What Is in Name?

Appropriate naming conventions and consistent naming patterns are followed while writing code but have you wondered if you can apply the same thing in real life? or if your organization is also promoting same thing in any communication they do or whatever artifacts they create?

Following a set pattern or convention in naming is very important for any organization specially a growing one where things are moving fast and are already chaotic. Let’s go through few examples where one can easily use set patterns…


Email is one of the primary modes of communication in any organization. How many times have you observed closely if there is any pattern in the various email addresses created in your organization. or if there isn’t any!. A person with name John Smith can have email address with so many combinations e.g. jsmith@mycompany.com or johns@mycompany.com or john.smith@mycompany.com or js@mycompany.com to name a few. I have seen so many organizations not using any set pattern while create email addresses. Depending upon sysadmin mood your email address is created. I do understand you can always find people in the address book but if you have set guidelines things become uniform and better organized. Few guidelines I can think of areā€¦

- firstName.lastName@mycompany.com (My favorite)
    - In case of conflict use firstName.(Initital of MiddleName).lastName@mycompany.com
- (Initial of First Name).lastName@mycompany.com

Similarly one can devise own set of conventions while creating different internal groups.


Following appropriate guidelines while naming document is again very important. It helps in finding and organizing your documents easily. The key is that without opening the document one should be able to easily figure out the purpose and owner of the document. By owner I mean at least the department of the organization to which the document belong. You can find lot of guidelines if you google with term ‘document naming conventions best practices’. Few guidelines off the top of my head are…

- CompanyAbreviation_DepartmentName_DocumentTitle_(Draft... if not final)_DD_MM_YYYY e.g. MYCMP_ENGG_Feature.Detailed.Design.draft_JAN_2014
- Document.Title_DepartmentName.DD.MM.YYYY e.g. Feature.Detailed.Design_ENGG_02.01.2014

Similarly one should also be disciplined in creating folder structures.


It is very important that everyone in organization is using exact same format for email signatures (if you are using). Consider this more of a marketing guidelines.

You may apply same thing to almost anything you are dealing with be it source code repositories, wiki, conference room names or your digital assets.

It may seem trivial but you never know when things get out of your hands and too chaotic. If everyone is following their own set of naming, believe me it starts pinching after some time. So if you are a startup or a small growing organization, set some guidelines on naming patterns. It won’t take 30 mins of your time to decide upon conventions. The key thing is that you are setting up some guidelines to start with but you are consistent with that. Key beneficiaries of this effort is going to be the new people joining your awesome team. Believe me they will love it.