New words

When you are implementing something new, chances are good that you’ll get into a conversation about what to call things.

Should we use the new word that we’ve found (e.g., kata or buffer or mental model)?

Or, should we use a word that we already know?

If you use a word you already know, then it won’t trigger any change antibodies that cause people to fight the change. But, you risk them thinking your new thing is just like the old thing with the same name, if they think about your new thing at all.

If you use a new word, people won’t understand it at first and some people will hate that.  But, others will lean into your change and ask you where you got that word and how they can learn more.  The new word shows people something new is happening.

I’m an advocate for using the term that means what you mean to say, not borrowing one to do your work for you.  Years ago I wrote about the need for a language rich enough to describe your situation in When One Blue Crayon Isn’t Enough.

I know many people who disagree with me.  What do you think?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top