Recently I received an email commenting on David Anderson's "Where Everyone's a Pig" article. The author agreed to let me share part of their message along with my reply. They said, in part:
To a significant amount Scrum is intended to put a protective shell around a group of persons to ensure that the vulnerable process of self organization is not disrupted from outside forces. The metaphor of chickens and pigs is intended to underline that notion. I don’t see chickens and pigs as opponents at all.
As with many agile practices, the pig/chicken distinction must be adapted to fit the organizational context and maturity of the team. In early stages of agile adoption this "protective shell", as you call it, is a defense mechanism intended to help the team counteract the larger organization's resistance to, or even hostility toward, agility. This is often based on fear and misunderstanding, but it can still be a real threat.
David's point is that a mature agile organization does not have that problem. He suggests that one way to remove the opposition to agile methods is to include the rest of the organization in your agile process. Viewing participants as pigs/chickens maintains an us/them attitude and therefore can undermine full organization-wide collaboration. Although it may be useful to provide some degree of safety to new agile teams, the need to "keep management at arm's length" is a symptom of a larger organizational dysfunction.
Ultimately, if anyone, inside the team or outside the team, is an impediment to timely delivery of value to the customer, we need to ask why they are doing that and what goal (presumably more important to them) is being served by their actions. Problem-solving based on whole-system thinking is not served by the pig/chicken distinction.