Tag Archives: Project Management Definitions

Project Management Definitions

Project: is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

Operation: An organizational function performing the ongoing execution of activities that produce the same product or provide a repetitive service.

Projects vs. Operational Work

Operations are ongoing and repetitive Work, while projects are temporary and unique.

Project management: is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements. Project management is accomplished through the application and integration of the project management processes of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

Project manager: is the person responsible for accomplishing the project objectives.

Program: is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually.

Program management: is the centralized, coordinated management of a group of projects to achieve the program’s strategic objectives and benefits.

Portfolio: is a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives.

Portfolio management: aim to maximize the value of the portfolio by careful examination of candidate projects and programs for inclusion in the portfolio and the timely exclusion of projects not meeting the portfolio’s strategic objectives, And to balance the portfolio among incremental and radical investments and for efficient use of resources.

Project management office (PMO): is an organizational unit to centralize and coordinate the management of projects under its domain.

Project stakeholders: are individuals and organizations that are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected as a result of project execution or project completion.

Process: A set of interrelated actions and activities performed to achieve a specified set of products, results, or services.

Project Life Cycle: A collection of generally sequential project phases whose name and number are determined by the control needs of the organization or organizations involved in the project. A life cycle can be documented with a methodology.

Organization: A group of persons organized for some purpose or to perform some type of work within an enterprise.

Enterprise. A company, business, firm, partnership, corporation, or governmental agency.

Overview of Project Management Knowledge Areas and Project Management Processes

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® GUIDE).” Project Management Institute. 2008.

Tool: Something tangible, such as a template or software program, used in performing an activity to produce a product or result.

Technique: A defined systematic procedure employed by a human resource to perform an activity to produce a product or result or deliver a service, and that may employ one or more tools.

Standard: A document established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.

Skill: Ability to use knowledge, a developed aptitude, and/or a capability to effectively and readily execute or perform an activity.

Practice: A specific type of professional or management activity that contributes to the execution of a process and that may employ one or more techniques and tools.

Methodology: A system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline.

Procedure: A series of steps followed in a regular definitive order to accomplish something.

Knowledge: Knowing something with the familiarity gained through experience, education, observation, or investigation, it is understanding a process, practice, or technique, or how to use a tool.

Discipline: A field of work requiring specific knowledge and that has a set of rules governing work conduct

Deliverable: Any unique and verifiable product, result, or capability to perform a service that must be produced to complete a process, phase, or project.

contract: is a mutually binding agreement that obligates the seller to provide the specified product or service or result and obligates the buyer to pay for it.

Resource: Skilled human resources , equipment, services, supplies, commodities, materiel, budgets, or funds.

Product: An artifact that is produced, is quantifiable, and can be either an end item in itself or a component item.

Specification: A document that specifies, in a complete, precise, verifiable manner, the requirements, design, behavior, or other characteristics of a system, component, product, result, or service and, often, the procedures for determining whether these provisions have been satisfied.

Requirement: A condition or capability that must be met or possessed by a system, product, service, result, or component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed documents. Requirements include the quantified and documented needs, wants, and expectations of the sponsor, customer, and other stakeholders.

Estimate: A quantitative assessment of the likely amount or outcome. Usually applied to project costs, resources, effort, and durations and is usually preceded by a modifier (i.e., preliminary, conceptual, feasibility, order-of-magnitude, definitive). It should always include some indication of accuracy.

Variance: A quantifiable deviation, departure, or divergence away from a known baseline or expected value.

Quality: The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.

Acceptance Criteria: Those criteria, including performance requirements and essential conditions, which must be met before project deliverables are accepted.

Objective: Something toward which work is to be directed, a strategic position to be attained, or a purpose to be achieved, a result to be obtained, a product to be produced, or a service to be performed.

Risk: An uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on a project’s objectives.

Defect: An imperfection or deficiency in a project component where that component does not meet its requirements or specifications and needs to be either repaired or replaced.

Effort: The number of labor units required to complete a schedule activity or work breakdown structure component. Usually expressed as staff hours, staff days, or staff weeks. Contrast with duration.

Issue: A point or matter in question or in dispute, or a point or matter that is not settled and is under discussion or over which there are opposing views or disagreements.

Inspection: Examining or measuring to verify whether an activity, component, product, result or service conforms to specified requirements.

Earned Value Management (EVM): A management methodology for integrating scope,schedule, and resources, and for objectively measuring project performance and progress.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): A deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables. It organizes and defines the total scope of the project. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work.

Opportunity: A condition or situation favorable to the project, a positive set of circumstances, a positive set of events, a risk that will have a positive impact on project objectives, or a possibility for positive changes. Contrast with threat.

Template: A partially complete document in a predefined format that provides a defined structure for collecting, organizing and presenting information and data.


Source: Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® GUIDE).” Project Management Institute. 2008.