Project Management Guide
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What are Chickens and Pigs in Project Management?

Chickens and pigs are metaphorical characters used to highlight the role differences between team members in project management.  

This reference comes from the well-known business fable of the chicken and the pig. In this story, the chicken suggests that the pair should open a restaurant. The pig agrees and asks what they would call the restaurant. The chicken responds: “Ham-N-Eggs.” The pig politely declines, saying: “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you'd only be involved.” For the restaurant to offer ham and eggs, the pig would have to make a huge sacrifice and die to provide the meat. However, the chicken would only have to give eggs, which is merely an offering and not a full sacrifice.

Scrum pigs and chickens

In the world of Scrum, chickens and pigs are used to describe the two different types of stakeholders:

  • Chickens represent the committed stakeholders in a project who have put a lot on the line and are accountable for the entire outcome. These people could be product owners, product development team members, or even Scrum masters
  • Pigs, on the other hand, represent the non-committed stakeholders who do not have as much to lose. They are involved in the project, but they are not responsible if it fails. This category would include customers and general managers. 

Scrum falls under the Agile project management family. It is a framework that helps teams work together and achieve their project deliverables. Within Scrum, there are clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The Agile chicken-and-pig fable was designed to help people distinguish between committed and non-committed stakeholders in a Scrum project.

Are chickens and pigs still used in Scrum today?

The fable of the chicken and the pig is no longer referred to in the Scrum guide to differentiate between project stakeholders. It was removed to break down potential barriers between different stakeholders and avoid any negative connotations in referring to a team member as a “chicken.” This categorization could exclude anyone who could be “critical to the success of a project.”

One of the goals of Agile project management is to work collaboratively as a team and foster better levels of engagement in your Scrum project. The Scrum chicken-and-pig story is useful for understanding commitment levels in a project, but team members should focus on their shared vision rather than what sets them apart.

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