You should be fired for being too good

I strongly believe the goal of a great Scrum Master/Agilist is to be fired. WHAT?! WTF?!?! Be fired??? Oh gee.. Ok bro chillax.  Let me explain myself: I heard something similar a very long time ago from my old work mate Bob. Bob is a sysadmin right, he is the typical stereotype it springs to mind when you think about a proper geek. A real genius geek. He is tall, massive size, rounded glasses, goat beard, pony tail, loves his beer – having clocked almost 1000 different ales in Untappd in the span of 6 months speaks for itself - and the best of all, he has capable of delivering the most dark and sarcastic tirades someone could possibly come up with. One day having a chat over a beer (he has having an ale) he said exactly that, “the goal of a good sysadmin is to be fired”. I was puzzled by that but then I finally got it.

Bob arrives for his new job and he finds it a proper zoo. There is no structure, cowboys work as they want on whatever they want, things get delayed, nobody knows what is going on, no documentation explaining what’s where, server hangs, site hangs, database crashes, e-mail bounces, you name it. Bob comes along and start his craft. He creates good scripts, monitoring tools, document the whole lot, provides structure to the chaos and after mega battles the system now seems stable. Sound the drums!

Users have the memory of a goldfish. They easily forget about pain. They take smoothness for granted. They seem to believe the system always performed right. They are happy users now. Emails do not get lost. The wi-fi works, everybody can be on Facebook without loosing their connection, CI works, no breaks, no corrupted db anymore, no servers hanging! Oh!! Gee!! As if from a magical spell it all works! After a while people start wondering what is it that Bob really does. It’s all running great, so why is he needed after all? Bob gets bored, Bob goes. A lonely geek warrior chasing his next digital battle.

Few weeks go by. Users are now spoiled. They do not update their crap, they cut corners. They are lazy. Soon it all starts to get back as it was. Slow. It drags. It’s unreliable. After a while the system goes bad again. Very easily its all back to square one and now people miss Bob. Sound familiar?

I guess this philosophy apply to great Agilists as well. Help people get on track, show them a better way of doing things, and move on. An eternal crusade towards spreading the mindset :-)

"There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. It's rather sad, really, but there it is" 

— Nanny McPhee