I’m in Hong Kong in a workshop and we are asking the group to think beyond what they do today. To come up with a “blue sky” vision of what they want from an application.
“Urrrr, excuse me” says one of the team, “what is a blue sky?”
Earlier on, one of the team had talked about “motherhood and apple pie”. Urrrrr. What is that?
Another workshop, “We are interested in how you do things, soup to nuts”. Uurrrr, nuts? Who ends their meal with nuts. If that is what you are trying to say…
On agile projects we talk to customers and soon start talking about “stories”. Urrrr, aren’t stories something I read my daughter at bedtime
We assume that people will understand what “stories” are. They nod their heads in agreement, but do they really understand what we are talking about.?They’re requirements right? If calling them requirements makes communicating with your customers easier, then isn’t it better to use the words they are comfortable with?
When you do a retrospective (urrrr, what’s that? you mean review of how we got on?) how about spending a couple of minutes reviewing the language you have talked to your customers in. Have you spoken their language, or talked at them in your own? Have you communicated in plain English or have you been wallowing in bullshit bingo land.
Oh, and if I’m on a language theme, when you go into Starbucks it is “can I please have a cup of coffee”, not “Can I get a coffee”…