Ever wondered if an "agile" telco is one whose CEO does gymnastics? Or what the hell a "waterfall" has got to do with software development?
You are probably not alone. Jargon is a dirty word in the writing business, and yet it's easy to slip into bad habits when writing for a specialist audience. All too often, technology writers depend on the reader's supposed familiarity with ill-defined expressions. The vagueness of those terms can also betray a writer's laziness (if he or she can't be bothered to explain or figure out what something really means) or lack of understanding.
This is not about acronyms and technology terms with a very specific meaning, such as 4G (fourth-generation mobile) and FTTH (fiber-to-the-home). Indeed, many of the words and phrases that sow confusion probably turn up in writing about other industries. And they are a hallmark of some consulting firms, which have made a living by coining jargon and then using it to hoodwink their clients.
Writing a Friday-afternoon story like this means facing up to one's own infractions, and there are doubtless many occasions on which your correspondent has strayed off the path of clear prose and into the jungle of jargon. But it's good to remind oneself of the worst offenses. Here are some of the top contenders:
Clearly, there are many more expressions that qualify for Light Reading's jargonosaurus. Stock consulting phrases like "hit the ground running" and "low-hanging fruit" are perhaps too hackneyed and generic for inclusion here. But please write and suggest further entries, or if you know what a waterfall is when it's not the Niagara Falls.
— Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading