If given the powers of an all-powerful being, I first would ban folks from using acronyms because I never know what the letters mean. INKWLM. It got this way because too many people are using the same acronym to stand for a wide array of different policies, organizations and procedures. Take the acronym MAPS. A look at an acronym dictionary shows 67 different possibilities. Aren’t acronyms supposed to be useful? AASU? In theory, they speed up conversation, take up fewer words on a page. But all that usefulness goes out the window – GOW – if what I’m communicating has 67 possibilities to choose from. As a gesture of goodwill to those who like acronyms, I won’t ban all of them. Instead, I’ll require each acronym to only have one – and I mean one – meaning. OHOIMOM.

Let’s begin with MAPS.  Of the 67, I see some folks unimpressively used “and” for the A. I’m looking at you, Management and Program Support. Hit the road, Mammograms and Pap Smears.

After that, I’m getting rid of all MAPS where the S stands for system. I don’t like that word, and saying it makes me yawn. Goodbye, Mail Abuse Prevention Systems, Magnetometer Pointing System, Metro Area Paratransit System, Modular Azimuth Positioning System, Multi-Domain Adaptable Processing System, Micromirror Array Projector System – and all the other systems that come with thick manuals and days and days of staff training. You’re out of here! YOH!

Now come the wannabe MAPS that just make me shake my head. What are you doing, Manual of ADP Policies and Procedures? MCIS Administration and Provisioning Service? Go take a hard look at yourselves in the mirror and get back to me. And, by the way, you’re the only acronyms I’ve ever encountered with an acronym as part of your acronym. ADP? MCIS?

The list has grown much smaller and my enthusiasm for the culling reaches a fever pitch (FP)! I drop into the dustbin Monolithic Active Pixel Sensor, Medium Access Priority Selection, Master Achiever Pioneer Star (American Meat Institute environmental program) and all the other MAPS that make me feel dumb. I’m not dumb! You’re the dumb one, Multiresolution Adaptive Parameterization of Surfaces! YDOMAPS!

And finally, we have one MAPS remaining. From now on forever and ever AMEN, when you hear someone say or write MAPS, know they are referring to this song, “My Angus Please Stay” (MAPS), by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and not the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers.

To the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, if you’re willing to change your alliance to an organization, you can have MOPS. I think that’s a way cooler acronym, too. Get back to me if that works and then I’ll let Metrics, Operational Tools, Processes and Procedures, Standards know they can’t use MOPS anymore. From the sound of it, those folks over there will be grateful to go back to the drawing board (GBDB).

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