Jim McCarthy Visits The Mob

McCarthy Bootcamp

This week Jim and Michele McCarthy brought the McCarthy Bootcamp to San Diego (with the help of the amazing Erik Meade, and perhaps a few other local Agilists).

This post isn’t about the Bootcamp or the Core Protocol – which are well worth reading about and experiencing.  You can learn more about these and the McCarthy Show at their website: http://www.mccarthyshow.com/ – I particularly recommend you watch the 23 rules videos: http://www.mccarthyshow.com/the-23-rules-of-thumb/

Anyway, this post isn’t about the Bootcamp or the Core Protocol – it’s just about how jazzed I am to have had Jim Visit the Mob for a bit on Thursday.

First, a word about The Dynamics of Software Development, a book

Of the countless software development management books I read in the 90’s only one book stands out as being worth remembering. That book is The Dynamics of Software Development by Jim McCarthy.  It was clearly based on reality (or something pretty close to reality) and addressed many of the problems in software development that I had seen or experienced.  I’m not saying this book had (or has) all the answers, it just had/has a lot of great thinking about the issues and provided some clear ideas about how to deal with those issues.

“The Dynamics” continues to be an important and useful book to me even with all the advancements and changes that came with the Agile Movement and Extreme Programming.  It is about real stuff. You can learn a bit more here: http://bit.ly/115W4OG – get the book and read it. Use the parts that you can, and remember all the other parts because some day you will need them.

Agile San Diego brings Jim to town

I met Jim a couple of months ago at the Agile San Diego monthly meeting. He was the featured speaker on the topic of Culture Hacking.  Great talk, great meeting.

Shortly after that I heard that he was bringing the Bootcamp to San Diego.  As much as I wanted to go, I wasn’t able to attend the Bootcamp (which happened this week), but one of our Mob members (Chris Scripca) attended. I am envious.  Perhaps Chris will write an article about his experiences with the Bootcamp – which is all about rapid team building, shared vision, innovation, and other stuff all very nicely connected to our “Mob Programming” approach. [This is the nice thing about life. Once you find something meaningful to you, somehow everything else seems to confirm how brilliant you are for having done so. It’s nice, right? I’m not mistaken about that being a good thing, am I? … I didn’t think so]

So, Chris had talked up our Mob Programming approach and Jim decided to stop by for a short visit on his way out of town so we could share a few of our ideas about teamwork and mobbing and perhaps share a few pointers about teamwork and shared vision.

We had a great time – and I think Jim did as well.

We shared our Mob Programming time-lapse video with Jim and Michele and explained how we go about doing our work.  We just sat around and talked for about an hour and a half.  Sitting and talking is good.  He gave us a number of interesting things to think about.  Here’s a short list of some of his ideas and observations:

  • One: Get more women on the team.
  • Two: Don’t tell anyone about what we are doing.  (Seems we’ve little chance of that now, doesn’t it)
  • Three: We (the Mob) are very lucky. There are a lot of people who want what we’ve got.  Work hard to keep it.
  • Four: Next step is to figure out the minimum we can do to serve our “customers” needs for software, and focus on discovering the big things we are capable of inventing – the powerfully innovative things that only a true team can accomplish.

Well… like I said, that’s just a few of the thoughts he shared. You’ll have to wait for the movie to see the rest. Now I am trying to figure out how to get him back sometime soon.  We really are just getting started.

So, I’d like to say “Thanks Jim and Michele for visiting with us – We had a great time, and hope you did too!”

Don’t be jealous.  If you close your eyes, and wish really, really hard, dreams can come true.

All it takes is faith and trust, and just a little bit of pixie dust.


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