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Project Management Dictionaries
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Project Management Dictionary of Terms

by | reviewed 2023-08-19
This glossary covers all common project management terminology.
A - Acceptance Criteria to Authority | B - Backward Pass to Business Process Manager (BPM) | C - Change to Customer | D - Decision Tree Analysis to Duration | E - Early Finish Date to Event | F - Failure Mode and Effect Analysis to Functional organization | G - Gantt Chart to guidelines | H - Hammock task to Hyperlink | I - i-j notation to ITIL | J - Job Description to Just-In-Time | K - Kaizen to Knowledge | L - Labor, Equipment, Material to Logical Relationship | M - Manage Project Team to Monte Carlo Analysis | N - Near-Critical Activity to Node | O - Operations to Output | P - parametric to Projectized Organization | Q - Qualitative Risk Analysis to Quantitative Risk Analysis | R - Records Management to Root Cause Analysis | S - Saved Search to System | T - Target Completion Date to Triple Constraint | U - Uncontrollable Risks to User Group | V - Validation to Voice of the Customer | W to Z - War Room to Zero Float

F - Failure Mode and Effect Analysis to Functional organization

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA)

An analytical procedure in which each potential failure mode in every component of a product is analyzed to determine its effect on the reliability of that component and, by itself or in combination with other possible failure modes, on the reliability of the product or system and on the required function of the component; or the examination of a product (at the system and/or lower levels) for all ways that a failure may occur. For each potential failure, an estimate is made of its effect on the total system and of its impact. In addition, a review is undertaken of the action planned to minimize the probability of failure and to minimize its effects.

Fast Tracking

A specific project schedule compression technique that changes network logic to overlap phases that would normally be done in sequence, such as the design phase and construction phase, or to perform schedule activities in parallel. See schedule compression and crashing.

Final Acceptance

The action of the owner accepting the work from the contractor when the owner deems the work completed in accordance with the contract requirements. The owner when making the final payment to the contractor confirms final acceptance.

Final Completion

The point at which both parties to a contract declare the other has satisfactorily completed its responsibilities under the contract.

Final Inspection

A final site review of the project by the contractor, owner, or owner's authorized representative prior to issuing the final certificate for payment.

Final Payment

The last payment from the owner to the contractor of the entire unpaid balance of the contract sum, as adjusted by any approved change orders.

Finish Date

A point in time associated with a schedule activity's completion. Usually qualified by one of the following: actual, planned, estimated, scheduled, early, late, baseline, target, or current.

Firm-Fixed-Price (FFP) Contract

A type of fixed price contract where the buyer pays the seller a set amount (as defined by the contract), regardless of the seller's costs.

Fixed Duration Scheduling

A scheduling method in which, regardless of the number of resources assigned to the task, the duration remains the same.

Fixed Fee

A set contract amount for all labor, materials, equipment and services; and contractor's overhead and profit for all work being performed for a specific scope of work.

Fixed-Price-Incentive-Fee (FPIF) Contract

A type of contract where the buyer pays the seller a set amount (as defined by the contract), and the seller can earn an additional amount if the seller meets defined performance criteria.

Fixed-Price or Lump-Sum Contract

A type of contract involving a fixed total price for a well-defined product. Fixed-price contracts may also include incentives for meeting or exceeding selected project objectives, such as schedule targets. The simplest form of a fixed price contract is a purchase order.

Flat Indicator

An indicator that no change has occurred.


In project scheduling float is the amount of time that a task can be delayed without causing a knock on delay to successor tasks or to the project end date. See Free Float and Total Float.

Float can also be called Slack.

Free Float (FF)

(1) The amount of time that a schedule activity can be delayed without delaying the early start of any immediately following schedule activities. (2) Time an activity can be delayed beyond its early dates without delaying any successor activity beyond its early dates. (3) Free float = [(ES of following activity) – (ES of present activity)] – (Duration of present activity).

Independent Float

Degree of flexibility, which an activity has, that does not affect the float available on any preceding or succeeding activities.

Negative Float

Time by which the start or finish date of an activity exceeds a required or late date.

Positive Float

Time available to complete non-critical activities or work items without affecting total project duration.

Total Float (TF)

The total amount of time that a schedule activity may be delayed from its early start date without delaying the project finish date, or violating a schedule constraint. Calculated using the critical path method technique and determining the difference between the early finish dates and late finish dates.

Zero Float

No excess time between activities. An activity with zero float is considered a critical activity. If the duration of any critical activity is increased (the activity slips), the project finish date will slip.


The depiction in a diagram format of the inputs, process actions, and outputs of one or more processes within a system.


Estimates or predictions of conditions and events in the project's future based on information and knowledge available at the time of the forecast. Forecasts are updated and reissued based on work performance information provided as the project is executed. The information is based on the project's past performance and expected future performance, and includes information that could impact the project in the future, such as estimate at completion and estimate to complete.

Forward Pass

The calculation of the early start and early finish dates for the uncompleted portions of all network activities. See also schedule network analysis and backward pass.

Functional Manager

Someone with management authority over an organizational unit within a functionalorganization. The manager of any group that actually makes a product or performs a service.

Functional Organization

A hierarchical organization where each employee has one clear superior, and staff are grouped by areas of specialization and managed by a person with expertise in that area.

Methodology specific dictionaries / glossaries