This glossary provides a summary of all the project management jargon used in this book. It is not an exhaustive set of project management jargon. All the definitions are my own and are specific to the context of project management.

benefits realisation

The process of ensuring a project meets the objective (the 'why') it was originally designed to meet.

'black box' task

A task in a project plan that does not need to be decomposed to the same level of detail as the rest of the plan. A 'black box' task is defined as a single item in the project plan. The project manager does not need to understand, and does not manage, the detailed activities within the 'black box' task.

business analysis

The structured process for investigating a business problem. Business analysis is initially done to gain a fuller understanding of the problem, and then to assess and collect the requirements that must be met to overcome this problem.

business benefits / business rationale / business objective

The objective of a business project (the 'why') usually used to justify any expenditure or the allocation of resources from a project, and usually defined in financial terms as a measure of the benefit the project customer will gain by investing in the project.

business case

The business rationale or benefit is the objective for undertaking a project, which may be recorded formally in a document called a business case. The business case is most often defined in terms of financial measures (e.g. increased revenues, decreased costs etc), but it may be measured in terms of any relevant business measures, (e.g. improved customer service levels, increased staff morale etc).


A change is an alteration to one of the five dimensions (see Project Dimensions) of a project. In a project a change should be a deliberate choice and not simply an accidental result of some other action.

change management

A set of processes, tools and techniques to ensure that a change, resulting from an activity such as a project, is successful. A change in this context refers to any adaptation or alteration that impacts people in an organisation, so, for example, this includes organisational modifications or new ways of working. Change management considers many of the human aspects of change to make sure that the people impacted by the change are ready, preapred and accept the change.


A buffer, in the form of time and money, held by the project manager. Contingency is in addition to the time and money required to complete the project, as shown by the Project Plan. Contingency is used to manage the risk from unpredicted events occurring on a project, and the amount of contingency should be a function of how much risk there is associated with the project.

critical path

The sequence of tasks on a plan that determines the length of time a project will take. If any task on the critical path is extended, the project will extend. Alternatively, to shorten the project, you must shorten the critical path.


The process of breaking a (complex) activity into smaller component tasks to allow it to be better understood.


What a project develops or produces, also sometimes called the outputs from a project.


The completion of a project, or the activity of working to complete a project, within the defined conditions usually the creation of the expected deliverables from a project within the time and cost expected.


A logical linkage between two or more tasks in a project that determines the sequence in which the tasks must be done.


See Project Dimensions.


The elapsed time from the start to finish for a task. Duration includes both the time a task is being actively worked on (see Effort), plus any delays or time waiting between the start and finish of the task.


The amount of time one individual would need to actively work on a task to complete it.

external dependency

A linkage between one or more tasks in a project, and tasks that are not part of the project in other words, external to it.


The resulting effect of a decision, issue, risk or change upon a project. Impact is normally measured in terms of the scope, cost, quality, time or risk of a project. For example: the impact of an issue may be to increase the time or cost of a project; the impact of a decision may be to increase the risk of a project; the impact of a change may be to decrease the scope of a project.


The activity of using the deliverables from a project and making them work within a live / operational environment. Implementation covers a wide range of activities but includes tasks such as user familiarity / training users, and introducing deliverables into a real working environment such as an office or factory.

issue / issue management

An issue is a problem that occurs during a project that has a negative impact on the progress of the project. Issue management is a project management process for the identification and resolution of issues.

issue owner

The individual in a project team responsible for resolving an issue.


A generic, high-level description of the stages a project goes through.

man-hour / man-day / man-week / man-month / man-year

Standard units of effort required to complete tasks in a project. A man-hour is the amount of work that can be typically completed in an hour by an average person, a man-day, man-week, man-month or man-year is the amount of work that can be typically completed in a day, week, month or year respectively. For example, a task that requires two people to work on for a month is said to require two man-months of effort.


The identification of the completion of a visible and verifiable stage of a project. Milestones are used to track and communicate on progress at a high level.

mobilisation session

A meeting or workshop used to kick-off a project and to ensure a project team is ready to start the project. When mobilised all project team members understand the tasks they are required to do, and are motivated and ready to start working on the project.

predecessor / predecessor dependency

The most common and simple type of dependency, where a task cannot be started until some previous task (the predecessor) is completed.

programme / programme manager / programme management

A programme is an especially large or complex project, usually in the form of a set of interdependent projects that together achieve some common objective. Programme management is an advanced form of project management used to manage programmes, and is exercised by a programme manager.


An activity, with a known and clearly defined goal, that can be achieved. When the defined goal is achieved, the project is complete and ends. Usually a project has to be completed within a fixed amount of time and for a fixed amount of money.

project budget

The money required and allocated to run a project and create the deliverables.

project customer

The person (or set of people) for whom a project is done. Typically a customer defines the project requirements, pays for the project and receives the deliverables from a project once it is complete. By using the deliverables, the customer hopes to achieve some (business) benefit.

project definition

A documented description of the objective(s) and scope of a project.

project dimensions

A project has five dimensions: the scope of the project; the quality of the deliverables produced and the work done to produce them; the length of time it will take; the amount it will cost to complete; and the level of risk taken in completing the project. These five dimensions are not separate, but are a set of interdependent variables that can be explicitly and deliberately traded off against one another to tailor a project to a customer's needs.

project management

A set of experienced based rules, processes, tools and techniques used by a project manager to deliver a project.

project manager

The person with overall responsibility for ensuring a project is delivered.

project plan

A detailed description of the steps required to deliver a project. The project plan is made up from a definition of the tasks required to complete the project successfully, the order the tasks must be worked on, the resources required to complete the tasks, and the time the tasks should take to complete. The project plan's uses include: gaining an understanding of how long a project will take; determining the resources required to complete the project; explaining the project to the project team and customer; allocating work to members of the project team; as well as managing progress against.

project team

The combined set of people who work on a project, under the management of the project manager.

requirements catalogue / requirements specification

A document containing the set of the requirements a project is designed to fulfil.

risk / risk management

A risk is a prediction that an issue that has not yet occurred will occur, measured in terms of the likelihood (or probability) it will occur and impact if it does. Risk management is the project management process for predicting and managing risks in advance of them becoming issues.


A formal description and definition of what is (and is not) within the work of a project also referred to in this book as the 'what'.

systems integration

The engineering discipline for combining two or more technical deliverables from a project (e.g. IT applications, engineering components) into a single working system. Many systems are built from separate components each individually designed and developed. Systems integration ensures that each of the components will work seamlessly with the others to create a single integrated system.

task number

A unique sequential number for a task in a Project Plan that reflects the order the task appears in the Project Plan.

test specification

A documented definition of the tests required to prove that a set of deliverables meets the requirements defined in the requirements specification.


The structured and controlled process of assessing whether the deliverables meet the requirements they were originally specified to meet.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

A formal description of all the activities required to complete a project, shown as a hierarchy of tasks in the project. The WBS is the result of the decomposition of the project into its component tasks.

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Project Management Step by Step. The Proven, Practical Guide to Running a Successful Project, Every Time
Project Management Step by Step: The Proven, Practical Guide to Running a Successful Project, Every Time
ISBN: 0273707884
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 43
Authors: Richard Newton
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