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We waste a lot of time using tool specific terms when we are all really talking about the same things. The problem is that person1 is familiar with toolset1, person2 with toolset2 etc. So each uses a set of terms that they are the most comfortable with and in the end, we end up talking at cross purposes. Has anyone come across this problem in your work place? How did you resolve it? I am asking specifically about development teams here.

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Can you give an example? I think most development teams use the same toolset, at least when it matters. –  Karl Bielefeldt Oct 25 '11 at 3:13

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Has anyone come across this problem in your work place? How did you resolve it? I am asking specifically about development teams here.

On every new project, I start by creating a domain model which lists the various entities, their names and relationships. You might want to read up on domain models using the Wikipedia page. When you got the model, print it in poster size and position it somewhere where everybody can see it.

If you are in an international team, agree upon a language for the entities' names. I recently saw a poster which showed the German and Dutch translation for the most commonly used English entity names and technical terms. This helps introducing a common vocabulary.

If you are solely having problems with tool specific terms - do the same thing and create a "translation table". For instance you might all have different terms for building an application (e.g. compiling, packaging...) but in conversations you are all going to say "building". Again, print this translation table and hang it up so that nobody needs to feel ashamed for forgetting a certain term in the third month of the project :-).

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+1 for formalization with translation tables –  mouviciel Oct 25 '11 at 9:38

Every project I worked for had a specific vocabulary, in particular acronyms. but this was on a per project basis, not on a toolset one.

So, try to develop a unique jargon for your project and let developers translate for their own individual usage.

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