Project Management Dictionary of Terms

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

P - Parametric to Projectized Organization

Package Object

This is a combination of documents that make up a package.

Pareto Diagram

A histogram, ordered by frequency of occurrence, that shows how many results were generated by each identified cause.

Pay Note

A contract detailing the terms of a promise by one party (the maker) to pay a sum of money to another (the payee); also referred to as a "promissory note" in accounting.


Adobe extension that identifies files created using their "Portable Document Format".


This is a standard within ISO 19005-1 that defines a file format based on PDF, known as PDF-A, which provides a mechanism for representing electronic documents in a manner that preserves their visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for creating, storing or rending the files.

Performance Reporting

The process of collecting and distributing performance information. This includes status reporting, progress measurement, and forecasting.

Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT)

A project management scheduling tool developed by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s to manage the Polaris submarine missile program. A PERT chart illustrates the project components as a network diagram consisting of numbered nodes representing events, or milestones in the project linked by labelled lines representing tasks.

Planned Finish Date (PF)

Planned Start Date (PS)

Planned Value (PV)

The authorized budget assigned to the scheduled work to be accomplished for a schedule activity or work breakdown structure component. Also referred to as the budgeted cost of work scheduled.

Planning Processes [Process Group]

Those processes performed to define and mature the project scope, develop the Project Management Plan, and identify and schedule the project activities that occur within the project.

Portfolio Management

The centralized management of one or more portfolios, which includes identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, managing, and controlling projects, programs, and other related work, to achieve specific strategic business objectives.


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.

Precedence Relationship

The term used in the precedence diagramming method for a logical relationship. In current usage, however, precedence relationship, logical relationship, and dependency are widely used interchangeably, regardless of the diagramming method used.

Predecessor Activity

The schedule activity that determines when the logical successor activity can begin or end.

Pre-Design Phase

The phase prior to the start of design where feasibility studies are done and conceptual project cost estimates are prepared. (We call this scoping or planning.)

Preventive Action

Documented direction to perform an activity that can reduce the probability of negative consequences associated with project risks.

Prime Contractor

(1) Any contractor having a contract directly with the owner. (2) Usually the main (general) contractor for a specific project.


The likelihood of occurrence. In the context of project risk, a measure of the likelihood of a risk occurring.

Probability and Impact Matrix

A common way to determine whether a risk is considered low, moderate, or high by combining the two dimensions of a risk: its probability of occurrence, and its impact on objectives if it occurs.


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


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

Process Group

In project management, projects are split into a series of processes or phases. These give structure to the project and provide a set of procedures and steps to progress, monitor, and control the project through the lifecycle. In the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) there are five processes: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing.


Skilled human resources (specific disciplines either individually or in crews or teams), equipment, services, supplies, commodities, material, budgets, or funds.

Procurement Documents

Those documents utilized in bid and proposal activities, which include buyer's Invitation for Bid, Invitation for Negotiations, Request for Information, Request for Quotation, Request for Proposal, and seller's responses.

Procurement Management Plan

The document that describes how procurement (the processes from developing procurement documentation through contract closure) will be managed.


An artifact that is produced, is quantifiable, and can be either an end item in itself or a component item. Additional words for products are material and goods. Contrast with result and service. See also deliverable.

Product Life Cycle

A collection of generally sequential, non-overlapping product phases whose names and numbers are determined by the manufacturing and control needs of the organization. The last product life cycle phase for a product is generally the product's deterioration and death. Generally, a project life cycle is contained within one or more product life cycles.

Product Scope

The features and functions that characterize a product, service, or result.

Product Scope Description

The documented narrative description of the product scope.

Professional Engineer

A professional firm and/or individual who is professionally engaged in an engineering discipline.


A group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually. Programs may include elements of related work outside the scope of the discrete projects in the program.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique ("PERT")

A project management technique for determining how much time a project needs before it is completed. Each activity is assigned a best, worst, and most probable time estimate. These are used to determine the average completion time, which is used to figure out the critical path and completion time for the project.

Program Management

The management of a series of related projects designed to accomplish broad goals, to which the individual projects contribute, which are typically executed over an extended period of time (i.e., a biennium).

Program Management Office (PMO)

The centralized management of a particular program or programs such that corporate benefit is realized by the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques, and related high-level project management focus. See also project management office.

Progress Meeting

A meeting dedicated essentially to contractor progress during the construction phase.

Progress Milestones

Those milestones identified as the basis for making progress payments.

Progress Payment

Partial payments on a contractor's contract amount, periodically paid by the owner for work accomplished by the contractor to date, determined by calculating the difference between the completed work and materials stored and a predetermined schedule of values or unit costs.

Progress Schedule

A line diagram showing proposed and actual starting and completion times of the respective project activities.

Project Approach

The project methodology or approach that will be taken to deliver a project. Two common approaches are Waterfall and Agile. A waterfall approach splits the project into distinct phases. For example, Plan, Design, Build, Test, Deploy. Each phase is signed-off before moving to the next i.e. Build cannot start until Design has been authorised. Whereas an agile approach delivers the project in a series of iterations or sprints. This approach allows more flexibility if requirements change.

Project Budget

The amount and distribution of money allocated to a project.

Project Communication Plan

A plan, which may range from a formal Contract/Responsibility Chart with detailed instructions on a large project, to an informal list of contact names, telephone numbers, and schedule of meetings on a small project.

Project Communications Management [Knowledge Area]

A subset of project management that includes the processes required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection and dissemination, storage and ultimate disposition of project information. It consists of communications planning, information distribution, performance reporting, and administrative closure.

Project Cost

All costs for a specific project, including costs for land, professionals, construction, furnishings, fixtures, equipment, financing, and any other project-related costs.

Project Cost Management [Knowledge Area]

A subset of project management that includes the processes required to ensure that the project is completed within the approved budget. It consists of procurement planning, cost estimating, cost budgeting, and cost control.

Project Cost Management

The process of placing responsibility on the designers and implementers to perform within established budgets. Actual and budget project costs are compared. Two principles apply: (1) There must be a basis for comparison; and (2) Only future costs can be controlled.

Project Human Resource Management [Knowledge Area]

A subset of project management that includes the processes required to make the most effective use of the people involved with the project. It consists of organizational planning, staff acquisition, and team development.

Project Initiation

Launching a process that can result in the authorization and scope definition of a new project.

Project Integration Management [Knowledge Area]

A subset of project management that includes the processes required to ensure that the various elements of the project are properly coordinated. It consists of project plan development, project plan execution, and integrated change control.

Project Management (PM)

The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®)

An inclusive term that describes the sum of knowledge within the profession of project management. As with other professions, such as law, medicine, and accounting, the body of knowledge rests with the practitioners and academics that apply and advance it. The complete project management body of knowledge includes proven traditional practices that are widely applied and innovative practices that are emerging in the profession. The body of knowledge includes both published and unpublished material. The PMBOK is constantly evolving.

Project Management Information System (PMIS)

An information system consisting of the tools and techniques used to gather, integrate, and disseminate the outputs of project management processes. It is used to support all aspects of the project from initiating through closing, and can include both manual and automated systems.

Project Management Knowledge Area

An identified area of project management defined by its knowledge requirements and described in terms of its component processes, practices, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques.

Project Management Methodology

A set of defined and documented guiding principles, processes and procedures that are used to manage projects. Examples include PRINCE2, Scrum, Agile, Kanban and Six Sigma.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) define a project management methodology as 'a system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline. Lean practices, Kanban, and Six Sigma are project management methodologies examples.’

Project Management Office (PMO)

An organizational body or entity assigned various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The responsibilities of a PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of a project. See also program management office.

Project Management Process

One of the 44 processes, unique to project management and described in the PMBOK® Guide.

Project Management Process Group

A logical grouping of the project management processes described in the PMBOK® Guide. The project management process groups include initiating processes; planning processes; executing processes; monitoring and controlling processes; and closing processes. Collectively, these five groups are required for any project, have clear internal dependencies, and must be performed in the same sequence on each project, independent of the application area or the specifics of the applied project life cycle. Project management process groups are not project phases.

Project Management Professional (PMP®)

A person certified as a PMP® by the Project Management Institute (PMI®).

Project Management Software

A class of computer software applications specifically designed to aid the project management team with planning, monitoring, and controlling the project, including: cost estimating, scheduling, communications, collaboration, configuration management, document control, records management, and risk analysis.

Project Management System

The aggregation of the processes, tools, techniques, methodologies, resources, and procedures to manage a project. The system is documented in the Project Management Plan and its content will vary depending upon the application area, organizational influence, complexity of the project, and the availability of existing systems. A project management system, which can be formal or informal, aids a project manager in effectively guiding a project to completion. A project management system is a set of processes and the related monitoring and control functions that are consolidated and combined into a functioning, unified whole.

Project Management Team

The members of the project team who are directly involved in project management activities. On some smaller projects, the project management team may include virtually all of the project teammembers.

Project Network Diagram

Any schematic display of the logical relationship of project activities. See precedence diagramming method

Project Organization Chart

A document that graphically depicts the project team members and their interrelationships for a specific project.

Project Performance Baseline

An approved integrated scope, schedule and cost plan for the project work against which project execution is compared to measure and manage performance. Technical and quality parameters may also be included.

Project Process Groups

The five process groups required for any project that have clear dependencies and that are required to be performed in the same sequence on each project, independent of the application area or the specifics of the applied project life cycle. The process groups are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

Project Procurement Management [Knowledge Area]

A subset of project management that includes the processes required to acquire goods and services to attain project scope form outside the performing organization. It consists of procurement, planning, solicitation planning, solicitation, source selection, contract administration, and contract closeout.

Project Quality Management [Knowledge Area]

A subset of project management that includes the processes required to ensure that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken. It consists of quality planning, quality assurance, and quality control.

Project Risk Management

The process of identification, assessment, allocation, and management of project risks.

Project Risk Management [Knowledge Area]

Risk Management is the systematic process of identifying, analyzing, and responding to project risk. It includes maximizing the probability and consequences of positive events and minimizing the probability and consequences of events adverse to project objectives. It includes the processes of risk management planning, risk identification, qualitative risk analysis, quantitative risk analysis, risk response planning, and risk monitoring and control.

Project Risks

Factors that may cause a failure to meet the project's objectives. Risks may be associated with opportunities. Risk is the product of the probability of an event occurring, times its impact if it did. Risks exist as a consequence of uncertainty.

Project Scope Management [Knowledge Area]

A subset of project management that includes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all of the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully. It consists of initiation, scope planning, scope definition, scope verification, and scope change control.

Project Scope Management Plan

The document that describes how the project scope will be defined, developed, and verified; how the work breakdown structure will be created and defined; and provides guidance on how the project scope will be managed and controlled by the project management team. It is contained in or is a subsidiary plan of the Project Management Plan. The project scope management plan can be informal and broadly framed, or formal and highly detailed, based on the needs of the project.

Download a Scope Management Plan Template

Project Scope Statement

The narrative description of the project scope, including major deliverables, project objectives, project assumptions, project constraints, and a statement of work, that provides a documented basis for making future project decisions and for confirming or developing a common understanding of project scope among the stakeholders. The definition of the project scope — what needs to be accomplished?

Download a Scope Statement Template

Project Team

All the project team members, including the project management team, the Project Manager and, for some projects, the project sponsor.
Project Teams - meaning and definition, typical make up and organization.

Who are Project Stakeholders?. An example Stakeholder Analysis and a typical project stakeholder list.

What is a Project? Comprehensive guide with examples

Project Team Directory

A documented list of project team members, and their project roles and communication information.

Project Team Members

The persons who report either directly or indirectly to the project manager, and who are responsible for performing project work as a regular part of their assigned duties.

Project Time Management [Knowledge Area]

A subset of project management that includes the processes required to ensure timely completion of the project. It consists of activity definition, activity sequencing, activity duration estimating, schedule development, and schedule control.

Project Vision

The picturing of the project's deliverable as the solution of the stated need or problem. A "word picture" describing the Project Vision.

Project Work

See work.

Projectized Organization

Any organizational structure in which the project manager has full authority to assign priorities, apply resources, and direct the work of persons assigned to the project.

Methodology specific dictionaries / glossaries