Best Practice: Impediment Backlog

At it’s simplest the backlog is a list of work we want to do. There are several types:

  • Sprint Backlog: The work team(s) have committed to do in a sprint, or the work that is prioritized to start first in Lean / Kanban.
  • Product Backlog: All of the work that has been requested to do for a product or suite of products.
  • Impediment Backlog: The work to remove or reduce the impact of impediments and blockers for the team(s).

Any high performing team should be familiar with this kind of work. There are a few ways to view what this backlog is to contain. Some describe it as a backlog for the Scrum Master / Agile Coach. Some describe it as a kanban style list of things to improve in the agile implementation for the individuals, teams, departments, even organization as a whole. I suggest the following definition:

Impediment Backlog: a list of impediments for the team(s). With support from the Agile team(s), the Scrum Master / Agile Coach works throughout every sprint to try to remove or reduce the impact of impediments.

Consider that these items in the Impediments backlog should be informed through team interaction during a sprint (or throughout work in Kanban) and solidified and prioritized to work in the Retrospective.

Who is the Product Owner of the Impediment Backlog?

Unblocking the team is not just a job for the Scrum Master / Agile Coach. So, the impediment backlog is not just a backlog for Scrum Master / Agile Coach, it is a backlog for the team.

A high performing team is one who can work together with the Scrum Master / Agile Coach to unblock itself. The Scrum Master / Agile Coach is often the person leading this effort.

The Product Owner of the Impediment Backlog is the team itself.

Read More:

  1. Crisp’s Blog » Improve the improvement process
  2. Organizational Impediment Management: Early Risk Detection for Agile | Getting Agile
  3. Impediment Management and the Agile Triangle | Getting Agile
  4. The Impediments Backlog | IT-Zynergy ApS
  5. Remove Impediments. Don’t Inventory Them.
  6. 7 Steps to Build a Kanban Board for a Scrum Team’s Impediments » Agile Trail

By carina

Amateur painter.