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Being careful with project codenames

I have a silly superstition that any project with a cool, cutesy, or grand-sounding codename is doomed to failure.  We’re breaking my own rule by calling a new infrastucture subsystem “Firefly” (we’re all Firefly/Serenity fans) and talking about a new consolidated dashboard for supporting our messaging workflow called “Highlander.”  We actually caused our senior management some consternation when they started to see “Firefly” in our story names on our iteration plans.  The codename doesn’t even remotely correlate to the business driver behind our project, and the manager’s alarm is perfectly understandable.  They were afraid we were off on some silly techie tangent, instead of what they cared about (business solution).  Hopefully we’ve managed to alleviate their concerns by communicating that Firefly is a prerequisite infrastructure requirement for the larger project.

We’re keeping the Firefly name internally, but I think we’re going to be a little more careful about using the term.  I suggested making the official name the “[Company Name] Communication Foundation,” but that went over like a lead balloon.


And I’m still mad about Wash.

About Jeremy Miller

Jeremy is the Chief Software Architect at Dovetail Software, the coolest ISV in Austin. Jeremy began his IT career writing "Shadow IT" applications to automate his engineering documentation, then wandered into software development because it looked like more fun. Jeremy is the author of the open source StructureMap tool for Dependency Injection with .Net, StoryTeller for supercharged acceptance testing in .Net, and one of the principal developers behind FubuMVC. Jeremy's thoughts on all things software can be found at The Shade Tree Developer at http://codebetter.com/jeremymiller.
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  • Jeremy D. Miller


    These are all borderline cliche’s, but I’ve seen:

    Einstein, Merlin, Speedway (worst system I’ve ever seen, by far), Saturn, Mach I (failed death march to replace Speedway), ION (somewhat successful project to replace Speedway), Picnic, and the entire Greek and Roman mythology pantheon.

  • dehran ph

    in our company we have female names as official name of our products. We ERICA, our application framework, LISA, CES, DESA, GRACE, FAITH, GEMA. 😉 cool names. hehe.

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/ben.reichelt/ Ben Reichelt

    so Jeremy, what are some of the better project codenames you’ve come across?

    I’ve been trying to come up with a good list of codenames lately. I’ve basically been searching wikipedia for a big-ass list of nouns that would be a good list of potential codenames, but alas, I haven’t found a great list yet.

  • David

    Yeah, I thought Miranda would make for a groovy project name, but I guess that’s already taken.

    “And I’m still mad about Wash.”

    Me, too, dammit!