last comment on the issue (I think) is that, forgetting the offense issue, it
would be useful to have a more 'professional' way and professional labels to
explain the concept of chickens and pigs. This would be useful for two
Humorless executives: I don't know about you but I've
encountered enough humorless, fact-based executives that know that
telling them the chicken and pig story would undermine my credibility. They
already think a lot of project management is mumbo jumbo (don't tell me about
theories, estimates and probability, just tell me when, how much, and get it
done). Using imprecise and 'goofy' terms like chicken and pigs would confirm
his or her suspicions. Terms that are more 'professional' would serve me
better in these circumstances
Adoption: share vocabularies are very powerful for both
communicating and earning buy-in. 'Chicken role' and 'pig role' would not
penetrate the vernacular of a large organization, at least not beyond IT. To
earn widespread adoption of SCRUM generally and chicken-and-pig role concepts
specifically, we need language that can be broadly used, broadly understood
and broadly accepted. We want people to refer to themselves, to understand
themselves, in these roles, and to accomplish this they need to be able to
talk about it. "My role on the XYZ project is 'pig'. Won't happen.
everyone on projects (at least in my organization) knows the terms like 'scope
statement', 'project sponsor', risk mitigation--even if they don't understand
that details or purpose of such things--indicates that the PMI concepts have
been incorporated into the organizational vocabulary. That these terms also do
not smack of theory is important (try selling an executive on 'the theory of
constraints'). They are part of a FORMAL methodology (I hear this term all the
time) and they 'sound' professional and meaningful.
Agile methods and scrum in particular needs such a vocabulary if they
are to be widely adopted.
Shall we that our terms need to go through another
everyone has heard the joke, then we seem to agree it is a
constructive, shared metaphor.
some people have not heard the joke, then it is an opportunity to lighten
things up by starting with a joke.
there are some people on your team who find the joke offensive, then I
suspect there will be many cultural conflicts to deal with on the
project. Starting with the joke will alert you to this issue at the very
beginning of the project. (Are there cultures without the concept of
Steven A. Gordon, Ph.D.
Arizona State University
PO Box 875506
Can I know when we need to
tell 'pig and chicken' to
My 2 cents:
If I needed
to explain the purpose of the meeting and
differentiating who are
committed and involved, I
would go into the explanation of the meaning
of calling them 'pig and chicken' unless I have the
to explain the joke with 'pig and chicken'.
It's rather offending
to call someone a pig or a
chicken (at least in my community), unless
very familar with them and they understand very well
you are talking about.
But I think it is pretty good to use
'chicken and pig'
within the scrum community as we all understand
--- David A Barrett
> My wife has a visceral dislike of the "Chickens and
titles. I assume
> because neither name has pleasant
> North American society.
> She tells me,
"Don't say that out loud, people won't
> know why you're
calling them a Pig!" Personally, I think some of
> that shock
value can be
> beneficial since it makes the concept stick
> quite clearly in your mind
> once it has been
> I cannot think of any other metaphor which
> the concept commitment
> v. involvement any better
than that silly joke. In
> some ways, I think it
up the heart and soul of Scrum, and if Scrum
> ever adopts a logo,
> think it should be a cartoon Chicken and Pig.
particularly like the term "Chicken in pigs
> All that being said, as someone pointed out earlier,
Scrum and its elements
> are not supposed to be a replacement for
> sense. You really need to
> be sensitive to
other people's feelings and cultural
> backgrounds, and I
would refrain from openly referring to individuals
> as pigs or
> there are people who aren't "in" on the joke
> Dave Barrett,
Professional Indemnity Company
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