At my company, there is a habit for the engineers to refer to their respective hardware/firmware/software in the first-person as if the device they are responsible for is a manifestation of themselves.

I'll give you an example:

Hardware Engineer: "I don't receive the first byte, so I stay off."

Software Engineer: "I'm sending you the first byte after the ack flag, so I thought you were getting it."

Hardware Engineer: "No, you're not turning me on."

It was this very example I overheard today that nearly had me giggling in fits. "You're not turning me on." Well, I should hope not!

So, is it common practice for engineers to do this, or simply unprofessional?

Any suggestions for changing this apparently bad habit?

closed as not constructive by yannis, user8 Nov 18 '11 at 17:42

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Hi JYelton, while this might be a fun discussion topic, this isn't a good fit for the Stack Exchange style of Q&A. – user8 Nov 18 '11 at 17:42

If the two engineers understand each other and are working through their problem, their choice of person is irrelevant.

Professionalism doesn't enter into this.


I suppose in your particular case it is okay and only because there are usually such clear lines of delineation between the hardware, firmware and software guys.

If they were all software guys working on the same application however I would see it as a warning sign that little fiefdoms may be forming around particular components or domain areas. This runs counter to Agile, which suggests all developers should be able to play different roles at different times.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.