Obstacles and Scrum

Obstacles interrupt work.

Scrum makes obstacle removal an objective… to free people to be productive, to do their best, by providing uninterrupted time when they can work.

Although obstacle removal is everyone’s responsibility, in Scrum, the Scrum Master is responsible for listening to obstacles and removing them.

The Daily Standup (DSU) sets the tone of the day and also a perfect opportunity to identify obstacles to productivity… and plans are made to remove them. These obstacles are highlighted day after day until they are resolved.

Hence at the DSU, the team is asked if there are any impediments to performing its work; so that the project don’t accumulate impediments like a ship accumulates barnacles, until there are so many impediments in the project that it is hard for the project to make any headway.

In the ‘Waterfall’ method, they don’t ask — on a daily basis — if there are impediments; they use ‘Post Morten analysis’… when the damage is done! Management meet with the team and ask what could have been done differently… which is silly… too late!

Once the impediment is identified… it is expected to be removed… not just by the Scrum Master alone… but with the full backing of the enterprise…to remove it;

Every time managers hear the word ‘impediments’ or ‘obstacles’ … they should think ‘opportunities’!

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