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Impediment (Scrum)

By defining and managing impediment work items, your team can identify and track problems that prevent it from completing tasks efficiently. Teams typically identify impediments during daily scrums. The scrum master is responsible for helping resolve these impediments and improve team productivity.

In this topic

Required Permissions

To view an impediment, you must be a member of the Readers group or your View work items in this node permission must be set to Allow. To modify an impediment, you must be a member of the Contributors group or your Edit work items in this node permission must be set to Allow. For more information, see Managing Permissions.

The work item form for an impediment contains the fields and tabs in the following illustration:

Screenshot showing impediment work item

When you define an impediment, all fields are optional except Title.

To define an impediment

  1. In the upper section of the work item form, specify one or more of the following types of information:

    • In Title (required), type a phrase that accurately describes the problem and defines the areas of work that the impediment affects.

    • In Iteration, select the iteration path for the impediment.

      You can specify the root iteration path to start and then move the impediment into a sprint during a sprint planning meeting.

    • In the Assigned To list, click the name of the team member who is responsible for resolving the impediment.

      Note Note

      Only members of the Contributors group can own a work item.

    • In the State list, leave the default value, Open.

      After your team resolves the impediment, you can change the state from Open to Closed.

    • In the Reason list, leave the default value, New impediment.

    • In the Priority list, click a value to specify the importance of the impediment on a scale of 1 to 4, 1 being most important.

      The default value is 2.

    • In Area, click the appropriate area path, or leave the field blank and assign it later during a planning meeting.

      For more information, see Create and Modify Areas and Iterations.

  2. Specify information on one or more of the following tabs:

    • On the DESCRIPTION tab, describe the impediment in detail.

    • On the RESOLUTION tab, describe in detail how your team resolved the impediment.

    • On the HISTORY tab, add comments that you want to capture as part of the historical record.

      You can format the text that you type in this box.

      Every time that a team member updates the work item, its history shows the date and the comments for the change, the name of the team member who made the change, and the fields that changed.

  3. On the LINKS tab, link the impediment to other work items, such as a product backlog item, a task, or another impediment.

    For more information, see the next section in this topic.

  4. On the ATTACHMENTS tab, attach files that provide more details about the impediment.

    For example, you can attach an e-mail thread, a document, an image, or a log file.

  5. Click Save Save Work Item.

You can link an impediment to another work item by using the Links tab.

To link an impediment to a product backlog item, a task, or another type of work item

  1. On the Links tab, click Add Links Link to.

    The Add Link to Impediment dialog box opens.

  2. In the Link Type list, click Related.

  3. Perform one of the following actions:

    • In Work item IDs, type the IDs of the work items to which you want to link the impediment. Separate IDs by using commas or spaces.

    • Click Browse to specify work items from a list.

      The Choose linked work items dialog box appears.

      Screenshot shows Choose Linked Worked Item form

      In the Saved query list, click a query that returns one or more of the work items to which you want to link the impediment. For example, you can click Sprint Backlog or Blocked Tasks.

      Click Find, and select the check box next to each work item that you want to link to the impediment, and then click OK.

    • (Optional) Type a description or a comment for the items to which you are linking.

  4. Click OK.

    For more information, see Find Work Items to Link or Import.

  5. Click Save Save Work Item.

    Both the impediment and the items to which you linked it are updated. For each work item that you added, a Related link to the impediment is defined.

The following state diagram shows the two states of an impediment: New and Closed. You cannot reopen an impediment after it has been closed.

Impediment state diagram
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