Have you ever had a long conversation about project requirements and yet, in the end, those requirements weren’t met? Does your team need a ubiquitous language?
I know that I’ve been a victim of using language too casually. “Of course, by ‘user’ I meant the ‘admin user’. That’s implied, isn’t it?” I might think to myself. Yet, two weeks go by and soon a feature is getting ready to be rolled out that you never wanted to ship in the first place.
A ubiquitous language is your team’s first line of defense against miscommunications. It should be cherished by project managers, product managers, engineers, designers, marketers and anyone else working on a project.
The phrase ubiquitous language was first coined in Domain-Driven Design by Eric Evans. It’s “the practice of building up a common, rigorous language between developers and users”
When you begin a new project, it’s worth spending time defining and documenting all of the terms or acronyms that may later cause ambiguity for the team. Wonderus makes it so easy to build up a glossary of terms for your project, team, or organization.
Then, make this language constantly available. You could share out a Google Doc or a wiki page, although in my experience these pages rarely end up getting referenced and mistakes still get made.
With Wonderus, we are making team knowledge available where people are already working. With a Slack application, if a team member uses an unfamiliar word it’s easy to look it up or request a definition without having to leave chat. With an upcoming Chome extension, you’ll be able to access your team’s language no matter where you are on the web, even from within your project management systems like Jira and Trello.
Has your team had success using a ubiquitous language? What challenges have you had with maintaining and updating it? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.