Tech Life No, I don't know what you are trying to say

Rands Management Glossary

Ever wonder what the hell your manager is saying? You sit there and watch their lips move, but yet there appears to be no content… just flap flap flap. Thing is, they are trying to say something to you, but they’ve been going all day on three cups of black coffee and no lunch and, besides, you’ve been working together for years so, of course, you know what they’re saying.

The only time they realize they’re poor communicators is when the get home and crash on the couch with the coffee shakes. At that time, their husband/wife/dog walks in and asks them about their day. The moment they start flapping, the husband/wife/dog says, “Uh, I have no idea what an MRD is and why are you shaking?” It is then your manager realizes that a) they drink too much coffee and b) that even though they say big words with authority and enthusiasm, they’re just words and, without context, they’re useless words.

I’m here to help.

I’ve already taken issue with the inane language of managers, but bitching about it has not solved the problem and I’m a problem solver, so I give you the Rands Management Glossary.

The Rands Management Glossary is not going to help you explain your job to your dog, but the Glossary is going to demystify some common managementese terms that we, as managers, throw around meetings with impunity. As language is constantly evolving, so will the Glossary.

The Glossary is hugely biased. It’s based on the opinion of a software engineering manager which means that if you’re in Sales, I make fun of you. Sorry, I’m sure you work hard in Sales, but I don’t know your language which means your ways are foreign to me. Maybe if you read the Rands Management Glossary, we engineers won’t be so foreign to you.

As you read through the current version of the Glossary, you’ll see the tone is pretty much the same as the rest of the weblog — a bit of cynicism and a bit of yelling. They’re not intended to be definitive nor professional, but they should convey some wisdom. For example:

Interview: The day you wear a tie. Interviews are a pitch where you, the hopeful candidate, pitch yourself to a group of folks who have thirty minutes to figure out if they want to spend five years listening to your dumb jokes

Now, I don’t actually know whether your jokes are dumb or not. I do know that an interview is a bizarre thirty minute ritual where we’re asked to do the impossible: assess character, ability, and intelligence. Gimme a break, I’ve been staring at myself for decades I’m still not sure what I’m all about.

If you want some boring definition, just click on the term and I’ll whisk you off to dictionary.com where you will promptly fall asleep.

As I constructed this first version of the Glossary, I realized that it’s a handy way to explore much of the content on Rands in Repose, so I’ve linked relevant articles to many of the definitions and I’m hoping folks discover/rediscover some of the older articles which are deeply buried in the archives yet still relevant.

I also discovered that the Glossary is wordy to do list for me. As I was dumping terms into the database, I realized there are a couple of meaty management topics that I’ve said little about. Topics such as hiring, how to fire someone, what to do about HR, or how to great a great job offer… all of these articles are now bouncing around my head since I started tinkering with the Glossary. More on this later.

As I’m apt to do with personal projects, I seriously over-engineered the Glossary. It’s constructed using PHP with a MYSQL database. I’d like to give a small shout out to whoever is responsible for phpMyAdmin because it does everything you’d ever want a database administration tool to do.

There are two versions of the Glossary, one is alphabetical and another of recently updated entries for the our returning customers . At the bottom of both is a handy form where you, the Rands reader, can submit new terms for definition consideration. Have at it.

Here you go: Rands Management Glossary

5 Responses

  1. John Whitlock 10 years ago

    I’ve had a similar experience to yours, of a database becoming a to-do list. I’m starting a local wiki on an old PC, mostly for my own benefit but with an eye to getting the others to join in. What I’ve been finding is that for every page I write, there are two other pages that need to be written. I’m also feeling the intense attraction to collaboration – the idea that if others would fill in their parts, then the whole thing would get done quicker.

    I’m in the early stages of mine (working for a month or so), so I don’t know if I’m starting on a new personal paradigm of to-do lists, or just playing around with something that I’ll abandon in a few weeks. But, I can’t help looking at your Management Guide and thinking that each definition should be a wiki page, linking to other wiki pages, etc. etc.

  2. Daily Wrapup

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  5. Nice–you just described my job as a time sink :-).