Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Fri, 16 Feb 2007

Is "impediment" an impediment?

Descriptions of standups usually include the three questions, the last of which is something like "Are there any impediments in your way?" Listening to a standup a couple of days ago, I realized I've been hearing a pattern for years without paying attention:

"... No impediments."
"... No impediments."
"... Haven't heard back from X about the schema."
"... No impediments."
"... My new machine is still in limbo somewhere."
"... No impediments."

I realized that "impediment" was being interpreted as something outside the team. But the metaphor of "impediment in your way" doesn't really work. The thing that's most often in my way is me: I don't know something, I'm thrashing around compulsively, etc.

I wonder if the word "impediment" is making people less likely to say what really needs to be said: "I can't do this alone. I need help."

(Random tip: when working with teams new to standups, I often take the most looked-up-to person aside and urge her to be the one to ask for help, hoping that will give other, less confident people the courage to be vulnerable.)

## Posted at 19:06 in category /agile [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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