I understand the concept that a Scrum Master should remove impediments. However I'd like to know where exactly the line should be drawn. For example a team member might have an impediment whereby they need to get support to log onto a live server and get some details. They can't progress a bit of work until this is done. Its a blocking issue essentially. But should it be the Scrum master that goes to the Ops department and does this for the developer or if the developer can do it themselves should they just do it themselves. At what point does an issue become a blocking issue?


It becomes a blocking issue the moment it's stopping someone from doing their job, whether that is developing, testing, designing or anything else that advances the product towards delivery. If the person it is blocking can solve it themselves (as easily as anyone else) then it's not blocking them.

If it is blocking them then the Scrum Master owns the problem. That doesn't mean the Scrum Master has to personally solve it. He just has to figure out what the simplest solution is and make sure it happens.

If that is contacting Ops direct, he should do it. If it's getting a Dev to contact them (maybe the Dev understands the technical conversation that needs to happen better than the Scrum Master), he should do that.

Whatever it takes, it just needs unblocking and if no one is responsible then it won't happen.

So the Scrum Master is always responsible. But no one can do a job with responsibility unless they have the authority to go with it. If this is a dispute where the developer is saying "No, you're the Scrum Master, you do it for me," then the Scrum Master should be able to pull rank (on blocking issues only).

  • 3
    Some would even say that the Scrum Master is the problem. <sigh> – yannis Jun 26 '12 at 13:19
  • The issue is blocking also when it stops testing. – superM Jun 26 '12 at 13:24
  • @superM: Good shout. Will change that. – pdr Jun 26 '12 at 13:26

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