Public Impediment List!

This is essential in Scrum.

That is my opinion, and while an impediment list is not called out in the Scrum Guide, I think Jeff Sutherland would at least insist that the continuous removal of impediments is essential. Read his blog posts and form your own opinion.

Why public?

Well, so everyone can see and offer feedback on what are our team’s biggest impediments.

And the list is prioritized. If the priorities are not obvious, then the ScrumMaster breaks ties. The team of course is the main decision-maker on the priorities, since the main basis for prioritizing an impediment is that it is slowing the team down the most.

The real juice is that the SM is making sure the top impediment is always getting worked, and there never comes a day when there is not a top impediment. (We never become perfect.)

Now, it may also be that the public impediment list reminds the SM (and everyone else around) why the heck we have an expensive person over there not doing “real work.” (By the way, I think the SM easily pays his way by removing impediments, but you do the math. Of course, that assumes that the company culture does not stifle all the impediment removal efforts — which has been known to happen.)

The exclamation mark in the title is there to suggest that way too often we find teams without a public impediment list, and with a serious lack of focus on removing impediments.

Please share your thoughts.



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5 thoughts on “Public Impediment List!

  1. David Updike

    I like the idea of making the Impediments public. I would suggest posting it as an Information Radiator (IR) and am going to try that on my next project starting in a week or so.
    So this works for co-located teams but distributed teams will find this more challenging. You could put it on a Wiki but this just doesn't have the same impact of a Team Room IR.

  2. Matthew Fisher

    Hi Joe,

    This is something I have to work on, and will be putting into place very soon. Thanks.

    Re. the "real work" comment, priceless. At a previous employer, following Scrum But, I was kinda the SM. At some point I was made redundant because my value wasn't seen. Shortly after I left, I caught up with some of the guys still there and they told me that it was only once I was gone that management suddenly understood the value I was adding.


  3. Tony G

    I do this! I have a CSM Backlog project in JIRA that can be viewed and appended to by everyone on the Scrum teams at all times. I am the Scrum Master for 2 teams and I have a CSM Backlog for each one. Working with an agile coach recently, I categorized the impediments as follows: High Impact Process, High Impact Training, Low Impact Process, Low Impact Training. I give a brief progress update every week at our Planning meetings as well. This is really working well for us!

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