Here’s a video I shot for freeCodeCamp about Chickens and Pigs.
The term “Chickens and Pigs” was removed from the official Scrum Guide in 2011, but you might hear it used even today. In this brief video, you’ll learn the story behind the term, as well as its history, meaning, and pros and cons.
Click “Continue reading” below for a transcript.
Hi, my name is Chris Gagné and I am an Agile Coach. Today, I will talk about chickens and pigs.
Chickens and pigs? What has that got to do with Agile? Well, here’s the story:
A Pig and a Chicken are walking down the road.
The Chicken says: “Hey Pig, I was thinking we should open a restaurant!”
Pig replies: “Hm, maybe, what would we call it?”
The Chicken responds: “How about ‘ham-n-eggs’?”
The Pig thinks for a moment and says: “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved.”
So it’s a story about how committed someone is to the cause. The ham requires the pig’s sacrifice, while the chicken’s eggs are easy to produce.
Traditionally, the Development Team were the pigs, while everyone else including product owners, scrum masters, customers, and other stakeholders were chickens. The idea was that pigs got the priority for talking during team meetings—sometimes chickens were even expected to remain silent unless invited to speak—because they were the ones who had their bacon on the line.
Ken Schwaber, co-creator of Scrum, used to tell this story about Chickens and Pigs and it was even part of the Scrum Guide. However, Ken and his co-creator Jeff Sutherland removed it from the Scrum Guide because it got a little too derogatory in practice. Developers might say something like “The stakeholder can’t talk to us during daily standup, they’re just a chicken.” It’s true: we want the development team to be able to focus on their meetings without getting derailed, but calling our leadership chickens isn’t going to win us any favors.
Since it hasn’t been part of the Scrum Guide in quite a while, you may hear the term less and less often. That’s perfectly OK. And it’s still fine to use the term in your organization, just don’t use it as a chance to beat up on your stakeholders. If you really think about it, we’ve all got our bacon on the line.
Best of luck, oink oink!