blocked card

One drizzly morning in Seattle I was attending a stand-up with my team when I saw a team member put a new card up on the kanban board, move it to the “doing” lane and immediately mark it as blocked. This wasn’t the first time I had seen this happen and red flags starting popping up in my head. I spoke up and asked why a new card was immediately blocked. The answer was “I started this work and I need this piece from Ops before I can finish it so now its blocked because I’m waiting on Ops. I sent him an email.” It turned out that the Ops engineer didn’t even know he had something to deliver for this card and probably didn’t know that the card existed.

What do you think – are we destined for happily ever after with Ops and Dev in this situation? That’s a solid “nope.” But, we were fortunate because this problem is usually easy to avoid if we just adopt a simple policy about starting work and embrace the golden rule.

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