Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Are you making this stuff up?"

When explaining to my new boss some of the issues related to dual-software development, I used a commonly used acronym. But she said: "You use a lot of acronyms I've never heard of. Are you making this stuff up?"

I've been found out. I thought I could keep it a secret. I don't have a clue what I'm talking about and now the talent police has discovered the truth.

All these years I've been able to hide. I was in a "catch me if you can" dilemma. If I stopped, they'd find me out. But if I keep on going, they'll never catch me. I've been looking over my shoulder since I got into this business 25 years ago.

And I knew it would come to this. That is, that someone would call my bluff and challenge my knowledge. It doesn't matter that I've actually written software that runs in five-star Hiltons. Or that I've actually written software that carries voice over copper wires running in Japan. Or that I've actually written software that is patented. None of that really matters because she's never heard of these industry standard acronyms. Because she's never heard them, I must be making this up.

Never mind that I may know a couple things about engineering bits and bytes that transact millions of dollars through a jewelry design center in Hawaii. Truth is, it's all a sham, it's a fake. I've just been eating lunch at my desk all day. Rats, now someone has discovered my secret. I really always knew I was only one step away of the acronym police.

What if I try to do better? What if I promise to never use an acronym again. What if I promise to always spell out the acronym? Will you not report me?

On the other hand, you could look up the acronym on the Internet in a few seconds. Would THAT be a good use of technology?

Maybe folks are just reading the Computers for Dummies books and managing people by it's recommendations because I can't think of anything more demoralizing to a technology team than to tell them they are making things up. Trouble with the Dummies books is that even if you read the whole thing, you're still a dummy.

"What managers decide to stop doing is often more important than what they decide to do." -Peter F. Drucker (1909-)