The Single Wringable Neck. Scrum Style.

Welcome back to a new week and first cartoon of 2009 at

Thank you for continuing to follow and spread the word about this blog and our cartoons.

Get ready for a blast this coming year.

The last cartoon of 2008 covered the topic of how to handle questions from outside stakeholders during a Scrum (or iteration).

Remember that even familiar chickens can be dangerous to derailing an iteration.


Does that sound too dogmatic?


Let’s think.

Who calls an iteration “Done?”

That would be the Product Owner (look back at this old comic strip from the early days for a refresher on that).

And, the “old way” of doing this — in a waterfall environment — was to bow to the pressure.  That leads to very funny cult-movies; however, in reality it sucks for everyone involved.

Especially if you bow to it while using Scrum.


If you are a Team Member on a Scrum team and you get asked to do something that is outside the Sprint Backlog, you’ve GOTTA turn it over to the Product Owner to deal with.

So, this comic strip shows that.

Our intrepid character Pig did the right thing.


What is the Product Owner now supposed to do with this information?

This is not a blame game.


Someone needs to be responsible for the decisions.

How does this sit with you?

And where does the ScrumMaster play in this situation?

Comments, as usual, are requested and will help guide where we take this in the future (smile).

Thank you,

- mike vizdos


  1. Living through that knee-jerk reaction to bow to pressure, and team members don’t even know their leg is moving. S’matter of fact, just sent out an email describing the single wringable neck. Trying to set up a business team (big implementation) to help keep in-Sprint pressure off the team. To send this link out as an email blast, or just print the comic and hang it on the wall, in the Scrum-of-Scrum (SoS) room?

  2. Mike,
    Our real “PO” is probably our functional manager. He’s PO of the integration “Scrum”. The scrum masters end up being the PO’s of each smaller scrum team. Sometimes they end up being team leads though and acting very command&control or waterfall. It just depends who the scrum master is.

    Commitments are still made at the integration scrum level so therefore the pressure gets pushed down to those below. There’s a Friday integration scrum meeting, but it’s more of a hammer meeting. So then those scrum masters come out of that being very ‘determined’ to get things done quickly.

    Generally our scrum masters or our QA people are the ones to say when something is “Done”.

    Some of our scrums the scrum master shares wringable neck with the senior business analyst if possible. However, the business analyst really isn’t involved if it’s a purely technical item and then all the wringability lies on the scrummaster of that scrum.

    It’s unique… so far it seems to be working and getting better too.


  3. you know what, i just ‘got’ the cartoon. :) our PO’s do this alot. :( then point fingers.


  1. [...] and project manager) in a conventional software development. The product owner is often called as single wringable neck in Scrum. The term was used in Yahoo! scrum projects. This person may also be a Subject matter [...]

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