Impediment

Impediment: That which impedes or hinders progress, motion, activity, or effect.

I’ve been thinking about the negative context “impediments” are sometimes set in, I don’t think impediments are negative at all, in fact quite the opposite, they are the pointers that lead you on the path of improvement, but it all depends on how you approach it I suppose. I think the important thing to remember is that there is a distinct difference between removing the SYMPTOM of the impediment versus removing the ROOT CAUSE. Yes, both will have the effect of enabling the team to continue, but fixing the ROOT CAUSE will lead to a permanent improvement potentially across the organization, you may even end up removing OTHER teams impediments!

A good example of this is something I myself had to deal with. Our team(s) rely heavily on a web service supplied by another part of the organization. Occasionally this web service supplier will do routine maintenance and bring down the service without informing anyone, bring development to a grinding halt. Our current way of removing this “impediment” is to contact them and request they restart it as soon as possible (fixing the SYMPTOM). A better solution would possibly be to set up a meeting with them and discuss how they can involve us in their maintenance planning, or at least inform us up front of scheduled maintenance, allowing us to plan ahead for these down times (aimed more at the ROOT CAUSE).

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