Prioritize Issues By Value Or Cost to Fix

By Angela Druckman  |  Posted 2010-11-03 Print this article Print

2. Prioritize issues by value or cost to fix

Everyone knows an important part of the ScrumMaster role is "removing organizational impediments" but this is a bit of a misnomer. Impediments often need authority and budget to be removed. For this reason, in practice, a ScrumMaster must often raise impediments to management, which then considers how to address them.

Rather than presenting all issues as equal, it can be effective to help management understand which problems are causing the teams the most difficulty. Creating an "impediment backlog," a prioritized list of problems and issues the teams are experiencing, will help management weigh the potential benefits of removing an impediment against the cost (monetary or otherwise) to do so. This will help your organization make improvements in a cost-effective manner.

Likewise, remember to pick your battles. ScrumMasters and their teams often uncover a flood of impediments in the early days of the first pilot projects. Trying to resolve them all at once can be overwhelming. Instead, consider generating some quick wins by removing a few smaller impediments first. Doing so creates a pattern of success, makes management more open to hearing about issues and prepares the organization for dealing with thornier issues in the future.

Angela Druckman is a Certified Scrum Trainer at CollabNet. Having served as a Product Owner, ScrumMaster and team member, Angela has seen first-hand how agile practices and Scrum, in particular, can lead organizations to project success. As one of CollabNet's Certified Scrum Trainers and a member of its ScrumCORE team, Angela helps organizations harness the Scrum framework's potential, conducting dozens of public training courses each year, as well as providing on-site, private coaching. Prior to joining CollabNet, Angela served as a senior project manager at Vertex Business Services. While at Vertex, Angela not only coached client project managers and development staff on the implementation of agile software development practices, but also justified the framework's business value to internal senior management. Angela's previous experience also includes working as a program manager with B-Line, LLC, where she developed custom solutions for the nation's largest purchaser of bankruptcy receivables. A graduate of the University of Washington, Angela studied computing and software systems. For more on Angela's thoughts about Scrum, visit her blog at She can also be reached at

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