Implementing Scrum: The Classic Story of the Scrum Chicken and Pig Cartoon


You might be curious to learn about the classic story of the Scrum chicken and pig cartoon. -- Cartoon -- September 11, 2006 - Scrum - This is the classic story of the Pig and Chicken metaphor in an Agile Software Development Project Management Technique

View a translated version here — now available in 10+ other languages!


My name is Michael Vizdos and I am the creator of  This is the inaugural Scrum chicken and pig cartoon. Since the original publication of this cartoon series  (September 11, 2006) I have made a few updates to the content of this page.

Please visit my home page to learn more about the most current information when Implementing Scrum in the real world.

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The Classic Story of the Scrum Chicken and Pig Cartoon

This story is the first in an ongoing series to help explain what Scrum “is.”


What Scrum “is not.”

Do we get it correct all the time?

Probably not. And that is OK. The plan is for all of us to learn.

So, why are we using a Chicken and Pig?

The story depicted above, as weird as it is, helps me — and others — explain two of the main types of people in Scrum.

I am amazed that the Human Resource Departments of many companies I consult with have not shut down this example; it is probably only a matter of time. This is still the best example I know of to explain the roles, and this is what our cartoon series reflects.

The basic premise of the Chicken and the Pig can be seen from the cartoon example above.

Here is an easy definition of the Chickens versus Pigs.

A Pig is someone who has skin in the game. My friend (and super awesome person!) Mike Cohn aptly refers to the people in that role as, “Having their Bacon on the line.”

Pig roles are considered core team members. Performers. People who “DO” work.

Get it?

I would consider the roles of both Product Owner and the ScrumMaster to be the Pigs on a team.

A Chicken is someone who has something to gain by the Pigs performing, but in the end, really do not contribute day to day to “getting things DONE.” Their “eggs” are a renewable resource, and many get laid (eggs that is).

I get asked the following question by many people when starting to use Scrum:

“Can I be a Pig and Chicken at the same time?”


You cannot be a Pig and a Chicken at the same time.

This is something I work with middle managers who struggle with this on a daily basis. The concept takes coaching, and constant [gentle] reminders that they cannot be a Pig/Chicken. I call this a Pigkin… and it is something you do not want to see in any organization!

A video commentary of this cartoon can be viewed here (it was posted February 16, 2008):

I do hope the simplicity of the cartoon above gets the point across. Remember it. It will serve us well in the journey ahead.

Scrum. Focus and #deliver

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Originally Published:
September 11, 2006

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  1. Taridzo says

    I dont know what you think, but i would not call the role of the product owner “pig”. The product owner has his role during planning, but once a commitment to the goal is made, it’s up to the team to deliver. PO attends daily scrums only as an observer. The team is a definitely commited pig.

    • says

      Hmm…. I’d consider them a “pig” in that good ones are involved *daily* with the team to make minor course corrections and not have any surprises from the rest of the team :).

  2. says

    This is one of the most distasteful, divisive, and inaccurate stories in the world of software development. In most organizations, the only person putting the ability to feed their family on the line is the Product Owner or the Executive Sponsor of the project.

    We pretend Agile is about Trust, and then we promote Chickens and Pigs as the very first story assuring we are establishing a low trust relationship with management. Are you kidding me? Is this really something we want to continue to promote – that we feel the developers are the only ones with anything on the line in spending the companies money trying to deliver value to our customers.

    Dennis Stevens

    • says


      I appreciate the comment and understand that some people do not like this analogy. I specifically use this analogy to show the conversations between Team Members, Product Owners, and ScrumMasters are difficult. I am using this cartoon series (around for almost 4 years with almost 100 cartoons published) to help *start* those conversations. Like the analogy or not, well, it is here to stay and I will continue to use it so that we can all have tough conversations — thus improving things for all of us!

  3. Lori Hoover says

    May have permission to reprint the cartoon in a “Neighborhood Matters” article I am writing for a local organization? I am using this to illustrate the absentee landlord problem in our area. Thank you.

    • says

      Sure, go ahead and please just retain the copyright and other attributions on the cartoon when you use it. If it is online, please link back to the original source here!

  4. Atul Kumthekar says

    May I have permission to use this cartoon in SCRUM presentation. I am preparing this presentation to give SCRUM training to new joined emplyoees in my organization.

  5. JaVincy says

    I am a pig. Always will be. The beauty about being a pig is the amount of things we learn. Although I despise the fact that I always do the work, I’m happy about the results. Unfair but being realistic.

  6. says

    I agree that a person can’t be both a pig and a chicken simultaneously, but sometimes they can be a pig, and sometimes they can be a chicken, in the same work environment, for the same project. See the role of a business analyst or a UX professional.

    • says

      Hi Hollie.

      One of the real world things Scrum helps expose is the dysfunctions in current organizations. Remember there are only three roles in Scrum — The Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team Member. Keeping the roles of BA or UX person is legacy in a true Scrum world; granted your reality may be mixed today :).

      Thanks for bringing this up (and sorry for the delay in responding to you on this).

      – mike vizdos

      Focus. #deliver

  7. says

    This looks like some great information (and is very timely for a team I am currently working with today). It helps to hear this information from people who do this [design] for a living and validates what I am teaching and coaching teams to do. I am *not* the design expert and am happy to see this being applied in the real world with teams like yours too! Thank you for the link to the cartoon.

    – mike vizdos

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