The Classic Story of the Pig and Chicken


www.implementingscrum.com -- 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!

Welcome to the inaugural cartoon on www.implementingscrum.com.

Since the original publication of this cartoon series (starting September 11, 2006) I have made a few updates to the content of this page.Nothing has materially changed since we started the series; if anything, I hope it adds clarification to the overall content! This story is the first in an ongoing series to help explain what Scrum “is.”

And.

What Scrum “is not.”

Will we get it correct all the time?

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

Your comments are always welcome.

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. 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 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?”

No.

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):

Meet the rest of our cast in this series!

We will examine this and other issues in this series, as this is fun to see happen (sometimes sad WHILE it is happening, but funny to imagine).

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

Please send comments, questions, criticisms, ideas, or whatever here. You can also enter The Scrum Community to discuss this cartoon and other Scrum topics.

Thank you!


Originally Published:
September 11, 2006
Updated:
May 1, 200
October 23, 2007
February 16, 2008 (with Video)
More:
November 29, 2006


Comments

  1. Did you see today’s Dilbert?

    :)

  2. Let me know if I can add any information to your site as I have started many small businesses. And am currently running one!

  3. I love your son’s explanation. Very cute!

  4. I have a translated version of Chinese(traditional) in my website.
    I like this story.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. I like how your son put it. Check out the http://www.scrumedge.com logo.

  6. I am not endorsing this product — just wanted to say that logo is pretty cool :). Nice job!

  7. 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.

  8. 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 :).

  9. 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

  10. Hi,

    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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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

  14. 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.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] ? ???? ??????? ?? ???????? ? ???????? ?????, ??? ? ?????? ????????? ???? ????????????? ????? ?? ??????? ?????? ????? ?? ?????????? ?? ??????? ??????? ? Scrum ???????. ????????? ???????? ?? ??????? ? ?????????, ????? ??????? ?? ???????? ?????? ??????. ????????? ???????? ?? ??????? ????????? ? ? ???? ?? ???????? ????? ? ???? (???????????? ham’n eggs). ?? ????? ??????? ???????? : “No thanks, I will be commited. But you’d only be involved!” [...]

  2. [...] This week the comic depicts what a lot of Chickens struggle with. [...]

  3. [...] If you are new here… or need a “refresher” on the Chicken and Pig story… go here (http://www.implementingscrum.com/blog/2006/09/11/the-classic-story-of-the-pig-and-chicken/) [...]

  4. [...] Step one is to break the team into “managers” (chickens) and “workers” (pigs). [...]

  5. [...] Mehr zur Herkunft des Titels “Chicken” k?nnt Ihr im Blog “Implementing Scrum” finden… [...]

  6. [...] So in Scrum we talk about a number of terms and roles, the ones I?m talking about today are the Product Owner, chickens and pigs. Chickens and Pigs: If you don?t understand what Chicken and Pigs are within Scrum check out this great cartoon over on Implementing Scrum.com [...]

  7. [...] “Uh, well tell me a story from the user’s perspective. We’ll collaborate on design and further detail the feature during the sprint period. And remember, you’re a pig and that guy over there’s a chicken.” [...]

  8. [...] we struggled with various ways to maintain transparency so that we could satisfy our higher-ups (or the chickens in Scrum parlance) desire to know the status of our sprints and when we would be ready to deploy, [...]

  9. [...] First, some overdue credits: the good folks at Berteig Consulting has sent over a list of readings for the CSM course. Most of the information will be based from these materials. The cubic pig and chicken from the title graphic is the fine work of VladZ. As to why the pig and chicken are featured, see here. [...]

  10. [...] wanted to take part as a pig rather than a chicken, to use a Scrum metaphor, so I held a talk myself, about continuous integration – how [...]

  11. [...] de poucas semanas, diferentes pessoas me fizeram a mesma pergunta: o Product Owner é MESMO um Pig? Tem certeza? Adicionalmente a isto, tenho visto que grande parte dos clientes que visito, e que [...]

  12. [...] stand-up. 15 minutes max. Only pigs are allowed to speak. Single team daily coordination. Answer 3 questions. 1. What did I complete [...]

  13. [...] often makes reference to a classic joke regarding a pig and a chicken. The chicken wants to partner with the pig to start a restaurant. The pig says, “No [...]

  14. [...] that is someone who contributes but isn’t committed.  (Mike Vizdos has a great cartoon explaining the pig and chicken metaphor).  Chickens can be anyone from an outside consultant or subject matter expert to a CEO.  They [...]

  15. [...] uma tirinha criada pelo site implementingscrum.com (e traduzida pelo Leonardo Dantas) que explica a origem dos [...]

  16. [...] Among the other things we talk about so frequently in the Agile community is commitment. Do you know the story of the Pig and the Chicken? [...]

  17. [...] the Pig – popular in the literature for SCRUM – an Agile development methodology (see here). The Chicken goes to the Pig: “Let’s open a restaurant”. The Pig goes “I [...]

  18. [...] yesterday, I was chicken on 1.9.1, not pig. Most times I would remember to run 1.9 commands. Other times, I would be [...]

  19. [...] All employees interested and available can attend the meeting as “chickens“. [...]

  20. [...] scrummin eri rooleista. Heillä oli aika mielenkiitoisia näkemyksiä niistä ja erityisesti kanat ja siat naurattivat heitä. He epäilivät koodareiden olevan sikoja työympäristönsä [...]

  21. [...] September 27, 2009 Daily Scrum is for Pigs Posted by henriklarsson under agile, daily scrum, scrum Leave a Comment  In the Scrum world people are committed or involved. See the Classic Story of the Pig and Chicken. [...]

  22. Työkalut…

    Alla ransklaisin viivoin ja linkit projekteissa käytettäviin menetelmiin ja työkaluihin. Lisätietoa löyty seka Jabin Confluencesta, projektien kotisivuilta että muualta netistä etsimällä…….

  23. [...] Cartoon: The Classic Story of the Pig and the Chicken (Explains roles in Scrum) This entry was written by Administrator, posted on October 19, 2009 at 1:26 pm, filed under News. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Client – Utah Renaissance & Leadership Center [...]

  24. Twitter Comment


    The Pig and the Chicken [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  25. Twitter Comment


    @chrisajenkins Thanks for the pointer to [link to post] Wow… it all really started for me with this posting :). I appreciate it.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  26. [...] PO atuando apenas como um envolvido, ou pior ainda, pouco cooperando com a [...]

  27. [...] Let me present you the classic story of the pig and the chicken: [...]

  28. [...] encomendada, a ‘obra de arte’ é dele também. Sem essa compreensão eles deixam de se comprometer com sua [...]

  29. Twitter Comment


    Transcribing series of interviews on Strategic Alliances – one has #Bruce Acheson talking about the ham n egg alliance! [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  30. Twitter Comment


    Currently reading [link to post] by @mvizdos. Please RT.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  31. Twitter Comment


    Be the #Bacon: [link to post] by @mvizdos. Please RT.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  32. [...] Der referenzierte Klassiker dazu findet sich auf Implementing Scrum: [...]

  33. Twitter Comment


    Are you a “pig” or a “chicken”? [link to post] (thanks @marissasays for your Scrum talk today).

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  34. Twitter Comment


    The Classic Story of the Pig and Chicken. [link to post] #scrum #agile

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  35. [...] Scrum nie narzuca technik kodowania, ale znacznie dok?adniej precyzuje aspekty zwi?zane z planowaniem, takie jak miejsce i czas trwania spotka?, czy grupy osób, które mog? zabiera? g?os (warto zapozna? si? z oficjalnie przyj?tym podzia?em na „Kurczaki” i „?winie” ). [...]

  36. Twitter Comment


    Currently reading [link to post] by @mvizdos.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  37. [...] Uma série de papéis são definidos no Scrum. Todas as funções se dividem em dois grupos distintos, porcos e galinhas, com base na natureza do seu envolvimento no processo de desenvolvimento. Estes grupos receberam seus nomes de uma piada, sobre um porco e uma galinha, que pensam em abrir um restaurante, confira aqui. [...]

  38. [...] heard the Pigs and Chickens story retold over a WebEx with a LiveOps' twist and that was [...]

  39. [...] wrap up with the concept of Working With not Working For, and the old agile Chicken and Pig joke. It all comes back around when something goes wrong and the blame starts to [...]

  40. [...] do I use a Piggy, you ask?  Because tomatoes give me gas and Chickens would just be [...]

  41. Blogs and Web sites…

    Agile Advice…

  42. Cartoons…

    Cartoon that illustrates the Pig Vs. Chicken distinction in Agile circles. !PigsandChicken.jpg border=1! Taken from:…

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