Tag Archives: impediments

Evolutionär förändring

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Ser jag tillbaka på mina år som konsult och coach på Crisp har det skett en rätt stor förändring i vilka typer av uppdrag vi får. Många organisationer möter en allt mer föränderlig omvärld med snabbfotade kunder; är de inte nöjda med det utbud som organisationen levererar går det till en konkurrent i stället. Det räcker inte längre med att enskilda team fungerar bättre; hela organisationer behöver förbättras för att nödvändiga effekter skall skapas. 

För att lyckas med förändringsarbetet behöver vi:

  • Utgå från att organisationer är komplexa system vilket kräver en organisk förändring snarare än ett plandrivet och mekaniskt sådan. 
  • Genomför förändringen evolutionärt drivet genom de hinder som teamen upplever, 
  • Successivt forma den struktur och arbetssätt som just den specifika organisationen bäst behöver för att leverera värde. 
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Getting management involvement in Scrum

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If your aim high, say for 2x or 4x performance, the impediments in your way must be removed. A sample can be:

  • Environment coherence and access
  • Not getting help from business
  • Removing worthless routines
  • Tools and machines

Doing this can be tricky since they rarely live within the team limit. However, dealing with impediments is an excellent task for your management to chew off.

If you need to ask for one single thing off your manager – it is to get their commitment to help you with impediments. However,  be humble and recognize that their effort and capacity is not endless. Battling organizational tasks is not "easy wins". So you are better off if they deal with a few at a time, but actually resolve them.

What I do is I ask team managers to assign two slots for impediments. And in the same way as team has their board,I make them visible outside the managers door:

Team manager impediment slots

The slots can be filled by the team. Good sources are daily standup or the retrospective.  If both slots are filled, team cannot assign one more impediment to the manager.

Rule: Team decides if the impediment has been solved or not.

Now, don’t not stop there. If team manager can’t get the problem solved he can escalate this to his department manager:

Department manager impediment slots

I’m surprised how well this worked, both in getting real help and  in not setting unrealistic expectations from teams point of view. A team biggest fear is often that an impediment will be "dropped" or "lost" over time. This lowers/removes that fear.

A learning experience is that all managers who tested working in this way have all made significant impact resolving even difficult issues.  In the beginning most slots were filled  But after 2-3 months free slots started to appear. So expect a "peak" early on, levelling out over time.

If you can’t get permission to make impediments visible outside the managers door, try  the ‘fridge’ guerilla technique.  (Invented and tested by my collegue Hans Brattberg). Put open impediments on the fridge door. That also does the trick!

Dealing with persistent impediments

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For long impediments (> 1 sprint)  unsovable by teams on their own, a demoralizing effect can quickly occur if issues brought up are removed just because there is no "quick fix". Apart from being a "pat on the head" and display of  not-so-great-leadership, this is potentially dangerous since you could wind up miss out on the biggest improvement benefits.

But we must also acknowledge resources are not unlimited, even for a management team (yes!!). So we could encounter the same demoralizing effect by taking on too much.

It boils down to: acceptance and visibility to efforts to tackle it. So this is how I prefer to do it:

Management team assigns two to three rolling slots for fixing impediments.

Management projects

Impedients accepted are put up visible on CEO’s door (or someone else in management team) Now management  has set expectations to what impediments they are actually fixing (thus growing trust).  At sprint retrospective, that list is reviewed.

Now teams don’t need to feel deceived if an impediment is removed from the daily agenda since they have visibility to what is going on.