From DevOps Dictionary

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Brent is a character in The Phoenix Project, who seems to be essential for every project and is badly overcommitted - he represents a human bottleneck. Finding ways to protect Brent from interruptions, and reroute work so his involvement is eliminated, are some of the ways that the protagonist of the novel is able to accelerate IT work, applying lessons from the Theory of Constraints.

Many organizations or departments have a "Brent" - someone without whom work would stop. This pattern is harmful in many ways, including:

  • Overcommitted staff feel they cannot take vacations, and burnout is often the result.
  • High stress levels and feelings of irreplaceability can lead to negative personal interactions
  • For small tasks, time to complete a task is predicted more by queue length than by task time. Thus, if many tasks have to go through one person, they will all have a long wait time.
  • People in this position often feel too busy to document their processes, leading to a situation in which no one else could do the work.