I have worked with many clients to improve their intranets. I find that each client has its own language and specific terms that are known by more general terms with intranet professionals.
This can be an abbreviation, acronym, or term used within parts or the whole organisation. While it may help conversations online within an organisation it can often be a barrier to other people not familiar with these terms.
I call this jargon. The risk is people don’t ask every time they hear company jargon and take an educated guess what it actually means. Sometimes this is right and helps build up future understanding but many other times it will slow progress or even cause mistakes to happen.
The more jargon used, the harder it is to understand what is meant, and can lead to projects overrunning, costing more, or having a poorer outcome than expected. Some of these costs will show through to the bottom line.
What I don’t understand is why more organisations don’t recognise this and do something about it. Creating a corporate wiki that is open to every employee to create and edit is a quick, cheap and easy way to turn company jargon into a goldmine of knowledge.
Publishing all the jargon – acronyms, shortcuts, abbreviations – as items in a corporate wiki helps people to understand more easily and quickly what they are. It also helps to prevent mistakes being made and time wasted through misunderstandings.
It will also be a wonderful tool for any newbies being inducted into the organisation’s approach, culture and ways or working.
Why not turn all that company jargon into a knowledge goldmine and create a wiki that can contain them for every employee to view, add or edit to?