Agile practitioners often fail to realize that 99.9% of society has never heard Agile terminology. As I recently hosted Agile Baltimore Lean Coffee, I heard very smart people use terms like sprints, Scrum, Kanban, Agile, and stories. They described waste as muri, muda, and mura. To top it off, they described learning as shu, ha, and ri. This was all just casual conversation. One fellow at the table was new to the group and asked, what specifically do all of those things mean? Though everyone was eager to clarify, I think there may have been a little embarrassment as well. Before you go super vertical with a conversation, know who your audience is. You shouldn’t need to educate them, just to have a conversation. Speak in layman terms.
Overt Overuse of Domain Specific Terms
I’ve been in the Agile space about a decade now. I notice an overt overuse of Japanese and other terms to describe just about anything. I know some came from Toyota Production Systems. But there comes a time when I think we try too hard. I guess if you want to sound smart, take something that already exists. Find a foreign language translation and then start presenting it at conferences. Nothing gets people writing notes faster than a word they don’t understand or have to spell phonetically.