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Ivan Novak
Ivan Novak

Posted on • Originally published at

The Power of Ubiquitous Language: Why Professional Standardization Matters

Let's pretend you're a skilled surgeon in a bustling hospital, only to discover that every piece of medical jargon you've ever learned has been replaced by a new language overnight.

When you try to talk to the nurses, they are bewildered. When discussing issues with your patients, they become anxious. Your colleagues work around you to make sure your patients get the care they need.

This is the chaos that awaits when we overlook the power of ubiquitous language.

Ubiquitous language, you ask? It's not the latest tech jargon or a Silicon Valley secret. It's the professional standardization of terms and phrases that every coder, big or small, newbie or veteran, swears by.

"Ubiquitous Language is the term Eric Evans uses in Domain Driven Design for the practice of building up a common, rigorous language between developers and users." - Martin Fowler

Imagine our coding world without it. It's like trying to navigate a maze blindfolded, isn't it?

Avoiding Communication Breakdowns: The Importance of Common Terminology

Professional standardization, in essence, refers to the adoption of industry best practices and patterns. It's about speaking the same language - using the same design patterns, principles, and scaling methodologies - to communicate effectively and efficiently. Just as every thriving society has shared customs and norms, every thriving professional community thrives on shared standards.

Our profession is rich with these standards. They're often encapsulated in patterns like the Factory, Adapter, and Visitor; and principles such as the Single Responsibility, Open-Closed, Liskov Substitution. These patterns and principles have been refined over decades of practice and iteration, with roots tracing back to the foundational work of computer scientists like David Parnas in the 1970s (On the Criteria To Be Used in Decomposing Systems into Modules). In the 70s!

This shared language is the beating heart of professional standardization. It’s about using the same terminologies, definitions, and models within a team or an organization, leading to a seamless flow of ideas and a smoother, more productive workflow. This goes beyond mere jargon—it forms the basis of all communications and interactions within a team, creating a common ground that everyone can understand and relate to.

Imagine conveying an idea without having to explain what you mean. Then take that a step further and imagine having a conversation with someone equally literate debating the merits and alternatives. The quality of the solution massively improves and the time taken to get there significantly drops!

Code With More Than Your Keyboard: Understanding Each Other’s Language

Let's step into a project for a moment. You're handed a new feature to implement. Now imagine the difference between a team where everyone has invested in understanding design patterns, principles, and scalable methodologies, and a team where this investment hasn't been made.

In the first scenario, the team communicates effectively. They debate the merits and demerits of the Factory or Adapter pattern for the new feature, weigh the principles of Open-Closed or Liskov Substitution, and in minutes, the team comes up with an efficient strategy for implementing the feature.

In the second scenario, however, the team spends hours explaining ideas to one another, leading to misunderstandings, confusion, and a chaotic workflow that may or may not lead to an efficient solution or even shared understanding.

How painfully familiar is that second scenario?!

Upping Your Game: Unleashing the Power of Shared Language

Imagine the impact when you don’t have to spend time explaining what you mean, but rather using that time to discuss the merits and alternatives of an idea. Think about how your productivity would skyrocket, how your confidence would grow, and how much more rewarding your work would become.

Ubiquitous language isn't a nice-to-have. It's a must-have in our toolboxes. It's the difference between paddling a canoe upstream and cruising along in a speedboat.

Respect Is More Than a Word: Demonstrating Your Investment in the Craft

When you speak the same language as your peers, it shows that you respect your craft enough to invest in understanding its foundational principles. It's not just about getting your code to work; it's about understanding why and how it works, how it can be improved, and how it fits within the broader architecture.

This investment can you apart. It builds respect among your peers and opens doors to more challenging opportunities. It shows that you're not just doing your job – you're mastering your craft.

Seize the Power of Ubiquitous Language

Professional standardization and ubiquitous language are not mere suggestions; they're the signposts on the road to professional excellence. It's about raising the bar, not just for you but for everyone who works with you.

When we take the time to learn and use the same terminology, definitions, and models, we create a harmonious and efficient work environment that benefits everyone involved. We raise the level of discourse, improve the quality of our solutions, and bring out the best in each other.

This power is within your reach. All it takes is a commitment to learn and use your profession's ubiquitous language. Once you do, you'll experience a profound shift in your work, your relationships, and your career. Take the leap and unleash the power of ubiquitous language.

Trust me, you won't regret it.

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