Born to Coach

So in the midst of all of the house packing, I came across the “We’re gonna miss you” card from the company I worked for out in California. Among the varied roles I played at the company was the “Keeper of Knowledge” role. This is a continuous problem with tech companies in particular – all of the information winds up in the brains of just a few people. It’s also known as the bus factor – how many people would have to die in a bus accident to screw your company over?

I was reading through what the various folks wrote and trying to picture some of them, when I came across this inscription:

“Mr. Watts – You will be missed, even though the first two months we worked together you made me ask questions to a puppet.”

While that comment pretty much stands on its own, you might be thinking to yourself “Surely this is some weird sort of in-joke. It can’t mean what it sounds like it means, can it?” It can, and it does. As one of my “the answers are at your fingertips, do you really want to ask me the question?” tactics for teaching people to fish, I had a hand puppet named QA Cow. Kind of a fuzzy version of “Speak to the Hand.” If you had a question about how to do something in our little QA group, you had to go through QA Cow first. Yes, I’m just that wonderful to work with.