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Acceptance - The process of accepting the delivery of a deliverable.
Related words: Deliverable
Activity - Any work performed on a project which uses resources (people, materials or facilities) has an associated cost and duration and results in one or more products. Usually specified in a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
Related words: Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Products
Actuals - what happens to the Project Plan in real life.
This can be measured in cost, in results, in time – in anything that was quantified in the original plan. Part of Project Control is measuring the Actuals against what was expected.
Assumption - a statement that is taken for granted without concrete proof.
Assumptions are made during project planning and are used as a basis for estimating costs, duration and risk impact, etc. They should therefore be fully acknowledged and analysed by the Project Manager.
Baseline - a snapshot of a product and its constituent sub-products.
Once a product has been formally accepted it is baselined. The Configuration Librarian logs alterations to the baselined documents, enabling change to be monitored. Baselined products such as software systems are permanently recorded so that they can be recalled at any time.
Related words: Configuration Librarian, Products
Best Practice – the PRINCE2® method centres around eight Best Practices, which are considered to be “best practice” when facing Project Management issues.
Related words: PRINCE2
Budget – the amount of money allocated to the project.
Business Case - the justification for the project.
The Business Case defines the expected benefits and constraints of the project, as well as how project success is to be measured.
Related words: Constraints
Business Requirements - the stakeholders’ business needs
Initially the specified requirements may be broad, but as the project develops, they are refined to increasing levels of detail.
Change Control - managing changes to the project plan.
On large projects this is a well-documented process involving many different stakeholders.
Related words: Change Control Board
Change Control Board (CCB) – the group of stakeholders responsible for assessing changes to baselined project plans.
The Change Control Board must know the scope of the change and the expected impact on cost/schedule constraints. It is their decision to reject, adopt or adapt the proposed change. If change is accepted then new plans and estimates are developed and baselined.
Related words: Baseline, Change Control, Constraints
Change Request – a proposal for alterations to the end-product or project plan.
Change requests are submitted to the Change Control Board, along with expected scope and impact on constraints.
Related words: Change Control Board, Constraints
Client – the people who benefit most from project success. Also known as the customer.
Close Out – project completion.
Concession – deviation from the project specification that is accepted by the Project board.
Configuration Management – a PRINCE2 Best Practice that records and baselines versions of products to enable changes to be easily traced.
Related words: Baseline, Best Practice, PRINCE2
Configuration Librarian – the person in charge of Configuration Management.
Related words: Configuration Management
Constraints – restrictions to project duration, budget and resources.
Contingency – time and resources set aside in the plan for dealing with changes to the project.
Related words: Change Control
Controlling - monitoring, evaluating, adjusting and reporting project progress.
This is where actuals are measured against what was originally projected. Corrective action may be taken to ensure that the project remains within its limits and the product fulfils the necessary criteria.
Related words: Actual
Cost Benefit Analysis – analysis of the projected benefits against the projected costs of the project.
In the Business Case, the Project Manager can compare the Cost Benefit Analysis of one project proposal against various alternative suggestions.
Related words: Business Case
Critical Path - the sequence of dependent activities that will take the longest time to complete.
Critical Path Analysis allows the Project Manager to analyse the impact to the schedule caused by adjusting individual activities.
Related words: Dependency
Customer – the person or group who commissioned the project.
Deliverable – a product that must be ‘delivered' as part of the contractual obligations of the project.
As well as final deliverables, this includes interim products such as plans, designs and reports.
Dependency – the relationship between two activities, when one cannot be started until the other is complete.
Related words: Critical Path
Effort - the amount of time required to perform an activity.
This can be measured in ‘person’ hours, days, weeks, months or years. However, for planning purposes, activities are usually assigned in terms of person days.
End Project Report - usually produced by the Project Manager at the end of a project.
The End Project Report documents the overall project performance and any major issues that were raised.
Estimate - the prediction of measurable input or output, for example the cost or the duration of the project.
Gantt Chart – a visual representation of the project schedule, in the form of a bar chart.
Activities are listed on the vertical axis and the time line is shown on the horizontal axis. Activities are shown as horizontal bars with a specified duration.
Dependency relationships between activities are often shown as arrows between activities. Milestones can be shown as a diamond occurring on a specific date.
Related words: Dependency
Impact – the effect of a change on project outcome or constraints
Related words: Change Control, Constraints
Life Cycle – the path from project conception to closure, defined by a set of distinct phases. In the PMBOK these are: conceive, define, start, perform and close.
Related words: PMBOK
Milestone – a significant event in the duration of a project, frequently the delivery of an important product.
Milestones typically have zero duration and effort. For example: the production of five spare computer parts is an activity. The delivery of the computer parts is a milestone.
Mitigation - a series of actions intended to lesson the likelihood or impact of an anticipated risk.
Objectives - the desired outcomes of a project, measured in terms of deliverables as well as intangible benefits.
For example: the deliverable might be new administrative software for a call-centre. The objective might be a 15% higher turnover of calls.
Related words: Deliverable
Phase – the set of activities leading up to project milestones. These are usually represented on the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
Related words: Milestones, Work Breakdown Structure
Planning – determining how project objectives will be accomplished by identifying and organising the activities and resources necessary.
Project - a structure set up with fixed duration, budget and objectives.
Product - any tangible output.
A product may be a physical item, an item of software, an intellectual creation, a service or documentation.
If a product is to be delivered as part of the contractual obligations of the project, then it is also a 'deliverable'.
Related words: End-Product, Deliverable
Process – the series of steps required to accomplish a project activity.
Resources - the things (people, money, equipment) needed to complete the project.
PMBOK - the Project Management Body of Knowledge: describes processes and knowledge areas considered best practice by the PMI.
Related words: PMI
PMI – The Project Management Institute is the largest membership association for Project Managers. The source of the PMBOK guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge) and provider of Project Management Certification in the USA.
Related words: PMBOK
PRINCE2 – “Projects IN Controlled Environments v. 2” – PRINCE2 is a structured method for effective project management. It is the standard project management method in the British Government and is used extensively in the UK and across the world. PRINCE2 certification is a globally recognised project management qualification.
For more information, read our article: What is PRINCE2?
Project Champion - a senior manager or executive who gains support and resources for the project. This person is usually higher in an organisation hierarchy than the project manager.
Project Management - the process of managing (planning, running, monitoring and controlling) a project.
Project Manager – the person responsible and ultimately accountable for a project's performance.
For more information, read our article: What is a Project Manager?
Project Plan - defines the products required and the necessary activities, time, budget and resources.
The initial plan is typically high level, but as the project progresses more details can be added, so that the plan becomes more accurate in its estimated duration, cost and required resources.
Requirements - formal statement of objectives, describing the features, functions and performance constraints to be delivered on the product.
Risk – a hypothetical event that might affect the successful outcome of a project.
Related words: Risk Management
Risk Management - the process of managing the risks associated with a project in order to minimise potential impact should the risk occur.
Schedule – timeline identifying start/end dates for all project activities.
Scope - the full set of features and functions to be provided by the project.
Slippage - the variance between the planned and actual cost or schedule.
Related words: Actuals, Schedule
Stakeholders - anyone with an interest in the successful outcome of the project.
Task - work done by staff over a period of time to produce deliverables. The same as “Activity.”
Related words: Deliverable
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) - a hierarchical breakdown of the project activities.
The WBS is developed by a top-down decomposition of high-level activities into low-level activities. For example: “Create Project Management Glossary” might be broken down into “Select Project Management terms” and “Create definitions” etc.