I work in a very small company, but I've seen this phenomenon before, to some degree even at all companies I've worked for:
Officially, we work in a Scrum framework, including common planning meetings, daily scrums, retrospectives and sprint demos. There is no formal hierarchy inside the team, and the founder of the company is formally the product owner ("just a team member"). This is not about whether Scrum is a good choice or not, but it is clear that we have not implemented any of the Scrum concepts except for using the terminology. In some cases, some Scrum anti-patterns are implemented 1:1.
I don't want to discuss Scrum implementation here either, but some observations to illustrate this point:
- retrospectives are largely used to criticize our product; action points are about new features and bug fixes
- the product owner assigns every task to individual engineers
- estimated story points are converted directly into duration
- in the daily scrums, every team member reports what they have worked on yesterday
- the Scrum Master role is (implicitly) expected to be picked up by a team member, on top of his daily tasks
For me, this way of working is clearly dysfunctional, although possibly not worse than in many other companies. However, even though I am not a Scrum-aficionado in general, I am very annoyed by the misuse of terminology. The examples on top were only a few, basically every Scrum term is "interpreted" so that it fits the desired way of managing.
I just use the Scrum example because it is present in my current workplace, and it impacts the organization of the entire team. I have seen unrelated cases of such terminological confusion in other companies, e.g. where "Test-driven Development" meant to actually implement automated testing.
It seems like other colleagues are not that annoyed by the particular point of terminology, they rather say things like "Yeah, Scrum is annoying." Maybe they just execute what their manager says and ignore the whole reasoning behind it.
For me, however, these continuous misunderstandings are highly frustrating because it feels like I cannot propose any change. Not doing "Scrum" (his version), is also ruled out as an option in direct talks; proposals to change the way we work are mostly rejected because we do "Scrum".
I think the hard point for me is that the terminology issues make open discussions extremely difficult. We use same words for very different things. However, saying that a term really means something different is typically perceived as very confrontational (even when said very diplomatically), even more so when giving sources. I think that is because it implies that the other party has not understood the concept.
As a senior team member, I am officially expected to push for positive change, and I personally also don't want to just execute orders. Furthermore, I see that we are highly inefficient as a team/company, and all team members are frustrated to some degree, so change is necessary also for the sake of the company.
Am I overly dogmatic regarding terminology? Am I actually looking at the right point, or should I just play along with it? I perceive the usage of these terms as an excuse for bad management, but I (naively?) hope that implementing concepts by the book (e.g. Scrum) would be a good start for improvements. I don't mind variations, but I am missing a common starting point.