Work isn't issues, and teams aren't assignees

Sigurd Seteklev
November 19, 2020

What we call things colors how we think about them. In a work setting, we get so used to certain terms that we often get desensitized to their negative tones.

In the first version of Kitemaker we named things after convention. That meant items of work were 'issues', and the people working on them were 'assigned'. Both of these terms are negative. They affect how we think about work, and they don't accurately describe how many healthy teams collaborate.

'Issues' is a negatively loaded word coming from the days where these systems were mainly used to track bugs. When we work, we sometimes fix bugs, but we also continuously improve and develop our product - making bets, building features, and changing things that don't necessarily have a 'bug'.

'Assignees' comes from a time where managers were assigning work to their employees. However, many teams work by a pull principle. You know where you best can contribute, so your manager isn't delegating, you are self-organizing.

We have been discussing these things since we started building Kitemaker, and now we took the plunge. We renamed 'issues' to 'work items', and 'assignees' to 'members'.

Do you agree? What are the words you hear used in the context of product development that we should stop or start using? Ping us. And try out Kitemaker!