Measuring and Rewarding at the Magic Factory

The trouble cauldron is bubbling over at the Magic Factory, so the chief magic officer consults his crystal ball. But, is the ball's advice as simple as it appears to be?

Once upon a time, one morning, in a magical kingdom far, far away, the chief magic officer (CMO) of Magic Factory, Inc. stood in front his magic mirror, reflecting on life, business, things, and (literally) himself. He was worried. He had a big problem, and he didn't know how to solve it.

The problem was thus: Many of the potions and spells created by Magic Factory, Inc. were of poor quality—some failed to work at all, some failed to live up to expectations, some worked quite differently to what was expected, and some caused bad and dangerous consequences. To be fair, some of them worked OK, but customers were unhappy and revenues were down. The factory magicians—crafts-folk and bringers of joy and magic—were depressed. They hated it when their magic failed. It was an unhappy place to work.

The pressure was on.

Time for breakfast.

After breakfast, the CMO (his real name was Roy) climbed aboard his broom and flew into work. Once there, he went straight to his “magic chamber”—the en suite in his office—took the golden key that hung from the golden chain around his olden neck, and carefully unlocked the secret chamber hidden within.

From the secret chamber (the cleaners also stored their cleaning potions and such there), he removed his old, magic, crystal ball, dusted it off, and took it through to his office where he placed it upon his magic desk. Nervously, he sat down at his desk and placed two hands firmly on the crystal ball. With a magical third hand, he scratched his nose. He leaned in, muttered several magic words, and waited. Nothing. He muttered several un-magic words—the sort he would never mutter in front of his mother—and then tried again. This time, the magic worked. The crystal ball clouded over, the room cooled, and a shrill voice said, "What?"

The CMO whispered his problem to the ball.

The ball clouded over, said, 'Please Hold', and started playing gentle elevator music. Six minutes and sixty-six seconds later, the music stopped and the ball said, “What good behaviors do you want to see?”

About the author

Clarke Ching's picture Clarke Ching

An independent consultant and regular columnist on, Clarke Ching is a passionate advocate of agile software development and a chairman of the AgileScotland special interest group. He is the author of the book Rolling Rocks Downhill, in which he demonstrates how to use lean, quality, and agile techniques to make your projects more productive and predictable. Read more about Clarke's work at

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