A rant on the naming of projects

Developers are an interesting group when it comes to naming creations.

In my opinion you have a few distinct groups, and they are developers who name the application after something it does (Transcoder, Mediator, Console, make), name it after something it does and affix a verb (Autorippr), call it something seemingly nonsensical (Yarn, Laravel, Composer) and those who abbreviate a short description of what it does (NPM, RVM).

NB: Dropping vowels is optional

Most of the above are descriptive enough in their own name. Just by looking at them you could guess at what most of them do. Transcoder transcodes, Autorippr rips automatically, Node Package Manager manages node packages. You don't need a a short paragraph to explain what they do.

Recently I've been seeing a trend in the tech world, take something boring but simple and make it sound hip and cool. Appeal to the developers to show how laid back the business is. This ain't your daddy's corporate environment any more.

There are some things that these names work well for, sprints for example.

Sprints come and go, most lasting 2 weeks or less and get an incrementing number.

  • Sprint 1
  • Sprint 2
  • Sprint 3

Now you can make things fun and name them after Pokemon, the doctors of Dr. Who or elements from the periodic table...

  • Koffing
  • Cadmium
  • Christopher Eccleston

These work because you almost never refer to the sprint number as part of your development cycle. Tickets yes, sprint numbers, not really.

This is the perfect spot to inject some fun.

Streams or projects on the other hand can't handle that sort of renaming.

Take these 100% original, boring names

  • Mobile stream
  • Web stream
  • Ops stream
  • QA stream

These are boring, but you know exactly what they contain.

You're not writing a fantasy novel, or creating a hip new start up, you need something people understand today, tomorrow, and whenever people talk about it to others out of the loop.

If you were to read these, could you tell me what kind of work went on in the streams?

  • Baratheon Stream
  • Lannister Stream
  • Targaryen Stream
  • Tully Stream
  • Stark Stream

They're not fun, they're not hip. They. are. confusing.

If you have to describe the stream as "Baratheon (Ops)" then why waste time? Just say "Ops".

Keep It Simple, Stupid

I'm not against fun.

Fun is awful

Fun is good, it keeps the team together. Just have fun in the right places.