DevOpsChat Special Guests: Jim and Michele McCarthy

We are absolutely thrilled that Jim and Michele McCarthy are joining us for this #DevOpsChat about how to create brilliantly performing teams. You can find the questions for this DevOpsChat at the bottom of this page.

While at Microsoft and Bell Laboratories, Jim McCarthy saw there was a better way to build products by focusing on the team around him.  He used this observation to create one of the greatest Microsoft teams, the Visual C++ team.  Much of Microsoft adopted his ideas as articulated in the seminal book: Dynamics of Software Development. They formed the basis of Microsoft Solutions Framework and were a catalyst for the Agile movement.

Michele McCarthy graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a Master’s in engineering. Beginning in 1990, Michele worked at Microsoft as a program manager on five projects, establishing a reputation for shipping on time. Jim McCarthy met Michele and encouraged her to move to the Visual C++ group where she began innovating in the area of team dynamics. While at Microsoft, Michele reached many of the insights that led her and Jim to leave Microsoft and create McCarthy Technologies, Inc.

Their ongoing research into how to create high performing teams has resulted in the publication of The Core Protocols (which are distributed under the GNU General Public License). They are a set of interpersonal practices which, if applied, will greatly enhance the results achieved by groups of people working together to build  products.

They both co-wrote Software For Your Head and the 2006 edition of Dynamics of Software Development, as well as running BootCamps around the world, and co-hosting The McCarthy Show podcast.

Video Interview

In this video Jim and Michele share their views and experience about how to create successful teams, covering a range of topics including:

  • Why teamwork matters
  • Their discovery of “Team = Product” and the implications of this
  • Their journey to uncover “The Core Protocols”
  • A discussion of some of The Core Protocols
  • Thoughts about why the The Core Protocols matter

Questions for this DevOpsChat

  1. DevOps done well means everyone on the team being focused on results. In your experience, what can get in the way of this?
  2. What do you think are the characteristics of a high-performing team?
  3. In your experience, what can you do to create a high performing team?
  4. Do you think that a bias for action is important for DevOps and, if so, how do you achieve this culture?
  5. Some “team” activities don’t seem to add value (long meetings, status reports, etc). What would your advice be?
  6. The rule “Team = Product” was a revelation for Jim and Michele McCarthy – what insights has it given you?

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