Put out the fire first.

Listening to some podcast which I’ve long since forgotten the name of, I heard a top executive talk about how there was always the fire of the day to put out.

Surprisingly, this small comment changed how I thought about my work.  It’s not just about putting out the fire of the day, but also about preventing the fire from starting.

We have a list of things to do — whether it’s in a notepad or in the sprint backlog, but despite what scrum purists would have you believe, the more important thing is to put out the fire — or stop one from starting.

And how do we do that?  It all comes back to the people you work for.  If they come into work with some burning issue on their mind, address it first.  Their fire is more important than anything on your to-do list.

Small fires are easy to put out.  Putting them out is one of my keys to happiness.

Let it grow big because you’re “too busy” and the fire will spread, and you may not be able to put it out.

Daily fires are a thing.  Put them out before they grow.