#111 – Marked as Blocked

When a User Story is marked as blocked, it can be tempting to move on to other User Stories in order to maintain the feeling of progress and flow, while leaving the Scrum Master to work on unblocking the blocked User Story.

Instead, let’s start seeing the act of blocking a User Story as the same as pulling the Andon Cord. In this concept from the Toyota Production System, any operator on the assembly line was obligated to pull a rope if they discovered a problem with the production, which would then stop all the work on the assembly line, so everyone could swarm around identifying the problem and solve it. Marking a User Story as blocked is pulling the cord, so let’s start treating it that way and the whole team focus on getting it unblocked quickly and effectively.