What's in a Project Name?

Since I started at Vertigo, here are a few of the projects I've worked on:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/11/whats-in-a-project-name.html

We use brands of beer. Belgian beer, of course.

Google Sets is a relevant tool for this type of activity:


We choose acronyms from the things it should do. I tried to change that and tried Albert(Discworld character, Death’s assistant) on a new project, but it was changed to a hard pronounceble camel case word. :frowning:

I’ve always thought that if I had a chance to name a project I would name it after weapons… preferably legendary ones. Well, actually ordinary weapons that sound cool or click well with the rest would work as well. I’m not sure if it would sound militaristic though.

I know the post is about names, but I’ll tell you about fonts: In a 15 inch LCD monitor this new font is really bad to read. Is there any way to switch to the old font style ?

Shipping regions. Guaranteed to resonate with anyone who’s ever listened to BBC Radio 4 or the BBC World Service.


Characters from The Simpsons.


Project Naming Committees are where we send Management when we need to get them out of our hair for a while.

I was going to try the 2 first, but after your answers, I totally failed.

I’ll post the sets I thought:

Michelangelo : Renaissance artists (fail)
Nash : Mathematicians (fail)

Some others that could be nice:

Food: pepperoni, beef, cabbage, lettuce, carrot, cinnamon, basil,… (avoid tomato(e) and potato(e) if your team has mixed Brits and USians)

Ilands: Madagascar, Hawaii, Cuba, Easter, Japan,…

Politicians: Carter, Kennedy, Reagan, Blair, Tatcher, Miterrand, Lennin,…

OMG, English phonetics is killing me, I meant Islands :slight_smile:

Get one word to describe what it does and then translate it into Cornish, et voila, a unique, nearly pronouncable name.

what about girl names?

You know, when I used to work for a big company, it was pretty important to decide what to code name a project, because the project visibility and image within the company were considered very important. Now that I work in a company with around 25 people (and less than half that when I started), we just give things descriptive names. Honestly, it works just fine, and it seems a lot less silly than telling people you’re working on a project called Lemonheads, or MooseDrool, or Lothlorien or something.

Star Trek characters, of course!


Company I worked for had the most ludicrous names for their internal projects.
Data converter was called “Jehova” as it had its “witnesses” (plugins for different data types), while animation tool was called “closet” because, yes, it worked with “skeletons” (animated, that is). And many, many more

I typically use professional wrestling names for my projects…have for years. Usually just the last name or their character name. And with new characters coming going all the time, the list is plentiful:

  • Savage
  • Steamboat
  • Orndorf
  • Valentine
  • Flair
  • Jericho

And at one point in time the team I was on used television program names and associated names – mostly because it was at a CBS affiliate station:

  • Dallas
  • South Fork
  • Scarecrow
  • Hazzard
  • Dynasty
  • Hourglass

I’ve used mythical names a lot too. But now that I’m more of a one-man team I tend to stick with wrestling names. Keeps it fun and is great for conversation too.

Branching out into naming schemes in general (i.e. not specific for projects)

A company I worked for used the box-o-crayons method for naming servers: they took a large box of crayons that had the colors listed and named their servers after it, in no particular order. (“the white is our CVS box, the red is a testing box, etc”).

All machines that get to live in my home get named after the capitals of US states, in alphabetical order of the state.

I have also used (for small numbers of boxes) 6-lettter scientists (Kelvin, Darwin) and space crafts/mission programs. (Sputnik, Apollo).

Stations on a (local) rail network works nicely too. (e.g. London Underground)

Sadly we only use the final product names (if already known) or description of what the product will do (or acronyms of this).

I vote for rockalbums or sweets for the start.

But how about combinations of two sets, to make it cooler, this could lead to names like “firefox” :stuck_out_tongue:

My day job is with the DoD, so we of course name everything with huge, obscure acronyms that we then pronounce phonetically. (Defense Finance and Accounting Service = DFAS = Deefas)

When I’m naming a personal project, I try to come up with an original word that I just think sounds cool. Right now I’m working on one I call Operoth.

Interestingly, your strategy for naming projects is very similar to the shadowy “Bureau”'s strategy for naming secret missions in Adam Hall’s “Quiller” novels…

Personally, I’ve never needed to name a project, but I like naming machines. At Warwick Uni, different clusters of machines would have related names, so all the Sparc ELC/SLCs back in my day were Onyx, Marble, Flint, and so on, whereas the room of colour graphics stations all just ended with “-ind”: woodwind, downwind, tamarind… Much nicer than this dull company I work for now, where everything is RLYDULNME04938 or whatever.

At Warwick, there was a suggestion to name a group of machines after dead rockstars (mostly so you could get the dialogue “ping Elvis”/“Elvis is alive”), but it never came to fruition, unfortunately.