A ScrumMaster Removing an Impediment at Apple

As you probably know, Steve Jobs of Apple announced yesterday that he's taking a six-month leave of absence. His health has gotten worse and hopefully he's able to recover fully during this period. As a Mac user, I've been paying a bit of extra attention today (and over the past few weeks) to what shakeups might be in store at Apple during Jobs' absence. I read this today and want to share it as a great example of a ScrumMaster removing an impediment. It's about Tim Cook, Apple's current COO, who is likely to replace Jobs:

Tim Cook arrived at Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) in 1998 from Compaq Computer. He was a 16-year computer-industry veteran - he'd worked for IBM (IBM, Fortune 500) for 12 of those years - with a mandate to clean up the atrocious state of Apple's manufacturing, distribution, and supply apparatus. One day back then, he convened a meeting with his team, and the discussion turned to a particular problem in Asia. "This is really bad," Cook told the group. "Someone should be in China driving this." Thirty minutes into that meeting Cook looked at Sabih Khan, a key operations executive, and abruptly asked, without a trace of emotion, "Why are you still here?" Khan, who remains one of Cook's top lieutenants to this day, immediately stood up, drove to San Francisco International Airport, and, without a change of clothes, booked a flight to China with no return date.

Khan sounds like a perfect ScrumMaster to me. He heard about the impediment and within thirty minutes was on a plane to resolve the problem. Let's hope, Steve Jobs' doctors are able to remove all impediments in the way of his return to good health.

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