This post was originally published on my old blog: Spike the Poodle
"I don't know what server to use for the new branch …"
"CruiseControl is down …"
"The base build is broken …"
It sometimes seems to me as though the team use Scrum as an excuse not to have to solve their own problems. Broken build? Server stalled? No problem – holler "IMPEDIMENT!" and the ScrumMaster will come and sort it out for you.
What happened to self management? An impediment that's reported to the ScrumMaster should be something that you can't fix on your own. Many times a few probing questions helps the team member figure out the next steps ("Have you tried rebooting the server? Have you asked X if she knows the answer? Have you emailed team Y to see if they can help?") and nine times out of ten it is something they can do on their own.
Maybe teams feeling pressure to deliver their Sprint commitments feel that they haven't got the time to spend resolving impediments as well. Or maybe the same issues occur over and over, and they get frustrated (in which case, the ScrumMaster should be engaged to help solve the underlying cause).
The ScrumMaster, however, is not a general dogsbody – neither do they have the skills to fix every problem. To be successful, ultimately the team have to figure out how to support themselves as much as possible. The ScrumMaster needs to remind them of this as well!
Maybe it should be added to the team rules as a reminder …