Declarative Management is Out!

Yes, the title is correct, Declarative Management (DMF) is gone! Did I get your attention? Maybe I should elaborate. About 7 months ago we embarked on a naming project for DMF. We knew that DMF was a little too geeky and didn't necessarily describe the feature in an intuitive and meaningful way. Tehcnically the name is correct as the goal of DMF is to move from a procedural way of managing SQL Server to a declarative way. We kicked around about 10 or so names but couldn't reach any agreement.

That's when we decided to involve an outside agency that does this sort of thing. I knew these companies existed but had never worked with them. Years ago when I was at HP and we spun off the test and measurement business, what later became Agilent, I saw a little bit of the process. Though our budget for this was probably 1% of what it cost to come up with the Agilent name.

But I digress. We gave the agency an overview of DMF along with some key attributes of the feature. They used this information to generate a list of some 50+ names! Each of the names went through an initial legal review - think trademark search - and were divided into three groups: A, B, and C based on the chances of passing a more in-depth legal review. We threw out the B's and C's. We repeated this exercise two more times eventually whittling down the list to our 4 or 5 favorites.

The names were ether descriptive (think HD-DVD) or suggestive (think Blu-Ray). It's interesting in that usually only suggestive names can be trademarked. Our final list of 4 or so names contained a combination of suggestive and descriptive names.

With our final short list in hand the agency conducted a user survey. They surveyed over 350 IT professionals. The structure of the survey was interesting. Some participants were exposed to all of the names while others were only exposed to one of the names.

The agency did a fantastic job collecting and presenting the data. All-in-all it was a very fasinating process. One of our marketing guys, Niraj Nigrani ran the project from our side, he did a splendid job.

Okay, I've kept you in suspense long enough. The official name for DMF is Microsoft ® SQL Server ®  2008 Policy-Based Management.

I know you're probably thinking you could've come up with that name. And you're right. In fact Policy-based Management was on our original list. But just because it's obvious doesn't make it a bad name. IMHO it's a perfect name for the feature and I have the research to prove it. When people hear it they get it; which is exactly what you want in a name.

Comments (5)
  1. Quite a lot it seems. The new SQL Server 2008 feature Declaratrive Management Framework (DMF) is no more.

  2. En entradas anteriores ya he tratado de convencer a los indecisos de probar la última CTP de SQL

  3. Vadym says:

    It is strange microsoft gives the same abbreviation for different features. In 2005 DMF used to mean database management function along with DMV – db management view…

  4. As you can imagine it’s very hard to pick unique acronyms when working on a product as big as SQL. Throw in all of MS and it gets even tougher. We did discuss this and decided the context was different enough there wouldn’t be a problem with overlap. Also, we knew that we’d likely rename the feature leaving the only place for the overlap in the API – tough to leave it as so but the cost to convert DMF to PBM in the API was simply too great given the benefit.

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