DevOps, Agile, Digital, Internet-of-everything: The list is endless
Jargon is like lava that bubbles into the air, pushed by enormous magma movements beneath the Earth, finally breaking out volcanically and painting the terrain with its fiery, colourful brush.
Yep, jargon is just as dramatic and colourful in its choice and use of words.
The problem with jargon is that, like magma, the underlying forces are rarely well understood. Enormous stresses and strains finally push the lava onto the surface. However, the circumstances affecting the magma beneath are largely unknown and open to subjective interpretation. That's what jargon does. It gets pushed and formed from complex and volatile environments that brew for years. Change in these environments is not served best by blasé and one-line descriptions looking for one-size-fits-all answers.
When I started as a developer in the software industry, I was intimidated by those fast-talking consultants that made jargon sound important, impressive and an invaluable tool in your box of commercial tricks.
But it's not. Jargon is at best a guide, and at worst utterly confusing.
'Any intelligent fool can make something bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the other direction'. (E.F Schumacher or Albert Einstein...).
Let's use jargon sparsely and never assume that the person we are talking to should ever have the same interpretation as us, or even remotely know what we are talking about. Jargon simply serves as an introduction to a unique and special problem in each business environment. It needs to be used carefully and is most effective when couched in a question like: 'What does DevOps mean to you in your organisation?'