A couple of nights ago my husband, who is a civil engineer, asked “What are you working on?“.
“Oh, just reading this article about Agile Testing and Continuous Integration” I replied off hand.
To what he replied [in a cautious tone]: “OK… That sounds interesting, I guess…” .
It is a known fact that every profession has it’s own jargon.
This exclusive vocabulary doesn’t only help us to understand what each of us needs and does as part of our work flow, but it also creates the identity of the profession by generating a sense of belonging for the individual (ask any basic sociology student and they will elaborate on this point).
The issue is that you are so immersed in your profession that you don’t even realize you are using a separate vocabulary until someone else starts asking you the meaning of words and acronyms. But after reading this post I’m sure you will start to notice that many of the words and phrases we use at work are not really obvious to the people we meet “after hours”.
Why is this interesting?
One of the major findings of the last “State of Testing Survey” conducted by PractiTest, showed that communication skills are a key factor and considered a major challenge that testers face (99% of respondents rated this an important to very important skill).
This is an issue when it comes to communication with people outside of your testing team and especially with management. The difference in professional vocabulary can become an obstacle and even an intrusion to your work!
Keep that in mind:
1. When you are “breaking in” a new team member/ tester, it is important to add the professional jargon everyone else around him/ her will use to the learning plan. After all language is part of your profession’s culture, and your new recruit isn’t fluent in your native tongue.
2. When reporting project stats to other teams, management and also to customers you need to be aware that many phrases will need “translation” to pass on your message clearly.
3. When working with distributed teams, it helps to have some kind of common vocabulary, as you are working and communicating across countries, cultures and languages.
Here are some examples off the top of my mind:
SCRUM – an agile development approach (NOT a method of restarting a play in Rugby)
Agile – Testing methodology (NOT a anatomical yoga friendly ability)
STD – Software Test Design (NOT a sexually transmitted disease…)
Risk Management – Handling your project’s risks (NOT worrying about your future healthcare or financial situation).
Sanity – No last minutes bugs were introduced before release (NOT a mental state)
If you have any more examples of professional jargon you wish to share with us that will make us smile or even better make us think, please feel free to share them back in a comment.