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Management

Crazy Jim

By William Bakker | 04.19.06 | Comment?

That’s how we refer to Jim McCarthy at Tourism BC. I had the chance to spend 10 minutes with Jim last year. Those were 10 very intense minutes. Jim doesn’t beat around the bush and he left me one of his hand written business cards and a DVD of a presentation he did years ago when he was still working at Microsoft. I think his approach scared a few people here so we never hired him to work on one of our projects. But after watching the DVD and reading one of his books, I would love to have the opportunity to work with him or take his BootCamp one day.

I’ve been listening to the Podcasts he hosts with his wife Michelle. Every time, a little bit of their methodology about building effective teams is revealed. I haven’t read his book Software For Your Head yet so sometimes I have no clue what they’re talking about. It’s some cryptic language around “protocols” and terminology such as “checking in”, “alignment”, “decider” and more. But I get the gist of it and I usually find something useful in there.

The best one so far was the piece about meetings and in particular about discussions because they usually don’t resolve anything and is basically a waste of time. Michelle summed it up nicely for me: “What I’ve come to notice is that lack of awareness on most people’s part is that time and energy, what is precious, is being wasted [on meetings] and the higher the number of people the more time and the more energy that is being wasted”. So meet to resolve instead of instead of meet to discuss would be my summary without all the crypto talk.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that the most important aspect of a successful project is having an effective project team. That means smart, competent, committed team members that share a vision, work toward that vision, help each other and have fun in the process. I believe if you achieve this, everything else flows out of it. So if you’re working with teams, listing to Jim and Michelle will definitely provide you with some ideas around creating effective teams.

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