As a Scrum Master there are all sorts of things that get flagged as impediments that you are expected to resolve, some trivial some simply impossible.
My favourite of late was in a planning session, a member of the team said “please take this biscuit away, I have had far too many” I stepped in seeing an impediment to remove and … ate it. Once again balance restored and my duty done!
But looking back I think the most persistent impediment is recruitment. Most of my teams over the last few years have been composed of a good proportion of contractors and/or growing teams. There always seems to be more work than we have developers. I have recruited an average of 3 people a year for the last few years, sometimes spikes of recruitment sometimes just the odd replacement. But recruitment is time consuming. For each person hired, 4 or 5 are interviewed, for each person interviewed there can be 5+ CV sifted and considered.
I estimate each new hire consumes close on a full week of effort when you factor in interview time, preparation reading CVs and chasing recruiters, and often of more than one person involved in this process.
The bigger cost may be the impact on the team, a new person is disruptive, they change the dynamic of the team. They are unknown and may or may not live up to expectations.
Retaining staff is hard, the Inland Revenue continues to make life difficult for independent contractors and they are fearful of the implication of long contracts, and a buoyant contractor market means they can move around easily. Recruitment of permanent staff is much harder and a slower process. In the Civil Service because of the austerity measures permanent employees face an assurance of no pay raise or bonuses for the foreseeable future and the offer of below average wages. I still see the occasional good candidate but pickings are slim.