Agile development teams constantly try to add value to their production process. Value stream mapping is a powerful exercise used to get great results from development teams. However, certain impediments can significantly detract from the value output, slowing the progress of development efforts.
The Impact of Impediments
When thinking of a value stream, imagine a highway with a constant flow of cars entering and exiting. What happens when there is a traffic jam? There may be too many cars on the highway at one time. There might be road construction or a car accident shutting down lanes. Perhaps certain cars aren’t driving the speed limit. Whatever the case, the highway isn’t functioning at its full capacity and the traffic - the impediment - is causing highway to lose value. An Agile development effort is very much the same.
Agile impediments can come from a variety of sources and affect every aspect of the organization. Obstacles can appear on the management side, the human resources side and especially the development team side. Going back to the highway example, everyone wants to put the pedal to the metal but there are inevitably going to be things along the way slowing you down. As a Scrum Master, part of your role is to remove those obstacles for the development team so that they can complete projects efficiently with few impediments and interruptions.
Taking Care of Impediments
How do you remove impediments? It all comes down to the framework you establish with your Agile methodology. Scrum is a popular framework used by many organizations to streamline the development process and effectively deal with any problems along the way. The goal is to resolve impediments as soon as possible, opening up the highway, removing traffic, improving flow and picking up speed as you go.
Adopting the Scrum framework - utilizing the Plan, Do, Check, and Act cycle - can remove the impediments holding your development team back. It helps address issues as they appear, improving the way the Agile development team works. When it comes to impediments, first go after the items that don’t add any value to your operations. By eliminating these, the more efficient the development team will become.
The Scrum framework can help remove those impediments and increase your Scrum team’s velocity. You want to hit that speed limit on the highway, just like you want to drive forward on your project in an efficient manner. As you continue to Plan, Do, Check, and Act with each obstacle, you clear your highway and have a higher output of each value with every Sprint.
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