Agile Work Artifacts – Record of Obstacles

The Process Facilitator has only a few key responsibilities. One of those is to remove obstacles that are preventing the team for completing its work quickly, effectively and with high quality. The team’s primary tool for tracking this work is the Record of Obstacles. Like the Work Item List, this is a fairly simple artifact.

The Record of Obstacles is a list where each entry in the list has three bits of data: a short description of the obstacle, the date the obstacle was identified, and a checkmark if it has been completed.

This list can be maintained on index cards, a whiteboard or an electronic tool such as a spreadsheet or wiki. The Process Facilitator maintains this list and all additions to the list go through this person. The primary source of items for the Record of Obstacles is the team’s status meeting where each team member identifies any obstacles preventing them from doing their work. Additional obstacles may be revealed at the retrospective, or during the regular course of work.

The Process Facilitator should do his or her best to resolve an obstacle immediately. Lean manufacturing has an extreme example of this called “Stop the Line”.

Ideally the Record of Obstacles is highly visible to all members of a team. This is so that everyone is aware of the current status of the obstacles listed.

Although this list is not normally prioritized, it is useful to do so if the list of un-resolved obstacles is lengthy. The Process Facilitator is responsible for prioritization of this list.

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