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Pickens and Chigs

Virtually every Scrum practitioner knows the story of the Chicken and Pig. With time you learn that some practitioners adopt a Picken and Chig behaviour. Here are some clues to find out whether such hybrids have evolved in your organisation:

You probably have Chigs if:

  • Some team members do not attend dailies
  • Some team members excuse themselves from retrospectives
  • Some team members attend dailies, but do not participate in the rounds
  • Some of the team’s work is regularly done by non team members, such as experts, that do not see themselves required in ceremonies
  • The Scrum Master is responsible for Sprint Reviews
  • The Scrum board and Burndown chart does not get updated if the Scrum Master does not update them

You probably encounter Pickens if:

  • Your Product Owner participates in effort estimations, although he/she is not knowledgeable about how to make the software or product
  • The time of the Daily Scrum depends on the availability of non team members, such as the Manager or a Quality Champion who’s not on the team
  • Experts, such as managers or architects, make decisions on behalf of the team
  • Team members feel frequently dependent on other teams, such as infra

You probably have examples of your own of such hybrids, who are neither team members nor not team members.

So, what to do?

One possibility is to map out the involved individuals according to what role they play for the team. Then let the Pigs say what they would like to do with the various hybrids. Here’s an example:

+---------+----------+-------------+
| Who     | What     |             |
+---------|----------|-------------+
| Abe     | Pig      |             |
+---------|----------|-------------+
| Sarah   | Pig      |             |
+---------|----------|-------------+
| Isaac   | Pig      |             |
+---------|----------|-------------+
| Becky   | Picken   | Into the sty|
+---------|----------|-------------+
| Jack    | Chig     | To the coop |
+---------+----------+-------------+

The rule is that anyone that enters the sty with the rest of the pigs must play with the pigs – attend the ceremonies, get their hands dirty in making products, commit with the rest. The ones that go to the coop can play with the chickens, but are asked to kindly not interfere with the pigs.

Why is this important? Because for teams to become autonomous, self organised, self learning, all the good stuff you want from a Scrum team, they need to feel safe in their sty. And chickens should be chickens.

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