There are a variety of reasons why projects can become stalled. The members of a project team may meet numerous barriers that impede or slow down their efforts. The types of obstacles vary widely depending on the industry, stakeholders, project and business environment, and the nature of the project itself.

  • Determine critical impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team
  • Prioritize critical impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team
  • Use the network to implement solutions to remove impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team
  • Reassess continually to ensure impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team are being addressed

PMI : Address and Remove Impediments, Obstacles, and Blockers for the Team : Domain I Task 7

Definition of Impediments, Obstacles, and Blockers

Impediments, obstacles, and blockers in Agile refer to any issues, challenges, or hindrances that prevent a team from meeting its goals and delivering value.

  1. Impediments:
    An impediment is a situation or challenge that slows down the team’s progress and affects the quality of their work. Impediments can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a lack of resources, technical difficulties, or unclear requirements.
  2. Obstacles:
    An obstacle is a challenge that is blocking the team’s progress and preventing them from moving forward. Obstacles can be internal, such as lack of team cohesion or ineffective processes, or external, such as market conditions or changes in customer needs.
  3. Blockers:
    A blocker is a specific issue that is preventing the team from completing a task or delivering a product increment. Blockers can be technical in nature, such as a software bug, or non-technical, such as a lack of approval from a stakeholder.

Examples of Impediments, Obstacles, and Blockers

Impediments: That slow down or hinder the progress

  • An employee is untrained. Untrained team members may take longer or do a poor job.
  • Team dispute on technical approach slows.
  • Remote team communication is often disrupted by sluggish internet speeds.

Blockers: Moveable or avoidable

  • A new government regulation prohibits Country X raw material imports.
  • Authorities stop construction after an accident.
  • A single supplier goes out of business, halting the project.

Obstacles: Causes Stoppages

  • in accident sidelines a crucial team member for at least a month.
  • Worksite power outages prohibit team members from working.
  • The acquisition of a software licence is delayed, preventing a project team from using it.

What is most important to handle

In Agile, it’s important to identify and address impediments, obstacles, and blockers in a timely manner to minimize their impact on the team’s progress and ensure the delivery of high-quality products. This is typically done through regular retrospectives and continuous improvement processes.

The degree and implications of impediments, barriers, and blockers might vary. Typically, “blockers” are deemed the most crucial because they entirely impede progress, but “impediments” merely slow it down and “obstacles” can be overcome with sufficient effort.

Tracking and Removing Impediments

“Removing Impediments” means identifying and removing impediments that are impeding a team from reaching its goals. The idea is to keep the team moving without outside distractions. The Scrum Master or project manager should monitor the team’s progress and remove barriers. Working with other teams or departments, stakeholders, or changing the project strategy may be required. Removing obstacles improves the team’s speed and quality.

We can track impediments with:

  • Issue log
  • Kanban (task) board
  • Software applications


To remove impediments in project management, a Scrum Master or project manager should:

  1. regularly assess the team’s progress,
  2. Identify the root cause of the impediment,
  3. Involve the team in finding solutions,
  4. Escalate the issue if necessary,
  5. Take action to remove the impediment, and
  6. Continuously monitor and reassess for any new or ongoing obstacles.

This helps the team work efficiently and effectively, leading to better project results.

An impediment slows progress, but a blocker halts progress. All blockers are impediments, but not all impediments are blockers.

Further Readings

  1. https://www.brainbok.com/guide/pmp/people/address-and-remove-impediments-obstacles-and-blockers-for-the-team/

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