Friday, June 26, 2009

12 workplace phrases you probably don't know...but should

It's more than industry jargon - it's the vocabulary of the workplace. And, you had better learn to communicate using the latest buzzwords and TLAs (three-letter abbreviations).

Christine Lambden and Casey Conner, authors of "Everyday Practices of Extraordinary Consultants," have compiled a list of 12 of the hottest workplace phrases that everyone should know:
  1. Boil the ocean: the scope is too big to do in one project.
  2. Drink the Kool-Aid: to enthusiastically perform a task or follow a leader without knowing how this may affect you or to buy the "company line."
  3. Going native: This is what happens when a consultant stops acting like a consultant and starts thinking he is part of the client organization.
  4. Greenfield instance: When a brand-new application is installed, it is a "greenfield instance" until the consultants and programmers go in and start messing it up with configurations and code changes.
  5. Holistic: A big-picture view or a solution that includes upstream and downstream impacts. Whatever it means, it's a great consulting word and we use it a lot.
  6. Paradigm: The perspective or view you have of a situation.
  7. Running in parallel: Processing normal operating data through two systems simultaneously to compare performance and output.
  8. Straw man: First draft of a solution or proposal intended to provoke discussion. It is an object, document, person or argument that temporarily stands in for and is intended to be "knocked down" by something more substantial.
  9. Talking to the dog: Thinking it through by talking it through out loud.
  10. Use case: A particular circumstance or situation in which the solution would be used.
  11. White paper: An authoritative report or guide published to share technical or business information, particularly related to solving common problems.
  12. Wireframe: Simple pictures that show a proposed user interface.
Christine Lambden and Casey Conner teach consulting and interviewing skills workshops and seminars around the world. After a combined total of more than 30 years in the consulting industry, they now bring their accumulated wisdom to business professionals in various industries. For complete bios, visit

No comments: