At our end of iteration review, like all good agile shops, we go through what’s good, what could be done better, what still puzzles us and what we are going to do next time (but details on this are for another post). We also have The Exceptional Cow™.
Whoever has the cow is responsible for triaging all incoming exceptions for that iteration. At the end of each iteration The Exceptional Cow is ceremoniously passed to the next bovine herder. As the cow herder, you have the responsibility of examining all incoming exceptions and fixing it if it is a no brainer or writing it up as a bug for someone else to fix if you don’t have the time or if someone else has a much better grasp on the issue. Quite often all exceptions for the week are attacked in the final hours before we close off the iteration as we don’t want to start new functionality at that point.
Simply put, whoever currently possesses the cow is responsible for handling any bugs, whether it’s by fixing them or writing them up in a bug report. It’s rather reminiscent of the “talking stick” tradition among North American natives or the conch in Lord of the Flies.
It’s the most interesting and practical use for a Tucows Squishy Cow that I’ve seen yet.