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Glossary of Project Management Terminology

Dec 13, 2019 Blog

Every Project Management Professionals have to know about the terminologies of Project Management. Establishing standardized definitions for common project management terms is a challenge, even for seasoned pros. To help you achieve this goal, we’re offering this authoritative reference guide, pulling together a complete list of project management terminology. This glossary contains more than 600 terms and provides simple, clear explanations.

A - Project Management Terms

Accept - A decision to take no action against a threat. Project teams typically accept risks when they fall below risk thresholds or when the team thinks it best to act only if and when a threat occurs. (See also risk acceptance)

Acceptance criteria - The specific requirements expected of project deliverables. To be formally accepted, deliverables must meet all acceptance criteria.

Acceptance test - A test in which a team of end users runs a product through its full range of use to identify potential problems.

Acquisition process - This process obtains the personnel and resources necessary for project work. Acquisitions are closely coordinated with project budgets and schedules.

Action item - An activity or task that must be completed.

Action item status - This tracks an action item’s progress from creation to closure. Since work packages comprise multiple action items, seoindiarank keeping action item statuses updated is important for project progress.

Activity - The smallest unit of work necessary to complete a project work package (which includes multiple activities). Time, resources, and finances are required to complete each activity.

Activity code - An alphanumeric value by which activities can be grouped and filtered. A code is assigned to each activity.

Activity identifier - A unique alphanumeric value by which an individual activity can be distinguished. An activity identifier is assigned to each activity.

Activity label - A short descriptor for an activity. Activity labels may be placed below arrows representing activities in activity-on-arrow (AOA) diagrams.

Activity list - This documents all the activities necessary to complete a project. Each activity is accompanied by its activity identifier and a description of the work it entails.

Activity-On-Arrow (AOA) - In this network diagram, arrows represent activities and nodes represent events or milestones. AOA diagrams can only indicate finish-to-start relationships.

Activity-On-Node (AON) - In a network diagram of this nature, nodes represent activities and arrows illustrate logical relationships between activities. AON diagrams can illustrate four relationship types: start-to-start, start-to-finish, finish-to-start, and finish-to-finish.

Actual cost of work performed (ACWP) - This represents the total cost incurred for work done in a given period of time.

Actual duration - The length of time taken to complete an activity.

Actual effort - The amount of labor performed to complete an activity. It is expressed in person-hours or similar units of work.

Actual expenditure - The sum of costs paid from a budget.

Actual progress - This measures the amount of work completed on a project. It is used to assess the comparison between project progress and project baselines and is usually stated as a percentage.

Adaptive project framework (APF) - An approach to project management that rejects traditional, linear project management and instead accepts changing requirements and allows projects to be affected by external business environments. The ADF stresses flexibility in many aspects of project management and focuses on performing and evaluating project work in stages to allow room for replanning due to changing business goals, objectives, and requirements.

Administrative closure - This refers to the set of formal requirements fulfilled to end a project. Among other things, it involves documenting the formal acceptance of deliverables and ensuring that all relevant information is sent to a project’s sponsor and stakeholders.

Aggregate planning - This strategy uses demand forecasts to manage scheduling and planning for project activities between three and 18 months in advance, so that the necessary resources and personnel can be efficiently acquired or assigned.

Agile - The Agile family of methodologies is a superset of iterative development approaches aimed at meeting ever-changing customer requirements. Agile development proceeds as a series of iterations, or sprints, with incremental improvements made in each sprint. Since agile projects do not have fixed scopes, agile methodologies are adaptive, and the iterative work is guided by user stories and customer involvement.

Agile project management - Agile project management draws from concepts of agile software development. Agile approaches focus on teamwork, collaboration, and stakeholder involvement, as well as the use of iterative development methods.

Agile software development - Agile software development originates from the Agile Manifesto, a set of principles that emphasizes meeting changing requirements through collaborative development and making ongoing improvements through iteration. It stresses the importance of being reactive to rapid changes in external environments.

Allocation - The assigning of resources for scheduled activities in the most efficient way possible. (See also resource allocation)

Alternative analysis - The evaluation of possible courses of action for project work in order to find the most suitable course of action.

Analogous estimating - This technique uses historical project data to prepare time and cost estimates. It is considered the most inaccurate estimation technique. (See also top-down estimating)

Analytical estimating - This technique computes total project time and cost estimates by preparing estimates for each project activity and adding them together. Analytical estimating is considered the most accurate estimation technique. (See also bottom-up estimating)

Application area - The specific project category of which the project is a part. Application areas can be defined on the basis of project products’ characteristics or applications or by the projects’ customers or stakeholders.

Apportioned effort - Project work associated with components of a work breakdown structure and performed in proportion, with discrete effort. Since the amount of apportioned effort (which includes activities such as quality assurance) depends directly on the amount of discrete effort, it cannot be considered separately from discrete effort. It is one of three types of activities used to measure work performance as part of earned value management.

Approach analysis - During the project planning phase, this type of analysis is used to examine the various methods by which a project’s goals may be achieved.

Arrow diagramming method (ADM) - A method of constructing a network diagram that uses arrows to represent activities and nodes to represent events or milestones. The ADM is used to construct activity-on-arrow (AOA) diagrams.

Artifact - Items that support software development. Artifacts include both items associated with the process of development, such as project plans, and items used to support actual aspects of development, such as use cases and requirements.

Assignment contouring - The process of assigning people to project work for changing numbers of hours per day as the project moves through different stages. Assignment contouring is typically done using project management software.

Assumption - Factors deemed to be true during the project planning process, though proof of their validity is not available. A project’s assumptions can affect its risks and outcomes, so you must consider them carefully.

Authorization - In general, authorization is the power to make decisions that the management grants. The specific remit for authorization varies on a case-by-case basis.

Authorized work - Work that management or others in authority approve.

Avoid - A response to a negative risk that seeks to ensure the risk does not occur or (if the risk cannot be eliminated) seeks to protect the project objectives from the negative risk’s impact. (See also risk avoidance)

B - Project Management Terms

Backward pass - This calculates late-start and finish dates for project activities by working backwards from the project end date.

Balance - A phase in the portfolio life cycle that involves balancing a portfolio’s components based on risk, costs, and use of resources. It is an aspect of organizational project management. (See also portfolio balancing)

Balanced scorecard - A Balanced scorecard is a concept or tool used to assess whether an organization’s activities are correlated with its general vision and objectives.

Bar chart - A diagrammed calendar schedule of project activities’ start and end dates in logical order. (See also Gantt chart)

Baseline - This term represent the costs and schedules approved at the start of the project. They use baselines as a basis for monitoring and evaluating performance.

Benefits realization -This term focuses on ensuring that project results give customers and stakeholders the benefits they expect.

Blueprint - A document that explains what a program means to accomplish and describes a program’s contribution to organizational objectives.

BOSCARD - This method details and considers the background, objectives, scope, constraints, assumptions, risks, and deliverables of new projects.

Bottom-Up estimating - This calculation computes total time and cost estimates for projects by preparing individual estimates for each of a project’s activities and adding them together. Bottom-up estimating is considered the most accurate estimation technique. (See also analytical estimating)

Brief -  This refers to the document produced during a project’s concept phase. It is the primary document outlining requirements.

Budget - The sum of money allocated for a project. The term may also refer to a comprehensive list of revenues and expenses.

Budgeted cost of work performed (BCWP) - The portion of the budget allocated to scheduled work actually performed in a period of time. (See also earned value)

Budgeted cost of work scheduled (BCWS) - The portion of the budget allocated to work scheduled to be performed in a period of time. (See also planned value)

Burn down chart - A graph that shows the relationship between the number of tasks to be completed and the amount of time left to complete these tasks.

Burst point - A point in a network diagram at which multiple successor activities originate from a common predecessor activity. None of the successor activities may start until one finishes the predecessor activity.

Business analysis - The practice of identifying and solving business problems. It focuses on creating and implementing solutions to business needs via organizational development, process reengineering, or any number of other methods.

Business case - A documentation of the potential outcomes of a new project, including benefits, cost, and effects. It shows the reasoning for starting the project.

Business imperative - An issue, situation, or circumstance with the potential to affect a business in one way or another, depending on the course of action used to address it. Organizations prioritize business imperatives for actions that will realize any potential benefits or avoid any potential harm.

Business model - A company’s business model is the system by which the organization’s  profitable activities are planned, structured, and executed, and by which it interacts with its customers.

Business operations - The entire ensemble of activities or business processes through which a company uses its assets to create value for its customers.

Business process - A Business process is a system of activities by which a business creates a specific result for its customers. There are three categories of business processes: management processes, operational processes, and supporting processes.

Business process modeling (BPM) - Business process modeling is the representation, analysis, and evaluation of business processes in an effort to improve them.  

Business requirements - The conditions a product must satisfy to effectively serve its purpose within a business.

Business value - The business value of a project is the sum of positive effects — tangible and intangible — it has on the business.

C - Project Management Terms

Calendar unit - The smallest unit of time — usually hours or days — by which project activity durations are measured.

Capability maturity model (CMM) - This model is used to assess the maturity of business process capabilities. It was created to assess the capabilities of software development processes but is now used in a number of other industries as well. Like other maturity models, the CMM allows organizations to assess themselves against external benchmarks and provides recommendations for improvement.

CAPEX - CAPEX, or capital expenditure, is the money a company spends to acquire new fixed physical assets or upgrade old ones, typically for long-term use.

Case study - A case study involves extensive and in-depth formal research into an area of a company, a situation, or an event. Case studies typically result in formal reports that are published in academic or professional publications. They investigate important, singular, or locally representative cases that contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) - This is an entry-level certification for project managers offered by the Project Management Institute. It is designed to build knowledge of project management processes and terms.

Champion - A project champion makes project success a personal responsibility. This person pushes the project team to work hard, liaise with stakeholders on behalf of the project, and support the project manager. Project champion is an informal role.

Change control - Change control is the process of identifying, evaluating, approving, and implementing changes to a project. It ensures that changes are introduced in a controlled and effective manner and that any adjustments necessitated by changes are also addressed.  

Change control board - An appointed group of stakeholders who evaluate proposed changes and decide when and whether to make them.

Change control system/process - The process by which changes to the project are evaluated before approval, implemented, and documented.

Change freeze - The point at which scope changes to a project are no longer permissible.

Change management plan - A Change management plan details the change control process. It is created to ensure all changes are managed according to procedure. Change management plans can be created for individual projects or for organizations undergoing transitions.

Change request - A formal document submitted to the change control board that requests changes to the finalized project management plan. Change iperidigi requests are usually made only for significant changes, as smaller changes with little to no impact on the project work can be brought to the project manager.

Client/Customer - The people who will directly benefit from a project. A team executes a project with specific attention to a client’s requirements.  

Closing phase - The final phase of the project management life cycle, in which all aspects of the project are officially completed and closed. This includes making sure that all deliverables have been given to the client, that the team notifies suppliers of completion, and that the team updates stakeholders regarding the end of the project and overall project performance.

Code of accounts - An alphanumeric system used to assign unique identifiers to all work breakdown structure components.

Collaborative negotiation - Collaborative negotiation entails all negotiating parties obtaining at least some of what they want from negotiations.

Communications log - This document is used to track all project-related communications. It is organized and edited by the project manager and details who communicated, when and where the communication took place, what information was shared, and the results of the communication.

Communications management plan - This plan states who will send and receive information on aspects of the project, what details are communicated, and when communications are sent. It is part of the project management plan.

Communities of practice - Groups of people who share an area of interest within project management. They meet regularly to share and develop knowledge in the area of interest.

Competence - The ability and knowledge required to perform the tasks associated with a specific role.

Competence framework - The set of competence expectations by which one assesses a person’s suitability for a specific role.

Concept - The beginning phase of the project management life cycle. In the concept phase, the team presents the opportunity or problem (along with possible solutions) and examines the general feasibility of the project.

Conceptual project planning - Conceptual project planning involves developing the documentation from which a project’s organization and control system will originate.

Concurrent engineering - A product development approach where design and development are carried out at the same time. It is used to shorten the development life cycle and to release products more quickly. The simultaneous execution of design and development can help to improve design practicality.

Configuration - Configuration of a product involves shaping its functions and characteristics to make it suitable for customer use.

Configuration management - Configuration management ensures that the product of a project meets all necessary specifications and stipulations. It provides well-defined standards for the management and team to guarantee that they meet quality and functional requirements, as well as any other characteristics considered important.

Consensus - A decision agreed upon by all members of a group.

Constraint - A limitation on a project. Among other things, constraints may be financial or based on time or resource availability.

Constructability - Constructability is a concept used in complex hard projects to assess and examine the entire construction process before beginning construction. It reduces the number of errors, setbacks, and delays once construction work actually begins.

Construction - The process by which a team builds infrastructure. Construction projects are complex. Engineers and architects supervise them, while a project manager manages the project work.

Consumable resource - A nonrenewable resource that cannot be used once consumed.

Contingency plan - An alternative or additional course of action planned in anticipation of the occurrence of specific risks.

Contingency reserve - An allocation of time or money (or both) set aside for the occurrence of known possibilities that could delay a project or make it more expensive. It is not the same as a management reserve, which is an allocation made for unforeseeable circumstances. Use of a contingency reserve is typically authorized upon the occurrence of a contingency.

Contract administration - The process by which a team manages a relationship with a contracting party. It establishes protocols for dealings between contracting parties.

Contract closeout - The process of determining whether the terms of a contract were completed successfully and of settling any remaining terms.

Control Account - A work breakdown structure tool that allows aggregation of costs for work packages as part of earned value management calculations.

Control chart - Control charts compare process results with historical averages and process control limits to show whether a process meets results expectations. If a process’s results are inconsistent or fall outside process control limits, it may need to be examined and adjusted.

Core process - A process that follows an established order and is central to the performance of the process system or project of which it is part.

Corrective action - A step taken to bring work back into alignment with performance expectations after it has failed to meet expectations. A corrective action, which is reactive, is not the same as a preventive action, which is proactive.

Cost baseline - The sum of work package estimates, contingency reserve, and other associated costs by which project performance is assessed. A formal change control process is necessary to change the cost baseline.

Cost benefit analysis - A Cost benefit analysis is used to weigh project costs against anticipated tangible project benefits.

Cost engineering - The application of scientific and engineering principles to several aspects of cost management. Among other things, cost engineers contribute to estimation procedures and project cost management. Cost engineering may also be called project controls in some industries.

Cost management plan - This plan details how project costs will be planned, funded, and controlled. It is a part of the project management plan.

Cost of quality - The cost associated with ensuring project quality. This cost may mean the difference between unacceptable and acceptable project results.

Cost overrun - A cost overrun occurs when unexpected costs cause a project’s actual cost to go beyond budget.

Cost performance index - A cost performance index measures the cost efficiency of a project by calculating the ratio of earned value to actual cost.

Cost plus fixed fee contract (CPFC) - Under a cost plus fixed fee contract, the seller is reimbursed for costs incurred and paid a predetermined fixed fee.

Cost plus incentive fee contract (CPIF) - Under a cost plus incentive fee contract, the seller is reimbursed for costs incurred and paid an additional fee if they meet performance criteria specified in the contract.

Cost plus percentage of cost contract (CPPC) - Under a cost plus percentage of cost contract, the seller is reimbursed for costs incurred and paid an additional amount equal to a percentage of the costs incurred if they meet performance criteria specified in the contract.

Cost reimbursable contract - A cost reimbursable contract is a contract under which a seller is reimbursed for costs incurred and paid an additional sum as per a predetermined agreement as profit. They are typically negotiated for projects with costs that are not fully known or not well defined.

Cost variance - The Cost variance of a project is its earned value minus its actual cost. A negative cost variance indicates that a project is running over budget. A positive cost variance indicates that a project is running below budget.

Cost/schedule impact analysis - A cost/schedule impact analysis determines the effects of a particular change on a project’s cost or schedule.

Crashing - A schedule compression technique used to speed up project work by increasing the rate at which critical path activities are completed by adding more resources — usually more personnel or more equipment. Crashing increases project costs, so it is used first on activities that can be sped up at the least additional cost.

Critical chain project management (CCPM) - Critical chain project management is an approach to managing projects that emphasizes the resources needed to complete project activities over activity order and durations set in a schedule. It uses resource optimization techniques like resource leveling and requires that activity start times be flexible.

Critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) - CISD is a psycho-educational exercise for small groups who have experienced a traumatic event. It is sometimes used in project management to help project teams cope with trauma and to rebuild team cohesion.

Critical path activity - A scheduled activity that is part of a project’s critical path.

Critical path method - The Critical path method is used to estimate the shortest length of time needed to complete a project and to determine the amount of float for activities that are not part of the critical path.

Critical success factor - A critical success factor is an aspect of a project that is crucial to the success of the project.

Criticality index - Each project activity is assigned a percentage called a criticality index, which is a measure of how frequently it is a critical activity in project simulations. Activities with high criticality indexes are likely to prolong project duration if delayed.

Current finish date -  The most up-to-date estimate of when an activity will finish.

Current start date - The most up-to-date estimate of when an activity will start.

Current state - A detailed representation of current business processes that is used as a point of comparison for efforts to analyze and improve processes’ efficiency, effectiveness, and outputs.

D - Project Management Terms

Data date - A data date, also called an as-of date, is a point at which a project’s status is measured and documented. It separates actual data from scheduled data.

Decision tree analysis - A diagrammatic technique used to illustrate a chain of decisions and to examine the implications of multiple decision-making or situational outcomes.

Decomposition - The hierarchical breaking down of project deliverables into smaller components that are easier to plan and manage.

Defect repair - An action taken to remedy a product that is nonfunctional or does not match expectations or requirements.

Define - The phase in the portfolio life cycle in which projects, programs, and any organizational changes needed to realize strategic objectives are identified and examined.

Definitive estimate - A definitive estimate reaches a total project cost estimate by computing cost estimates for all a project’s work packages. Definitive estimating is considered a highly accurate estimation technique, with estimates falling within a ten-percent range of the actual budget.

Deflection - The transferring of risk to another party, generally via a contract.

Deliverable - A final product or product component that must be provided to a client or stakeholder according to contractual stipulations.

Delphi technique - An estimation method based on expert consensus. Experts make estimates individually and simultaneously and then review their estimates as a group before making another set of estimates. The process is repeated, with the pool of estimates typically becoming narrower after each round of review until a consensus is reached. (See also wideband delphi)

Dependency - A logical relationship between project activities in a network diagram that determines when a dependent activity may begin.

Discrete effort - Project work directly associated with components of a work breakdown structure. It is directly measurable. Discrete effort is one of three types of activities used to measure work performance as part of earned value management.

Discretionary dependency - The preferred way to sequence activities when there is no logical limitation on how they must be ordered.

Do nothing option - An element of a project business case that states the consequences, if any, of not undertaking the project.

Drawdown - A method used to exercise control on the release of project funds. Instead of making entire project budgets available from the outset, management may choose to release funds at specific times. These releases are called drawdowns. Drawdowns may coincide with phase gates so that funds are released at the beginning of each phase.

Dummy activity - In activity-on-arrow diagrams, where arrows represent activities, dummy activities show logical relationships between activities. They are not actual activities themselves - dummy activity arrows are drawn with broken lines to differentiate them from regular activity arrows.

Duration - The amount of time taken to complete an activity or task from start to finish.

Duration compression - Duration compression techniques shorten a project’s duration without reducing its scope. This typically requires additional expenditure. There are two main duration compression techniques: crashing and fast tracking. (See also schedule compression technique)

Dynamic systems development method - The dynamic systems development method is one of the agile product development methodologies. Like other members of the agile family, it conducts development in a series of iterations, with user-story-based improvements made in increments. The dynamic systems development method operates with fixed cost and time constraints and uses the MoSCoW prioritization method to identify the desired product requirements with these constraints in mind.

E - Project Management Terms

Early finish date - The earliest time by which a scheduled project activity can logically finish.

Early start date - The earliest time by which a scheduled project activity can logically start.

Earned schedule - A method of measuring schedule performance that improves upon traditional earned value management. Earned value management tracks schedule variance only in terms of money and not in terms of time and thus does not accurately indicate schedule performance by the end of a project. To address this discrepancy, earned schedule theory uses the same data as traditional earned value management but tracks schedule performances separately with respect to money and time.

Earned value - A concept used to gauge project schedule and cost performance. Portions of the project budget are assigned to components of the work breakdown structure, and successful completion of a work breakdown structure component is understood as value earned through work.

Earned value management - A method of measuring project performance and progress with regard to scope, time, and costs. It is based on the use of planned value (where portions of the budget are allotted to all project tasks), and earned value (where progress is measured in terms of the planned value that is earned upon completion of tasks).

Effort - The amount of labor needed to complete a task. It is measured in person-hours or similar units.

Effort estimate - A calculated approximation of the effort — measured in staff-hours or similar units — needed to complete an activity.

Effort management - The most efficient allocation of time and resources to project activities.

End user - The person or persons who will eventually use the product of a project. Products are designed with end users in mind.

Enhancement, maintenance, and upgrade (EMU) - Enhancement, maintenance, and upgrade are project classifications used in the software development industry. Enhancement projects involve improving the functionality or performance of software. Maintenance projects keep software functioning as expected. Upgrade projects create a new version of the software, called a release.

Enterprise environmental factors - Internal and external factors that can impact projects. They include such things as climate, available resources, and organizational structure.

Enterprise modeling - Enterprise modeling is the creation of a model to represent an organization’s structure, processes, and resources. Enterprise models are built to increase understanding of how organizations work. They form the basis of improvement or restructuring efforts.

Epic - A set of similar or related user stories.

Estimate at completion (EAC) - The estimated total cost for all project work, calculated as the sum of the actual cost and the estimate to complete.

Estimate to complete (ETC) - At a given point in a project, the estimate of the cost of the work that still needs to be completed.

Estimating funnel - A metaphor for the increased accuracy in estimation made possible as a project progresses.

Estimation - The use of estimating techniques to reach approximations of unknown values.

Event chain diagram - A visual representation of a schedule network based on event chain methodology. It shows relationships between project activities and risk events.

Event chain methodology - A schedule network analysis method that enables uncertainty modeling. It is used to identify risk events’ impact on a schedule.

Event-Driven - The adjective describes an action that is prompted by the occurrence of an event.

Execution phase - The execution phase begins after activity approval and is the phase in which the team executes the project plan. Execution is typically the longest and most expensive phase in the project management life cycle.

Executive sponsor - Typically a member of the organization’s board who is ultimately responsible for the success of the project. They provide high-level direction to project managers and are accountable to the board for project success.

Expert judgment - The practice of using expert opinion to guide decision making.

External dependency - An outside relationship that affects the completion of a project activity.

Extreme programming (XP) - An agile software development methodology that emphasizes a high degree of responsiveness to evolving customer demands. Development cycles in extreme programming are short, and releases are frequent. Its main features include high-volume communication with customers and pair programming.

Extreme project management (XPM) - An approach to project management used mostly for complex projects with a high degree of uncertainty. XPM is designed for projects where requirements are expected to change. Therefore, it focuses on flexibility more than rigid scheduling. Where traditional project management proceeds sequentially through the project management life cycle and thus clearly defines problems, scopes, and solutions, extreme project management accepts that all three aspects will change as the project proceeds and thus emphasizes continual learning over deterministic planning.

F and G - Project Management Terms

Fallback plan - A predetermined alternative course of action adopted if a risk occurs and  a contingency plan proves unsuccessful in avoiding the risk’s impact.

Fast tracking - A schedule compression technique or duration compression technique in which the duration of a critical path is shortened by performing sections of some critical path activities concurrently instead of consecutively.  

Feasibility study - An evaluation of how likely a project is to be completed effectively, or how practical it is, taking resources and requirements into consideration.   

Finish-To-Start - In a finish-to-start relationship, a successor activity cannot start until a predecessor activity has finished.

Finish-To-Finish - In a finish-to-finish relationship, a successor activity cannot finish until a predecessor activity has finished.

Fishbone diagram - A fishbone diagram is used in project management to identify and categorize the possible causes of an effect. (See also Ishikawa diagram)

Fixed duration - A task in which the time required for completion is fixed.

Fixed formula method - The fixed formula method calculates earned value in a given period of time by splitting a work package budget between the start and completion milestones of a work package. A known proportion of value is earned upon beginning the work package, and the rest is earned upon completing the work package.

Fixed price contract (FPC) - A fixed price contract pays an agreed-upon fee and does not incorporate other variables, such as time and cost.

Fixed units - A task in which the number of resources used is fixed.

Fixed work - A task in which the amount of effort required is fixed.

Float - A measure of the schedule flexibility involving a particular task.

Flowchart - A diagram that lays out the complete sequence of steps in a process or procedure.

Focused improvement - An improvement strategy based on the theory of constraints. Attention is focused on addressing one limiting factor — called a constraint — at a time in order to optimize a system. Each constraint is improved until it no longer limits the system’s performance.

Fordism - Fordism, named for Henry Ford, is a manufacturing system in which mass-produced goods are priced affordably enough that those producing them may reasonably buy them with their own wages.

Forecast - A prediction or estimation of future project status based on available information.

Formal acceptance - The step at which authorized stakeholders sign off on a product, indicating that it meets their expectations.

Forward pass - A technique used to calculate early start and finish dates by working forwards from a point in a project schedule model.

Free float - The amount of time by which an activity can be postponed without affecting the early start dates of a successor activity.

Functional manager - The individual in charge of all activities carried out by a particular functional department within an organization.

Functional organization - An organization which organizes and manages staff members in groups based on specialty areas.

Functional requirements - The working characteristics of a product. These are based on how end users will use the product.

Future state - A detailed representation of the ideal condition of a company’s business processes after improvement.

Gantt chart - A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that shows all the tasks constituting a project. Tasks are listed vertically, with the horizontal axis marking time. The lengths of task bars are to scale with tasks’ durations. (See also bar chart)

Gate - An end-of-phase checkpoint at which decisions are made regarding whether and how to continue with the project. (See also phase gate)

Go/No go - A point in a project at which it is decided whether to continue with the work.

Goal - An objective set by an individual or an organization. It is a desired endpoint reached by setting and working towards targets.

Goal setting - The process of creating specific, measurable, and attainable goals and of setting deadlines for these goals if desired.

Gold plating - The practice of incorporating features and improvements that go beyond a product’s agreed-upon characteristics. This is generally done to boost customer satisfaction.

Governance - The structure by which roles and relationships between project team members and an organization’s high-level decision makers are defined.

Graphical evaluation and review technique (GERT) - A network analysis technique that uses Monte Carlo simulation to bring a probabilistic approach to network logic and the formation of duration estimates. It is an alternative to the PERT technique but is not often used in complex systems.

H, I, and K - Project Management Terms

Hammock activity - In a schedule network diagram, a hammock activity is a type of summary activity that represents a number of grouped - but unrelated -smaller activities that occur between two dates.

Handover - In the project life cycle, a handover is the point at which deliverables are given to users.

Hanger - An unplanned break in a network path, usually caused by oversights regarding activities or dependent relationships between activities.

HERMES - A project management method created by the Swiss government and used by IT and business organizations. It is a simplified project management method that can be adapted to projects with varying degrees of complexity. It provides document templates to expedite project-related work.

High-Level requirements - The high-level requirements explain the major requirements and characteristics of the final product, including its purpose as a product and within the company. (See also product description)

Historical information - Data from past projects used in the planning of future projects.

Human resource management plan - A human resource management plan details the roles of and relationships between personnel working on a project, as well as how personnel will be managed. It is part of the project management plan.

Hypercritical activities - Critical path activities with negative slack time. They are created when a sequence of critical path activities leading up to another activity is too long to be completed in the stated duration.

Information distribution - The channels used to provide stakeholders with timely information and updates regarding a project.

Initiation phase – The formal start of a new project. It involves receiving proper authorization and creating a clear definition for the project.

Inputs - The information required to start the project management process.

Inspection - The process of reviewing and examining the final product to assess compliance to initial requirements and expectations.

Integrated assurance - The process of coordinating assurance activities across a number of assurance providers.

Integrated change control - The coordination of changes throughout all aspects of a project, including scope, budget, and schedule.

Integrated master plan (IMP) - A project management tool used to break down project work in large, complex projects. It lists project tasks and events in a hierarchical structure and shows relationships between them.

Integrated master schedule (IMS) - An integrated master schedule is produced from an integrated master plan. It is a list of all project tasks represented as a networked schedule.

Integration management plan - A document that explains integration planning and details how changes to project aspects will be managed.

Integration planning - The process of deciding how project elements will be integrated and coordinated and how changes will be addressed throughout the project management process.

Integrative management - Management processes that coordinate a number of project aspects including cost, schedule, and resources (among others).

Invitation for bid - An invitation for expressions of interest that a procuring organization extends. (See also request for proposal)

Ishikawa diagram - Ishikawa diagrams are used in project management to identify the possible causes of an effect. (See also fishbone diagram)

ISO 10006 - A set of quality-management guidelines for projects. It is a standard created by the International Organization for Standardization.

Issue - Anything that can cause problems for a project. The term typically refers to major problems that cannot be tackled by the project team on their own.

Issue log - Project issues and the persons responsible for resolving them. It may also include issue status, plans for resolution, and resolution deadlines.

Iteration - A concept from iterative software development that specifies a fixed time cycle for development work, typically a few weeks long. The development life cycle consists of a number of iterations, sometimes with a functional version of the software produced at the end of each one. Iterative development prioritizes time over scope, so there are rarely concrete requirements to be achieved in an iteration.

Iterative development - Iterative development focuses on developing products in a series of repeated fixed-time iterations, instead of working towards a single deliverable. At the end of an iteration, the team assesses progress and sets targets for the next iteration.

Iterative and incremental development - Iterative and incremental development is any combination of the iterative and incremental development approaches. It is an alternative to the waterfall development method: instead of focusing on sequential development with a single end product, it passes through a number of development cycles, with an improved version of the product, called an increment, produced at the end of each iteration.

Kanban - The word kanban means visual signal in Japanese. Kanban is a visual communication approach to the project management process. It uses visual tools like sticky notes or virtual cards in an online bulletin board to represent project tasks and to track and indicate progress throughout a project.

Kickoff meeting - The first meeting between a project team and stakeholders. It serves to review project expectations and to build enthusiasm for a project.

Key performance indicator (KPI) - A Key performance indicator is a metric for measuring project success. Key performance indicators are established before project execution begins.

L - Project Management Terms

Lag/Lag time - A necessary break or delay between activities.

Late finish date - The latest possible date a scheduled activity can be completed without delaying the rest of the project.

Late start date - The latest possible date a scheduled activity can be started without delaying the rest of the project.

Lateral thinking - Lateral thinking involves using a roundabout method to inspire new ideas or solutions. It can be done in a variety of ways, from using a random word to choosing an object in a room as a basis for thought.

Lead/Lead time - The amount of time an activity can be brought forward with respect to the activity it is dependent upon.

Lean manufacturing - A production methodology based on the idea of streamlining and doing more with less, such as by providing customers with the same product value while eliminating waste and thus reducing production costs.  

Lean six sigma – Lean six sigma combines the no-waste ideals of lean manufacturing with the no-defects target of six sigma. The goal of Lean six sigma is to eliminate waste and defects so that projects cost less and deliver more consistent quality.

Lessons learned - The sum of knowledge gained from project work, which can be used as references and points of interest for future projects.

Level of effort - Work that is not directly associated with components of a work breakdown structure but that can instead be thought of as support work. Examples of level of effort include maintenance and accounting. It is one of three types of activities used to measure work performance as part of earned value management.

Life cycle - The entire process used to build its deliverables. Life cycles are divided into a number of phases. A variety of life cycle models are in use in project management.

Line of balance - A graphical technique used to illustrate relationships between repetitive tasks in projects such as building identical housing units. Each set of repetitive tasks is illustrated as a single line on a chart. Project managers look for places where dependent tasks intersect, indicating that the successor task must be delayed.

Linear sequential model - A linear sequential model moves through a project life cycle’s phases systematically and sequentially. It is typically used for small projects with straightforward requirements, since sequential development makes it difficult to revise design based on testing or preliminary feedback. (See also waterfall model)

Linear scheduling method - A graphical scheduling technique used to assign resources when project work consists of repetitive tasks. It iperidigi focuses on maximizing resource use and reducing time wastage due to interruptions.

Logic network - A chronologically arranged diagram that shows relationships between project activities.

Logical relationship - A dependency between project activities or between project activities and milestones.

M - Project Management Terms

Management - The act of overseeing planning, personnel, and resources to achieve a goal.

Management process - The act of planning and executing a project or process to meet a defined set of objectives or goals. Management processes may be carried out at multiple levels within organizations, with the scale and scope of activities typically increasing up the organizational hierarchy.

Management reserve - An allocation of money or time (or both) to address unforeseeable circumstances that might delay or increase the costs of a project. A management reserve is not the same as a contingency reserve, which is an allocation made for known possibilities. The senior management must typically approve any release of funds from a management reserve.

Management science (MS) - A field of study that seeks to improve organizational decision making through the use of quantitative and scientific research methods. It evaluates management decisions and outcomes to find optimal solutions to problems, and thus enables better decision making. (See also operations research)

Master project - A master project file comprises a number of smaller projects, called subprojects, arranged hierarchically.

Matrix organization - Employees in a matrix organization report to more than one boss, with different lines of reporting representing different seoindiarank organizational projects or functions. A matrix structure can boost employee engagement and cross-field approaches to problem solving, but it can also create ambiguity over an employee’s role.

Maturity model - Maturity is the extent to which an organization’s methods, processes, and decisions are standardized and optimized. A maturity model assesses one or more of these aspects against a set of external benchmarks to determine an organization’s maturity level. Maturity models allow organizations to assess themselves according to management best practices. They typically offer recommendations for improvement.

Megaproject - A complex, large-scale, and high-investment project. Only hard projects may be termed megaprojects.

Merge point - A point in a network diagram at which multiple predecessor activities culminate in a single successor activity. The successor activity may not start until all the predecessor activities have finished.

Milestone - Milestones indicate specific progress points or events in project timelines. They mark progress needed to complete projects successfully.

Milestone schedule - A milestone schedule details the time relationships associated with project milestones.

Mission statement - A concise enunciation of the goals of an activity or organization. Mission statements are usually a short paragraph, and can be created for entire organizations or for individual projects. They are designed to provide direction and guidance.

Modern project management - An umbrella term for a number of contemporary management strategies. In contrast to traditional management, modern project management: features more recognition of quality and scope variation; refines processes more frequently; stresses collective, interdisciplinary knowledge and team consensus over individual leadership. It is also less based on traditional hierarchies- modern project teams draw from a range of organizational levels and functional areas.

Monte Carlo simulation/technique - Monte Carlo simulation is a computer-based technique that performs probabilistic forecasting of possible outcomes to facilitate decision making. For each possible decision — from the most high-risk to the most conservative — a Monte Carlo simulation provides decision makers with a range of possible outcomes and the likelihood that each will occur.

MoSCoW - The MoSCoW prioritization method allows project managers to communicate with stakeholders on the importance of delivering specific requirements. The acronym indicates four categories of priority and importance for project requirements. Each requirement is prioritized as a “must have,” a “should have,” a “could have,” or a “won’t have.”

Most Likely Duration - An estimate of the most probable length of time needed to complete an activity. It may be used to compute expected activity duration through a technique called three-point estimation.

Motivation - A reason or stimulus that makes a person behave in a certain manner. In management, motivation refers to the desire to pursue personal or organizational goals and is positively associated with productivity.

Murphy’s Law - Murphy’s Law — “What can go wrong will go wrong.” — is cited in project management as a reason to plan adequately for contingencies.

N - Project Management Terms

Near-critical activity - A near-critical activity has only a small amount of total float, or slack time. Near-critical activities have a high chance of becoming critical since their float is easily exhausted.

Near-critical path - A series of activities with only small amounts of total float, called near-critical activities. A near-critical path may become a critical path if its float is exhausted.

Negative variance - The amount by which actual project performance is worse than planned project performance. Negative variances in time and budget show the project is taking longer and is more expensive than planned, respectively.

Negotiation - A discussion to resolve an issue between parties. Negotiations can take place at any point during an activity and may be formal or informal.

Net present value (NPV) - Net present value is a concept that compares the present value of a unit of currency to its inflation-adjusted possible value in the future. It allows organizations to determine the financial benefits, or lack thereof, of long-term projects.

Network Path - In a schedule network diagram, a network path is a logically connected continuous series of activities.

Node - In a network diagram, a node is a point at which dependency lines meet. In activity-on-node diagrams, nodes represent activities. In activity-on-arrow diagrams, they represent events or stages.

Nonlinear management (NLM) - Nonlinear management refers broadly to management practices which emphasize flexibility, self-organization, and adaptation to changing circumstances. It runs counter to concepts in linear management, which seek to impose structure on organizations. The defining characteristics of nonlinear management include encouragement of out-of-the-box thinking, proactivity in responding to challenges, and flexible working arrangements for employees.

O - Project Management Terms

Objective - A clear, concise statement about what an activity is meant to accomplish. Objectives are written to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. A successful project meets all its stated objectives.

Operations and maintenance - Operations and maintenance is the stage at which a project or system is handed over to staff who will put it into full operation and carry out routine maintenance.

Operations management - The duty of ensuring that an organization's operations are functioning optimally. Operations managers maintain and improve the efficacy and efficiency of business processes. They seek to develop operations which deliver high-quality outputs while keeping costs low.

Operations research (OR) - A field of study that uses mathematical, statistical, and scientific methods to aid and optimize decision making. It uses techniques such as mathematical modeling and optimization to enable better decision making. (See also management science)

Opportunity - In project management, an opportunity is a possibility that can contribute to project objectives. Opportunities in project management are classified as a type of risk.


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