How To Identify and Solve Blockers

Since the beginning of time, humans have been faced with trouble all around and situations that didn’t make much sense. Whether it was biological changes like your voice maturing or personal situations like your first love breaking up with you, sometimes life is just like that, it doesn’t make sense to you. But you’ve had to figure a few things out and it’s what has brought you here this day. When you think about those type of complications, maybe it makes you feel like there’s nothing you could’ve done to prevent them, but that doesn’t mean we have no control about anything.

Then we have some other kind of troubles like being near a deadline and having to come through with a solution in no time, or finding out that one of your co-workers was having a blocker with a task for days when it was something you could have helped get solved in 15 minutes; those are the type of issues we can prevent and in doing so, we can avoid a lot of future headaches.

Being able to identify what’s troubling us, in any situation, is crucial to stop it from becoming a bigger problem. At SoftwareDevTools, we’ve learned this through the many projects we’ve worked on, and since we work remote in 4 different cities, knowing if someone in the team has an issue or blocker is vital to help resolve it as fast as we can. For us, the solution was creating a stand-up bot for Stride that runs asynchronous stand-ups where we share our updates and blockers with every member of the team.

See, sometimes we are so into our own thoughts that we can oversee solutions or details that others would’ve helped us notice faster had we worked as a team. According to a survey by Clear Company 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project and 86% cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. There might be moments when we encounter a problem and it’s too late ‘cause we let it go on for too long, we didn’t detect it on time or we didn’t give it the attention it needed, and those three factors are what can determine whether it’s gonna be something that interferes with our workflow or not.

We mentioned how we like to use our bot as a tool to solve blockers, but being good at communication is what truly makes it work. In order to have an effective communication session and solve issues from inception before they become a big problem, we believe the following practices make a difference:

-Asking the right questions

This will give you the information you need to either solve an issue or help in doing so, plus this guides the team in the right direction

-Understand what’s happening

It’s much more useful to fully dive into the product and fully understand it in order to find solutions and understand the bugs you’re coming across

-Know your end-user

This will guide you into understanding what they’re trying to do and prioritizing the criticality of a bug accordingly

-Being nice

Work together with your people and have an open mind, nothing good comes out of pointing fingers

And remember, if we go back to the Agile Manifesto, we will remember how it states that “individuals and interactions over processes and tools” and that’s what make actual functional teams. Problems are faster to solve and tasks are easier to accomplish when the person who might be able to help you in on the loop of what’s going on, ‘cause as they say “two heads are better than one”.

Trying to improve your #Agile practices? OR are you getting started with Agile? Are you in a remote team? Check out our products for Agile teams at SoftwareDevTools. We focus on making agile ceremonies more effective and easier to adopt for remote teams.

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Jocelyn Ledezma

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