TMN: An unknown three letter word, to check if people know what they are talking about.

Michel and Els brought it up. So many people in IT use words they hardly understand and when they do they don’t take the time to explain the basics.

TMN: stands for This Means Nothing. I use it in meetings where people use 3 letter words all the time and I have the feeling not everyone understands them.
When I get that feeling I say something like.

“I agree with you, but did you think about TMN? “

A lot of people just continue without loosing a beat, yes, that is not a problem because ….

After a little discussion I ask them what TMN means. When I explain it, they get my point.

In other meetings I will just bluntly say I don’t understand this or that acronym, even if I know it but suspect others don’t. In a lot of meetings I get different answers from different persons. Usually when they agree what the 3 letter word means, the other discussions are over.
I don’t mind making a fool of myself if that means I save the face from someone else. In my experience, TMN works better because people realize more there is a problem with using acronyms without explaining them.

That is why on the projects I coach, I ask to make a list of all the abbreviations. It gives a lot of discussions at the beginning of the project, but it saves a lot of anger afterwards.

Tags van Technorati: Acronyms,TMN