Most people have experienced--at least once in their lives--the incomparable thrill of being part of a great team effort. They can remember the unity of purpose they experienced, the powerful passion that inspired them, and the incredible results they achieved. People who have been on a great team can attest that the difference between being on a team with a shared vision and being on a team without one is the difference between joy and misery.
In 1996, Jim and Michele McCarthy, after successful careers leading software development teams at Microsoft and elsewhere, set out to discover a set of repeatable group behaviors that would always lead to the formation of a state of shared vision for any team. They hoped for a practical, communicable, and reliable process that could be used to create the best possible teams every time it was applied. They established a hands-on laboratory for the study and teaching of high-performance teamwork. In a controlled simulation environment, their principle research and teaching effort--the McCarthy Software Development BootCamp--challenged dozens of real-world, high-tech teams to produce and deliver a product. Teams were given a product development assignment, and instructed to form a team, envision the product, agree on how to make it, then design, build, and ship it on time. By repeating these simulations time after time, with the new teams building on the learning from previous teams, core practices emerged that were repeatedly successful. These were encoded as patterns and protocols.
Software for Your Head is the first publication of the most significant results of the authors' unprecedented five-year investigation into the dynamics of contemporary teams. The information in this book will provide a means for any team to create for itself a compelling state of shared vision.