Never Serve Raw Chicken!

Johannes Geske
Feb 24 · 4 min read

The Story:

A businesswoman enters a restaurant called Amazing Burgers. Amazing Burgers is renowned for its fresh and juicy burgers. It’s a small and popular place where the owner still serves his customers himself. The kitchen is visible from the dining room through a large glass window, so guests can watch the chefs at work. From watching them, it’s clear that these chefs know what they do and enjoy their work.

The owner welcomes his new customer and leads her to a table. After showing her the menu, he takes her order.

“I’d like the chicken burger deluxe, please”, the businesswoman responds. Then she adds, “Unfortunately I’m a bit in a hurry today. I have to leave in ten minutes for an important meeting. It’s one of those you can’t miss. Could you ask your chefs to be quick?”

The owner, not wanting to disappoint his customer, passes the order straight to the kitchen. After a quick chat with his chefs, he returns to her table. He looks a little uncomfortable when he tells her, “We are really sorry, but we can’t serve your order!”

The woman looks surprised as she didn’t expect this answer. She replies, “Oh! Why is this? I came here because I was told you serve the best burgers in town.”

The owner could sense a trace of frustration in her voice, and he felt that it wouldn’t take much to upset her. He gives her a shy smile and replies, “We work hard for our reputation, and that’s why we can’t serve a chicken burger in under ten minutes. The chicken wouldn’t be cooked. You wouldn’t like it, and you might even get sick. We don’t want that, and we’re sure you don’t want that either.”

The woman pauses for a second and replies, “You’re right. I don’t want that. I realize that’s part of why you are renowned for high-quality. Your chefs must be really proud of their products. I’m sorry I pushed you!”

Then she leaves the restaurant.

The next day, she comes back, accompanied by some of her staff who’d also like to taste the best chicken burgers in town and meet the crew who proudly delivers them.’

THE END.

Scrum:

You’re wondering what this story has to do with Scrum? Here are some questions for you to reflect on:

  1. What’s the general issue with raw chicken?
  2. If the restaurant was a Scrum Team which role would everyone have?
  3. In Scrum, what would the raw chicken stand for?

Think about it for a moment before you read on…

Okay then, let’s break down the story: The issue with raw chicken is that you might get sick from eating it. Chefs serving raw chicken are generally considered unprofessional (unless they serve Torisashi at a sushi restaurant which isn’t the case here). That’s why professional chefs don’t deliver raw chicken. Professional chefs don’t want to harm their customers and their business. Professional chefs take pride in what they do!

If the restaurant was a Scrum Team, the owner would be the Product Owner, the chefs would be the Development Team and the businesswoman would be their user.

The raw chicken burger would be an Increment of a product that isn’t done. Development Teams delivering Increments that aren’t “Done” are generally considered unprofessional. Delivering an undone Increment of a product has a profound impact on the Scrum Team and its stakeholders, the value of the product and its users: A Development Team that delivers an undone Increment deprives the Product Owner of the opportunity to release the Increment and increase the value of the product. Or even worse, a Development Team that doesn’t make transparent the undone state of the Increment, might make a Product Owner release an Increment that harms the user and the organization. Or the Product Owner makes a product decision based on a wrong perception of the Increment. In each of these cases, the value of the product is unlikely to increase. Rather, the trust of the users in the organization, the trust of the organization in the Scrum Team and the trust of the Product Owner in the Development Team will suffer.

That’s why Professional Development Teams don’t deliver an undone Increment! Professional Development Teams take pride in what they do! Professional Development Teams maintain a definition of “Done”!

And while the meaning of “Done” varies from product to product, all definitions of “Done” serve the same purpose: To make sure everyone understands what needs to be done for work to be complete and for the Increment to be usable and releasable.

Are you a Professional Development Team? Do you take pride in what you do? Do you maintain a definition of “Done”, or do you need to create a definition of “Done”? Here’s a free poster for you to express your professionalism and make transparent your definition of “Done”.

Download free poster: https://amazing-outcomes.de/en/resources

If you like this article, please share it with others and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Thank you to my friends of the Scrum.org Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) community. The raw-chicken analogy has been around for a long time. With some degree of uncertainty left, we think it goes back to Simon Reindl, Guus Verweij or Ken Schwaber himself ;-)

Amazing Outcomes

We create amazing outcomes that exceed your goals.

Johannes Geske

Written by

I help organizations create amazing outcomes that exceed their goals by focusing on outcomes over outputs.

Amazing Outcomes

We create amazing outcomes that exceed your goals.

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