Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Whats My Name?

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or LinkedIn here

I am a big believer in giving bigger projects and implementations a name. For some reason, ones with a name seem to succeed better and usually these make me feel better, when getting involved.

I remember when I completed a technician apprenticeship in the early 1980’s. On the very first day it was explained that all the practical projects we completed should have our assigned number stamped on it. Mine was M508, I can still remember as I have a few tools I made on that course that still come out of the shed have it neatly stamped on them. Reasoning was that as apprentices we would take pride in having our number on our perfectly engineered projects. Much like a car has a neat badge on the front and back, rather than some 'erbert untidily daubing ‘Astra’ on the back, as the car rolls off the production line at Ellesmere Port.

A project name generates pride in the stakeholders involved and makes communication easier. This is one area that is often overlooked, although one of the key strands of a PRINCE2 centred project. One of the problems with ‘projects’ is that they are unique, different from ‘Business As Usual’ and everyone’s standard jobs, they are abstract. A name makes it more tangible and something most people can get their head around.

One great project name I came across was ‘OCRopus’. You can guess what sort of project that was, the name encapsulated it. First three letters explain what it does and it’s a clever subversion of a real word, unique and easy to find on the organisations intranet.

Another fun one was from a housing group implementing a new housing management system and having the broader aim of reaching three star status. They came up with ‘HMS Tristar’ with the sub-title ‘Get on board’ (geddit?). Others I have seen; Quantum (the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction), which was a project to increase efficiency through implementation of a new financial and reporting system. Also Amplio (not named after the political alliance in Uruguay as far as I know...)

I think the key is to make it memorable, if possible fun and with a link to the purposes of the project if you can. Where totally stuck a few turn to Japanese or Greek mythology. The lazy resort to random project name generators such as the one at

Beware though, you project could end up being one of these:
  • Dreadful Jazz
  • Remote Toupee
  • Disappointed Door
  • Endless Postal
  • Teal Longitude
  • Needless Bird
  • Outstanding Gloomy Balcony
  • Shiny Neptune
  • Hideous Zeus
  • Railroad Maroon

Better you come up with something more related to project objectives and the business area, I am sure your management team would thank you for that!

Read on, could Qlikview revolutionise your housing stat's presentation?

The Clash knew what was in a name "Whats My Name?".

(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting

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