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The golden rules for choosing a project name

Whether it is a short due diligence exercise or a two-year full development programme, all our projects share a common feature: a project name. This name is usually the prerogative of the project manager and will be used within Team and by the client during the project. Its function is to ensure client confidence and help us manage multiple projects for many clients, but it is also an opportunity to express a bit of personality and ambition.

The quest for a project name is one of the most enjoyable points in the project life cycle, a rare moment, where the one in charge does not have to worry about timescales, budget or deliverables and can let his/her imagination take the lead, as long as the chosen name doesn’t upset or offend anybody.

Here are a few guidelines we try to follow at Team:

  • Don’t make it sound as if we were not committed to the project: well-known disasters such as Titanic, Hindenburg, and BBC TV-series such as Casualty are best avoided
  • Check the name is not offending or rude in your client’s language – all project discussions shouldn’t be followed by giggles
  • Make it obscure enough so that it can’t be related to the actual work. We typically look at more than two steps. For example: Project: breath-actuated inhaler -> Trigger -> Roy Rogers -> Project name: Elton (John, ‘Roy Rogers’ is a song from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)
  • Short, easily pronounced names are good
  • Avoid peoples names: you never know who could join the project team and this leads to all manner of confusion
  • Make it appealing to the client: a very English name for an Anglophile, a high-tech sounding one for a geek, an opera for an opera connaisseur, etc.

Inevitably clients express some interest in the origins of the name we have chosen for their project, and we delight in sharing our thought process. It means that a project starts off with a smile and at the same time we can show some of the personality that we have here at Team.


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