"The two most difficult things in programming are cache invalidation and naming." -Phil Karlton

Naming. Finding the best word, a focus on the message. Words are artifacts and as such should be closely examined by serious agilists. Words have no meaning on their own; we imbue them so we can more accurately infer another's intent in communication. 

I believe that establishing a shared vocabulary, what Eric Evans refers to as "ubiquitous language" or the field of Action Science calls a "shared mental model" is as important for an organization as any other working agreements or boundary conditions. If an agile implementation is a game, words and messages are the plays and passes.

In that vein, I've assembled a glossary of terms, mostly from the various gravity sports, that have something to offer the realm of agile. Most of them describe some sort of context that has a physical, mental, and emotional experience that maps well onto various work situations. I'll refer to these from time to time in posts and pages.

 A general term originally applied to software development processes that value collaboration and rapid delivery of functional software that solves identified problems over command and control structures that rely on documentation to measure software efficacy. See www.agilemanifesto.com.

Dojo: Japanese term literally meaning "practice hall" can refer to any art form that benefits from such a dedicated space. In Western vernacular a dojo tends to infer a space for training in martial arts. In Japan, dojos often contain a temple to honor the mystical aspects of the practice. Behavior in the dojo is clearly and explicitly prescribed by tradition.
Casing: Mountain biking term for crashing, especially after sending off a jump or other specific feature.

Closeout: A surfing term describing the behavior of a wave when the remaining face breaks at the same time rather than in a curl across the face that can be ridden. Depending on the locale and rider, closeouts are either avoided or embraced, though typically they are an unridable section of wave that is avoided by riding up over the top of the wave before it finishes breaking. This keeps the surfer on the outside.

Catching An Edge: From snowboarding, when the board's downhill edge makes contact with the snow. This often results in an injurious crash. Also applies to skiing.

Caught Inside: Surfing term for when a surfer has either fallen while riding a wave or been unable to paddle outside (see Outside) a set of larger incoming waves' impact zone. The inside's (see Inside) turbulent water and frequent whitewater make escaping difficult and exhausting. Any progress made toward an exit can quickly be undone as oncoming whitewater pushes the surfer back toward shore, knock him off his board, or hold her down under water. Getting caught inside in big surf tests a surfer's physical, mental, and emotional stamina, especially when the swell is highly consistent in size and frequency.

Dropping: A term shared by many big mountain disciplines for an athlete to begin a run. In many cases dropping in is a highly committing move as the only exit is down the slope.

Getting Rinsed or The Rinse Cycle: Surfing term for the experience of being tumbled around under water by a wave. Getting rinsed by larger waves is disorienting and violent. Even knowing which way to swim back to the surface can be difficult without a reference such as the tension of a leash. Learning to conserve energy and avoid injury by relaxing mentally and physically while in the rinse cycle is a critical skill every surfer must develop.

Going Big: General term in gravity and extreme sports to describe pushing one's limits in a way that increases risk. Going big can both redefine what is possible for an athlete or sport, or end in substantial injury. Being able to accurately asses this risk relies as much on intuition as observable data. Athletes that learn to trust this intuition tend to be well-served.

Hold Down: Surfing term for being unable to reach the surface because of breaking waves. In extreme cases a surfer may be driven so deep under water and the force of subsequent waves' impact that multiple waves will pass before he is able to reach the surface and thus breathe. 

Hole: River whitewater term for a hydraulic feature formed by water flowing over a submerged rock or ledge, forming a recirculation in the river. Surfing standing waves formed by holes can be exhilarating. Being sent deep into the river by them can be terrifying, in the worst cases deadly.

Hucking: Same as Sending though also used by other sports disciplines.

Inside: Surfing term for the area of water between the shore and where waves are breaking. Characterized by turbulent water and the whitewater from subsequent waves. One of the worst places to be.

Impact Zone: Surfing term for the narrow band of water where a wave's lip makes contact with the water's surface in front of the wave's face. In big surf this impact can snap boards and drive a surfer deep under water. In extreme cases additional waves can continue to hold him down, which can test the lung and mental capacity of even the most seasoned wave rider. 

Outside: Surfing term for the area of water that is on the ocean side of where waves are breaking. Typically calm and easy to manouver, surfers paddle in this area to get into position for their next ride or to recover from a wave or being caught inside.

Sending: Used by mountain bikers to refer to taking flight on the bike off the top of a jump or natural feature.

Tomahawk: A mountain biking term for a type of crash where the rider cartwheels down the slope off his bike.

Yard Sale: A snowboard and ski term for a crash that results in a trail of equipment such as goggles, hat, poles, and skis as the rider tumbles downhill.


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