Just 25 Mins

It is always daunting to see and deal with impediments, slowing the velocity of the team and impacting the PI/release objectives. And of course the ripple effect of it on all the aspects of the team newly adopting to Agile. In the service industry onshore-offshore delivery models, it’s so common to have experts sitting at onshore pulling strings as they please and upon their availability. There is always a huge dependency on them to get the work done.

Impediments/Blockers could stay on the boards for as long as multiple sprints pass by. This is even more difficult with staff augmented model; when resources at offshore serve the team with all authority with client SM and PO. Of course there is an expectation from leaders that we as team remove impediments as soon as possible. But, Is it really happening? Or we just use the only feature of Scrum very effectively to push the user story from one sprint to next. As Scrum Masters, we really need to think and take impediments more sincerely. As Scrum Masters; we don’t want to push the team to directions that we as a technical expert think is correct. I agree, we shouldn’t dictate our ideas to the team . Does that mean – we let the impediments slip by and push the sprint objectives to the next sprint. This is where expert Scrum Masters make difference in their teams. We all agree that team can resolve their impediments themselves. At least most of the time. All we need is to get their attention to it as a unit. We did a little exercise called “Remove impediments in 25 mins”. This was an opportunity for me to see how new agile teams can come together live the agile/scrum values. A time box activity always pushes individuals to be more creative and innovative. I revisited the “self-organizing team…” Agile principle with them team and brought their attention to their Scrum board, especially to the impediments that were stuck for a very long time. We as leaders must know what are the motivational factors for the individuals in the team. When I challenged them to come up with proposed solutions in only 25 mins; I was not very surprised to see that no-one spoke in first ten. I stuck an amazon voucher of 500 Rs on the board for the winner. In the next 15, I had 4 proposed solution on the board. 1 of which everyone agreed to be the best one. We stretched a bit late that evening and removed the impediment on the same night. That unfroze 45 Story points.

Does the motivation of $$ work? May be it does. The whole exercise of winning over this impediment fueled team’s motivation to sky high. Bringing people together to solve and build things HELP. I saw them as different individuals there on. As scrum masters/servants, we always need to be available and aware of each individual in the team to be that crank/screw that makes the machine/team function to its optimum level. Was it the voucher that really worked out? Sense of being useful and an accomplishment out of ordinary is the key. As human, we all want to achieve something that we and others can be proud of. That sense of change and achievement is the key to unlock the potential of unlimited possibilities. As leaders, not only we should understand individuals but also be keen in knowing what is valuable to those team members and help achieve them. We must facilitate to the best possible way that the team is motivated to maximum extent. Use the relevant props(like amazon voucher or anything that is propelling) for the group and have them succeed. Agile principle # 4 – Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. Well if you don’t have motivated individuals then make sure that you use a potion of magic to dazzle the folks. 

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