Team member: How will we know when we've found an impediment? What do they look like?
Sponsor: How can I know what impediments block our teams' productivity?
Scrum Master: How can I get the team to mention impediments in our daily meeting and retrospectives?
Product Owner: Why is everyone whining about impediments? Why don't we just get the work done?
It's all fine and well to say identify and remove impediments but often we bump up against a stumbling block, find a way around, and make things work anyway without further thought. It's second nature. Moving forward is what's important. And, besides, those stumbling blocks? That's just how it is around here.
Recognizing and shining a spotlight on impediments isn't as easy as it sounds. At the Agile Roots 2009 conference Tom Perry led a session to do just that.
In his session, the participants (including me) focused on this question. We came up with a list teams could use to amplify their ability to recognize and manage impediments. Typical impediments fall into categories, including:
Incomplete work Missing information Repeated work Waiting Missing dependencies Interruptions Defects Bureaucracy Missed/Unclear communication Unmade decisions Faulty assumptions Insufficient time Missing parts Unknown new technology (contributed by @mxmoss)
...to name a few.
What kinds of impediments do you find?