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June 19, 2012

The dogma of acronyms


Hi,

I think that when you know me, you know I don't like acronyms, especially those acronyms I encounter at work. I really don't like the ESB, SOA, ITIL, TOGAF, TRM, BPMN, BPO, etc in this world. I get really nervous around people that use them.
What even makes me more nervous are those acronyms that refer to 'Best Practices', 'Adaptable', 'Frameworks' and 'Models'.

The reason for my dislike of acronyms is that they tend to be very dogmatic. And I really dislike dogma. The worst of them are those that are brand new. Acronyms I mean. The new acronyms are the worst because they're typically an existing acronym's reincarnation or they're so new that nobody has experience in them.

Even worse acronyms are those that provide certifications, multiple levels of certification with accredited training.

Well, actually I don't really dislike acronyms, but I do get nervous around people that use them. Most of the time anyway. Because these people are usually very dogmatic about what the acronym stands for.
They've lost every sense of pragmatism and reality for that matter. When they reason that an acronym is great because it represents the best practices, they tend to forget that you really need to be very pragmatic when applying the acronym. Tailor it for your specific situation. Explicitly not being dogmatic at all.

My experience is that architects that use frameworks and methodologies that are summarized by an acronym, knowingly use them. That purposefully use them, have no to little clue what they mean, what benefit you can get from them or why to use them in the first place.
When this is a result of inexperience, it is not so bad. But an experienced architect that falls into this category is probably not that talented.
Those esteemed architects I've come across that were actively applying an acronym told me later that they found out by accident that they were doing the acronym. And now were leveraging the work of others to document their way of working.

As a starting architect the acronym is there to give you guidance, a head start, as an experienced architect you have the acronym to help you guide the starting architects in your team.

Iwan

1 comment:

  1. I had the same dislike but I blamed my technical expertise ��

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