Busting the Blocked Column Myth

Best 325 November 7, 2017 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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Sarah Harper

Update: the slides from Sarah’s presentation are available!

Software development mythology insists that a Blocked column is needed for the inevitable impediment. Why? Does it help our teams optimize process and reduce waste? I’ll show you how the Blocked column negatively impacts your team morale, increases waste, and skews metrics.

Do you believe in the Blocked column myth? It haunts most scrum or Kanban boards, but why do we have this column? What value does it provide? The Toyota Way teaches us to visualize our workflow and reduce waste. Does the blocked column on our boards reflect those principles? I will prove that the blocked column is detrimental to your team. This session questions the reasons behind our reliance on a blocked column, and what happens after tasks move there. We will explore the blocked column from multiple perspectives, including psychology, user experience, lean principles, and metrics. Finally, I’ll offer alternative ways to track blocked items that align with the Lean principles.