Handling impediments

Last post 07:07 pm April 27, 2022
by Esther Sekiziyivu
7 replies
08:38 pm April 20, 2022

Hello All,

I was wondering how other teams handle impediments? I see two ways:

1. adding it to the product backlog / sprint backlog

2. creating a impediment board.

My problem with 1. is that not all items can be added to a sprint board. Like organisational impediments, such as cultural, waterfall issues. How do you handle larger issues?

Thank you.

08:53 pm April 20, 2022

What effect do these impediments have upon the ability to make a commitment?

10:30 pm April 20, 2022

The Product Backlog is a list of items that represent work needed for a Product.  The Sprint Backlog is a list of items that represent work needed to accomplish the Sprint Goal.  There is no reason to include impediments in either of those. 

For the teams I have been involved, Impediments are handled by the person(s) on the Scrum Team that are best suited to address them.  They usually are not things that add value, they detract from the ability to add value. The impediments are handled by determining who is best to address it and then holding each other accountable as professionals to get work done. It is usually easy to realize when an impediment has been addressed so a need to track them is not something I see as needed. 

07:53 am April 21, 2022

Thanks Both.

Daniel, surely seeing them upfront helps with transparency? I understand that smaller items can be handled by the Team, and maybe does not need tracking. On the other hand, they might be blockers that the Team has to solve to be able to deliver their commitment. Some Impediments could be longer term, lack of training, or people pulled onto other projects.

05:22 pm April 22, 2022

Those "impediments" sound like work which the team has "upfront" visibility of, can estimate and deal with, and which ought to be captured in the Product Backlog for that reason. Like any other work, it can then be planned into a Sprint in order to meet a Sprint Goal.

07:32 pm April 22, 2022

Daniel, surely seeing them upfront helps with transparency? 

Your original question was about how other teams handle impediments. I provided you with the way that most of the teams I have been involved with did so. 

As @Ian points out that if you know the impediment, can estimate it, and deal with it then why would you not include them as work that is needed in order to deliver a valuable increment? In those cases, there can be transparency.  That would be another way that a team might handle impediments. 

I believe that there is no "correct" way to handle impediments.  I feel that each impediment should be handled uniquely and not apply a specific template.  Each impediment is an opportunity to learn and adapt.  

09:46 pm April 26, 2022

Thanks for the ideas and discussion. 

07:07 pm April 27, 2022

I agree with all the above feedback. I would also add that an impediments log can be created to identify obstacles to achieving a sprint goal and updates posted as they get resolved. This log can be a part of information radiators highlighting issues requiring  quick resolution to enable the smooth flow of work.