Every discipline has its terminology, and project management is no exemption. This list of terms and definitions will help ensure that your PM communications are clear and understood by everyone. Managing projects in today’s complex business environment pose many challenges, not the least of which is making sure all stakeholders are on the same page. Within project teams, good communication depends on perfect mutual understanding. Shared understanding requires everyone to assign a similar meaning to project management terms.
Establishing standardized definitions is a task, even for seasoned pros. To help you attain this goal, we’re offering this commanding reference guide, pulling together a complete list of project management terminology. This glossary comprises more than 600 terms and delivers simple, clear descriptions.
So, if you need a quick recap of the difference between analytical and analogous estimating or aren’t sure whether you need demand for proposals or a request for quotes, we’ve got you enclosed. With this complete list, you can make sure you understand key ideas and use terms correctly.
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From the glossary:
External circumstances or events must occur for the project to be successful (or that should happen to increase your chances of success). If you believe that the probability of the event occurring is acceptable, you can list it as an assumption. An assumption has a probability between 0 and 100%; that is, it is not impossible that the event will occur (0%), and it is not a fact (100%)—it’s somewhere in between. Assumptions are important because they set the context in which the remainder of the project is defined. If an assumption doesn’t come through, the approximation and the rest of the project definition may no longer be effective.
The person or group that is through the receiver of a project or service is the client/customer. These are the people for whom the project is being undertaken (indirect beneficiaries are stakeholders). In many organizations, internal beneficiaries are called “clients” and outside beneficiaries are called “customers,” but this is not a tough and fast rule.
Constraints are restrictions that are outside the control of the project team and essential to be managed around. They are not unavoidably problems. However, the project manager should be conscious of constraints because they signify limitations that the project must perform within. Date constraints, for instance, imply that convinced events (perhaps the end of the project) must happen by certain dates. Resources are virtually always a constraint since they are not obtainable in unlimited supply.
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The cost variance (CV) is used to measure the cost difference between a project’s earned value (EV) and the actual cost (AC) to deliver progress to date (CV = EV – AC). In application, positive CVs specify the project is under budget since it is providing more value than incurring the cost. If the project has a negative CV, it is ended budget. Even positive CVs should be examined for a root cause.
The critical path is the sequence of activities that must be completed on schedule for the project to be completed on schedule. It is the longest duration path through the work plan. If an activity on the critical path is late by one day, the entire project will be late by one day (unless alternative activity on the critical path can be accelerated by one day).
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