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Impediments Lesson Learnt

By Agile No Comments

On the way to team lunch with my team and I’m approached by Kam, the Test Engineer who says “you didn’t say anything about impediments the last time. I think the other guys are still confused with the difference between a Blocker and an Impediment.”

In my experience as a scrum master I would say an impediment is anything that will slow down the pace of the team and a Blocker is anything that will stop the team from delivering the product.

Generally, we talk more of blockers within the team than impediments, even during the team daily scrum meeting the emphasis is “no blockers”.

I have worked with teams to look out for likely impediments and to note it down during sprint planning. This has helped us to get a head start but it can still be quite tricky as the team will not be able to identify all impediments during the planning session e.g. security approvals, restriction to development environment, product owner unavailable.

Once the development team encounters any impediments, they should raise it as soon as possible, if they cannot resolve it themselves.

Keeping track of new or fixed impediments is also important so we don’t introduce waste in flow. Always aim to remove Impediments as soon as it is reported to have a steady flow during the sprint.

Agile Blockers Lesson

Blockers Lesson Learnt

By Agile No Comments

Jacqueline our lead developer, just informed the team that she was blocked on a story during the team’s daily scrum meeting. Jacqueline said, I have been blocked since yesterday after lunch break, tried to resolve it on my own but no luck. I decided to wait till this morning to inform you guys.

The team seems not to be bothered with her issue.

This is an issue from my observation, as the team Scrum Master and facilitator, I waited for the 16th minute while the team remains focused and started with refreshing their knowledge on what a blocker is and removing it.

A blocker is anything that stops the team from delivering a product e.g. environment unavailable. Blockers should be raised immediately if it cannot be resolved as most blockers are hard to resolve on its own. We should ask for help from other team members (Product Owner, Scrum Master or Dev Team) if we can’t remove the blocker on our own.

Once the blocker is resolved, the team can investigate the cause and have a lessoned learnt to prevent it from happening again. The team also has to be able to differentiate between a blocker and an impediment, because a blocker can actually be an impediment.

In a way, it’s like killing two birds with one stone. Teaching and empowering the team to think about how to remove blockers by themselves thus becoming self-organising.

What is your experience on blockers?