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What's in a Project Name?


At Telligent we’ve had internal Community Server releases with names like Mentos, Morpheus, and a few others.

Our reporting solution (built by our interns originally) was initially referred to internally as TattleTale.


Our company just code-named our latest project: Predator, after the character of the movie.

We were just goofing around when we came up with that name, but later realized that the project, which we intend to aggressively compete with other similar systems, was an excellent fit. The system finds things and in this case, a Predator hunts things. Weird how that works out.


I’m using characters from video games I played as a kid. Right now I’m using the Mario series. Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Bowser, Yoshi, … Then I’ll use another video game series or maybe just mix them all up and go in no order. Sonic, Tails, Zelda, Link, Leonardo, Splinter, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Kirby. If I ever run out, I’ll just go to the endless Pokemon list.


We also used female names in our projects.
The three developers all lived on Betty Drive at the time, and that neighborhood was full of female names, so the project names turned out to be the same:
Server product: Sally (not sure where we got this one)
Client product: Cindy (the littlest)
Next version server product: Betty (as in Betty Page/‘betty’ in surfer slang = the ultimate babe!)

We thought about using the three Brady girls names, but no one wanted to name the next version after the oldest, because whenever we would go off talking about it, management would get annoyed and say ‘Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!’… :slight_smile:


I must be really under estimating the value of a name… however…
Why not let the group come up with it themselves? Gives them ownership.

Having a central registry of project names would benefit everyone in the company (as a dictionary) and could link to the project documentation.
This would also insure that the name is unique.

The problem I have with project name is that different people around the company all reference it with different terms…
like ‘everest’ is really ‘3.0’ or the ‘performance’ project.

The REAL problem I have with names is keeping them all straight!


Project names are all well and good but a more important aspect to software development is the final name and the practice of swtiching project names. Should the actual software project code include names? For example, should the actual solution file be called “Gobstopper.sln”? What about directories? Does the application get installed into the Gobstopper directory?

I’ve been on multiple projects that have had project names which ended up in the code/directories/architecture somehow and then got changed by either a buyout or a zealous marketer. Now you are stuck trying to explain to the customer why every Java Jar file starts with Gobstopper or why they need to use the Gobstopper user ID to log in to the database when the application is now called “Accounting 2008”.

I’d love to hear how people are handling this in the industry. If the project name is Gobstopper does this name appear anywhere in the code/installation/architecture?


We have just finished a long cycle of projects all named somehow after sharks:


I am contemplating between apes and muscle cars for the next cycle now.


We name domain controllers after dead rock stars. hehe


Porn stars, naturally.


Our first theme, roller coasters was the best. Our current set is Candy Bars, which sounds good at first, but doesn’t really work. You need a set with a good distribution and something to cover Q and Z, typically hard ones.

I thought National Parks would be good but we had lots of complaints. Michaelangelo was a very successful and long project, but to this day, I still can’t spell his name. Oh, and that’s the turtle guy, not the painter.

Scott Stanfield, CEO


One company has lately used cities and civilizations as project names, but they tend to pick failed cities and civilizations. Perhaps this is due to the names sounding cool and people not knowing history? Or, perhaps it is recognition of the rate of project failure.


Forgot to add a couple of rules to picking the sets for project names at our company:

  1. There needs to be a published (online) list of at least 26 items, A-Z.
  2. They need to be “client-friendly”. So the porn stars are out.
  3. I get the final approval.


I love brands of beer for server names.


Piggybacking somewhat on the colors theme, how about the colors of Crayola Crayons? Atomic Tangerine is just crying out for a project!



If you can people from fighting over regional preferences: cities, states, and countries work well. The majority are 1 word, and most people know how to pronounce and spell most of them.

Colors fits the scheme as well but I find that using adjectives gets confusing.


My current project is going by things related to sailing/boats
and the side projects are Cartographer/Compass/Periscope
and the little testbed i uses is Titanic.


You already had one we used: National Parks. We also tried natural disasters for a while … Mt St Helens, Tanguska :wink:


Hey Now Jeff,
I like the idea of one word names.
Coding Horror Fan,


We use a method similar to Microsoft.


so we might have something like:


We decided to just be completely random. That’s why we make use of our CAPTCHA solver. Currently, we point it to codinghorror’s CAPTCHA. Of course, our last 10 projects have been named orange…