February 22, 2010

Scrum Agile Software Development: Chicken And Pig Story

Scrum is an iterative incremental framework for managing complex work (such as new product development) commonly used with Agile Software Development methodology. Although the word is not an acronym, some companies implementing the process have been known to spell it with capital letters as SCRUM. Maybe because Ken Schwaber capitalized SCRUM in the title of his early papers about this methodology.

Although Scrum was intended for management of software development projects, it can be used to run software maintenance teams, or as a general project/program management approach.

A number of roles are defined in Scrum. All roles fall into two distinct groups — pigs and chickens — based on the nature of their involvement in the development process. These groups get their names from a joke about a pig and a chicken opening a restaurant

There are several variants as to how the Chicken and the Pig meet and the level of the relationship between the two.

However, in every variant, the Chicken suggests that the two involve themselves in a scheme involving ham (or bacon) and eggs (some suggest a breakfast, others suggest a restaurant). In reply, the Pig always notes that, for the Chicken, only a contribution is required (as a chicken can simply lay an egg and then resume normal activities), while for the Pig a "total commitment" (or total sacrifice) is needed (as in order to make ham or bacon, the pig must be slaughtered).

So the “pigs” are committed to building software regularly and frequently, while everyone else is a “chicken”—interested in the project but really indifferent because if it fails they’re not the pigs—that is, they weren’t the ones that committed to doing it. The needs, desires, ideas and influences of the chicken roles are taken into account, but are not in any way allowed to affect, distort or get in the way of the actual Scrum project.

“Pig” roles

The Pigs are the ones committed to the project in the Scrum process—they are the ones with “their bacon on the line” and performing the actual work of the project.

Scrum Master (or Facilitator)
Scrum is facilitated by a Scrum Master, whose primary job is to remove impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the sprint goal. The Scrum Master is not the leader of the team (as the team is self-organizing) but acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum process is used as intended. The Scrum Master is the enforcer of rules. A key part of the Scrum Master’s role is to protect the team and keep them focused on the tasks in hand.

The team has the responsibility to deliver the product. A team is typically made up of 5–9 people with cross-functional skills who do the actual work (design, develop, test, technical communication, etc.).

Product Owner
The Product Owner represents the voice of the customer. He/she ensures that the Scrum Team works with the “right things” from a business perspective. The Product Owner writes customer-centric items (typically user stories), prioritizes them and then places them in the product backlog. A Product Owner can be a member of the Scrum Team but cannot be a ScrumMaster.
According to original Scrum, Product Owner is in a "pig" role. However, if the Product Owner does not have involvement regularly, he/she may be considered as a "chicken" .

“Chicken” roles

Chicken roles are not part of the actual Scrum process, but must be taken into account. They are people for whom the software is being built.

Stakeholders (customers, vendors)
These are the people who enable the project and for whom the project will produce the agreed-upon benefit[s], which justify its production. They are only directly involved in the process during the sprint reviews.

People who will set up the environment for the product development organizations.

That's all for now... I'm just sharing my readings about Scrum Agile Software Development. Most of these are taken from wikipedia while the cartoon was found in implementingscrum.com. Enjoy it.

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Michael Vizdos said...

As the author of implementingscrum.com I appreciate the references and extensions to my work. Please feel free to provide other comments or let me know if you'd like to submit a guest post with me on any other existing comic strip.

ApOgEE said...

Hi Michael Vizdos,

I like your cartoons on implementingscrum.com. I recently read about Scrum and I'm just jotting down my readings here... I would love to re-post + comment your other comic strip later if you allow me to. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Offshore software development India said...

Thanks for this awesome post. I was looking for this kind of information. Please continue writing....

Regards:-offshore software development India

Michael Vizdos said...


When placing my comic strips directly on your blog, can you please link the cartoons back yo the original retries or to the main site at implementimgscrum.com.

Awesome write-ups.

I appreciate it.

ApOgEE said...

Hi Vizdos,

OK, I've just link em... thanks!

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