One of the valuable and important responsibilities of the ScrumMaster is to remove obstacles that impede the team’s work. This is necessary so that the team can become more and more productive in their work which gives greater value to the company. If the ScrumMaster does not work diligently on removing these organizations obstacles, the team will get bogged down by challenges and become demotivated to progress, and their morale will drop and become apathetic to the work and to Scrum. The benefit of removing these large obstacles is that it speeds up the cycle time of the work by the team. This is essential so the Team Members can focus their energies on delivering working software.
To learn more about organizational obstacles, visit the Scrum Team Assessment.
One of the primary ways that the ScrumMaster serves the team is by removing impediments to the progress of the team. If the team does not have what it needs to progress in its work, whether it be technology, tools, the right space, etc., the ScrumMaster must have the authority to immediately fill those gaps for the team. The ScrumMaster should not need permission from management in order to get the team what it needs. There should be request procedure that the ScrumMaster needs to go through in order to get sign-off from acquisition departments and what not. At the same time, if there are interpersonal issues between team members, the ScrumMaster must be empowered to intervene and help individuals overcome their differences without the involvement or permission from their direct line managers. Any process or procedure that the ScrumMaster is forced to follow prolongs the impediment for the team as well as the consequential waste and unrealized delivery of value.
To learn more about in-team obstacles, visit the Scrum Team Assessment.
The principles of openness and transparency include being able to be truthful about ways that you are struggling. A Team Member must share their struggles with their Scrum Team and with the ScrumMaster so that the team, at least, knows your status. Without that visibility, the Scrum Team may make decisions that are difficult or impossible to implement due to hidden obstacles. At every Daily Scrum, each Team Member should think carefully about the challenges they are currently facing, and share those challenges. The ScrumMaster cannot do a good job without that transparency since a core part of their work is to deal with obstacles. If a Team Member fails to be open about obstacles, or fails to recognize something in their environment as an obstacle, this can slow the team in its progress towards becoming a high-performance team. Obstacles that persist for a long period of time simply because they are not openly discussed can have a demoralizing effect on the team. On the other hand, a team that creates full visibility into their obstacles can enlist the help of stakeholders, work together to overcome those obstacles, and systematically become better and better at doing their work.