What are Impediments and How do I Remove Them? A Guide for Scrum Masters (and similarly minded people)

Do you feel like a deer caught in the headlights when your team brings up impediments at the daily stand up? Or, do you feel like the person who walks in to the cafe and all of the diners turn around and look at you?

Have we got a session for you! In just over an hour, Scrum Masters (and other people) will learn to identify impediments and figure out what to do with them. This session is based on work that has been done at various organizations and as part of an interactive online course for advancing scrum mastership.

This session has two parts. In the first part, you will learn how to identify impediments, including words and phrases to listen for during the daily scrum. In the second part, you will work in small groups to reveal ways to deal with impediments.

Participants will leave the session with an action plan and confidence about how to identify and work with impediments. Your teams may notice the difference within the next sprint!


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Warm-up activity: write your team’s gnarliest impediment on a sticky note and place it in the middle of your table.

0:00 - 0:05 Introductions

How many CSM, PSM or PMI-ACP people in the room? How many Agile Coaches in the room? Any others? Reveal who is in the room.

Short introduction of whom we, the presenters, are. Agile Coaches with more than 10 years of experience in the Agile space.

Part 1 - What are impediments?

0:05 - 0:20 Uncovering impediments

Instead of asking for impediments during the daily scrum or daily standup, ask:

  • How confident are you that we will meet our sprint goal?
  • How can we go faster?

Listen for key words like: waiting, wish, try, expected, thought, etc.

We give some examples so the participants get the feel of what we mean by key words and why they are important.

0:20 - 0:25 Generate impediments to work with

Your table is your team. Ask the participants to think of impediments they have in their current team at work. Write the impediments down on a post-it note. One impediment per post-it. You have 3 minutes to do it.

0:25 - 0:30 Review and select impediments

The team/table review the impediments and select two impediments you want to work with during this presentation. You have 4 minutes to do it.

Part 2 - Solving impediments

0:30 - 0:45 Three ways to solve the impediments

At each table, determine three ways to solve each of the impediments. You have 10 minutes to do it.

0:45 - 1:15 Reveal some solutions

Let’s hear from a couple of the tables. We do not have time to hear from all of you and that is fine you can share more of the solutions with each other after the presentation.

1:15 - 1:45 Debrief and practical tips

What was it like solving these impediments at the table? What did you notice from the solutions presented? Anything new you learned about solving impediments?

Give more examples of tips, if it’s not revealed by the debrief questions. E.g. take it to the team.

1:45 - 2:00 Close & Q&A

Reiterate what we learned about how to identify impediments by listening for key words. We have multiple ways of solving impediments. We can own it, escalate it and influence other to solve or minimize them.

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding what impediments are
  • Knowing how to identify impediments (which is even more important that removing it!)
  • There is more than one way to solve any given impediment
  • Practical tips for managing impediments
  • Owning your own impact
  • Understanding the power of finding solutions with your team (or other people)

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Impediment Removers, New to Agile People

Prerequisites for Attendees

Have a heartbeat, be curious and have a sense of fun!

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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