If you are trying to resolve a particularly difficult impediment, try calculating the cost of the impediment to the team/customer. Often putting the damage into dollars and cents will help translate the problem into something that business stakeholders understand and respect, namely profit and loss.
I have a cost column in the spreadsheet that I use for tracking team impediments. I can’t always fill it in with a number (which is usually a signal to me that I need to better understand the issue), but when I can associate a cost with the impediment, I find it much easier to garner attention to the issue from executives and other key project stakeholders.
In fact, if you grab your dusty old copy of Kerzner, you will find an entire chapter on assessing the costs of risks and using it for decision making (Monitoring and Controlling Risks). We can incorporate this work into impediment management for agile teams.
The fact is, meaningful impediments cost your project, your company, and your customers money. Impediments are a threat to a team’s ability to rapidly deliver value. You could probably put it into an equation:
Stories – Impediments = Customer Value