I picked up a great explanation of the great divide between business speak and tech speak at Rands In Repose today entitled “The Words You Wear.”
The engineering burden is that when it comes to the product, we know how it works. Everyone else outside of engineering has vastly less working knowledge of the product; they don’t need that depth for their job. The engineers know the intricate details of the system, the people who built it, and what it is capable of.
This is why, when fashionable words show up in our day, we grind our teeth. We’re cynical because we don’t trust fashionable words. They sound important, but over the years we’ve found they obfuscate our product’s capabilities, they portray our development process as trivial, and they create productivity destroying expectations elsewhere in the building.
An absolutely perfect assessment, which I’ve seen in spades in the newspaper software industry for years. How many times have I seen “enhancements” that were requested, speced, built, etc. that really did no more than offer functionality that was already in the product to begin with? And how many times did we burn development cycles on “feature requests” that were never going to earn anyone any money, or save anyone any time. The engineering version of “hey gang, let’s put on a show” except the trained poodles all wore button down shirts and had bags under their eyes from extra hours spent trying to meet expectations with their deliverables.
Take the time to read the post, no matter which side of the fence you’re on. The payoff is his list of buzzwords, which is tremendous and will pretty much ruin every Business Requirements Meeting you attend from here out.