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Words used in Project Management

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Friday 20th of December 2019 Hadyn Luke 20/12/2019

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Words used in Project Management

In our earlier blog, What Is Project Management?, we gave an overview of how tasks and people are organised, along with details of some project management systems.

If you’re new to project management, the words and phrases you come across might seem like jargon, but it’s important that you understand what they mean and how they relate to your project(s).

Here are 20 phrases that might prove useful to you as you move your project forward from initial concept through planning, delivery and analysis.

1. Acceptance criteria

The specific criteria that must be met before a project is considered to be completed.

2. Action item

An event, task or other activity that is documented, often in a meeting, as something that needs to happen as part of a project.

3. Bandwidth

The amount of time and resources that those delivering the project have. It’s important to be aware of this so that individuals and teams don’t commit to tasks that they won’t be able to complete.

4. Change control

A process that analyses any changes that are proposed to a project, to ensure that they are necessary, evaluated and approved before being implemented.

5. Cost variance

In the final evaluation of your project, cost variance is the difference between the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP) and the Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP).

6. Critical path

Shows the time it will take to complete each stage of a project and indicates the expected length of the project.

7. Decision tree

A easy-to-follow diagram to show what the outcome might be of various options, including choices that need to be made and chances that might happen.

8. Deliverables

The measurable goods and/or services that are delivered by the end of a project.

9. Earned value analysis

The action of monitoring the work as it is carried out and completed, compared with the original plan, to measure project performance.

10. Float

The amount of time a task or a project can be delayed, without it having a detrimental effect on the final outcome.

11. Gap analysis

The analysis of what stage a project has reached and what has been achieved compared with where it needs to be.

12. Merge point

This is where the different activities of a project meet, with each task requiring completion before the project can advance.

13. Network diagram

A graph or other visual representation of the project, showing how long it will take to carry out different tasks, what order they need to happen and how they connect to other tasks.

14. Process improvement

A way of establishing, analysing, reworking and implementing improvements to the processes that are being followed as part of a project.

15. Project retrospective

A meeting to discuss the project after it is completed to see if any lessons can be learned and changes made when embarking on future projects.

16. Risk register

A document produced before the project gets underway, showing what the risks might be, how they might impact on the project, how likely they are to happen and how they can be prevented.

17. Roadblocks

Delays to the project caused either by issues within the team/organisation or by outside influences.

18. Scalability

Whether the same or better results can be achieved if resources are added and a process is scaled up.

19. Scope

This refers to the whole project. Scope creep is when the project sees changes outside the original plan, and scope change management refers to activity to handle scope creep.

20. Velocity

A measure of the rate of productivity of the team delivering the project.

In your role as project manager or as part of a team, you will also come across words and phrases that you will already be familiar with or are self-explanatory, such as accountability, budget, business plan, objective and risk assessment. In addition, there are specialist terms that relate to specific models of project management. 

Preparation is key, so make sure you familiarise yourself with as many project management phrases that you can, before your project starts.

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