Thursday, May 22, 2008

Managers: Don't bend it that far, you'll break it!

Go on then, what's wrong with the words we already have? I think they're perfectly cromulent, it's very hard to get into a situation where the existing English vocabulary is insufficient to articulate one's thoughts. I expect that linguists and lexicographers have some form of statistic measuring the coverage in a particular domain of a language's expression; I also expect that most modern languages have four or five nines of coverage in the business domain.

So why bugger about with it? Why do managers (and by extension, everyone trying to brown-nose their way into the management) have to monetise that which can readily be sold[1]? Why productise that which can also be sold? Why incentivise me when you could just make me happy? Why do we need to touch base, when we could meet (or, on the other hand, we could not meet)? Do our prospectives really see the value-add proposition, or are there people who want to buy our shit?

Into the mire which is CorpSpeak treads the sceadugenga that is TechRepublic, Grahames yrre bær. The first words in their UML in a Nutshell review is "Takeaway". Right, well, I don't think they're about to give us a number 27 with egg-fried rice. (As a noun, that meaning appears only in the Draft Additions to the OED from March 2007.) Nor is there likely to be some connection with golf. All right, let's read on.

UML lets you capture, document, and communicate information about an application and its design, so it's an essential tool for modeling O-O systems. Find out what's covered in O'Reilly's UML in a Nutshell and see if it belongs in your library.

Ah, that would be a précis, unless I'm very much mistaken. Maybe even a synopsis. Where did you get the idea this was a takeaway? I can't even work out what the newspeak meaning for takeaway might be. Had I not seen the linked review, I had thought the "if you take away one idea from this article, make it this" part of the article. In other words, if you're so stupid that you can only remember one sentence from a whole page, we'll even tell you which sentence you should concentrate on. This use[2] doesn't fit with that retroactive definition though, because the conclusion which can be drawn from the above-quoted paragraph is that one might want to read the whole article. I would much rather believe that management types in a hurry would remember the subsequent sentence as their only recollection of the article.

UML in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference is not misnamed.

[1]You may argue that the word should be spelled "monetize", as the word most probably came from American English, but it doesn't matter because it doesn't bloody exist. Interestingly, the verb sell originated in the Old English verb sellan, meaning to give, with no suggestion of barter or trade.

[2]Language usage is the only place I'll admit the existence of the word usage.


Anonymous said...

On the subject of using language, you might want to check your use of "their" in the second paragraph ;-).

leeg said...

Looks correct to me, the people have a possession which is the way, so it's their way. What did you think should go there?

leeg said...

Oh, the other one :-). Right...