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.


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