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Monday, February 06, 2006


Worrying about such terms, unless they are overtly offensive, is neither useful nor productive. Ensuring the group/individual is treated with respect is the only thing you should concern yourself with.

The evolution of job titles is usually driven by the demands of employees for greater status. Thus 'clerk' goes from being a perfectly respectable job role in the 1800s to a (generally perceived) low level position today. At the other end of the scale, Vice-President is now becoming a meaningless title due to its ubiquity and may well end up with a similary low level stigma as clerk in two hundred years time.

But human resources might still be considered a tad dehumanising. What was wrong with 'personnel'?


I suspect that those who object to "resource" aren't on the project finance side of the room. We who are have a column in the cost system for "resorouces" or "Full Time Equivalents" (FTE) that contains the labor burden value for the project as a function of type.

Project has a Resource Sheet and Resource loading tools. To be refered to as a "resource" probably means you have an assigned set of tasks and a role on the project, and likely a paycheck on Friday.

Yes, I can see that "coder" could be deemed offensive. Such job titles did exist with coders filling in the lines of code in a program designed by a programmer or analyst programmer - particularly back in the days of punched cards when getting the syntax correct in a program was a time consuming and rather dull activity. We do try not to use words that may be seen as dehumanising in our every day relationships so should avoid them in working situations.

I can see where coder might touch on some sensitivities, especially in organizations where outsourcing/offshoring is being examined. It creates a low level job perception which leads people to believe it's easy to replace. Software developer more accurately describes the full breadth of the job.

As a PM, I wouldn't like being called Chart Maker as there's more to my job than that. :-)

I don't get the resource term angst though. I have no idea what other term you would use to collectively refer to your people, materials and other things used to deliver a project. Resources seems to allow reference to the intended audience in a nice short term.

My $0.02.

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