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Projekto.Biz | Glossary of Project Management Terms






A

Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP)

This measures the actual cost of work done as opposed to what was budgeted in the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP).

Adaptive Project Framework (APF)

A project management methodology that grew from the idea that most IT projects can’t be managed using traditional PM methods. Work is done in stages, and evaluated after each stage.

Agile

A project management methodology characterized by building products that customers really want, using short cycles of work that allow for rapid production and constant revision if necessary.

Allocation

The act of assigning available resources.



B

Baseline

The original cost and schedule you set for your project. It helps you determine how far the team has deviated from the original plan. Based on this knowledge, you’ll be able to better estimate the time and resources your team needs to complete the next project.

Benefits Realization

A PM methodology that focuses on whether your deliverable gives the customer the benefit they’re expecting to get from it. This methodology ensures you deliver real value to customers and stakeholders.

Budget

A general list of planned expenses.

Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP)

Measures the budgeted cost of actual work done. Not to be confused with the BCWS.

Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS)

The approved budget allocated for the completion of a project deliverable (or WBS) within a specific time period.

Burn Down Chart

An X-Y axis graph that shows the number of tasks that need to be completed (on the vertical axis) versus the time remaining (on the horizontal axis). These charts are often used in Scrum.

Business Process Modeling (BPM)

The analysis of an organization’s business processes in order to improve and optimize procedures.



C

Change management

An area of management that looks at organizational change. The goal is to efficiently manage change so that negative impact to the infrastructure or budget is negligible.

Constraint

The limitations of your project, including cost, human resources, time limits, quality, and potential ROI.

Cost overrun

An excess cost that is above budget.

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

A PM methodology that puts a primary focus on resources. You build a project schedule, identify the most crucial tasks

Critical Path Method (CPM)

A method used to model projects that includes all tasks, time estimates, task dependencies, and final deliverables. By taking these factors into account, CPM helps you calculate your optimal project timeline. CPM was developed by the private sector in the 1950s, while the US Navy developed its own version, PERT.


D

Deliverable

A work product, delivered on a date and in a state that has been agreed upon by stakeholders, and as stated in the project charter. A deliverable can be a physical product, a file, or software.

Dependency

A condition where a task or milestone relies on other tasks to be completed (or started) before it can be performed.



E

Earned Value Management (EVM)

A way to measure project progress using scope, schedule, and cost.

Event chain diagram

A visual representation of how project events affect each other. Typically used in ECM.

Event Chain Methodology (ECM)

A PM methodology built on the concept that there are potential risks that often lie outside the project’s scope. It’s important to prepare for these risks and plan what to do if they occur.

Extreme Programming (XP)

A PM methodology designed to improve the quality and simplicity of the software and the team’s ability to adapt to customer needs. Work is done in short cycles (AKA sprints) with frequent iterations and constant collaboration with stakeholders.

Extreme Project Management (XPM)

A PM methodology wherein you can change the project plan, budget, and even the final deliverable to fit changing needs, no matter how far along the project is.



F

Float

Also known as “slack,” this is the amount of time you can potentially spend on a task before it affects the project timeline. Float is the extra cushioning protecting important deadlines. Note that items on your Critical Path will have “zero free floats,” and if you want to maintain your schedule, they cannot be delayed.

G

Gantt Chart

This horizontal bar chart devised by Henry Gantt at the turn of the 20th century has been used to visualize project schedules by project managers all over the world. It includes all of a project’s tasks, milestones, and deadlines, start and end dates, and illustrates task dependencies.

Goal

An objective or milestone set by an individual or organization.

Goal setting

The act of creating objectives that are specific, measurable, and time-bound.



H

HERMES

A less popular PM methodology created by the Swiss Government to manage software projects.

I

Iteration

A variation or improvement on the original.

Iterative development

A process where instead of pouring all work into one final deliverable (as in the Waterfall method), work is instead done in a series of smaller stages to keep the project moving forward.

K

Kanban

A visual approach to project management where teams create physical representations of their tasks, often using sticky notes on whiteboards (or via online apps). Tasks are moved through predetermined stages to track progress and identify common roadblocks.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Measurable indicators of where your project stands, determined before project work begins. Did we hit 10,000 page views today? Make 50 sales calls this week? Have we doubled revenue? It’s helpful to use KPIs to navigate the project path and, if needed, get back on course.

Kickoff meeting

The initial meeting for a new project, during which a project manager lays out all the goals, plans, and expectations for the team and its stakeholders.




L

Lean

Also known as “lean manufacturing” or “lean production,” this PM methodology focuses on streamlining and cutting out waste. The goal is to do more with less: i.e., deliver value to the customer using less manpower, money, and time.

Lean Six Sigma

Combining the minimalist approach of Lean (“no waste!”) and the quality improvement goals of Six Sigma (“zero defects!”), Lean Six Sigma focuses on eliminating waste and defects so that projects are more efficient, cost-effective, and answer customers’ needs.


M

Management

The act of marshaling people and resources in order to accomplish a set of objectives.

P

PDU (Professional Development Unit)

A continuing education unit. To maintain certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP), you will need ongoing professional development, which is measured in PDUs.

PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique)

A statistical tool used to visualize a project’s schedule, the sequence of tasks, and even the critical path of tasks that must be completed on time in order for the project to meet its deadline. Developed by the US Navy in the 1950s, the private sector had its own version called Critical Path Method (CPM).

PRINCE2 (Projects In Controlled Environments)

A PM methodology for managing projects characterized by a product-based planning approach. Especially popular with the UK government, it gives teams greater control of resources and the ability to manage risk effectively.

PRiSM (Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods)

A project management methodology that aims to complete projects while reducing a company’s negative environmental and social impact. Quite literally: green project management.

Process-Based Project Management

A PM methodology that aligns all project objectives with a company’s stated mission and corporate values.

Project management

The act of managing all aspects of a project, from team to tasks to tools.

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)

Overseen by the Project Management Institute, this book collects a set of standard terminology and guidelines for project management.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

A certified practitioner of project management. Certification is offered through the Project Management Institute.

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