What are some of the things that we know block flow ? (Ask the team)

You may hear some of these options, if not, add them in

  • Not having the proper requirements
  • Waiting for other teams to deliver before we can start or finish
  • Knowing that the requirement is incomplete

These are all signs that we are starting work we know we can’t complete and it is having an impact.

  • How much time do you think we are wasting on this ? (Ask the team)
  • What do you think the impact is on our ability to deliver ? (Ask the team)

Would you start a jigsaw puzzle with the picture ? Or what if you knew that you only had 20 of the 30 pieces, would you still start ? Why ?

When we accept work that isn’t ready we spend most of our time waiting or trying to unblock the work we have started. We often know this will happen, but we still accept the work and then are unable to deliver on our commitments.

So, what if we only accepted work and committed to delivering it if we knew that we had what we needed to complete what we started ?


For the next sprint work out a system that allows the team to determine if this piece of work is actually ready and could be completed. If not, determine a process that would get the work to that stage and take in something that is ready to complete.

This should become part of your backlog grooming process and relies on the team having two distinct aspects to their workflow, delivery (where we complete what we start within a time frame) and discovery where we don’t have a time frame as we don’t know what we don’t know.