As a smart person (reputedly Phil Karlton) once said:

“there are only two hard problems in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things”. Having been busy developing several product projects, Bonusbox product team finds that the adage rings true.

One of our findings is that using project codenames could be a good idea. At least in the development stage.

While the approach might appear trivial. I’m finding at least three reasons in favour of project codenames.

Names carry meanings

Awkwardly, those meanings are a matter of perspective. As clear as you might be, different stakeholders in the process will interpret names differently.

A more neutral signifier, such as a codename, will force focus on the project description and prevent assumptions based on a name.

Names stick

As many of us with unusual names can testify, names stick and misnomers in particular!

It is nigh on impossible to get the market-facing name right at the beginning of the project. A codename will give you space to make the important naming decisions at the right moment.

It’s fun

Would you rather work on “Ubuntu 5.1” or on project “Breezy Badger”? “Adobe Photoshop CS” or “Dark Matter”? How about “Android 4.0” or “Ice Cream Sandwich”?

Yeah, I thought so too…

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