AoAD2 Practice: Impediment Removal

This is an excerpt from The Art of Agile Development, Second Edition. Visit the Second Edition home page for additional excerpts and more!

This excerpt is copyright 2007, 2021 by James Shore and Shane Warden. Although you are welcome to share this link, do not distribute or republish the content without James Shore’s express written permission.

Impediment Removal

Audience
Whole Team

by Diana Larsen

We fix the problems that slow us down.

Impediments. Blockers. Obstacles, barriers, hindrances, snags, threatening risks (also known as looming future impediments). All words describing issues that can derail team performance. They may be obvious. “The network is down.” They may be subtle. “We misunderstood the customers’ needs and have to start over.” Or, “We’re stuck!”

Some impediments hide in plain sight. Some emerge from a complex situation. Some are the symptom of a larger issue, and some don’t have a single root cause, but are a many-headed hydra. Some are an unstoppable force, such as bad weather, with the weight of culture and tradition behind them. And some, the most precious of all, are in your control and easily resolved.

Regardless of their source, impediments hinder the team and can even bring progress to a full stop. Impediment removal gets the team back up to speed.

Removing impediments is a team responsibility.

Some team members expect people with leadership titles to take on impediment removal, but removing impediments is a team responsibility. Don’t wait for your coach or manager to notice and solve your team’s impediments. Take care of them yourself.

Allies
Stand-Up Meetings
Retrospectives
Task Planning

Similarly, some teams create impediment or risk boards to keep track of everything that’s in their way. I don’t recommend it. Instead, address impediments as soon as you recognize them. Bring them up in your next stand-up, retrospective, or task planning session, and decide how you’ll overcome each one.

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In this Section

  1. Impediment Removal
    1. Identifying Impediments
    2. Circles and Soup
      1. Control: Take direct action
      2. Influence: Persuade or recommend
      3. Soup: Change your response
    3. Questions
    4. Prerequisites
    5. Indicators
    6. Alternatives and Experiments
    7. Further Reading

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