Tech catch phrases that beat me down

A committee at Lake Superior State University in Michigan publishes a list of overused words and phrases every year.  On this year's list are "battleground state," "...and I approve this message," and "carbs," among others.  It got me thinking about some of the things I hear in my work as a software developer that beat me down.  Here are a few:

  • Orders of magnitude.  Just a fancy way of saying tenfold/hundredfold/thousandfold/...

  • Works on my machine (or WOMM).  The least helpful thing you can say to someone struggling to get a software application to work on their machine.
  • It works.  Oh yeah?  Show me your tests, running, quickly, all green.  Can I look at your code and understand it readily?  Is the design well-factored, loosely coupled, cohesive, coherent?  Would you be proud to show the code you wrote at a job interview?  On what basis?
  • It doesn't work.  Oh yeah?  Under what circumstances?  What specific steps can I follow to reproduce the issue, if any?  What is the expected behavior?  If I understand these things, then I can write an automated test to expose the fault, then fix the code, then never have to worry about that problem again, ever.  Without these things, I've very little hope of solving the problem.

What are some of your tech-phrase beat-downs?

Written on January 2, 2005