J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Turning Chickens into Pigs

Turning Chickens into Pigs

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Have you ever been on a project where key stakeholders don't have skin in the game, but they have a controlling vote?  This is a bad situation.  It's like multiple backseat drivers, except they won't be there if the car crashes.  What's the solution?  You turn chickens into pigs!

The Chicken and the Pig
You may have heard the story about the chicken and the pig.  The chicken says to the pig, "We should should start a restaurant."  The pig asks, "What would we serve?"  The chicken responds, "Bacon and eggs!"  The pig says, "No thanks!"

The point in the story is the pig's "committed" while the chicken's "involved."

The Solution
Recognizing the situation is more than half the battle.  When you've identified that chickens have controlling votes over pigs, your options include:

  • Avoid the situation where chickens are controlling the votes for pigs.
  • Make sure the chickens don't have controlling votes and make it explicit.
  • Turn the chickens into pigs.  You need to move them from involved to committed.  Have them take commitments or dependencies (skin in the game and committed to your success.)
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