Obstacle Types

The Art of Obstacle Removal is an important thing for the Process Facilitator to get good at. I was working with a client today and realized that there are really three broad categories of obstacles and only one category is easy to see. The other two are much harder for people to identify and deal with.


Category One: Tangible Barriers

This is the easy type to identify. Physical obstacles such as distance or walls are the most obvious. And usually people have no trouble identifying other tangible barriers such as bureaucracy or bad habits.

Category Two: Obstacles of Absence

These types of obstacles are harder to identify because they often take creative thinking to see a possibility of improvement by adding something to the environment. Some general sub-categories include a lack of trust, a lack of automation and a lack of knowledge.

Category Three: Chaos

These is often the hardest type of obstacle to identify. Conflict between team members is hard to speak honestly about. Too much context switching is also hard to acknowledge because it often seems like it’s a good thing to switch to something else – there’s always some sort of reason.


Are there any broad categories that I’ve missed? Any good examples of these different types of obstacles?


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