Influence • We can always control our actions • When we collaborate with others, we expand our influence • How much do we work inside the team, across teams, and across the organization? 24

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman What Technical Influence Might Look Like • Primarily code- and product-based leadership • Collaboration inside the team and across teams (pair, mob, …) • Model asking for help & experimentation • Inside the team (technical lead) to entire organization (architect) • Architects participate with the team(s) • Technical facilitation (coaching and feedback) • Solution-space domain expertise • What did I miss for influence? 25

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman What Product Influence Might Look Like • Team, product, and organizational process issues • How to support team’s collaboration (cycle time, item aging) • How teams work (not specifics, but the facilitation) • Influence the way team, product and organization uses agile approach • Problem-space domain expertise • What did I miss for influence? 26

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman What People-Based Influence Might Look Like • Create and reinforce the culture: • What people can discuss • How people treat each other • What the org rewards • Guidelines and constraints for actions • Industry expertise (why, who, to set the overarching goal for the org) • What did I miss for influence? 27

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Leadership Influence Circles • The more you exert your leadership, the more influence you have • The circles “collapse”— you have more total influence • Leadership defines and refines the culture • What people can discuss • How they treat each other • What the org rewards 28

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Why Influence Can Work • You can influence if you: • Build rapport with other people • Show your competence • Work together • Achieve shared goals and achievements 29

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Encourage People to Move Across • When we encourage people to move across, they can experiment • When people experiment, they tend to have more empathy with others • More we encourage people to experiment, the more well-rounded people might be 30

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Consider These Possibilities • Create at least three tracks in your current ladders • Move from “up” thinking to “over” thinking • Rethink achievements via influence: • How the person helps/supports/ facilitates others: the team, product, organization • Who would you need to talk with first? 31

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© 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Let’s Stay in Touch • The books: • • • Blog series: https:// • Pragmatic Manager newsletter: • Please link with me on LinkedIn 32