The Chicken and the Pig

June 26, 2010

The fable of The Chicken and the Pig is about commitment to a project or cause.

The Story

The Chicken and the Pig were passing a church on a country road, where they saw a sign reading “Charity meals for the poor, please contribute.” Says the Chicken to the Pig “Sounds like a worthy cause, let’s contribute a ham-and-egg breakfast.” Responds the Pig, thoughtfully, “Madam, for you that would be contribution, for me a total commitment.”

Interpretation and lessons

This fable is commonly referenced in the Agile software development community to to illustrate two types of project members: pigs, who are totally committed to the project and accountable for its outcome, and chickens, who consult on the project and are informed of its progress. By extension, a rooster can be defined as a person who struts around offering uninformed, unhelpful opinions.

A successful project needs both chickens and pigs (roosters are seen as unproductive). However, given the sacrifice required of being a pig — foreswearing other projects and opportunities – they can be difficult to collect. Thus, the construction of a successful project-team must ensure that the project has sufficient “pigs” – and ensure that they are empowered to drive the project in return for committing to and taking accountability for it.

External links


I originally posted this to Wikipedia. Over time, other contributors changed it, watering down my voice — and, in my biased opinion, the punch of the original. I love Wikipedia, it’s a phenomenal resource for mankind. But this experience illustrates the value of individual voice. The future of media has yet to be written…

One Response to “The Chicken and the Pig”

  1. Ellen Says:

    I totally agree on all counts, of course. It’s both tough and rewarding to be a pig. And it’s hard to keep the definition as fully responsible and accountable intact.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: