I cannot stress this point enough: everything needs a name! And everything will get a name, whether consciously (i.e., thought went into it) or not (i.e., whatever term happened to pop into someone’s head when he entered it into a task list)
In my career at Sandvine, and setting aside particular titles, in thirteen years I had three roles:
- Product Manager (individual contributor)
- Product Marketing Manager (individual contributor)
- Leader of the Product Marketing team
In all three roles, I dealt to some degree with naming ‘stuff’: when I was a Product Manager, we didn’t have a Product Marketing team, so naming decisions were left to us; later, the Product Marketing team took over naming, and I took over the Product Marketing team.
Naming ‘stuff’ is something with which many companies and individuals struggle, because it’s rarely simple or straightforward. And things were no different at Sandvine. Due largely to a combination of past choices over a fairly long history, inconsistency, corporate philosophies, breadth of ‘stuff’, lack of clear ownership, and other factors, naming was always a loaded, hot-button topic.
After a particularly contentious discussion (which ultimately ended positively), in December of 2012 I banged out a long collection of thoughts on the subject and distributed it to some internal stakeholders.
This post is that long collection. It’s curiously long, in fact, but if you work with names, then it’s probably worth a read…even if you just want to argue with me. If you’re just starting out with naming, either as an individual contributor or as a company, then it’ll show you how much complexity can emerge.
So, what’s in a name? More than you probably think…
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