Who’s got my dictionary?

Yesterday I went swimming. While there, the manager of the pool came by and I took this opportunity to speak with him. I mentioned that the showers at the side of the pool were really poorly regulated and were often too cold. He then launched into an explanation of why the showers were as they were. Technical terms abounded and I had to stop him. I paraphrased and said; “it look to me as though you have a technical problem. What are you going to do about it?”

Bad question…more technical jargon….so bad that I forgot most of the words he spoke! Maybe there is some learning to be had from this.

I then had my Swim, a place to relax and think!

While swimming I thought about the jargon overloaded conversation I had just had. I then thought about the many conversations I had had with senior managers – conversations where I know I used project management jargon. I wonder if I had alienated myself by using terminology which they found intimidating: which I certainly did with the pool manager.

I then turned to Google to look up some quotes on jargon and came across this page. It is full of quotes and one really caught my eye:

“People say jargon is a bad thing, but it’s really a shortcut vocabulary professionals use to understand one another.” Erin McKean

Many of the people I am meet are not project management professional, they professionals om their own right who have been given a project to manage, and need some skills and quickly. So, more learning!

Learning comes in many forms and I learnt a valuable lesson yesterday. I will really need to be more careful how I speak not only to senior managers but those on project management courses.

So do you use too much project management jargon with your project stakeholders, customers, or clients?

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4 Responses to Who’s got my dictionary?

  1. Pingback: Who’s got my dictionary? | #PMChat

  2. Pingback: Popular Project Management Blog Posts From The Last 7 Days

  3. Ian Cribbes says:

    Ron, yet again a thought provoking article. It’s an area I had to work hard at, especially when working on projects in the Middle East where for the client English is s second language. Couple that with PM jargon and goodness knows what they understood or not. As project managers we ought to consider how we explain things.

    • Ron Rosenhead says:

      Thank you Ian. You are so right…having worked with groups from all over the world, I agree, jargon does get in the way.

      I remember working in a car company and the internal people used so many abbreviations that the internal team produced a list of key acronyms. It was 3 pages long….we carried everywhere!

      Thanks again

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