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beehexa top 39 project management terms

Important Definitions of Project Management Terms You Need to Know

Navigating the complexities of project management requires a solid understanding of its specialized terminology. This guide offers concise definitions of key project management terms, enabling professionals at all levels to communicate effectively and execute projects successfully.

1. Agile

Agile project management is a flexible and iterative approach designed to promote collaboration, adaptability, and customer satisfaction. By breaking down projects into manageable sprints and emphasizing continuous improvement, Agile enables teams to respond to changes swiftly. It creates opportunities to foster direct communication and stakeholder involvement, ensuring projects align closely with customer needs and expectations. Agile is widely applicable across various industries, making it a critical strategy for managing complex projects efficiently.

The Agile framework includes methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban, where Scrum focuses on structured sprints and roles for incremental progress, while Kanban emphasizes continuous flow and visualizing work stages for efficiency.

2. Allocation of resources

Resource allocation refers to the strategic distribution of available resources, such as time, money, and personnel, among various tasks and activities to achieve project objectives efficiently. This process involves planning, scheduling, and managing resources to ensure optimal utilization, avoid bottlenecks, and maintain project timelines and budgets.

Types of resources:

  • People resources
  • Financial resources
  • Physical resources
  • Technological resources
  • Data & information resources
  • Time

3. Business case

A business case is a comprehensive document that outlines the justification for initiating a project or task. It evaluates the benefits, costs, risks, and opportunities involved, providing stakeholders with a clear analysis of the project’s potential return on investment. This critical tool aids in decision-making by highlighting how the project aligns with the organization’s strategic goals.

4. Business Process Management (BPM)

Business Process Management (BPM) is a systematic approach to improving an organization’s processes. It involves analyzing, designing, executing, monitoring, and optimizing internal business processes to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. BPM aims to align all aspects of an organization with the wants and needs of clients.

  • BPM comprises three components: people, technology, and processes.
  • Three types of BPM: Integration-centric BPM; Human-centric BPM; and Document-centric BPM.

5. Cascading model or Waterfall

The Waterfall, or cascading model, is a sequential and structured project management methodology where each phase depends on the deliverables of the previous one and corresponds to a specialization of tasks. This model emphasizes a logical progression of steps and a clear set of objectives for each phase, making it easy to understand and manage.

  • Phases of Waterfall Method:

Requirements → Design → Implementation → Testing → Deployment & Maintenance.

6. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a credential offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a fundamental knowledge of project management principles and terminology.

The exams feature 150 multiple-choice questions, a 3-hour limit, and are available via CBT or PBT. Prerequisites include a secondary degree and 1,500 project hours, or 23 hours of project management education.

7. Critical Path Method (CPM)

The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a project modeling technique that helps project managers identify the longest sequence of dependent tasks and the minimum time needed to complete them. Identifying the critical path allows managers to prioritize tasks that directly impact the project’s timeline.

8. Deliverables

Deliverables refer to tangible or intangible products or services produced due to the project scope. These are the outcomes to be delivered to the client or stakeholder at the end of a project phase or the entire project.

9. Dependencies

Dependencies in project management are relationships between tasks that determine the order in which activities are to be performed. For example, if we must complete Task A to start executing Task B, it means that Task B is dependent on Task A.

Some important terms of Dependencies in Project Management:

  • Constraints
  • Lead and Lag
  • Critical Path

Types of Dependencies in Project Management:

  • Logical
  • Resource
  • Preferential
  • External
  • Cross Team

Task Dependency Relations:

  • Finish to Start
  • Start to Start
  • Finish to Finish
  • Start to Finish

10. Earned Value Management (EVM)

EVM is a project management technique that integrates the project scope, time, and cost elements to assess project performance and progress in an objective manner. It provides a standardized method to measure a project’s health and forecast its future performance.

Key components of EVM:

  • Planned Value (PV)
  • Earned Value (EV)
  • Actual Cost (AC)
  • Cost Performance Index (CPI)
  • Schedule Performance Index (SPI)
  • Variance Analysis
  • Performance Indices Thresholds

11. Emergency plan

An emergency plan in project management outlines procedures and actions to take in response to unexpected crises or incidents that could negatively impact the project’s success. It ensures readiness to address emergencies effectively.

12. Gantt chart

A Gantt chart is a visual project management tool that illustrates a project schedule. It displays tasks along a timeline, showing start and end dates and dependencies between tasks. Each Gantt chart consists of a task list or grid on the left and a project timeline on the right.

13. Goal drift

Goal drift occurs when a project’s objectives gradually shift away from the original goals without intentional reevaluation or realignment. This phenomenon can lead to projects that no longer meet the initial requirements or expectations.

14. Iterative process

An iterative process in project management involves developing and refining a project through repeated cycles. It allows teams to incorporate feedback and make adjustments in a controlled manner, improving the project outcome with each iteration.

Five steps in interactive processes:

  1. Project planning
  2. Development
  3. Implementation
  4. Testing
  5. Evaluation

15. Kanban

Kanban is an Agile project management tool designed to help visualize work, maximize efficiency, and improve continuous collaboration. It uses cards to represent work items and columns to represent each stage.

  • Kanban components: Kanban columns, Kanban cards.
  • Kanban phase: To-Do, In Progress, and Complete.

16. Key performance indicators (KPI)

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a project is achieving key business objectives. KPIs are used by organizations to evaluate their success at reaching targets.

  • KPI Categories: Timeliness, Budget, Quality, and Effectiveness.
  • Types of KPIs: Process KPIs, Input KPIs, Output KPIs, Leading KPIs, Lagging KPIs, Outcome KPIs, Qualitative KPIs, Quantitative KPIs.

17. Launch meeting

A launch meeting, also known as a kick-off meeting, marks the official start of a project. It brings together the project team and stakeholders to align on objectives, expectations, roles, and the project plan.

18. PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique or PERT) method

The Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) is a project management tool used to plan, schedule, and control complex tasks. PERT involves identifying the specific tasks required to complete a project and estimating the minimum amount of time needed to complete each task.

19. PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments)

PRINCE2 is a structured project management method and certification program for effectively managing projects within a clearly defined framework. It emphasizes dividing projects into manageable and controllable stages.

Phases of PRINCE2: 

  • Start-up
  • Directing
  • Initiation
  • Controlling
  • Managing product delivery
  • Managing stage boundaries
  • Closing

20. Project budget

The project budget is the total estimated cost required to complete a project over a defined period. It covers all financial resources needed for project execution, including labor, materials, equipment, and other expenses.

21. Project charter

A project charter is a formal document that authorizes the project team to initiate and lead a project. It outlines the project’s purpose, objectives, scope, and major stakeholders, serving as a reference for future project decisions.

22. Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is a standard set of terminology, practices, and processes for project management. It was published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and includes 5 process groups, 10 knowledge areas, & 49 processes. The PMBOK guides professionals in achieving consistency and efficiency in their project management efforts.

  • 5 process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and controlling, and Closing.
  • 10 knowledge areas & 49 processes:
Project Integration ManagementClose Project or Phase
Develop Project Charter
Develop Project Management Plan
Direct and Manage Project Work
Manage Project Knowledge
Monitor and Control Project Work
Perform Integrated Change Control
Project Scope ManagementCollect Requirements
Control Scope
Create WBS
Define Scope
Plan Scope Management
Validate Scope
Project Schedule ManagementControl Schedule
Define Activities
Develop Schedule
Estimate Activity Durations
Plan Schedule Management
Sequence Activities
Project Cost ManagementControl Costs
Determine Budget
Estimate Costs
Plan Cost Management
Project Quality ManagementControl Quality
Manage Quality
Plan Quality Management
Project Resource ManagementAcquire Resources
Control Resources
Develop Team
Estimate Activity Resources
Manage Team
Plan Resource Management
Project Communications ManagementManage Communications
Monitor Communications
Plan Communications Management
Project Risk ManagementIdentify Risks
Implement Risk Responses
Monitor Risks
Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
Plan Risk Management
Plan Risk Responses
Project Procurement ManagementConduct Procurements
Control Procurements
Plan Procurement Management
Project Stakeholder ManagementIdentify Stakeholders
Manage Stakeholder Engagement
Monitor Stakeholder Engagement
Plan Stakeholder Engagement

23. Project Management Institute (PMI)

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a global organization dedicated to advancing the practice, science, and profession of project management. PMI provides certification, education, and networking opportunities to project management professionals.

24. Project management professional (PMP)

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally recognized certification offered by PMI. It recognizes individuals proficient in overseeing the personnel, procedures, and business imperatives of professional projects.

25. Project management software

Project management software is a suite of tools designed to assist in planning, executing, and monitoring projects. It facilitates task assignment, resource allocation, scheduling, communication, and documentation, enhancing overall project efficiency and collaboration.

  • Some project management software: Microsoft Project, Trello, Asana, Basecamps, TeamWork, ClickUp, Jira, Notion, SmartSheet, and more.

26. Project Manager

A project manager is responsible for leading a project from inception to completion. They plan, execute, and close projects, managing the team, resources, schedule, and budget to achieve the project objectives.

27. Project objectives

Project objectives are specific, measurable goals that a project aims to achieve. They define the intended outcomes in terms of scope, timing, and cost, guiding the project team to deliver value to stakeholders.

28. Project Plan

A project plan (the second phase in the project management lifecycle) is a formal document that outlines how a project will be executed, monitored, and controlled. It includes information on scope, resources, timelines, and stakeholder engagement, serving as a roadmap for project completion.

29. Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the centralized management of multiple projects aimed at achieving strategic objectives. PPM prioritizes and allocates resources across projects, ensuring alignment with organizational goals.

  • Some project portfolio management: Microsoft Project, Trello, Asana, Basecamps, TeamWork, ClickUp, Jira, Notion, SmartSheet, and more.
  • PPM Measurement Technical: Heuristic Model, Scoring Technique, Visual or Mapping Techniques.
  • Five Question Model for a Successful PPM:
  1. Are we investing in the right things?
  2. Are we optimizing our capabilities?
  3. How well are we executing?
  4. Can we absorb all the changes?
  5. Are we realizing the promised benefits?

30. Project scope

Project scope refers to the specific boundaries, tasks, deliverables, and objectives of a project. It defines what is included in the project and what is not, helping to manage stakeholder expectations and guide project execution.

Six major project scope management processes: Planning scope management, Collecting requirements, Defining scope, Creating the Work Breakdown Structure, Validating scope, and Controlling scope.

31. Project Timeline

A project timeline is a visual representation of the project schedule, displaying key milestones, tasks, and their duration over the project’s life cycle. It helps in planning and tracking progress against planned objectives.

32. RACI matrix

The RACI matrix is a tool used in project management to clarify roles and responsibilities. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, providing a clear delineation of duties across the project team.

33. Resource management

Resource management involves planning, scheduling, and efficiently allocating project resources to maximize their utilization and meet project goals or business objectives.

  • Types of Resource Management: Finances, People, Workspace, Equipment, and Technology.
  • Techniques of Resource Management: Allocation, Leveling, and Forecasting.
  • Process of Resource  Management: Utilization, Plan, Set start and end dates, and Period.

34. Scrum

Scrum is an Agile project management framework that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and iterative progress toward a well-defined goal. It involves regular stand-up meetings, sprints, and reviews to adapt to changing project requirements.

  • Scrum Pillars: Transparency, Inspection, and Adaption
  • Scrum Values: Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect, and Openness.
  • Scrum Team: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developers
  • Scrum Events: Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.
  • Scrum Artifacts: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Increment.
  • Some terms in Scrum: Product Goal, Sprint Goal, Definition of Done.

35. SMART goals

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that guide project planning and execution. Setting SMART goals ensures clarity and trackability, improving project outcomes.

36. Specifications

Specifications are detailed descriptions, presented as text, of requirements, designs, and operations that guide project execution. They ensure that deliverables meet predetermined standards and customer expectations.

37. Stakeholders (project actors/participants)

Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have an interest in or stake in the project’s success. They can include team members, consumers, sponsors, and everyone else influenced by the project who will be affected at any point in the project life cycle.

It includes all internal or external stakeholders influenced by the project who will be affected at any point in the project life cycle.

  • Internal stakeholders: team members, co-workers, resource managers, or internal customers.
  • External stakeholders: consumers, sponsors, suppliers, contractors, subcontractors,…

38. SWOT Analysis 

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps managers understand both internal resource capabilities and external factors of a project or organization. By evaluating these four aspects, including Strengths and Weaknesses (internal resources), Opportunities and Threats (external factors), project teams can develop strategies that leverage strengths, address weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate threats, facilitating informed decision-making and strategic planning for achieving project objectives and enhancing organizational performance.

39. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team. It organizes and defines the total scope of the project, breaking it down into manageable sections for better planning and control.

  • Types of Work Breakdown Structure: deliverable-based, and phases based.
  • Types of WBS Chart: List, Tree Diagram, Gantt Chart, 
  • Elements of WBS: Dictionary, Levels, Control Accounts, Project Deliverables, Work Packages, and Tasks

In conclusion, understanding key project management terms is crucial for effective communication and project success. Mastering these terms lays the groundwork for informed decision-making and efficient project execution, ensuring your path to success in the dynamic world of project management.

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