Situation

Very frequently we come across situations where teams come across impediments in the sprints; we would like to draw a clear line of distinction for the things that the team is going to work on and things that need escalation.

Name and Description: Fly-High

This technique uses kite-flying as a metaphor. I was flying kites with my friends at the Pongal festival, and we had a few tangles on the ground, but we could remove those by ourselves. But as the kite flew high, it got stuck between some wires, and we had to get external help from our neighbors and use sticks and other tools to remove these blockers so we could have a smooth flyway.

A thought came to me that this experience was relevant to some of the scenarios we see with teams. We come across many bottlenecks during the sprint, and they can be classified into two categories:

  • Team-level impediments that the team is stuck with but can resolve themselves if they work on them consciously (similar to tangles on the ground)
  • Organizational-level impediments that are beyond the team and need to be escalated to the next level for resolution (similar to the wires in the sky)

We had a retrospective a few days after the Pongal festival, and I drew a kite on the board and asked the team to imagine the kite as the good work they have been doing. I also encouraged the team to:

  1. Identify the good work they have been doing so far and that they would like to continue doing.
  2. Identify team-level impediments they could resolve themselves, provided they really work on them
  3. Identify impediments that need escalation to the next level because they require support from the organization or senior management for resolution

Teams liked this method a lot, and they were easily able to draw a clear line of distinction between the team-level impediments and those that needed escalation to the next level.

The lesson to be learned from this is that when we come across an interesting experience in our day-to-day work, we could take it back to our teams and use it whenever it could apply to improving a process.

Material

Large white board or a large piece of poster paper. Three colours of sticky notes and markers.

Instructions

Draw a kite on the board and ask the team to imagine the kite as the good work that they have been doing.

Encourage the team to write sticky notes to :
1. Identify the good work they have been doing so far and that they would like to continue doing
2. Identify team-level impediments that they could resolve themselves, provided they really work on them
3. Identify impediments that need escalation to the next level because they require support from the organization or senior management for resolution

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