Organizational Commitment: Pig and Chicken – Part 2
Many people really don’t like the original cartoon (See Pig and Chicken Part 1). However, in order to get to Part 2 (and 3), I had to start at the beginning! Tweet the Pig and Chicken Part 2 Agile Safari Cartoon!
Part 1 is supposed to show how the team members are the ones who are “fully invested” and “really committed” to getting the work done — hence they are the pigs. So, as the story goes, the Development Team (in Scrum) are pigs, who commit to the work for the next iteration (or sprint). They are “on the hook.” As I noted in Pig and Chicken Part 1, many see this as insulting — to everyone. Yes, this is just a cartoon! But many believe it creates divisiveness between team members and non-team members.
So Who Are the Pigs and Who Are the Chickens?
Who cares! This is a cartoon. It’s a Metaphor. If people do not want to be pigs or chickens or turtles or rabbits or rhinoceros or dogs, I suppose they can create a cartoon with humans in it. 🙂
Seriously, what if there is a chicken on the team… is that the end of the world? Heck, what does that question even mean… it’s supposed to be a metaphor! This comment, from Part 1, zeroes in on this issue as well.
“. . . The big problem I see is that some people who don’t want to realize that the metaphor is, well, a metaphor, take to labeling people as “pigs” or “chickens”. This is bad enough when taken out of context, but it is even detrimental when the people involved (or is that committed) do understand the context. Reinforcing the idea that “these people can talk” and “these people can’t” and applying the labels pig and chicken respectively just papers over the bigger issue that exists. . .” — Kent McDonald from a comment made on Pig and Chicken Part 1.
What about organizational commitment? What would it mean or an organization to commit to the teams and the teams to the organization?
Commitment Doesn’t Mean Shut-up
We want the team to commit to the most valuable and important features/work (as the business has ranked them). We run into people all the time who can’t decide what the most important work is and don’t give teams time to focus and deliver.
The only way a team can commit to features for an iteration is if the entire organization commits to helping the team succeed! When “commitment” is a way for the team to say “don’t talk to me — you are not on the team”, then you have a different problem.
Commitment doesn’t mean shut-up & disengage! In fact, it is the opposite! It should mean to collaborate and engage!
Sidebar: If you are asking if teams still commit or forecast instead, check-out Scrum Commitment or Forecast.
Explore and Learn From the Pig and Chicken
What if you used the cartoon to consider what organizational commitment means to you. Agile works when everyone in the organization is on board, at least at some level. Certainly each team is committing to get the work done in the iteration, but what if everyone is committed to delivering value to the customers by helping the teams?
- What would it mean for everyone to support the teams?
- What would the impact be, if everyone is committed?
- How would each team react? (ask them — don’t assume)
- What is stopping you from collaborating and committing as an organization?
- How would people who are not on development teams be affected? (ask them — don’t assume)
- What other questions can you think of that might be interesting to explore?
Consider a Pig and Chicken Retrospective: Show people Part 1 (cartoon and article). Have them outline and discuss positives and negatives of the cartoon on a board/flip chart. Next, show them this cartoon (Part 2) and have them take the same steps. Then answer the questions above.
What has changed?
I’d love to hear about how this went or your thoughts.
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