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Case Story: Apple and Orange, WOW and OMG

apple and orange

First of all, I wish a fantastic year for all Youngsday community! After a few weeks missed, hereby my first article of 2014.

I’ll mostly complain on this one about something I’ve been struggling for some time now, but I have to kick it out!

Most of us, as young professionals, are working in projects in different scales. Some of us are project managers, coordinators, and some of us provide services for a project. Personally, I had the chance to see both sides, and this topic stuck in my head since then.

I have involved in a huge scaled website project 6 months ago which is still on. There are several parties and all located in different regions in the world with different corporate cultures, different social cultures and different ways of working.

the project

As in the nature of all projects, communication and solid pre-setup are key factors. In the course of our project meetings I noticed that not everyone talks the same project language. Meaning that, someone says “apple”, but it is actually “orange” – for me and some others. This blur mostly happens on technical topics, when people do not use the official/global name for whatever it is.

For example, there is a crucial tool to be used in execution of the project work. Let’s call it “WOW”. This is the official name that you read when you open up the tool. And this tool sends some information to an environment which is called, “OMG”.

WOW = The primary tool I use to upload some important stuff to send it to OMG
OMG = The tool I gather or check if the data sent from WOW is correct

So expectation is, call it WOW if you talk about WOW, call it OMG if you talk about OMG

What actually happens:
IT Team = Prefers to call it “The Data Sender” !!!??
Project Managers = Prefers to call it “OMG Tool” because it sends data to OMG right? (!)
Business Managers = They call it WOW, nice.
Operations Team = They call whatever they hear first. “The Data Sender” or “OMG Tool” or the correct one:“WOW”

Everyone thinks like others think in the same way, this is human nature. However it is too risky for projects especially if there are new people joining in the middle, and I know people hesitate to ask such basic questions because it brings a pressure of giving incompetent impression. So it stucks at some point and everyone starts to memorize it in the way they do at first place. Believe me, it is very hard to change your wording afterwards.

After having some hard time while training some new people on the project, I strictly mentioned this subject because if you get additional “project terminology”, it will be a mess and can lead to mislead.

What I think should be done is:
Project managers should create a dictionary for the specific project and kindly request from everyone to stick with the names at the very very beginning. I’m only telling PMs because usually they are the ones included in the project from very beginning to the end, supervising, coordinating etc.

And you should never ever hesitate to ask for clarification even if it feels like the most stupid thing ever.

Finally, always keep in mind that “apple” might be said to meaning “orange”.

WOW, that was a relief to share, cheers!


Image source: Flickr

Emre Gökalp

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