What kinds of impediments should a Scrum Master remove, and Which Should He Save for the Team?

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As a Scrum Master, you often have to walk a fine line between facilitating the team to remove their own impediments, and jumping in to remove the impediments yourself. Additionally, there are different levels of impediments that require different approaches: Organizational Impediments, Scrum Master Owned Impediments, and Team Owned Impediments

An example of an organizational impediment would be something like, “I have a person on my team who is constantly being asked by other managers to take on other duties. As a result, he are never able to properly commit to and focus on the work for this project ” So I would work with managers to remove this impediment either by:

  • Having the person replaced with someone who had fewer distractions
  • Having the other managers take those distracting items off his list of things to do.

An example of an impediment I would own as a Scrum master

“The team has been trying to have a meeting with the tech lead from another team for 4 days now. He is hard to catch up with and his calendar is nearly full.” As a scrum master I would coordinate/facilitate a face to face meeting so that the team is not consumed with administrivia.

An example of an impediment I would push the team to resolve

“We need to test this feature but we don’t have enough testers.” As a Scrum master I would guide the team to solving this themselves by “swarming” so that everyone becomes a tester so that we could get items to done.

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