I mentioned the “Moo Cow” in these are just some of my favourite tools as something that people looking at the output of that session found most puzzling. Then I go on not explaining it…
‘cow’ by Adam Hally
Which provides a perfect hook to explain how “Moo Cow” works in a meeting.
Emmanuel Gaillot reported it as a favourite tool. The context in which it applies is a meeting where someone is confused by what is said, or disagrees but doesn’t know how to put it in words yet.
The original application of “Moo Cow” requires a toy cow. If you tip the toy cow, it says “Moo”. Upon hearing the “Moo” the meeting participants will probably start to laugh, and break out of whatever they were doing, which is exactly the intention.
After the “Shu” phase with the toy cow, people reportedly started sending e-mails with a “Moo” audio file attached.
It also works, when you just say “Moo”. Especially if you haven’t introduced the “Moo Cow” technique formally before . I’ve used it at Agile Open, where it was very useful during the unprepared session.
Counter indications for use: Do not apply “Moo Cow” in contexts where seriousness reigns supreme. There has to be room for relevant irrelevance (aka unserious seriousness).
(I’ve also heard of the practice of cow-tipping with real cows, I’ll leave that till another time, in case anyone is interested…)