Explanation of the Pig and Chicken Fable in Scrum

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Dec 27, 2022
Updated on
Dec 27, 2022
Table of Content

For those looking for a better way to manage Agile project teams, Scrum is an invaluable tool. Used by millions of companies and organizations worldwide, this set of principles and practices enables the delivery of high-quality products quickly and efficiently. 

The Pig and Chicken parable has become a famous metaphor to explain one of the core values at the core of Scrum—team collaboration. Drawing from free-range farmyard dynamics, we’re going to explore this parable in depth so you can get even more out of practicing Scrum with your team!

What is the Pig and Chicken Parable?

A chicken once suggested to its friend, the pig, that they open a restaurant. The pig agreed and suggested a name for the restaurant. "Ham and Eggs" was suggested by the chicken. The pig was offended by the restaurant's name, which implied that his head was the only one on the chopping block.

What Does the Pig and Chicken Parable Illustrate?

It's well known that stakeholders involved in a project can have varying commitment levels: think of the chicken and the pig. The Chicken is just "involved"—investing time, effort, or resources—while the Pig is committed wholeheartedly, investing something of itself in the project.

How Should Scrum Teams Interpret the Pig and Chicken Parable?

The Chicken and the Pig is an organizational parable emphasizing the importance of staying committed to a project or cause. 

To make a dish with ham and eggs, the pig must be sacrificed to provide the ham, while the chicken provides the eggs, which can be mass-produced with relative ease. As a result, the pig is more integral to the dish than the chicken, although both are required to make it.

Within the Scrum framework, the chickens get a say in the final product, but the pigs decide how the work gets done, and how quickly. 

Thus, the pigs in Scrum are the development team members, the Product Owner, who represents the chickens, and the Scrum Master, who is in charge of organizing Scrum events, particularly during Scrum stand-ups.

In contrast, the chickens in Scrum are the customer, executives, vendors, and other important people with vision.

Communication and collaboration should be at the core of any effective strategy. Facilitating a culture within the team that emphasizes frequent exchanges between members should ensure that everyone is on the same page and committed to shared goals. 

Ensuring everyone knows what tasks they are responsible for can also help to focus the conversation around specific deliverables and work items, clearly outlining team commitments.

Finally, regular check-ins provide transparency into task progress and allow everyone to course-correct if needed. These steps can go a long way toward balancing involvement with commitment for Scrum Teams.

Conclusion

The Pig and Chicken parable highlights how important it is for team members to understand each other's roles and responsibilities to be successful. 

If you're looking for more tips on running a successful Scrum Team, GoRetro has tons of helpful resources. Check out our website today to learn more!

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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