Sunday, April 27, 2008

Project Stand Lessons from my daughter - Closed Vocabulary Set

My daughter is now 18 months old. The best period of one's life is to see your very own come to liven you up and remind you what you did unknown.

For quite a few months, I am getting used to seeing my daughter pick up some communicating words. Now she is quite comfortable in her zone of expressing her desires according to her style and it is left to us to understand and interpret it. Which means, she now has enough vocabulary in her set in her own style that is sufficient to make us understand her needs.

Which led me to wonder - Isn't it important that we establish such closed vocabulary set in project teams, which will lead to better communication and the interpretation within the team will always be right every single time.

Thinking of my past, I now realize that this closed vocabulary that we used within ourselves could have been the success for our smooth interaction and greater work satisfaction at Digital Think (my first company job). However, then I was not conscious about this existence and it just happened.

More on the story...

In e-Learning business, we use various terms like STB(storyboard) , UI (User Interface), CDD( Course Design Document), visual design, PI(product integration), CI(content integration) and similarly in quality area SS(Show stopper), NC (no change as against non compliance), Critical, Major, Minor Incidents, etc. If you are reading from e-Learning background, lot of these terms may sound familiar as a mother tongue.Put yourself in shoes of a newbie or from a different industry and try making sense of the short forms and sentences around it. Better still, try talking to your parents with these terms and see their reaction.

While we were practicing it without any hitch or fuss or didn't even find that we are using something different that people outside the group/industry will not understand. My new, last boss in Digital Think, was asking us for details on each of the terms in our off site meeting conducted by my sweet US boss to make sense of what we were talking. Being shrewd (has to be if he has to be my boss ;)) he picked up the vocabulary set very fast and easy.

This brings out 2 important points:

1. Any closed vocabulary set is easy to adapt, comprehend and understand. Think of the languages tribes speak and acquire various dialects of same language.

2. A closed vocabulary set is easy to follow and becomes part of self and peers which leads to better communication, bonding and ease of doing job with a team.

3. As with any language vocabulary, a common team thinking is subtly re-inforced every time. This under current flow making management of employees and their work easier.

4. Further don't you think it with a little creativity that child infuse in a language, we too can Become Child Again ?

However, it took my daughter to make me realize the profound impact of this simple mechanism for creating, sustaining and developing ever challenging high performance teams.

Have you consciously developed vocabulary set for your teams or have you left it to be a sub conscious effort ?

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