Scrum Bestiary – The Cow

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 – 7:02 AM

Click to find out more about cows

Another addition to the Scrum Bestiary. So we all know about Scrum’s pigs and chickens and a while back I wrote about seagulls. What about cows?

The big difference is that 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.

How to spot a cow? Cows may show up periodically to the team room and will either volunteer to help out or will do so if asked. Chickens on the other hand will have excuses about “more important things to do”, like; management meetings and writing tedious blog posts about farmyard animals.

Cows say things like:

“Moo!” (obviously)

“I can help you with that this afternoon, if nothing else gets in the way.”

“I’m free right now is there anything I can do to help? Maybe I can help with that design problem.”

What to do with a cow. Tell them that you’re happy to have them help but try and get as concrete commitment from them as possible about how much time they can contribute. Don’t rely on them 100%.

Credit to Grigori, who told me about the cow.

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