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Agile Part 2: Pigs and Chickens

**The Story**

There are several variants as to how the Chicken and the Pig meet and the level of the relationship between the two. However, in every variant, the Chicken suggests that the two involve themselves in a scheme involving ham (or bacon) and eggs (some suggest a breakfast, others suggest a restaurant). In reply, the Pig always notes that, for the Chicken, only a contribution is required (as a chicken can simply lay an egg and then resume normal activities), while for the Pig a “total commitment” (or total sacrifice) is needed (as in order to make ham or bacon, the pig must be slaughtered).

**The Roles**

This same relationship exists in various forms in every project. There are always the people who are involved and those who are committed to every project. Using the Agile methodology and Scrum, its easy to separate the two, and to work more efficiently, and as such, get more done. So how does this relate? Well, lets take a look at the various roles in a scrum team. These are broken out into the following roles-types: Product Owner, ScrumMaster, Team, Stakeholders, and Managers. So, what are these roles and how do they relate to the process?

Product Owner: The Product Owner represents the voice of the customer and is accountable for ensuring that the Team delivers value to the business. The Product Owner writes customer-centric items (typically user stories), prioritizes them, and adds them to the product backlog. Scrum teams should have one Product Owner, and while they may also be a member of the Development Team, it is recommended that this the role not be combined with that of ScrumMaster.

Scrum Master: Scrum is facilitated by a ScrumMaster, also written as Scrum Master, who is accountable for removing impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the sprint goal/deliverables. The ScrumMaster is not the team leader but acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences. The ScrumMaster ensures that the Scrum process is used as intended. The ScrumMaster is the enforcer of rules. A key part of the ScrumMaster’s role is to protect the team and keep them focused on the tasks in hand. The role has also been referred to as servant-leader to reinforce these dual perspectives.

The Team: The Team is responsible for delivering the product. A Team is typically made up of 5–9 people with cross-functional skills who do the actual work (analyze, design, develop, test, technical communication, document, etc.). It is recommended that the Team be self-organizing and self-lead, but often work with some form of project or team management.

Stakeholder(s): These are the people who enable the project and for whom the project will produce the agreed-upon benefit(s), which justify its production. They are only directly involved in the process during the sprint reviews.

Manager(s): People who will set up the environment for product development.

So how do these roles all play together to make the process work? First lets see which type of players these roles fit into. First, the “Pig” roles. The players who are committed to the success of the project. The main roles here are the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Team. These are the folks who will ultimately determine the success or failure of the project. They are the ones who need to be fully committed to the project. The other roles; the Stakeholder(s), and the Manager(s), are in the role of the “Chickens”. While they are essential to the project as a whole, they are not the primary players in the Scrum process. They do, however, have the necessary input that will help or sabotage the project. In other words they can literally make or break the process.

Next time we will examine the Agile process, and how it all fits together.
Next Up [Agile Part 3: The Process]