Friday, May 3, 2013

Public Impediment List: "We don't want to see the bad news."

The Scrum Guide does not mention it, by I strongly advocate a public impediment list.

The simple idea is: visual management, and single piece flow off the 'top' of the list.

What's the problem?  There are several, and let's discuss two today.

1. Some impediments are personal and should not be put on the list.

To be this is easy. An example that is fun to talk about is that Sarah and Sunil are having an affair.  And some or all of the team knows about it, and it is 'disrupting' the team in some way.

The issue: listing this specific personal impediment on a public forum will not help. Fair enough.
And the easy solution is that those 'personal' impediments should not listed, at least in the wrong way, on the public impediment list.

2. 'We don't want to see the bad news.'

This is actually a very common and a very hard problem.

Often members of your organization -- while they may never say it this way -- will not want to see the problems in the organization.

Sometimes this will manifest as a denial of some of the impediments. And, to be fair, there should be a healthy discussion about whether all things mentioned are really impediments. But certainly we see people 'defending' things that are really impediments.

A related factor, though, is the wish to feel good about ourselves. And the impediment list makes us, often, see that we are....more imperfect than we sometimes want to admit.  This is hard on the organizational ego.

So, building in some humor, and showing the value of always striving to be better... these are very important things to discuss.

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