UnBuzz Me

unbuzz meI am so tired of this artificial and useless layer that is being created on top of our language.

I am pretty sure it is a problem in any field, but I am a technical guy, so I am talking about technical buzz words.

As I look at it, big corporations use these useless acronyms to impress and sell. Individuals use buzz words to hide their own incompetence behind them.

Several years ago, when I joined IBM, the first thing I learned was not wonders of open source commitment, or coolness of IBM research labs, but “what TLA stands for”. Because without knowing that, I could not really read any documentation, or talk to most of the people in workplace. So what does TLA stand for? Three Letter Acronym.

And while TLA on its own is not harmful, its misuse in modern tech world is huge, and it makes it uber confusing for newcomers to understand what means what.

Afer I left IBM, I went even deeper into consulting, and just could not survive without learning more, and more, and more, and more… a little bit more of TLAs. Sometimes it’s useful to understand what the client really wants, sometimes just useful to be able to “talk corporate” to people who can’t talk any other language.

So what kind of misuse of TLAs am I talking about?

Let’s take for example “URL” (Uniform Resource Locator) – is this TLA? Yes. Is it being misused? No. Why not? Because it means one thing, and one thing only. And when we say URL, we mean just that – something that specifies where an identified resource is available and the mechanism for retrieving it.

Now let’s look at “SOA” (Service Oriented Architecture) – is this TLA? Yes. Is it being misused? Absolutely! Anywhere you go, you hear about SOA. People that work by your side, they do SOA. People who hire you, they want you to know SOA. Any software product, if it is any big, will be “SOA ready”, “SOA compliant”, “SOA leader”, etc… So you wonder, what SOA really is.. Well, nothing new, nor it is any revolutionary concept. SOA is what programming was all about from the day one – bunch of services exposed for others to use. That is IT! It is not a concept at all. So we have a TLA, and all it does it just BUZZes – no meaning behind it, but lots, and lots of confusion. Bunch Of Exposed Services, so how about I’ll call it BOES, or just BS maybe?

If SOA is not enough, let’s look at another one – “BPM” (Business Process Management) – is this TLA? Yes. Is it being misused? Absolutely! When you look at any Business, it will have at least some kind of Process, right? And it is a known fact that a process needs to be Managed in order to function. By people or programmatically, but it will be managed. So what does “Business Process Management” really mean? The answer is “nothing”. So when you hear about somebody saying that “we need to apply a BPM solution here”, think about a simple “if-then-else” conditional sentence. Example can be “if the item is ordered, then ship it”. That is it! Sometimes people refer to it as “Work Flow”, instead of BPM [where ‘M’ sometimes stands for Modeling], which makes a bit more sense. But should it have this confusing “BPM” title? No! But guess what is easier to market (read “sell”): “Business Process Management” solution or a bunch of simple “if-then-else” statements?

And these are just a couple of tech buzz words examples that make no sense.

Looking beyond tech, we have empty terms/words like: Enterprise, Immersion, Leverage, Paradigm Shift, Synergy, Tipping Point, etc… All of them create this confusing and useless layer, that hurts our language, communication, clarity, and makes us live in our buzzy little clouds with no clear idea where we are and what we really know. And no, I did not mean SaaS “cloud” YABW (Yet Another Buzz Word) or even PaaS cloud, nor I meant IaaS cloud… grrrr, buzz all around.