Impediments Need to be Removed, Not Excused

I find that a lot of times in the stand up, most people do not raise impediments. Do people feel this reflects badly on their performance? Because when they do, I see a reaction by the team to just brush it off. Something like this:

Developer states, “Yesterday I worked on the sensitive content module. I’m not quite done because I am still waiting on legal to review the verbiage, since it is so sensitive. So today, I’ll work on the uploading pictures module.”

Someone else on the team says, “Yeah, those people in Legal can be slow, I had that problem, too. Just be patient and hopefully they’ll get back to you.”

The Scrum Master says, “Thanks. Next.”.

What are the problems here? First off, sometimes blockers to work get embedded in the work that is happening, so extra care needs to be taken by the team, and especially the Scrum Master, to hear them. Secondly, there can be an inclination by other team members to brush it off, or try and solve the problem for them right then and there. That usually takes the form of, “All you need to do is… did you try… just wait…”. Finally, the Scrum Master does not record it, or ask if the people giving solutions would care to help the team member out, and never works on removing it. The same blocker can be reported for days, or more than likely never brought up again. The impediment is still there, just brushed away and turned in to that team member’s problem.

I think it is better if the Scrum Master is really listening to the conversation, recording down all impediments, and/or help facilitate a follow-up meeting with people that give suggestions for removal. During the stand up, the Scrum Master tells the team what blockers were lifted yesterday, which ones will be worked on today, and which ones remain.

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