Project Management Glossary of Terms
Bar Chart / Gantt Chart A planning tool used to show the timing and dependencies of activities in a project.
Benefits The results (usually positive!) of changes brought about by a project.  May also be called Outcomes or Impacts.  They should be measurable.They may be financial (e.g. cost savings) or non-financial (e.g. increases in viewers or listeners).

 

Change Control A means of deciding the importance of changes that occur during a project and how to deal with them (including documenting them).
Constraint A boundary within which a project must operate (e.g. legislation).
Critical Path The longest path of dependent activities from start to end of a project and therefore the shortest time for its completion.  Any delay on this path will delay the whole project.
Deliverable A tangible output of a project.Final deliverables are handed over by a project to end-users (e.g. new software, a building, a redesigned process).

Internal (or temporary) deliverables are created during a project (e.g. PDD, Business Case, Risk Log), often for review and approval.

 

Dependency A linkage between one project and another (e.g. Project B depends on the work of Project A in order to succeed), or…A relationship between two activities within a project (e.g. Activity B can’t start until Activity A has finished).

 

Governance How a project will ensure benefits are delivered, stakeholders are managed, risks and issues are identified and addressed, quality is assured and resources are managed.Usually described in terms of roles/structures that need to be in place and arrangements for monitoring, reporting and controlling progress.

 

Issue Something that has happened and which needs to be brought to the attention of the project (Sponsor, Manager or Team), to ensure it can continue to meet its objectives.
Milestone A point in time at which some activity must start, or by when some activity must be completed.Expressed as a Noun + Verb [past tense] (e.g. Budget Approved, Hardware Installed).

 

Objective What a project sets out to achieve, preferably expressed in SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).May also be called “Goals”, or “Targets” and can be directly related to Benefits.

Written in the form “To… [increase/decrease/improve/reduce…] [something]… by [amount/%]… by [dd/mm/yy].

 

Programme A set of linked and aligned projects which, when managed together, deliver specific organisational benefits.
Project A temporary organisation that is created to achieve a specific objective, at a defined point in time, using agreed resources.
Project Completion Report Captures the learning from a project: what went well, what could be improved, how the learning could be applied to future projects.
Project Definition Document The PDD summarises all the key information required when a project is set up.  It may need to be approved before detailed planning starts. (Also referred to as Project Initiation Document – PID)
Risk Anything which might happen (in the future) and which would adversely affect the achievement of a project’s objectives.Not to be confused with “Issues”, which have already happened.

 

Scope The boundaries of the project (e.g. products, processes, locations).May also define aspects which are specifically excluded from the project.

 

Stakeholder Anyone (individuals or groups) who may have an interest in a project and can influence its success (positively or negatively).

Download Project Templates (in Excel)

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