Recently I was having a meeting and a number of the participants really had little to do with the project or its outcomes. I was reminded of the classic Chicken and Pig joke. If you’re familiar with Ken Schwaber‘s Scrum training then you’ve probably heard or, or seen this, before. If not then I hope that you get a laugh from it.
Of course like many good jokes, there’s a useful message contained within. The joke is making a distinction between those who are committed and those who are just interested. Committed can take many forms
but often means those who are actually responsible for delivering results (and negatively impacted by not delivering results).
Personally, when I hold meetings, I tend to only invite Pigs. Chickens just get in the way and slow things down. But then again I’m all about getting optimum results and getting them fast. I guess that some people like pointless, slow and unproductive meetings. But I don’t.
I note that this metaphor has been removed from the latest Scrum guide because apparently people started labelling each other as Pigs or Chickens, and this was seen as having negative consequences to team morale. While I’m not advocating running around labelling everyone as Pigs and Chickens, I do advocate that the next time you arrange a meeting, or send a document for review, that you remember the Chicken and Pig story. By restricting the number of people involved to just those with their bacon on the line, you’re very likely to achieve a better and faster result.