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Project Management Terminology

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT TERMSDefinition
AcceptA 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 criteriaThe specific requirements expected of project deliverables. To be formally accepted
Acceptance testA test in which a team of end users runs a product through its full range of use to identify potential problems.
Acquisition processThis process obtains the personnel and resources necessary for project work. Acquisitions are closely coordinated with project budgets and schedules.
Action itemAn activity or task that must be completed.
Action item statusThis tracks an action items progress from creation to closure. Since work packages comprise multiple action items
ActivityThe smallest unit of work necessary to complete a project work package (which includes multiple activities). Time
Activity codeAn alphanumeric value by which activities can be grouped and filtered. A code is assigned to each activity.
Activity identifierA unique alphanumeric value by which an individual activity can be distinguished. An activity identifier is assigned to each activity.
Activity labelA short descriptor for an activity. Activity labels may be placed below arrows representing activities in activity-on-arrow (AOA) diagrams.
Activity listThis 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
Activity-On-Node (AON)In a network diagram of this nature
Actual cost of work performed (ACWP)This represents the total cost incurred for work done in a given period of time.
Actual durationThe length of time taken to complete an activity.
Actual effortThe amount of labor performed to complete an activity. It is expressed in person-hours or similar units of work.
Actual expenditureThe sum of costs paid from a budget.
Actual progressThis 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
Administrative closureThis refers to the set of formal requirements fulfilled to end a project. Among other things
Aggregate planningThis strategy uses demand forecasts to manage scheduling and planning for project activities between three and 18 months in advance
AgileThe 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
Agile project managementAgile project management draws from concepts of agile software development. Agile approaches focus on teamwork
Agile software developmentAgile software development originates from the Agile Manifesto
AllocationThe assigning of resources for scheduled activities in the most efficient way possible. (See also resource allocation)
Alternative analysisThe evaluation of possible courses of action for project work in order to find the most suitable course of action.
Analogous estimatingThis 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 estimatingThis 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 areaThe specific project category of which the project is a part. Application areas can be defined on the basis of project products\’92 characteristics or applications or by the projects\’92 customers or stakeholders.
Apportioned effortProject work associated with components of a work breakdown structure and performed in proportion
Approach analysisDuring the project planning phase
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.
ArtifactItems that support software development. Artifacts include both items associated with the process of development
Assignment contouringThe 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.
AssumptionFactors deemed to be true during the project planning process
AuthorizationIn general
Authorized workWork that management or others in authority approve.
AvoidA 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)
Backward passThis calculates late-start and finish dates for project activities by working backwards from the project end date.
BalanceA phase in the portfolio life cycle that involves balancing a portfolio s components based on risk
Balanced scorecardA Balanced scorecard is a concept or tool used to assess whether an organization s activities are correlated with its general vision and objectives.
Bar chartA diagrammed calendar schedule of project activities\’92 start and end dates in logical order. (See also Gantt chart)
BaselineThis 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 realizationThis term focuses on ensuring that project results give customers and stakeholders the benefits they expect.
BlueprintA document that explains what a program means to accomplish and describes a program contribution to organizational objectives.
BOSCARDThis method details and considers the background
Bottom-Up estimatingThis 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.
BudgetThe 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 chartA graph that shows the relationship between the number of tasks to be completed and the amount of time left to complete these tasks.
Burst pointA 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 analysisThe practice of identifying and solving business problems. It focuses on creating and implementing solutions to business needs via organizational development
Business caseA documentation of the potential outcomes of a new project
Business imperativeAn issue
Business modelA company s business model is the system by which the organization s  profitable activities are planned
Business operationsThe entire ensemble of activities or business processes through which a company uses its assets to create value for its customers.
Business processA 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
Business process modeling (BPM)Business process modeling is the representation
Business requirementsThe conditions a product must satisfy to effectively serve its purpose within a business.
Business valueThe business value of a project is the sum of positive effects \’97 tangible and intangible \’97 it has on the business.
Calendar unitThe smallest unit of time \’97 usually hours or days \’97 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
CAPEXCAPEX
Case studyA case study involves extensive and in-depth formal research into an area of a company
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.
ChampionA project champion makes project success a personal responsibility. This person pushes the project team to work hard
Change controlChange control is the process of identifying
Change control boardAn appointed group of stakeholders who evaluate proposed changes and decide when and whether to make them.
Change control system/processThe process by which changes to the project are evaluated before approval
Change freezeThe point at which scope changes to a project are no longer permissible.
Change management planA 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 requestA formal document submitted to the change control board that requests changes to the finalized project management plan. Change requests are usually made only for significant changes
Client/CustomerThe people who will directly benefit from a project. A team executes a project with specific attention to a client s requirements.
Closing phaseThe final phase of the project management life cycle
Code of accountsAn alphanumeric system used to assign unique identifiers to all work breakdown structure components.
Collaborative negotiationCollaborative negotiation entails all negotiating parties obtaining at least some of what they want from negotiations.
Communications logThis document is used to track all project-related communications. It is organized and edited by the project manager and details who communicated
Communications management planThis plan states who will send and receive information on aspects of the project
Communities of practiceGroups of people who share an area of interest within project management. They meet regularly to share and develop knowledge in the area of interest.
CompetenceThe ability and knowledge required to perform the tasks associated with a specific role.
Competence frameworkThe set of competence expectations by which one assesses a person s suitability for a specific role.
ConceptThe beginning phase of the project management life cycle. In the concept phase
Conceptual project planningConceptual project planning involves developing the documentation from which a project s organization and control system will originate.
Concurrent engineeringA 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.
ConfigurationConfiguration of a product involves shaping its functions and characteristics to make it suitable for customer use.
Configuration managementConfiguration 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
ConsensusA decision agreed upon by all members of a group.
ConstraintA limitation on a project. Among other things
ConstructabilityConstructability 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
ConstructionThe process by which a team builds infrastructure. Construction projects are complex. Engineers and architects supervise them
Consumable resourceA nonrenewable resource that cannot be used once consumed.
Contingency planAn alternative or additional course of action planned in anticipation of the occurrence of specific risks.
Contingency reserveAn 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
Contract administrationThe process by which a team manages a relationship with a contracting party. It establishes protocols for dealings between contracting parties.
Contract closeoutThe process of determining whether the terms of a contract were completed successfully and of settling any remaining terms.
Control AccountA work breakdown structure tool that allows aggregation of costs for work packages as part of earned value management calculations.
Control chartControl 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
Core processA process that follows an established order and is central to the performance of the process system or project of which it is part.
Corrective actionA step taken to bring work back into alignment with performance expectations after it has failed to meet expectations. A corrective action
Cost baselineThe sum of work package estimates
Cost benefit analysisA Cost benefit analysis is used to weigh project costs against anticipated tangible project benefits.
Cost engineeringThe application of scientific and engineering principles to several aspects of cost management. Among other things
Cost management planThis plan details how project costs will be planned
Cost of qualityThe cost associated with ensuring project quality. This cost may mean the difference between unacceptable and acceptable project results.
Cost overrunA cost overrun occurs when unexpected costs cause a project s actual cost to go beyond budget.
Cost performance indexA 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
Cost plus incentive fee contract (CPIF)Under a cost plus incentive fee contract
Cost plus percentage of cost contract (CPPC)Under a cost plus percentage of cost contract
Cost reimbursable contractA 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 varianceThe 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 analysisA cost/schedule impact analysis determines the effects of a particular change on a project s cost or schedule.
CrashingA schedule compression technique used to speed up project work by increasing the rate at which critical path activities are completed by adding more resources \’97 usually more personnel or more equipment. Crashing increases project costs
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 activityA scheduled activity that is part of a project s critical path.
Critical path methodThe 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 factorA critical success factor is an aspect of a project that is crucial to the success of the project.
Criticality indexEach project activity is assigned a percentage called a criticality index
Current finish date The most up-to-date estimate of when an activity will finish.
Current start dateThe most up-to-date estimate of when an activity will start.
Current stateA detailed representation of current business processes that is used as a point of comparison for efforts to analyze and improve processes\’92 efficiency
Data dateA data date
Decision tree analysisA diagrammatic technique used to illustrate a chain of decisions and to examine the implications of multiple decision-making or situational outcomes.
DecompositionThe hierarchical breaking down of project deliverables into smaller components that are easier to plan and manage.
Defect repairAn action taken to remedy a product that is nonfunctional or does not match expectations or requirements.
DefineThe phase in the portfolio life cycle in which projects
Definitive estimateA 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
DeflectionThe transferring of risk to another party
DeliverableA final product or product component that must be provided to a client or stakeholder according to contractual stipulations.
Delphi techniqueAn 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
DependencyA logical relationship between project activities in a network diagram that determines when a dependent activity may begin.
Discrete effortProject 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 dependencyThe preferred way to sequence activities when there is no logical limitation on how they must be ordered.
Do nothing optionAn element of a project business case that states the consequences
DrawdownA method used to exercise control on the release of project funds. Instead of making entire project budgets available from the outset
Dummy activityIn activity-on-arrow diagrams
DurationThe amount of time taken to complete an activity or task from start to finish.
Duration compressionDuration 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 methodThe dynamic systems development method is one of the agile product development methodologies. Like other members of the agile family
Early finish dateThe earliest time by which a scheduled project activity can logically finish.
Early start dateThe earliest time by which a scheduled project activity can logically start.
Earned scheduleA 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 valueA concept used to gauge project schedule and cost performance. Portions of the project budget are assigned to components of the work breakdown structure
Earned value managementA method of measuring project performance and progress with regard to scope
EffortThe amount of labor needed to complete a task. It is measured in person-hours or similar units.
Effort estimateA calculated approximation of the effort \’97 measured in staff-hours or similar units \’97 needed to complete an activity.
Effort managementThe most efficient allocation of time and resources to project activities.
End userThe person or persons who will eventually use the product of a project. Products are designed with end users in mind.
Enhancement maintenance
Enterprise environmental factorsInternal and external factors that can impact projects. They include such things as climate
Enterprise modelingEnterprise modeling is the creation of a model to represent an organization s structure
EpicA set of similar or related user stories.
Estimate at completion (EAC)The estimated total cost for all project work
Estimate to complete (ETC)At a given point in a project
Estimating funnelA metaphor for the increased accuracy in estimation made possible as a project progresses.
EstimationThe use of estimating techniques to reach approximations of unknown values.
Event chain diagramA visual representation of a schedule network based on event chain methodology. It shows relationships between project activities and risk events.
Event chain methodologyA schedule network analysis method that enables uncertainty modeling. It is used to identify risk events\’92 impact on a schedule.
Event-DrivenThe adjective describes an action that is prompted by the occurrence of an event.
Execution phaseThe 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 sponsorTypically 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 judgmentThe practice of using expert opinion to guide decision making.
External dependencyAn 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
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
Fallback planA predetermined alternative course of action adopted if a risk occurs and  a contingency plan proves unsuccessful in avoiding the risk s impact.
Fast trackingA 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 studyAn evaluation of how likely a project is to be completed effectively
Finish-To-FinishIn a finish-to-finish relationship
Finish-To-StartIn a finish-to-start relationship
Fishbone diagramA fishbone diagram is used in project management to identify and categorize the possible causes of an effect. (See also Ishikawa diagram)
Fixed durationA task in which the time required for completion is fixed.
Fixed formula methodThe 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
Fixed price contract (FPC)A fixed price contract pays an agreed-upon fee and does not incorporate other variables
Fixed unitsA task in which the number of resources used is fixed.
Fixed workA task in which the amount of effort required is fixed.
FloatA measure of the schedule flexibility involving a particular task.
FlowchartA diagram that lays out the complete sequence of steps in a process or procedure.
Focused improvementAn improvement strategy based on the theory of constraints. Attention is focused on addressing one limiting factor \’97 called a constraint \’97 at a time in order to optimize a system. Each constraint is improved until it no longer limits the system s performance.
FordismFordism
ForecastA prediction or estimation of future project status based on available information.
Formal acceptanceThe step at which authorized stakeholders sign off on a product
Forward passA technique used to calculate early start and finish dates by working forwards from a point in a project schedule model.
Free floatThe amount of time by which an activity can be postponed without affecting the early start dates of a successor activity.
Functional managerThe individual in charge of all activities carried out by a particular functional department within an organization.
Functional organizationAn organization which organizes and manages staff members in groups based on specialty areas.
Functional requirementsThe working characteristics of a product. These are based on how end users will use the product.
Future stateA detailed representation of the ideal condition of a company s business processes after improvement.
Gantt chartA Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that shows all the tasks constituting a project. Tasks are listed vertically
GateAn end-of-phase checkpoint at which decisions are made regarding whether and how to continue with the project. (See also phase gate)
Go/No goA point in a project at which it is decided whether to continue with the work.
GoalAn objective set by an individual or an organization. It is a desired endpoint reached by setting and working towards targets.
Goal settingThe process of creating specific
Gold platingThe practice of incorporating features and improvements that go beyond a product s agreed-upon characteristics. This is generally done to boost customer satisfaction.
GovernanceThe 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.
Hammock activityIn a schedule network diagram
HandoverIn the project life cycle
HangerAn unplanned break in a network path
HERMESA 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 requirementsThe high-level requirements explain the major requirements and characteristics of the final product
Historical informationData from past projects used in the planning of future projects.
Human resource management planA human resource management plan details the roles of and relationships between personnel working on a project
Hypercritical activitiesCritical 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 distributionThe channels used to provide stakeholders with timely information and updates regarding a project.
Initiation phase \’96 The formal start of a new project. It involves receiving proper authorization and creating a clear definition for the project.
InputsThe information required to start the project management process.
InspectionThe process of reviewing and examining the final product to assess compliance to initial requirements and expectations.
Integrated assuranceThe process of coordinating assurance activities across a number of assurance providers.
Integrated change controlThe coordination of changes throughout all aspects of a project
Integrated master plan (IMP)A project management tool used to break down project work in large
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 planA document that explains integration planning and details how changes to project aspects will be managed.
Integration planningThe process of deciding how project elements will be integrated and coordinated and how changes will be addressed throughout the project management process.
Integrative managementManagement processes that coordinate a number of project aspects including cost
Invitation for bidAn invitation for expressions of interest that a procuring organization extends. (See also request for proposal)
Ishikawa diagramIshikawa diagrams are used in project management to identify the possible causes of an effect. (See also fishbone diagram)
ISO 10006A set of quality-management guidelines for projects. It is a standard created by the International Organization for Standardization.
IssueAnything 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 logProject issues and the persons responsible for resolving them. It may also include issue status
IterationA concept from iterative software development that specifies a fixed time cycle for development work
Iterative and incremental developmentIterative 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
Iterative developmentIterative development focuses on developing products in a series of repeated fixed-time iterations
KanbanThe 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.
Key performance indicator (KPI)A Key performance indicator is a metric for measuring project success. Key performance indicators are established before project execution begins.
Kickoff meetingThe first meeting between a project team and stakeholders. It serves to review project expectations and to build enthusiasm for a project.
Lag/Lag timeA necessary break or delay between activities.
Late finish dateThe latest possible date a scheduled activity can be completed without delaying the rest of the project.
Late start dateThe latest possible date a scheduled activity can be started without delaying the rest of the project.
Lateral thinkingLateral thinking involves using a roundabout method to inspire new ideas or solutions. It can be done in a variety of ways
Lead/Lead timeThe amount of time an activity can be brought forward with respect to the activity it is dependent upon.
Lean manufacturingA production methodology based on the idea of streamlining and doing more with less
Lean six sigma \’96 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 learnedThe sum of knowledge gained from project work
Level of effortWork 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 cycleThe 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 balanceA 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
Linear scheduling methodA graphical scheduling technique used to assign resources when project work consists of repetitive tasks. It focuses on maximizing resource use and reducing time wastage due to interruptions.
Linear sequential modelA linear sequential model moves through a project life cycle s phases systematically and sequentially. It is typically used for small projects with straightforward requirements
Logic networkA chronologically arranged diagram that shows relationships between project activities.
Logical relationshipA dependency between project activities or between project activities and milestones.
ManagementThe act of overseeing planning
Management processThe 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
Management reserveAn 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
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
Master projectA master project file comprises a number of smaller projects
Matrix organizationEmployees in a matrix organization report to more than one boss
Maturity modelMaturity is the extent to which an organization s methods
MegaprojectA complex
Merge pointA 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.
MilestoneMilestones indicate specific progress points or events in project timelines. They mark progress needed to complete projects successfully.
Milestone scheduleA milestone schedule details the time relationships associated with project milestones.
Mission statementA concise enunciation of the goals of an activity or organization. Mission statements are usually a short paragraph
Modern project managementAn umbrella term for a number of contemporary management strategies. In contrast to traditional management
Monte Carlo simulation/techniqueMonte Carlo simulation is a computer-based technique that performs probabilistic forecasting of possible outcomes to facilitate decision making. For each possible decision \’97 from the most high-risk to the most conservative \’97 a Monte Carlo simulation provides decision makers with a range of possible outcomes and the likelihood that each will occur.
MoSCoWThe 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 \’93must have
Most Likely DurationAn 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.
MotivationA reason or stimulus that makes a person behave in a certain manner. In management
Murphy s LawMurphy s Law \’97 \’93What can go wrong will go wrong.\’94 \’97 is cited in project management as a reason to plan adequately for contingencies.
Near-critical activityA near-critical activity has only a small amount of total float
Near-critical pathA series of activities with only small amounts of total float
Negative varianceThe 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
NegotiationA 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
Network PathIn a schedule network diagram
NodeIn a network diagram
Nonlinear management (NLM)Nonlinear management refers broadly to management practices which emphasize flexibility
ObjectiveA clear
Operations and maintenanceOperations 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 managementThe 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
OpportunityIn project management
Opportunity costThe opportunity cost of a particular course of action is the loss of potential gains from all alternative courses of action.
Optimistic durationAn estimate of the shortest length of time needed to complete a specific activity or task. It may be used to compute expected activity duration through a technique called three-point estimation.
Order of magnitude estimateAn order of magnitude estimate provides an early
OrganizationA formally structured arrangement of parties that actively pursues a collective purpose. Organizations can be affected by external factors
Organization developmentBroadly
Organizational breakdown structureA hierarchical model of an organization’s units and all its activities. It shows relationships between activities and organizational units and indicates the responsibilities of each unit
Organizational enablerAny practice
Organizational planningThe strategic process of defining roles
Organizational process assetsThe specific set of formal and informal plans and processes in use at an organization. They also constitute the sum of knowledge and experience accumulated from past efforts. Organizational process assets are essentially the unique knowledge and processes that facilitate an organization s operations.
Organizational project managementA strategic approach that emphasizes the effective management of projects
Organizational project management maturityA measure of an organization s ability to meet its objectives by effectively managing all its activities. It can be assessed with a maturity model called the OPM3
OutputIn project management
Overall change controlThe evaluation
P3 assuranceP3 assurance involves satisfying sponsors and stakeholders that projects
P3 managementP3 management refers collectively to the management of projects
Parallel life cycleIn a parallel life cycle
Parametric estimatingA technique for estimating cost and duration based on using historical data to establish relationships between variables \’97 for example
Pareto chartA Pareto chart is a combination bar chart and line graph where the bars represent category frequencies in descending order from left to right
Path convergenceOn a schedule network diagram
Path divergenceOn a schedule network diagram
Percent completeThe percent complete indicates the amount of work completed on an activity as a percentage of the total amount of work required.
Performance measurement baselineA performance measurement baseline uses the schedule
Performance reportingPerformance reporting is formally informing stakeholders about a project’s current performance and future performance forecasts. The aspects of performance to be reported are typically laid out in a communications management plan.
Performing organizationThe performing organization for a project is the one whose members and resources most directly perform the project work.
Pessimistic durationThe pessimistic duration is an estimate of the longest length of time needed to complete a specific activity or task. It may be used to compute expected activity duration through a technique called three-point estimation.
PEST analysisA PEST analysis examines how political
PhaseA distinct stage in a project life cycle.
Phase gateA phase gate is an end-of-phase checkpoint where the project leadership reviews progress and decides whether to continue to the next phase
Planned value (PV)The budget assigned to the work it is meant to accomplish. (See alsobudgeted cost for work scheduled)
PlanningThe development of a course of action to pursue goals or objectives.
Planning phaseIn project management
Planning pokerA consensus-based estimation technique. It attempts to avoid the anchoring effect \’97 where the first estimate forms a baseline for all subsequent estimates \’97 by having project team members make estimates simultaneously and discuss their estimates until they reach agreement.
PortfolioA collectively managed set of programs and projects.
Portfolio program
Portfolio balancingAn aspect of organizational project management
Portfolio charterA portfolio charter details the formal structure of a portfolio and describes what it is meant to achieve. It authorizes the creation of a portfolio and connects its management with organizational objectives.
Portfolio managementThe collective management of portfolios and their components in line with concepts of organizational project management.
Portfolio managerThe individual responsible for balancing and controlling a portfolio in line with concepts of organizational project management.
Positive varianceThe amount by which actual project performance is better than planned project performance. Positive variances in time and budget show the project is proceeding faster and is less expensive than planned
Precedence diagramming method (PDM)The process of constructing a project schedule network diagram. It illustrates the logical relationships between project activities and shows the order in which they must be performed by using nodes to represent activities and arrows to show dependencies. PDM also indicates early and late start and finish dates
Precedence networkA precedence network visually indicates relationships between project activities. Boxes and links are used to represent activities and activity relationships. Precedence networks also detail the time relationships and constraints associated with activities.
Predecessor activityIn a schedule
Preventive actionA step taken to ensure future work does not stray from performance expectations. A preventive action
PRINCE2PRINCE2 is an acronym for projects in controlled environments
PRiSMPRiSM is an acronym for projects integrating sustainable methods. It is a project management methodology that focuses on minimizing negative impacts on society and the environment. PRiSM focuses on sustainability. It is essentially green project management.
Probability and impact matrixA visual framework for categorizing risks based on their probability of occurrence and impact.
Problem statementA problem statement concisely states and describes an issue that needs to be solved. It is used to focus and direct problem-solving efforts.
ProcessA process is a repeatable sequence of activities with known inputs and outputs. Processes consume energy.
Process architectureThe sum of structures
Process managementThe act of planning
Process-based project managementA methodology that views projects as means of pursuing organizational objectives. It involves using an organization s mission and values to guide the creation and pursuit of project objectives. If project objectives aren\’92t in alignment with the company mission statement
Procurement management planA procurement management plan explains how an organization will obtain any external resources needed for a project.
Product breakdown structure (PBS)A product breakdown structure is used in project management to record and communicate all project deliverables in a hierarchical tree structure. It may be thought of as a comprehensive list of all project outputs and outcomes.
Product descriptionA product description defines and describes a project product and its purpose. (See also high-level requirements)
Product verificationProduct verification involves examining a deliverable to ensure
Professional development unit (PDU)A continuing education unit that project management professionals (PMPs) take to maintain certification.
ProgramA collectively managed set of projects.
Program charterAn approved document that authorizes the use of resources for a program and connects its management with organizational objectives.
Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)PERT is a statistical method used to analyze activity and project durations. PERT networks are typically illustrated with activity-on-arrow diagrams. The method makes use of optimistic
Program managementThe collective management of programs and their components in line with concepts of organizational project management.
Program managerA program manager has formal authority to manage a program and is responsible for meeting its objectives as part of organizational project management methods. They oversee
Progress analysisThe measurement of progress against performance baselines. Progress analysis collects information about the status of an activity that may prompt corrective action.
Progressive elaborationThe practice of adding and updating details in a project management plan. It aims at managing to increase levels of detail as estimates are revised
ProjectA temporary
Project accountingIn project management
Project baselineA project baseline comprises the budget and schedule allocations set during the initiation and planning phases of a project. Assuming the scope of the project remains unchanged
Project calendarA project calendar indicates periods of time for scheduled project work.
Project charterA Project charter is a document that details the scope
Project cost management (PCM)The use of an information system to estimate
Project definitionA project definition or project charter is a document created by a project manager and approved by a project sponsor that details the scope
Project management body of knowledge (PMBOK)The PMBOK is a collection of project management-related knowledge maintained by the Project Management Institute.
Project management officeAn organizational unit that oversees project management-related activities within an organization. It seeks to facilitate and expedite project work through the use of standard procedures. A project management office also functions as a repository of general
Project management processA management process that encompasses all phases of a project
Project management professional (PMP)A Project management professional (PMP) is a person certified by the Project Management Institute upon completion of a course of formal education
Project management simulatorsSoftware training tools that teach project management skills via interactive learning and provide real-time feedback by which project management trainees can practice and reassess their decision making. Some simulators
Project management softwareProject management software is a family of tools typically used in the management of complex projects. They provide the ability to: calculate estimates; create and manage schedules and budgets; track and oversee project activities and progress; assign and allocate resources; optimize decision making; and communicate and collaborate with members of a project team.
Project management triangleA visual metaphor that illustrates relationships between scope
Project managerThe person tasked with initiating
Project networkA visual representation of the activities and dependencies involved in the successful completion of a project.
Project performance indicatorsMeasures used to assess project performance
Project phaseA distinct stage in a project management life cycle. Each phase comprises a set of project-related activities.
Project planA document formally approved by the project manager
Project planningProject planning is usually the longest phase of the project management life cycle. It involves determining cost
Project portfolio management (PPM)A method of collectively managing a portfolio s constituent programs and projects to pursue organizational objectives. It involves optimizing the mix and scheduling of projects to pursue objectives as effectively as possible. Project portfolio management is closely related to organizational project management.
Project schedule network diagramA diagram is a visual representation of how scheduled project activities are ordered and related. Depending on the type of network diagram
Project scope statementA project scope statement details what a project is meant to achieve and describes the deliverables expected. It forms the basis of measurable objectives by which the success of a project will be assessed. Project scope statements are typically part of project plans.
Project stakeholdersBroadly
Project teamA project team is responsible for leading and collectively managing a project and its related activities through the project s life cycle. Project teams may contain members from several different functional groups within an organization. Depending on the nature of the project
Project tiersProject sizing categorizes projects into project tiers based on staff power or time required for completion to determine the most appropriate project management practices.
Projectized organizationA projectized organization arranges all its activities into a collection of projects
Proof of conceptA proof of concept is derived from a pilot project or experiment that examines whether an activity can be completed
ProportThe term proport is used to define the sum of unique skills that team members bring to a project. These skills can be harnessed for collective benefit.
Qualitative risk analysisA project management technique that subjectively analyzes risk probability and impact. The risks are categorized on a probability and impact matrix
QualityIn project management
Quality cost
Quality assuranceA set of practices designed to monitor processes and provide confidence that result in deliverables meeting quality expectations. It may involve quality audits and the stipulated use of best practices.
Quality controlThe use of standardized practices to ensure that deliverables meet stakeholder expectations. It involves not only the definition and identification of unacceptable results but also the management of processes to optimize results.
Quality management planA quality management plan identifies stakeholders\’92 quality expectations and details quality assurance and quality control policies to monitor results and meet these expectations. It is part of a project management plan.
Quality planningQuality planning involves identifying expected quality standards and creating mechanisms to ensure these standards are met. It may also recommend corrective action if quality standards are not being met.
Quantitative risk analysisThe mathematical analysis of risk probability and impact. In project management
RAID logRAID is an acronym for risks
RASCI/RACI chartA RASCI chart is created during project initiation to identify those who are: responsible for project activities
ReengineeringReengineering involves the extensive redesign or rethinking of core processes to achieve major performance improvements. It focuses on optimizing key performance areas such as quality and efficiency. Reengineering often involves restructuring organizations so that multi-functional teams can manage processes from start to end.
ReleaseIn IT project management
Remote teamA remote team s members work in collaboration
RepeatableThe term repeatable is used to describe a sequence of activities that may be easily and efficiently replicated. Repeatable processes are economical since they typically avoid negative variances and have established operations.
Request for proposalA formal invitation for expressions of interest that is extended by an organization looking to procure goods or services. (See also invitation for bid)
Request for quotationUpon receipt of proposals after issuing a request for proposal
RequirementsA set of stipulations regarding project deliverables. They are a key element of the project scope and explain in detail the stakeholders\’92 expectations for a project.
Requirements management planA requirements management plan explains how project requirements will be defined
Requirements traceability matrixA table that tracks requirements through the project life cycle and product testing. It is used to ensure that a project is able to deliver the stipulated requirements during the verification process.
Residual riskAny risks that have not or cannot be addressed by risk mitigation or risk avoidance procedures.
Resource allocationThe assigning and scheduling of resources for project-related activities
Resource availabilityResource availability indicates whether a specific resource is available for use at a given time.
Resource breakdown structureA hierarchical list of resources needed for project work
Resource calendarA resource calendar indicates resource availability
Resource levelingA technique that involves amending the project schedule to keep resource use below a set limit. It is used when it is important to impose limits on resource use. Resource leveling can affect a project s critical path.
Resource loading profilesResource loading profiles indicate the number and type of personnel required to do project work over periods of time.
Resource optimization techniquesResource optimization techniques seek to reconcile supplies and demands for resources. Depending on whether project duration or limiting resource use is prioritized
Resource smoothingA technique that makes use of float when allocating resources so as not to affect total project duration. It is used when project time constraints are important. Resource leveling does not affect a project s critical path.
Resource-Limited scheduleA resource-limited schedule has had its start and end dates adjusted based on the expected availability of resources.
ResourcesThe elements needed for a project to successfully meet its objectives. Examples of resources include equipment
Responsibility assignment matrixA responsibility assignment matrix identifies those who are: responsible for project activities
RetainageThe sum of money withheld from a contract payment until completion of the contract according to terms.
Return on investment (ROI)The expected financial gain of a project expressed as a percentage of total project investment. It is used to assess the overall profitability of a project.
RiskThe probability of occurrence of a specific event that affects the pursuit of objectives. Risks are not negative by definition. In project management
Risk acceptanceRisk acceptance involves acknowledging a risk and not taking preemptive action against it.
Risk appetiteThe amount and type of risk an organization is willing to accept in anticipation of gains. It is not the same as risk tolerance
Risk assessmentAn activity that involves identifying possible risks to a project and examining how these risks
Risk avoidanceRisk avoidance focuses on avoiding threats that can harm an organization
Risk breakdown structureA hierarchical model of all risks
Risk categoryA set of risks grouped by cause.
Risk efficiencyA concept based on the idea of maximizing the return-to-risk ratio. It can do this in two ways: by minimizing exposure to risk for a given level of expected return or by seeking the highest possible expected return for a given level of risk.
Risk enhancementRisk enhancement involves increasing the probability of an opportunity
Risk exploitationRisk exploitation focuses on ensuring that an opportunity
Risk identificationThe process of identifying and examining risks and their effects on project objectives.
Risk managementA subset of management strategies that deals with identifying and assessing risks and acting to reduce the likelihood or impact of negative risks. Risk managers seek to ensure that negative risks do not affect organizational or project objectives.
Risk mitigationRisk mitigation involves decreasing the probability of a negative risk occurring
Risk monitoring and controlThe risk monitoring and control process uses a risk management plan to identify risks and implement appropriate risk responses.
Risk ownerA risk owner is responsible for determining and enacting appropriate responses to a specific type of risk. (See also risk response owner)
Risk registerA risk register
Risk response ownerA risk owner monitors a specific type of risk and implements appropriate risk responses when necessary. (See also risk owner)
Risk response planningRisk response planning is typically conducted after risk analyses to determine appropriate courses of action for risks is deemed significant.
Risk sharingRisk sharing involves handing ownership of a positive risk to a third party who is typically specialized and better able to realize the opportunity.
Risk thresholdThe level at which the likelihood or impact of a risk becomes significant enough that the risk manager deems a risk response necessary.
Risk toleranceThe level of variation in performance measures that an organization is willing to accept. It is not the same as risk appetite
Risk transferenceRisk transference involves handing ownership of risk to a third party who is typically specialized and better able to address the risk or to withstand its impact.
Risk triggerAn event that causes a risk to occur. A trigger can serve as a warning that a risk has occurred or is about to occur.
Rolling wave planningA planning approach that focuses on in-depth detailing of work to be accomplished in the near term and progressively lower levels of detail for work scheduled farther in the future. It is based on the idea that work scheduled in the future is more subject to change and thus less worth planning in detail. Rolling wave planning only works for schedules with clearly defined iterations.
Root causeThe primary reason an event occurs.
Run bookA comprehensive catalog of information needed to conduct operations and to respond to any emergency situations that arise during operations. It typically details
S-Curve analysisAn s-curve tracks cumulative financial or labor costs. S-Curve analysis is used to compare a project s cumulative costs at any given point with a cumulative cost baseline created during the planning phase. It allows project managers and sponsors to assess performance and progress.
ScheduleA comprehensive list of project activities and milestones in logical order
Schedule baselineA schedule baseline is the original project schedule \’97 approved by the project team
Schedule compression techniqueA schedule compression technique speeds up projects without affecting scope by decreasing the duration of a project s critical path. There are two main schedule compression techniques: crashing and fast tracking. (See also duration compression)
Schedule modelA logically arranged
Schedule model analysisSchedule model analysis examines the project schedule created from a schedule model. It aims to optimize the schedule
Schedule network analysisSchedule network analysis uses a variety of techniques to identify early and late start and finish dates for project activities and thus to create project schedules.
Schedule performance index (SPI)The ratio of earned value to planned value at a given point in time. It shows whether a project is running to schedule. An SPI lower than one indicates the project is behind schedule. An SPI higher than one indicates the project is ahead of schedule.
Schedule varianceSchedule variance is the difference between earned value and planned value at a given point in time.
Scientific managementScientific management was an early attempt to bring scientific approaches to process management. Its earliest form was derived from a 1911 monograph by Frederick W. Taylor
ScopeThe scope of a project constitutes everything it is supposed to accomplish in order to be deemed successful.
Scope baselineThe set of requirements
Scope change managementScope change management deals with amendments to the scope as set in the scope baseline and project management plan. Since scope amendments typically affect cost and schedule estimates
Scope creepScope creep refers to gradual changes in project scope that occur without a formal scope change procedure. Scope creep is considered negative since unapproved changes in scope affect cost and schedule but do not allow complementary revisions to cost and schedule estimates.
ScrumScrum is an iterative development procedure used in software development projects. Scrum-based projects focus on prioritizing requirements and working towards a clear set of goals over a set time period
Secondary riskA risk created by a risk response.
SecuritySecurity in project management refers broadly to protecting humans
Six SigmaAn approach to process management that focuses on the near total elimination of product or service defects. It uses quality management methods to improve and optimize processes involved in the production of a product or service so that 99.99966 percent of process outcomes are defect-free.
Slack timeThe length of time an activity’s early start can be delayed without affecting project duration. (See also float)
Slip chartA slip chart graphically compares predicted activity completion dates with originally planned completion dates.
SlippageThe negative variance between planned and actual activity completion dates. Slippage may also refer to the general tendency of a project to be delayed beyond planned completion dates.
Soft projectA soft project does not have a physical output.
Software engineeringSoftware engineering is generally defined as the use of engineering principles in software development. It systematically employs scientific and technological approaches in the design
Spiral life cycleAn IT system s development model that aims to learn from experience by drawing from both iterative development and the waterfall model. It has four sequential phases: identification
SponsorA sponsor has ultimate authority over a project. They provide high-level direction
SprintIn iterative project development
StakeholderIn project management
StandardsA standard prescribes a collection of standardized rules
Start-To-FinishIn a start-to-finish relationship
Start-To-StartIn a start-to-start relationship
Statement of work (SoW)A Statement of work is a comprehensive and detailed list of deliverables expected under a contract
Steering committeeA steering committee provides high-level strategic guidance on a project. It typically comprises individuals from a number of stakeholder organizations and serves to provide consensus-based direction on projects with a large number or a diversity of stakeholders.
Story pointIn sprint-based projects
Successor activityIn a schedule
Summary activityIn a network diagram
Sunk costA cost that cannot be recovered once spent.
Systems development life cycle (SDLC)In systems engineering
Systems engineeringA field of engineering that applies principles of systems thinking to the development of complex systems. Since complex systems are more difficult to coordinate and make cohesive
TaskIn project management
Task analysisA task analysis details the actions or resources required to complete a task.
TestingThe testing phase involves assessment of the product developed so as to gauge quality and performance and to determine whether requirements have been met.
Theory of constraintsThe theory of constraints explains that any process is limited from optimum performance by its weakest link or links
ThreatA negative risk that could adversely affect project objectives.
Three-point estimatingA superset of estimating techniques that use averages (or weighted averages) of most likely
Time and material contractA time and material contract pays per unit of time and reimburses materials costs for contracted work.
Time chainage diagramIn project management
Time limitThe time limit for a task is the window of time or deadline by which it must be completed.
Time-scaled network diagramA network diagram is time scaled if the lengths of activities are drawn to scale to indicate their expected durations.
TimeboxTimeboxing is a project management strategy that prioritizes meeting deadlines over scope requirements. It involves assigning specific lengths of time
TimelineA Timeline is a graphical
To-Complete Performance Index (TCPI)A project s to-complete performance index is the cost performance it needs to achieve to be completed within budget. The TCPI is calculated as the ratio of work remaining to budget remaining.
ToleranceThe acceptable level of variance in project performance. The project sponsor is typically informed if tolerance levels are crossed.
Top-Down estimatingTop-Down estimating uses historical data from similar projects to compute time and cost estimates. (See also analogous estimating)
Total cost of ownership (TCO)The total cost of ownership estimates the sum total of direct and indirect costs incurred in the purchase
Total floatThe length of time an activity can be delayed from its early start date without affecting the project end date.
Trigger conditionA condition that causes a risk to occur. Trigger conditions can serve as warning signs that risks have occurred or are about to occur. (See also risk trigger)
Unified processA unified process may refer to any one of a family of iterative software development process frameworks. Unified processes have four phases: inception
Use caseIn software development
User storyA project requirement stated in one sentence. It typically identifies users
V life cycleThe V in V life cycle stands for verification and validation. It is a sequential software development process that matches a corresponding testing phase to each phase in the software development life cycle. During the verification phase
Value engineeringValue engineering seeks to increase the functionality-to-cost ratio of a product by providing improved functionality at lower cost. Some applications of value engineering attract criticism
Value for money ratioIn project management
Value treeA hierarchical model of the characteristics of a product or service that determine its value.
Variance analysisThe practice of investigating deviations between planned and actual performance.
Variance at completion (VAC)A project s variance at completion is the difference between its budget at completion and its estimate at completion.
Vertical sliceA performance indicator that demonstrates progress across all project components or performance areas at a given point in time.
Virtual design and construction (VDC)A method  based on using technology in design and construction projects. It uses building information modeling (BIM) tools that focus on designable and manageable aspects of projects to create integrated models that predict project performance.
Virtual teamA virtual team comprises people from different organizations
Waterfall modelThe Waterfall model is a software development life cycle in which development phases are sequential
Weighted milestone methodThe weighted milestone method allows project managers to estimate earned value by splitting work packages into weighted segments. Each segment represents a portion of the budget value for the work package and ends with a milestone. When a segment milestone is classified as complete
What-If scenario analysisA simulation technique that allows project managers to determine and compare specific conditions\’92 effects on project schedules and objectives.
Wideband delphiAn estimation technique based on expert consensus. Each member of an estimation team uses a work breakdown structure to create anonymous estimates of the effort required to complete each project element or work package. The estimates are then reviewed as a group before the experts create new estimates
WorkIn project management
Work authorization systemA formal procedure to ensure that project work is performed on time and in logical order.
Work breakdown structure (WBS)A Work breakdown structure is a comprehensive
Work breakdown structure dictionaryA document that details
Work packageThe work packages of a project are its lowest-level deliverables. They are detailed in a work breakdown structure dictionary.
Work streamIn project management
WorkaroundA way to circumvent a problem which does not have a permanent solution or for which no adequate response was planned.
X-Bar control chartsAn x-bar control chart includes two separate charts that display the means and sample ranges for a number of periodically gathered

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