Attitude Check: Are You a Pig or Chicken?
November 30, 2012 5 Comments
Our chief software architect, Aref Memarian, recently shared “Essential Scrum” with me. If you’re looking for a great review of scrum from someone who has obvious hands-on experience, I’d definitely recommend it.
While reviewing the various roles involved in agile development, the author describes two types of people: Pigs, and Chickens. Imagine this scenario:
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, “Well, perhaps, but 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!”
This analogy is based upon the Pig providing bacon, an act which requires total commitment to provide (i.e., death), in contrast to a Chicken who provides eggs — a task requiring participant but not his life.
In other words, in a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, the difference between a Pig and Chicken is that the Chicken is involved, but the Pig is fully committed!
In most organizations, you’ll probably need a combination of Pigs and Chickens involved on any particular project. You want your Pigs to be committed, which means they should have autonomy and freedom, in exchange for being held completely accountable and responsible for the project’s success. Your Chickens can provide input and support as required.
Now, what if you apply this concept beyond a particular project, and apply it to an organization as a whole? For example:
- If you’re a leader, what’s your mix of Pigs and Chickens? Do you want more of one and less of another? (And think: Which are you?)
- If you’re in a non-leadership position, what’s your perspective? Are you a Pig, committed and accountable for your organization’s success, or a Chicken — involved, but only to a limit?
Is there anything wrong with being a Chicken?