Thursday, June 6, 2013

Proper way to use acronyms in a conversation, email, or article (e.g. blog post)

It's a pet peeve of mine when you interact with someone who is a subject matter expert (SME) and will carry the assumption that you know what a certain acronym means. This is a pretty bad assumption to have as its wrong a good portion of the time and only creates confusion.

It should always be best practice to start with the entire spelled out words followed by the abbreviations in parenthesis the first time the acronym is used. From that point on, you can refer to the acronym in the parenthesis in the

Without proper context the first time the acronym is used, you may have people interpret what it stands for incorrectly. This will create a disconnect and, if one exists, you are probably wasting your time and theirs.

Remember that acronyms can mean more than one thing especially in a certain subject. For instance, SME can mean Subject Matter Expert or Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. For an AX example, DMF can mean Intelligent Data Management Framework (casually called data management framework) or Data Migration Framework (now re-branded Data Import/Export Framework [DIEF]). You can see how confusing this can get.  

Doing this might seem like a pain up front but it's kinda like flossing. Definitely a pain in the ass (PITA) to get in the habit of initially but once you become used to it, it saves you a lot of pain down the road.

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