One of the annoying things about our industry is the volume of acronyms and very specific terminology used on a day-to-day basis. If you know the lingo you are fine. If not, life can be quite problematic.
In some cases, this is just a smoke screen to hide a lack of true understanding, say enough buzzwords you read in a Gartner report and people will eventually stop asking you to define them, but in other cases it is necessary to be able to communicate *accurately* about complex issues at a reasonable pace.
Some people are completely anal about everything, demanding an incredibly high degree of precision and exact terminology. Deviate from their prescribed ideal and you are in a world of hurt. Others, like myself, allow a lot more slack, knowing that every person is on a different part of the spectrum where this is concerned.
The problem with letting people get away with loose terminology and a lack of accuracy is it can sometimes come back to bite you on the ass. It’s all too easy to let them walk away with an unrealistic view of the situation, that becomes the new office myth, and travels with them through every company they ever work in…
- Person: So Oracle does this right?
- Me: Not really. It’s a lot more complicated than that. It’s more accurate to say it does …
- Person: Yes, but it amounts to the same thing. It basically ends up doing this right?
- Me: No. It really doesn’t. I can see how it appears that way in this case, but that’s too simplistic a view.
- Person: Yeah, yeah. I know, but for the sake of argument, we will say it does this, which results in …
- Me: Fine. That’s wrong, but lets leave that aside and move on…
… One week later …
- Person: So I discussed this with Tim last week and he agreed that …
- Me: I will look for you, I *will* find you, and I will kill you!
I’m sure you’ve all been there at some point. It can be a really fine line between getting something across properly and being a total douche. Too far one side of the line and people are walking around believing rubbish. Too far the other way and you end up excluding people and sounding like an elitist prick.
It’s a journey babe!
2 thoughts on “Accuracy Matters”
Rookie 🙂 This is how I do it, it works almost every time:
Person: So Oracle does this right?
Me: Not really. It’s a lot more complicated than that. It’s more accurate to say it does …
Person: Yes, but it amounts to the same thing. It basically ends up doing this right?
Me: No. It really doesn’t. I can see how it appears that way in this case, but that’s too simplistic a view.
Person: Yeah, yeah. I know, but for the sake of argument, we will say it does this, which results in …
Person: Ok, so it doesn’t then?
Me: (brightly) That’s right.
Jeffrey Kemp: Love it!
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