Microspeak: POR


Remember, Microspeak is not merely for jargon exclusive to Microsoft, but it's jargon that you need to know.

The abbreviation POR stands for plan of record. It is always spelled out when spoken: P-O-R, and the O is usually uppercase even though it stands for a word that is not normally capitalized in titles.

The plan of record represents the agreed-upon plan for how a feature will behave. Used without any particular context, it generally refers to how the feature will behave when it is complete.

The above video shows our current thinking, but it is not POR.

Translation: The above video shows what the team is currently thinking about how the feature would work, but the final decision as to whether the feature will actually work that way has not yet been made.

The plan for how the feature will behave when it is complete may be different from the plan for how the feature will behave at the end of the current milestone. For example, the plan for the current milestone may be that the feature works only in limited cases, but the feature is expected to work in more general cases when it is complete.

The term POR may be qualified to reflect the agreed-upon plan for a particular milestone.

The POR for the first Windows Insiders update in August is to support feature X.

A plan of record is arrived at after consulting with partner teams and other stakeholders. Until everybody has agreed to the plan, it is not yet a plan of record.

Note that a plan of record is not immutable. Changes in circumstances may require revisions to the plan of record.

The scope of a plan of record can be something other than a feature. It could be a process.

This is the tell mode POR for the Anniversary Update.

Translation: Team leadership agreed that this is how tell mode will operate for the Anniversary Update.

As with most Microspeak, the usage of the term can change in ways that no longer grammatically reflect the phrase for which it is an abbreviation.

It appears that feature X is disabled. Is that POR?

Notice how the definite article the was dropped from the question.

Comments (4)
  1. Peter Doubleday says:

    Doesn’t that make POR an entirely meaningless term, though?

    I mean, if the plan for Milestone X is to get Features Y and Z to work, then surely the only plan worth considering is the plan for Milestone X. This is, after all, the Agile (hawk, spit) Way. YAGNI, and so on.

    Leaving Agile to one side (please do), there seems to be little point to qualifying “the current plan” as “it’s not the POR, because we don’t actually have a plan for that, or indeed a record against which to measure the plan that we know we don’t have.”

    Some MicroSpeaks have intrinsic (if occasionaly inscrutable) value. This one just sounds like one that a particularly dense Program Manager (not one of mine — they were all Einsteins) would come out with.

    1. The term is useful because it denotes that the plan has been agreed to by all parties, as opposed to a proposed plan or an interim plan. (I don’t understand what your first paragraph is trying to say.)

  2. Paul says:

    Also IBMspeak

  3. Ian Yates says:

    These Microspeak articles never fail to impress me. The evolution of language, especially in such a small microcosm where, for the outside layman it appears everyone’s doing the same thing (“writing computer programs”), is fascinating.

    For this one though, I’d never heard of this term and I hope I don’t allow it to infect my vocabulary :)

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