A Rose By Any Other Name,… Don’t Even Try!

Whether you name a company, a product, a machine, a person, a role,… or serialize units in production, you create a key to which information about an entity can be attached and through which it can be retrieved. When you do it, you should think through the different ways the name will be used and, once you have made your choice, stick with it.

These are obvious principles, but not always respected in manufacturing organizations.  It hadn’t occurred to me to post about this until I saw, in yesterday’s New York Times, an unintelligible tennis women champions’ board from Wimbledon, from photographer Duncan Grove,  with annotations  to decrypt it:

The simple, straightforward choice would have been to designate these winners by the full names under which they were referenced in the media and list multiple winners under the same name for all wins. The board maintainers at Wimbledon could also have asked the honorees what they wanted to be called. Their marital status is irrelevant and, if married, so are their obscure husbands’ last names and initials, particularly for the women who won both before and after marriage, or had several spouses. The key takeaway: when naming, forget obsolete traditions.