Fellow Enterprise Architects, Avoid the EA Buzzword Bingo!

Another another big Enterprise Architecture conference has now wrapped up. Now you have been updated on all the new buzzwords, -isms and great new visuals. I know it's exciting to take advantage of these cool new expressions and fancy words, but use restraint. Embracing all the new buzzwords may not be as effective as you might expect. 

Admittedly, I have been guilty of this myself. Both from the receiving and sending ends. I even have been teased among close colleges on what they referred to them as "Mike-isms". They even wrote them all down, made a bingo card and with me unknowing played among themselves while I was there. It was actually really funny. In that case it was all in good fun, it's a different case when we communicate to our stakeholders.

Whether it is an executive, a business unit leader, a project manager or even someone in a technology department we have to be cautious of the impressions we leave with our audience with the latest and greatest buzzwords.

Here are a few impacts:

  • Confusion - Your audience may not be able to follow the conversation because you have changed the vocabulary. Sometimes they will stop you and ask what the term means but there is also a likely case that they will not in fear of looking as if they are "out of the know"
  • Confidence in the message - If you're a frequent buzzworder your credibility may be called into question. Buzzwords are often used to explain a complex topic and it may be perceived as if you are masking details because you don't know them.
  • Zero Tolerance - When I talk to executives I check the buzzwords at the door. Why? Because I have been slapped on the wrist a number of times in the past of unknowingly spit out a few buzzwords. I find myself having the same policy with vendors. Executives just don;t have time to get up to speed on a buzzword that has the shelf life of 12 months and is usually tied to a trend, fad or vendor. 
There are many more reasons but those are the major ones that I keep in my mind. 
For your Friday enjoyment, I have a funny video below from IBM that pokes fun at this phenomena that many IT professionals just love to get trapped in.