The Complete Scrum Bestiary

Friday, October 17, 2008 – 4:00 am

This is not a set of roles on your scrum team. It’s a taxonomy of behaviors that could apply to anyone on your team regardless of the role they may be filling. Examples of this include:

  • Product owners who behave like Cows or even Seagulls as they rush about juggling multiple projects.
  • Project Managers who were told they’re new role was to be the team’s Scrum Master and behave like Ducks because facilitating a team, rather than commanding it, is so alien to them.

Why is this useful? Well, it gives you some things to watch out for. Think of it as a field guide to like behaviors on your team and how to address them.

Click to read more... The Pig – Pigs are the heart of Scrum. They’re the ones who actually do all the work because they’re committed to the project. From their perspective everyone else is a hanger on… and they’re probably spot on. They’re the ones actually sitting in the team room and getting things done when nobody else is on the hook to deliver.

Click to read more... The Chicken -Chicken’s don’t contribute to your team’s goals in any way. They’re hangers on who may want to seem to be on the team without actually being on the team. Chicken’s may exhibit other bad behaviors associated with foxes (stealing resources) or seagulls (occasionally turning up to randomize the team).

Click to read more...The Cow – Cows give milk, they will contribute to the team if asked. Chickens and seagulls never contribute they just get in the way. The only problem with cows is that they’re very much on their own schedule and it’s hard to rely on them. Anyone who’s tried to herd cows will tell you it’s hard to get them do do anything on your schedule, let alone in a hurry.

Click to read more... The Seagull – How to spot a seagull? Well chickens are periphery to the team and know it. Seagulls act like they’re part of the team part of the time, usually trying to own key decisions while not actually being in the team room.

Click to read more...

The Fox – Foxes are bad news, plain and simple. Foxes are usually part of the business but your team will only see them when they turn up and try and steal. They’ll steal people and even physical resources, like computers and office space, for other projects that they perceive to be more important. Often they’re doing this for the best of reasons.

Click to read more... The Rubber Duck – The first thing you’ll notice about the rubber duck is that it’s not a real animal and if you found one in a farmyard it would look a bit out of place. If the rubber duck could talk it would tell you that it wasn’t entirely happy with it’s new home in the agile farmyard. In fact its down right upset to be there.
Any more beasts you can think of? Post a comment here. Remember this is a taxonomy of behaviors not roles.

  1. 7 Responses to “The Complete Scrum Bestiary”

  2. Hi,
    great taxonomy, had a good laugh, but… you cant call it “complete” yet! Here are a couple of more “beasts” I am currently having on the project:

    The Bear – big, usually old, outfitted with a reasonable rude force. Roars loudly and protects his theritory fiercely (unless in winter sleep). Often leaving a great deal of mess in a process.

    The Lion – guy in charge (not necessarily the boss, you could say also – able to make decissions or to eat up that hyena/fox/rubber duck). Often surrounded by the pack of loyal and able lionesses who do all the difficult and dirty work to keep day-to-day business going.

    By reinis on Oct 19, 2008

  3. Rabbits. They breed incompetence and run like mad whenever there’s any real work to be done.

    By Greg on Jun 22, 2009

  4. Bull – Struts around acting like they run the place. Has horns that give them a little bit of power, but really they’re just full of shit.

    By John on Jul 21, 2009

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