The McCarthy Show #5: Discovering Alignments, and Concluding My Own.

This is it! Week five. The final installment of my series on The McCarthy Protocols. I hope, if you’ve followed along, that these protocols have gotten clearer and clearer as they’ve been explained. There’s only two short protocols left. The Investigate protocol, and the Personal Alignment, arguably two of the most important protocols in the Core, and the latter of which is, in my own opinion, the cornerstone of what the Core is all about (hence, I saved it for last!)

You may have noticed these introductions have been getting shorter and shorter, and that’s simply, I feel, because the pieces are falling into place. It’s less explanation and more internalization – that’s kind of how this process works. It always feels really goofy and silly in the beginning, but as it comes together, it really cements the dynamic of a team together. As always, you can return to the very first introduction post here and read from the beginning if something doesn’t make sense, or click here to go to official online Core Document. Additionally, leaving comments and feedback is a welcome way to Ask For Help on using the Core, or simply talk more about it in general.  – I  really enjoy working with them, and have done my best to implement them with the various teams I’ve worked on since graduating college even a few short months ago. Anyway. Let’s get started. Read on!

Continue reading “The McCarthy Show #5: Discovering Alignments, and Concluding My Own.”

The McCarthy Show #4: Team Decisions

Week four! This series has now been running for a month! Is it weird to say I’m a little bit proud of myself at the moment? I know I don’t have a ton of readers yet, but even still, it feels good knowing that I can take something I learned and know it enough to the point where I can explain and demonstrate it to someone else. And after all, that is the purpose of keeping this blog: Showing to myself and to anyone watching that I know my stuff, through and through.

As always, you can return to the introductory post to get an overview of all of the protocols, and read forward from there. Or you can go to the Official Core online page and get an overview (and more) over there. If you’ve been following along (Thank you!), then read on. This week I’m going to cover three more protocols. They are, in my opinion, some of the most practical ones in the Core set of protocols, and are important to keep things moving fluidly in a given team. More decisions being made earlier helps turnover, and turnover means more gets done. These protocols relate to decision making.

Read onward!

Continue reading “The McCarthy Show #4: Team Decisions”

The McCarthy Show #3: Putting Forth Your Intentions

Welcome back to Wednesday! It’s Week #3, so I’m covering a few more of those McCarthy Protocols! Like before, if you’re at all confused reading this, jump back to the very first post, the introduction, by clicking here. And, as before, just remember that protocols are the actions by which you interface with your team, and the commitments are the literal commitments to which the entire team abides by in order to create effective, efficient communication. This series of weekly posts is an analysis of these protocols and their associated commitments (as well as my experiences with them!), but as always, if you want to read the full “official” list, you can do so by checking out the Official Core Protocols document online.

Read on, for another dose of The Core Protocols!

Continue reading “The McCarthy Show #3: Putting Forth Your Intentions”

The McCarthy Show #2: Entering and Leaving the Group

It’s Wednesday, so welcome to the second post discussing the McCarthy Protocols! This is going to be quite a bit longer than the standard post, but welcome anyhow. I mentioned in Part 1 that my Game Project class used a variation of Scrum known as Scrum-ban with these protocols to organize our teams. Scrum-ban was the method in which we framed our work, and The Core [aka McCarthy] protocols were how we framed ourselves.

It may feel silly in the early stages, but using this method, you may soon find yourself being much, much more productive. So let’s dig into the first sets. Remember: The protocols are actions, and the commitments are the reasons and promises to the team upon which those actions are predicated. If you’re feeling a little lost reading this so far, or want to see the full list (it’s not long!) of the protocols and commitments, click here to read the introduction post.

Otherwise, read on…!

Continue reading “The McCarthy Show #2: Entering and Leaving the Group”

The McCarthy Show #1: Introduction

Alright. It’s time to tell the truth: While I will definitely be focusing on audio and game sound design in this blog, there is a ton more to game sound design than just creating sound effects and music. Teamwork is important. So it’s time to talk a little bit about functional teams, and a great place to start is in the world of agile development.

For those unaware, Agile development is a really neat paradigm which relies on creating self-organized, cross-functional teams. It emphasizes adaptability and flexibility in attaining long-term goals and utilizes many different approaches to create great software without being bogged down by heavy game design documents. The main advantage is that the designer of the software (in the case of a game) can “nail it and scale it,” as one of my former professors likes to say. The purpose of this adage is to allow the designer to find the fun aspects of the game and then build it up.

As part of the curriculum in his class, we practiced a method of agile development known as Scrum-ban, which is a product of the joining of the Scrum and Kanban methodologies. I will talk more about Scrum, Kanban, and Scrum-ban in another series of posts, but what I want to focus on first is the McCarthy Protocols, which were an awesome experience to have in the classroom. Whereas Scrum tends to focus on the team members and their commitments to the other team members, I find that the McCarthy Protocols are more directed to the securing the individual commitments of each individual team member to the team as an entity in of itself. There’s a lot to discuss about “The Core” – the commitments and protocols utilized to promote great teamwork. In a nutshell, it is made up of several named protocols and commitments – made to the team – which help deliver effective team communication and ultimately, good software. I will cover all of these protocols and their associated commitments over the course of a few posts.

For now, the these named protocols are:

  • Pass/Unpass
  • Check In/Check Out
  • Ask For Help
  • Protocol Check
  • Intention Check
  • Decider Protocol
  • Resolution Protocol
  • Personal Alignment
  • Investigate Protocol

The core commitments are:

  • To commit to engage when present.
  • To know and disclose
  • To know what I want, what I think, and what I feel.
  • To always seek effective help.
  • To decline to offer, and refuse to accept, incoherent emotional transmissions.
  • To immediately either propose for decisive acceptance or rejection (or explicitly seek the improvement of) when I have, or hear, a better idea than the currently prevailing one.
  • To personally support the best idea, regardless of its source, however much I hope an even better idea may later arise, when I have no superior alternative idea.
  • To seek to perceive more than I seek to be perceived.
  • To use teams, especially when undertaking difficult tasks.
  • To speak always, and only, when I believe it will improve the general results to effort ratio.
  • To offer and accept only rational, results-oriented behavior and communication.
  • To disengage from less productive situations when I cannot keep these commitments, or when it is more important that I engage elsewhere.
  • To do now what must be done eventually when it can effectively be done now.
  • To seek to move forward toward a particular goal, by biasing my behavior toward action.
  • To use the Core Protocols (or better) when applicable.
  • To offer and accept timely and proper use of the Protocol Check protocol without prejudice.
  • To neither harm—nor tolerate the harming of—anyone for his or her fidelity to these commitments.
  • To never do anything dumb on purpose.

If you can’t wait for the next post, make sure to check out the official Core Protocols document online. I hope nobody minds that I’ve modified the wording of the commitments for legibility. The next few posts in the McCarthy series will be published on Wednesdays, offering both my experiences with and critiques of the individual protocols and highlighting some of the commitments put forth by Jim and Michele McCarthy.

I hope you will enjoy!

– Chris Prunotto

There is an overview page set up here for these posts, or you can go on to part two by clicking here!