STARWEST 2020 Concurrent Session : How to Be an Impediment Removal Engine

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Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

How to Be an Impediment Removal Engine

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As an agile coach working with self-organizing teams, I encounter blockers that can’t be removed by the team. Escalating the blocker to one manager or executive can be ineffective. I have experienced success when a group of managers or executives form a group dedicated to dealing with these kinds of issues, which I call an Impediment Removal Engine (IRE). If you have been in a similar situation and wondered how you could make a difference, come to the talk. Whether you are on a delivery team, managing a team or teams, being part of an IRE can help you understand and empathize with the problems your teams encounter. Blockers beyond the team’s control are often behaviors ingrained in the organization. Overcoming them can require the efforts of several leaders working together to change these behaviors. Even with that effort, some issues must be escalated to an IRE made of leaders at a high level of the organizations that have a wider scope of influence. Join Tom as he facilitates a hands-on session where the participates form groups that simulate an IRE where they will learn how to form a team, how to get their teams to identify issues for them, how to prioritize their work, and when to escalate issues to another IRE.

Tom Stiehm
Coveros, Inc.

Tom Stiehm has been developing applications and managing software development teams for over twenty years. As CTO of Coveros, he is responsible for the oversight of all technical projects and integrating new technologies and testing practices into software development projects. Recently he has been focusing on how to incorporate DevSecOps and agile best practices into projects and how to achieve a balance between team productivity and cost while mitigating project risks. One of the best risk mitigation techniques Tom has found is leveraging DevSecOps and agile testing practices into all aspects of projects. Previously, as a managing architect at Digital Focus, Tom was involved in agile development and found that agile is the only methodology that makes the business reality of constant change central to the process.