Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We're just going to hope we're wearing underwear.

Are we taking a belt and braces approach?

During a management offsite, one of our international executives from the Commonwealth used a colloquialism with which I was unfamiliar.  I was certain I'd heard him say "Belton's Braces" as in a Belton's Braces Approach.  Braces == Suspenders I'm familiar with, but why this particular brand of suspenders was so important left me at a loss.  After digging around online for a while, the closest I could come to a definition was something of a cross between extraneous projects that are nevertheless important to ongoing operations (meat and potatoes) and decorative projects that look good, but have no real utilitarian function. As my two definitions seemed at odds, I was pretty sure both were wrong. Fortunately, I know a co-worker with whom I can verify my assumptions which, in retrospect, was a very good idea.  It would have been embarrassing to use the phrase incorrectly in a meeting with Australia and New Zealand, two of my current partners.

Not only did he correct me, he wrote a corporate blog post about me with an accompanying dinosaur meme graphic he was so amused.  The exec hadn't said Belton's Braces.  He'd said Belt and Braces.  Ah!!!  That makes sense.  Although the allegation that we use Belt and Suspenders in the U.S. is dubious.  I've never heard anyone use that particular phrase before.  But the idea of wearing both a belt and braces as two layers of protection against your pants falling down - something Justin Bieber might do well to learn - as translates to a software project, making sure you implement a few options so as to be sure you won't fail.  I grok that.

So not nearly as interesting as Softly Softly Catchee Monkey in my opinion, but more interesting than to go all pear shaped.  A good colloquialism to know and an excellent example of Chicken and Duck in English.

Snarky: Are we taking a belt and braces approach?
Title: We're just going to hope we're wearing underwear.

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