The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.

Who am I to judge? The Chicken suggests to the Pig that they start a restaurant where they will each contribute to breakfast. In reply, the Pig always notes that, for the Chicken, only a contribution is required (as a chicken can simply lay an egg and then resume normal activities), while for the Pig a “total commitment” (or total sacrifice) is needed (as in order to make ham or bacon, the pig must be slaughtered).

This story is commonly referenced to illustrate two types of project members: pigs, who are totally committed to the project and accountable for its outcome, and chickens, who consult on the project and are informed of its progress. By extension, a rooster, can be defined as a person who struts around offering uninformed, unhelpful opinions.

A successful project needs both chickens and pigs (roosters are seen as unproductive). However, given the sacrifice required of being a pig— they can be difficult to collect. Thus, the construction of a successful project-team must ensure that the project has sufficient “pigs” – and ensure that they are empowered to drive the project in return for committing to and taking accountability for it.