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Scrum: Ensuring impediments are resolved effectively as a part of Daily Scrum meeting

The Daily Scrum meeting is a meeting where the Scrum team meets on a daily basis on every working day, with the meeting supposed to be brief. It is meant for quick updates from each team member to the other members of the team on the following topics:
– What is the status of their tasks since the last Daily Scrum meeting
– What are the tasks that they are supposed to be working on till the next Daily Scrum meeting
– Are there any impediments that they are facing and how these are affecting their work

A number of experts in literature and even some colleagues place a lot of importance on the impediments part of the Daily Scrum meeting, since ongoing status is fine, but it is the problems that people face which could affect their work progress or cause morale issues that are critical to solve. Even monitoring the impediments give a good idea about some of the regular problems that team members are facing so as to suggest issues which would either prevent these impediments from happening or reduce the critical nature of some of these impediments.
As a part of the process of ensuring that the team knows that the impediments that they are raising are taken seriously, the Scrum Master should maintain another backlog, something called the impediment backlog, and in which the impediments raised by the team are entered and where the team can see the status of these impediments and progress on them (even if it means negative progress), since it shows them that their impediments are being taken very seriously. This is serious since the team needs to know that their impediments are being taken seriously and the Scrum Master is working on them.
For this to work, the team has to see that there is progress happening, which means that the Scrum Master cannot just collect the impediments and sleep over the ones that the Scrum Master thinks are not so critical or where they are something that are difficult to happen (many of these can be related to organizational issues). At the same time, if you look at your impediment backlog regularly and do not find any problems, don’t be happy that the team is not running into backlogs. It may be more likely that the team is not passing on impediments that they are finding, or don’t have a confidence that their impediments will be taken up for resolution. And conversely, if the number of open impediments keeps on increasing, the team will start to think that there is no seriousness over handling of impediments, which will reduce their overall confidence level.
The final point on this one is that it is not at all necessary that the Scrum Master should be resolving all the impediments. The culture in the team should be such that impediments should come to the Scrum Master only when there is need to involve the scrum master in resolving these impediments. For example, impediments that could be resolved through discussions between team members don’t need the Scrum Master to be involved in discussing and resolving these issues; the team members should be more than adequate to initiate the required discussions for resolving these issues. Unless a culture like this is there in the team, you will find that the team members will raise any and all impediments to the Scrum Master, even in cases where there was no need for the scrum master to get involved.

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