"What is your quest?"
"What is the velocity of an unladen swallow?"
Wait, sorry - those 3 questions are for the bridge of death - they have nothing to do with agile software development.
One of the 3 questions each team member answers during the daily Scrum (daily stand-up meeting) is, "are there any impediments to your work?"
I am currently working in China with a team building a web app for a US-based client. One of our impediments is the language barrier. In fact, the word "impediment" itself isn't in the vocabulary of my Chinese colleagues. So how do you ask if there are any impediments?
I ask if they have any "problems or issues", but that's not quite the right. As the scrum master/agile coach, I've found that the following question hits the mark:
What can I do to help the team?With those eight short words, I've found that I get much more insightful responses, and can root out some important impediments.