BONUS: Richard Kasperowski on on high-performance teams and The Core Protocols

In this episode, we explore The Core Protocols, a set of ideas developed by Jim and Michele McCarthy as they investigated the causes of performance improvement in teams.

During that research, Jim and Michele discovered that high-performance teams did a lot of things in a similar way, and we explore some of those patterns that successful teams take on.

The Core Protocols not only describe the patterns of successful teams, but also act as a “map” of the things we need to consider when helping our teams.

Read on for the detailed break down of the episode…

It all started in a lab: how the core protocols were developed

Jim and Michele were studying teams way back in the 1990’s. They started to study teams to see if they could duplicate the success of a team that had worked on Visual C++ at Microsoft. The question was: what do teams need to reach that level of performance. We discuss the initial story and finding that led Jim and Michele to further study what was to be become The Core Protocols, and the impact that the initial research had on the modern Core Protocols.

How a team doubled their productivity with the help of The Core Protocols

When Richard started applying The Core Protocols he started to see a large impact on the teams he was helping. In one case, while working with a client, Richard observed a doubling in productivity for one team. In the episode Richard describes the overall process he implemented to help that team as well as The Core Protocols that he took on as part of developing the work with the team.

The biggest challenges when applying The Core Protocols

Just like any other tool, model or technique, The Core Protocols have their challenges. We discuss the main challenge that Richard has faced: the techie that thinks emotions have no place at work.

The “emotions are out” mindset is pervasive, especially in engineering cultures, but is that really how teams work? We explore why that perspective endangers the team’s well being and productivity, and discuss alternative ways to handle the emotions we all have in our places of work. A book we refer to is Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

Applying The Core Protocols in our work as Scrum Masters

The Core Protocols are especially useful for us as Scrum Masters. We can use those in many specific aspects of our work. Whether you are thinking about how to improve the flow of the daily meeting or the safety for the team in the planning meeting, Richard describes specific aspects of our work that benefit from The Core Protocols, and which protocols to apply.

We refer to The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness by Richard Kasperowski and Software for Your Head: Core Protocols for Creating and Maintaining Shared Vision by Jim and Michele McCarthy.

About Richard Kasperowski

Richard is a speaker, trainer, coach, and author focused on high-performance teams. Richard is the author of The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness. He leads clients in building great teams that get great results using the Core Protocols, Agile, and Open Space Technology. Richard created and teaches the class Agile Software Development at Harvard University. Learn more and subscribe to Richard’s newsletter at

You can link with Richard Kasperowski on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Kasperowski on Twitter.

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