Removing Internal Blockers

Scrum Teams often face blockers that negatively impact the teams’ productivity. The Scrum Master takes responsibility for removing such internal blockers only when team members themselves are not able to remove on their own. Scrum Master has the attitude of helping the team to solve its own problems rather than solving the problems for the team. After all, successful Scrum Teams are able to solve their own problems quickly and effectively.

If the team is unable to resolve the problem on its own, then Scrum Master takes the initiative and owns the problem through successful resolution.

For example, in 2015, I was the Scrum Master of a project where the team was developing a web service that calculates expected profitability and margins of a broad selection of products. The team was dependent on the availability of certain data points (e.g., demand forecast, product cost, expected discounts, etc.) at scale to serve its callers within SLA.

The Scrum Team was missing its sprint goals three sprints in a row, and the team members were not able to resolve it on their own. After the third sprint review meeting, I realized that the team on which we were dependent had been violating their SLA causing in my Scrum Team to violate its SLA. My Scrum Team Members had reached out to the other team but couldn’t get a quick resolution.

I took ownership of this conflict and worked with the Scrum Master and Product Owner of the dependent team as well as our common Scrum Executive to get this work prioritized and dependency conflict removed.

When we entered the fifth sprint, the issue was resolved, and our team was back within its SLA.


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