Automattic

Anti-Glossary

Clarity and humanity live at the center of our vocabulary when we talk about people. Automattic prefers a friendlier approach to the typical jargon for talking about staffing, hiring, and moving people. We avoid ambiguity by using a specific word or phrase to communicate the exact need.

Below are common jargon-y words with suggested alternatives in bold.

Resources

Instead use a noun that best represents the type of resource you mean: people, money, time, or tools. Most often we mean “people.”

Better:

  • “This project is on hold due to lack of JavaScript Wranglers to work on the UI in Calypso.”
  • “Let’s plan to increase marketing spend once the budget is approved.”
  • “Due to several people on leave, I’d like to know how you best plan to allocate your backend developers around projects.”
  • “Do we have enough money to keep buying per-seat licenses for this software?”

Headcount

When representing an actual count of the number of people, a two-word phrase is accurate: head count. Often used as a jargon-y business term “headcount,” meaning people: job openings and new hires.

Better:

  • “We need 4 new hires on this team.”
  • “This team is asking for 1 new designer.”
  • “In January we’d like to add 5 new Happiness Engineers.”
  • “The head count in Jetpack this year will likely increase by 15%.” (A good use, in my opinion.)
  • “We have approval from Matt for 1-2 job openings for an Excellence Wrangler on Mobile. Let’s get the hiring post up!”

Backfill

Simpler and more clear to use a verb such as replace. A common reason would be to hire or move someone after a departure.

Better:

  • “We’d like to replace __ (team member’s name, title, or role).”
  • “By February we should hire or move two team leads to replace Joe Smith and Rachel Applewood who moved to Tumblr.”
  • “When do you think we can hire a replacement for __ (team member’s name, title, or role)?”
  • “Do we plan to hire someone new for the Head of Design position?”