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activity-on-the-arrow PND

This sophisticated approach stems from the 1950s, when the original concept was called the activity-on-the-arrow (AOA) method. The origin of the arrow is the “begin activity” sign, and the end of the arrow is the “end activity” sign.

activity-on-the-node PND

A network diagramming method that allows the project manager to map relationships between activities. With the AON method, the focus is on the activities rather than on the start and end of activities.

actual costs (AC)

Actual costs are used in earned value management and represent the actual cost of the work performed.

Add/Move/Change Projects

These are generally smaller projects that, as the name implies, add, move, or change some element within an organization. Approximately ten percent of the project time is allotted to planning.


The project team, like the project, is not a permanent fixture in the organization. At some point the members of the team disperse to other projects and join different project teams.

administrative closure

This is when the customer or project sponsor documents and accepts the project results. Administrative closure is also needed if a project is terminated.

analogous estimating

This relies on historical information to predict estimates for current projects. Analogous estimating is also known as top-down estimating and is a form of expert judgment.

As Late As Possible (ALAP) constraint

When you specify a task as ALAP, Microsoft Project will schedule the task to occur as late as possible without delaying dependent tasks. This is the default for all new tasks when scheduling tasks from the end date. This constraint is flexible.

As Soon As Possible (ASAP) constraint

When you specify a task as ASAP, Microsoft Project will schedule the task to occur as soon as it can. This is the default for all new tasks when assigning tasks from the start date. This constraint is flexible.


Beliefs considered to be true, real, or certain for the sake of planning. All project assumptions should be evaluated later in planning to determine their risk for the project should the assumptions prove untrue.

assumptions log

An assumption is anything that you believe to be true but haven’t yet proven to be true. In IT you often have to make assumptions in your planning: the software and hardware will work together, the new hardware drivers will work with the existing operating system, the learning curve of the software isn’t too drastic, and more. When you complete risk management planning, you’ll test these assumptions to prove your theories true or false. Assumptions that prove false can become risks in the project.


This is one response to a risk event. The risk is avoided by planning a different technique to remove the risk from the project.


The process of using prior projects within, or external to, the performing organization to compare and set quality standards for processes and results.

benefit/cost analysis

The process of determining the pros and cons of any project, process, product, or activity.

benefit measurement methods

This method is used when comparing the value of one project against the value, or benefits, of another. It’s often used in project selection models.


A document from the seller to the buyer. A bid is used when price is the determining factor in the decision-making process.

bidder conference (also called a contractor or vendor conference)

A meeting with prospective sellers to ensure all sellers have a clear understanding of the product or service to be procured. Bidder conferences allow sellers to query the buyer on the details of the product to help ensure that the proposal the seller creates is adequate and appropriate for the proposed agreement.

bottom-up cost estimating

Bottom-up cost estimating is the process of creating a detailed estimate for each work component (labor and materials) and accounting for each varying cost burden. The bottom-up cost estimates are based on the WBS and the WBS dictionary, as these documents define each element of the project deliverables.


This approach encourages participants to generate ideas about an opportunity or business problem. Brainstorming at this stage of research is useful to determine different types of outcomes for the project. You should encourage the participants to come up with as many ideas as possible, and then these ideas can be sorted and researched more in depth after the session.


The finances allotted for the completion of an IT technical project.

budget at completion (BAC)

The sum of the budget for each phase of your project. This is the estimated grand total of your project.

budget estimate

This estimate is also somewhat broad and is used early in the planning processes and also in top-down estimates. The range of variance for the estimate can be –10 percent to +25 percent.

business case

This document helps the organization determine if the organization can justify the cost of the project in proportion to the return on investment. The business case links the value of the project’s solution to the organization.

business cycles

A time of the business productivity where activities are very high or low. For example, an accounting firm may experience a busy business cycle during tax season.

business partners

These are the sellers, vendors, and contractors that may be involved in a project through a contractual relationship. Business partners can provide goods and services such as hardware and software, and subject-matter experts like developers, technical writers, and software testers that you might need on your project.

business rules analysis

If the project outcome will likely affect the way your organization does business, the business rules should be studied. Business rules define the internal processes to make decisions; provide definitions for operations; define organizational boundaries; and afford governance for projects, employees, and operations.

cause-and-effect diagrams (also called Ishikawa diagrams and fishbone diagrams)

These diagrams are used for root cause analyses of what factors are creating the risks within the project. The goal is to identify and treat the root of the problem, not the symptom.

centralized contracting

All contracts for all projects need to be approved through a central contracting unit within the performing organization.

Change Control Board (CCB)

This board determines the validity and need for project change requests and approves or denies them.

change control system (CCS)

An internal process the project manager can use to block anyone, including management, from changing the deliverables of a project without proper justification. Change control requires the requestor to have an excellent reason to attempt a change, and then it evaluates the proposed change’s impact on all facets of the project.

change impact statement

A formal response from the project manager to the originator of a Project Change Request form. It is a summary of the project manager’s proposed plan to incorporate the changes. Usually this is a listing of the paths and trade-offs the project manager is willing to implement.

change log

A document that records all proposed changes in the project, the effect of the change, the change request status, and relevant information about the change request.

chart of accounts

A coding system used by the performing organization’s accounting system to account for the project work. This is a predefined table of costs for project or organization use for commonly completed activities. For example, a programmer’s time is $150 per hour regardless of which programmer is assigned to the project.


A list of activities that workers check to ensure the work has been completed consistently. Checklists are used in quality control.


The period when a project or phase moves through formal acceptance to bring the project or phase to an orderly conclusion.

code of accounts

A code of accounts is a numbering system that shows the different levels of WBS components and identifies which components belong to which parts of the WBS.

coercive power

The type of power that comes with the authority to discipline the project team members. This is also known as “penalty power.” It is generally used to describe the power structure when the team is afraid of the project manager.

collective bargaining agreements

These are contractual agreements initiated by employee groups, unions, or other labor organizations. They may act as a constraint on the project.

communication channel formula

A formula to predict the number of communication channels within a project; the formula is N (N – 1) / 2, where N represents the number of stakeholders.

communications management plan

A plan that documents and organizes stakeholder needs for communication. This plan covers the communications system, its documentation, the flow of communication, modalities of communication, schedules for communications, information retrieval, and any other stakeholder requirements for communications.


A conflict resolution method that requires both parties to give up something. The decision ultimately made is a blend of both sides of the argument. Because neither party completely wins, it is considered a lose-lose solution.

configuration management

Activities focusing on controlling the characteristics of a product or service. A documented process of controlling the features, attributes, and technical configuration of any product or service. It is sometimes considered a rigorous change control system.

constrained optimization methods

These are complex mathematical formulas and algorithms that are used to predict the success of projects, variables within projects, and tendencies to move forward with selected project investments. Examples include linear programming, integer algorithms, and multi-objective programming.

consultative decision-making process

The project team meets with the project manager, and together they may arrive at several viable solutions. The project manager then can take the proposed solutions and make a decision based on what she thinks is best for the project.

contingency plan

A predetermined decision that will be enacted should the project go awry.

contingency reserve

A time or dollar amount allotted as a response to risk events that may occur within a project.

Continuous Quality Improvement

The theory that all practices within an organization are processes and that processes can be infinitely improved.


A legal, binding agreement, preferably written, between a buyer and seller detailing the requirements and obligations of both parties. It must include an offer, an acceptance, and a consideration.

contract administration

The process of ensuring that the buyer and the seller both perform to the specifications within the contract.

contract change control system

A system that defines the procedures for how contracts may be changed. Includes the paperwork, tracking, conditions, dispute resolution procedures, and the procedures for getting the changes approved within the performing organization.

contract closeout

A process for confirming that the obligations of the contract have been met as expected. The project manager, customer, key stakeholder, and, in some instances, seller complete the product verification together to confirm the contract has been completed.

contract file

A complete indexed set of records of the procurement process incorporated into the administrative closure process. These records include financial information as well as information on the performance and acceptance of the procured work.

control account plans

A control tool within the project that represents the integration of the project scope, project schedule, and budget. It allows management to measure the progress of a project.

control charts

These illustrate the performance of a project over time. They map the results of inspections against a chart. Control charts are typically used in projects or operations that have repetitive activities such as manufacturing, test series, or help desk functions. Upper and lower control limits indicate whether values are within control or out of control.


The project is controlled and managed. The project manager controls the project scope and changes, and monitors changes to the project budget, schedule, and scope by comparing plans to actual results and taking corrective action as necessary.

cost baseline

This shows what the project is expected to spend. It’s usually shown in an S-curve and allows the project manager and management to predict when the project will be spending monies and over what duration. The purpose of the cost baseline is to measure and predict project performance.

cost budgeting

A process of aggregating the assigned cost to arrive at a budget for the entire project. This process shows costs over the execution of the project. The cost budget results in an S-curve that becomes the cost baseline for the project.

cost change control

This is part of the integrated change control system and documents the procedures to request, approve, and incorporate changes to project costs.

cost control

An active process to control causes of cost change, document cost changes, and monitor cost fluctuations within the project. When changes occur, the cost baseline must be updated.

cost estimating

The process of calculating the costs, by category, of the identified resources to complete the project work.

cost of conformance

The cost of completing the project work to satisfy the project scope and the expected level of quality. Examples include training, safety measures, and quality management activities.

cost of nonconformance

The cost of completing the project work without meeting the quality standards. The biggest issue here is the money lost by having to redo the project work; it’s always more cost-effective to do the work right the first time. Other nonconformance costs are loss of sales, loss of customers, downtime, and corrective actions to fix problems caused by the incorrect work.

cost management plan

This plan details how changes to costs within the project will be managed and the procedure to report and document cost changes.

cost performance index (CPI)

This is a ratio of the amount of actual cumulative dollars spent on a project’s work and how closely that value is to the predicted budgeted amount.

cost plus contract

A cost plus contract represents a set fee for the procured work plus a fee for the actual cost of the work. Some unscrupulous vendors try to use a cost plus a percentage of costs contract where they expect you to pay for the cost of the materials plus a percentage fee for the materials. Cost plus contracts are risky for buyers, as the vendor can drive the price up by actually wasting materials. There are some cost plus contracts that include incentives and penalties if the vendor finishes early or late—though you can add these terms to a fixed-fee contract.

cost variance

The difference in the amount of budgeted expense and actual expense. A negative variance means that more money was spent on the service or goods than was budgeted for it.


This is the addition of more resources to activities on the critical path in order to complete the project earlier. Crashing results in higher project costs.

critical path

The critical path is represented in a project network diagram as one or more paths that equate to the longest duration of sequenced activities to reach the completion of all activities in the project. The critical path shows the latest finish and the early finish for the project activities.

critical path method (CPM)

The CPM is the most common approach to calculating when a project may finish. It uses “forward” and “backward” paths to reveal which activities are considered critical and which contain float. If activities on the critical path are delayed, the project end date will be delayed.

customers and end-user stakeholders

These stakeholders could be internal to your organization or quite literally customers that purchase the deliverable your project creates.

date constraints

There are three types of date constraints:

  • No earlier than This constraint specifies that a task may happen any time after a specific date, but not earlier than the given date.

  • No later than This constraint is deadline oriented. The task must be completed or must start by this date or else.

  • On this date This constraint is the most time oriented. There is no margin for adjustment as the task must be completed or must start on this date, no sooner or later.

decision tree analysis

A type of analysis that determines which of two decisions is best. The decision tree assists in calculating the value of the decision and determining which decision costs the least.


This is a part of the communications model; it is the inverse of the encoder. If a message is encoded, a decoder translates it back to a usable format.

definitive estimates

This estimate is one of the most accurate. It is used late in the planning process and is associated with bottom-up estimates. The range of variance for the estimate can be –5 percent to +10 percent.

Delphi Technique

A method to query experts anonymously on foreseeable risks within the project, phase, or component of the project. The results of the survey are analyzed and organized and then circulated to the experts. There can be several rounds of anonymous discussions with the Delphi Technique. The goal is to gain consensus on project risks, and the anonymous nature of the process ensures that no one expert’s advice overtly influences the opinion of another participant.


An element of Herzberg’s theory that employees are motivated or demotivated by effects within an organization. The hygiene factors are actually the expected benefits a company has to offer, such as insurance, vacation time, and other benefits. The presence of these elements is expected by the motivation seekers, and only their absence has a negative impact.

design of experiments

This relies on statistical “what-if” scenarios to determine which variables within a project will result in the best outcome. It can also be used to eliminate a defect. The design of experiments approach is most often used on the product of the project, rather than on the project itself.

detailed variance reports

A detailed explanation of any quality, scope, cost, or schedule variance within the project.

directive decision-making process

The project manager makes the decision with little or no input from the project team. Directive decision-making is acceptable, and needed, in some instances, but it isolates the project manager from the project team.

discretionary dependencies

The preferred order of activities. Project managers should adhere to the order at their “discretion” and should document the logic behind the ordering. Discretionary dependencies have activities happen in a preferred order because of best practices, conditions unique to the project work, or external events. This is also known as soft logic.

earned value (EV)

The value of the work that has been completed and the budget for that work: EV = % Complete * BAC.

earned value management (EVM)

Earned value management integrates scope, schedule, and cost to give an objective, scalable point-in-time assessment of the project. EVM calculates the performance of the project and compares current performance against the plan. EVM can also be a harbinger of things to come. Results early in the project can predict the likelihood of the project’s success or failure.

effective listening

The receiver is involved in the listening experience by paying attention to the speaker’s visual clues and paralingual intentions and by asking relevant questions.


Part of the communications model, an encoder is the device or technology that packages the message to travel over the medium.


This positive risk response tries to make the conditions just right for a positive risk to happen. You could save a tremendous amount of time and project costs if you were able to finish a particular milestone by a given date. In order to reach the milestone, you add extra resources to help the effort-driven work so that the team can complete the milestone by the specific date.

enterprise environmental factors

The rules and policies of your organization may require you to deal with a risk management department, follow particular risk analysis rules, or complete risk assessment forms. Always follow the rules of the organization.

estimate at completion (EAC)

A hypothesis of what the total cost of the project will be. Before the project begins, the project manager completes an estimate for the project deliverables based on the WBS. As the project progresses, there will likely be some variances between what the cost estimate was and what the actual cost is. The EAC is calculated to predict what the new estimate at completion will be.

estimate to complete (ETC)

Represents how much more money is needed to complete the project work: ETC = EAC – AC.

evaluation criteria

These criteria are used to rate and score proposals from sellers. In some instances, such as a bid or quote, the evaluation criterion is focused just on the price the seller offers. In other instances, such as a proposal, the evaluation criteria can be multiple values: experience, references, certifications, and more.


The project plans are carried out, or executed; the project manager coordinates people and other resources to complete the plan.

expectancy theory

People will behave on the basis of what they expect as a result of their behavior. In other words, people will work in relation to the expected reward for the work.

expert power

A type of power where the authority of the project manager comes from experience in the area that the project focuses on.


This positive risk response aims to take advantage of a positive risk. Imagine that your IT project creates a by-product that could be sold to help offset the project costs. Or perhaps you and the project team could take advantage of a slow business cycle to work on a project uninterrupted.

fast tracking

Doing phases in parallel that are normally done sequentially.

feasibility study

A documented expression of what your research has told you. This plan is written to help determine the validity of a proposed project, that of a section of a project, or the scope of a given project. The feasibility study is broken into eight sections: executive summary, defined business problem or opportunity, requirements and purpose of the study, description of the options assessed, assumptions used in the study, audience impacted, financial obligations, and recommended action.

final project report

The collection of all of the cumulative reports may serve as a final record of each phase’s work, with a few additions. It includes the project vision statement, the project proposal, the project plan, the WBS, the PND, meeting minutes, any Project Change Requests forms, all written notices relevant to the project deliverables, the client acceptance agreement, and the post-project audit.

Finish No Earlier Than (FNET) constraint

This semiflexible constraint requires that a task be completed on or after a specified date.

Finish No Later Than (FNLT) constraint

This semiflexible constraint requires that a task be completed on or before this date.

finish-to-finish (FF) tasks

A finish-to-finish relationship specifies that the successor tasks cannot finish until the predecessor task finishes. An example is rolling out a new software package and finishing the user training sessions. While users are in the new training session, the new software should be installed and configured on their workstations by the time the training session ends.

finish-to-start (FS) tasks

These tasks are successors and cannot begin until the predecessor task is completed. An example is installing network cards before connecting PCs to the Internet.

fixed-fee contracts

Fixed fees are generally a low-risk solution for the buyer, as any cost overruns go back to the vendor. Fixed-fee contracts are a set price for the work defined in the statement of work and in the contract.

flexible constraints

These constraints do not have dates assigned to their activities and are only bound by their predecessor and successor activities. Use flexible constraints as much as possible.

flexible deadline

A deadline that doesn’t assign an exact time for completion.


The amount of time a task can be delayed without delaying the project completion. Technically, there are three different types of float: Free float is the total time a single activity can be delayed without delaying the early start of any successor activities. Total float is the total time an activity can be delayed without delaying project completion. Project float is the total time the project can be delayed without passing the customer’s expected completion date. Float is also known as slack.


A chart that illustrates how the parts of a system occur in sequence.

focus groups

Focus groups are a type of stakeholder analysis. Stakeholders are led through a discussion about the opportunity or problem by an impartial moderator. A scribe or recorder keeps the minutes in the meeting, and then the results are analyzed. An average focus group has six to twelve participants. The participants can be considered homogenous if they all share the same characteristics, such as all salespeople. Or you can use a heterogeneous group where the participants are stakeholders with different backgrounds, such as users of a software from different departments within your company.

force majeure

Often a clause in contracts to release the parties from obligations in the case of a powerful and unexpected event, such as a hurricane or other disaster.


The person with the power makes the decision. The decision made may not be the best decision for the project, but it’s fast. As expected, this autocratic approach does little for team development and is a win-lose solution. Used when the stakes are high and time is of the essence or if relationships are not important.


An educated estimate of how long the project will take to complete. It can also refer to how much the project may cost to complete.

formal acceptance

The formal acceptance of a project’s deliverables is a process that is completed by the client of the project and the appropriate members of the project team. These acceptances are contingent on a project acceptance agreement.

formal power

The type of power where the project manager has been assigned by senior management to be in charge of the project.


This stage of team development allows the project team to come together and learn about each other. Project team members feel each other out and find out who’s who and what each other is like.

fully burdened workload

The amount of work, in hours, required by the staff to complete each phase of the project.

functional decomposition

This method simply takes a large problem and breaks it down into smaller, manageable components. While it sounds easy, it’s tricky. You want to break down the problem into as small of a subcomponent as possible so that each “subproblem” can be managed independent of the other problems. The project manager will need to link the components together so that one solution to a subproblem doesn’t adversely affect the solutions to other components in the decomposition.

functional structure

An organizational structure that groups staff members according to their area of expertise (sales, marketing, construction, and so on). Functional structures require the project team members to report directly to the functional manager. In this type of structure, the project manager’s authority and decision-making ability is less than the functional manager’s.

future value

A formula to calculate the future value of present money.

Gantt chart

A Gantt chart allows a project manager to see the intersection of dates until completion and the tasks within a project. Henry Gantt, an engineer and social scientist, invented this method of tracking deliverables in 1917.

Graphical Evaluation and Review Technique (GERT)

Conditional advancement, branching, and looping of activities based on probabilistic estimates. Activities within GERT are dependent on the results of other upstream activities.

hard logic

The logical relationship between activities based on the type of work. For example, the foundation of a house must be created before the frame of the house can be built. This is also known as mandatory dependency.

Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation

Posits that there are two catalysts for workers: hygiene agents and motivating agents. Hygiene agents do nothing to motivate workers, but their absence demotivates them. Hygiene agents are the expectations all workers have: job security, paychecks, clean and safe working conditions, a sense of belonging, civil working relationships, and other basic attributes associated with employment. Motivating agents are components such as rewards, recognition, promotions, and other values that encourage individuals to succeed.

historical information

Information the project may use from previous projects.

hygiene seekers

An element of Herzberg’s theory that employees are motivated or demotivated by effects within an organization. The effects a hygiene seeker takes comfort in are salary, management, and job security.

implementation tracking

As tasks are completed on time or over time, the number of time units used can accurately display the impact on dependent tasks within the project.

indirect costs

Costs attributed to the cost of doing business. Examples include utilities, office space, and other overhead costs.

influence diagram

An influence diagram charts out a decision problem. It identifies all of the elements, variables, decisions, and objectives and how each factor may influence another.


This process group begins the project. The business needs are identified, and a product description is created. The project charter is written, and the project manager is selected.


Interviewing subject matter experts and project stakeholders is an approach to identify risks on the current project based on the interviewees’ experience.

inflexible constraints

These constraints have date values associated with them but are very rigid. Constraints that are inflexible require that activities happen on a specific date. Use these constraints very sparingly.

informal acceptance

The informal acceptance does not include a sign-off of the completion or even the acknowledgment of the deliverables. An example of the informal acceptance is a project that ends on deadline whether or not the deliverables are finished—for example, a project to organize and build an application for a tradeshow demo. The tradeshow will happen regardless of the completion of the project.

integrated change control

A project-wide method of researching and documenting the effect of change on the entire project. It reviews the effect of change in scope, schedule, costs, quality, human resources, communication, and procurement. When a scope change request is being considered, there should be communication between the project manager and the appropriate stakeholders.

integration phase

The phase of the project where the project plan is put into action.

interview questions, closed

These questions must be answered with specific information. For example: “Have you ever created a batch file before? Or “What’s you birthday?”

interview questions, essay

These questions allow the candidate to tell you information, and they allow you to listen and observe. For example: “Why are you interested in working on this project?”

interview questions, experience

These questions allow you to see how a candidate has acted in past situations to predict how he may act in future situations that are similar. For example: “How did you react when a teammate did not complete a task on a past project and you had to do his work for him in order to complete your own? How was the situation resolved?”

interview questions, reactionary

These questions evolve from the candidate’s answers. When you notice a gap or an inconsistency in an answer, use a follow-up question that focuses on the inconsistency without directly calling it a lie. This gives the candidate the opportunity to explain himself better or flounder for an explanation. Reactionary questions also allow you to learn more information that may be helpful on your project. For example: “You mentioned you had experience with Visual Basic. Do you also have a grasp on VBScript?”

Invitation for Bid (IFB)

A document from the buyer to the seller that requests the seller provide a price for the procured product or service.


Issues are decisions that have yet to be made in which there may be opposing sides and opinions. Issues are recorded in the issues log where the issue owner is recorded and a date for resolution is determined.

ISO 9000

An international standard that helps organizations follow their own quality procedures. ISO 9000 is not a quality system, but a method of following procedures created by an organization.

IT project management

IT project management is the ability to balance the love and implementation of technology while leading and inspiring your team members.

job description

A job description details the activities of a team role, the scope of the position, the responsibilities, and the working requirements of the team member who fills the role. A job description should be clear, concise, and easily summed up.


The scheduled time between project tasks, or the amount of time a project task is falling off of schedule.

Law of Diminishing Returns, The

A law of economics, sometimes called the Law of Variable Proportions, which grew from Thomas Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Population, written in 1798. The law states that if one factor of production is increased while other factors remain constant, the overall returns will eventually decrease after a certain point.


The negative time added to a task to bring it closer to the project start date. The lead is calculated by subtracting time between activities.

lessons learned

An ongoing documentation of things the project manager and project team have learned throughout the project. Lessons learned are supplied to other project teams and project managers to apply to their ongoing projects. Lessons learned are documented throughout the project, not just at the end of the project.

licensing, per connection

A license is required for each workstation-to-server connection. This scheme allows a maximum number of connections to a server.

licensing, per station

A license that covers the software application at the workstation where it is installed. Think of Microsoft Office installed on each workstation within an organization.

licensing, per station (server-based)

This licensing method allows an unlimited number of connections to a server covered by the licensing plan. Each additional server would require its own licensing to allow connections to that server.

licensing, per usage

This licensing plan allows a user to run an application for a preset number of days or a preset number of times, or charges the user a fee for each instance that the application is used.

macro project

Macro projects take more than 2,000 hours of implementation and/or more than $250,000 to complete. Thirty percent of the project time is allotted to project planning.

management by projects

This approach characterizes organizations that manage their operations as projects. These project-centric entities can manage any level of their work as a project. They apply general business skills to each project to determine its value, efficiency, and, ultimately, return on investment.

management by walking around

A method to manage quality and to allow yourself to be seen. Get out of your office and get into the working environment. You don’t have to hover around your team members, but let them know you are available, present, and interested in their work.

management reserve

An artificial task that is added at the end of the project. The time allotted to the reserve is typically 10 to 15 percent of the total amount of time to complete all the tasks in a project. When a task runs over its allotted time, the overrun is applied to the management reserve at the end of the critical path rather than on each lagging task.

management summary reports

Management summary reports detail the overall status of the project, changes from the original plan, change in execution, or cost variances within the budget. These reports are created on an as-needed basis and are ideal for upper management.

managerial constraints

Dependency relationships imposed because of a decision by management, which includes the project manager.

mandatory dependencies

This refers to the logical relationship between activities based on the type of work. For example, the foundation of a house must be created before the frame of the house can be built. This is also known as hard logic.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

A theory that states that there are five layers of needs for all humans: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and, the crowning jewel, self-actualization.

matrix structures

An organizational structure. There are three matrix structures: weak, balanced, and strong. The different structures are reflective of the project manager’s authority in relation to the functional manager’s authority.

McClelland’s Theory of Needs

David McClelland developed his acquired-needs theory based on his belief that a person’s needs are acquired and develop over time. People’s needs are shaped by life experiences and circumstances. This theory is also known as the Three Needs Theory because there are just three needs for each individual and one need is considered the driving motivation behind the actions people take. Depending on the person’s experiences, the order and magnitude of each need shifts the Need for Achievement, the Need for Affiliation, and the Need for Power.

McGregor’s Theory of X and Y

This theory states that “X” people are lazy, don’t want to work, and need to be micromanaged. “Y” people are self-led, motivated, and strive to succeed.


Part of the communications model, this is the path the message takes from the sender to the receiver. The modality in which the communication travels typically refers to an electronic model, such as e-mail or the telephone.

meeting coordinator

An individual who runs the business of a meeting to keep the topics on schedule and according to the agenda.

meeting minutes

A document that represents a record of a meeting, the problems and situations that were discussed, and documentation of the project as it progresses. Meeting minutes are an excellent method for keeping the team aware of what has already been discussed and settled, resolutions of problems, and proof of the attendees in the meeting.


A standard of project measurement; often applied to cost, schedule, scope, quality, and performance.


The negative approach to managing a subordinate’s work in a meddlesome, counterproductive manner.

micro project

Micro projects take fewer than 2,000 hours of implementation and/or less than $250,000 to complete. Approximately twenty-five percent of the project time is allotted to planning the project.


Milestones represent the completion of significant tasks within a project’s schedule.


Reducing the probability or impact of a risk.

Monte Carlo Analysis

This process predicts how scenarios may work out given any number of variables. It doesn’t actually create a specific answer, but offers a range of possible ones. When Monte Carlo is applied to a schedule, it can present, for example, the optimistic completion date, the pessimistic completion date, and the most likely completion date for each activity in the project.

Motivation-Hygiene Theory

Invented by Fred Herzberg, a management consultant and business theorist, in 1959. Herzberg’s study arrived at the conclusion that workers are impacted by nontangible factors, called motivators, and hygiene effects, called demotivators.

motivation seekers

An element of Herzberg’s theory that employees are motivated or demotivated by effects within an organization. The effects a motivation seeker takes comfort in are achievement, recognition, the work, responsibility, and advancement.

Must Finish On (MFO) constraint

This inflexible constraint is a deadline-oriented task. The task must be completed on a specific date.

Must Start On (MSO) constraint

This inflexible constraint requires that a task begin on a specific date.

nonverbal communication

Approximately 55 percent of oral communication is nonverbal. Facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language contribute to the message.


Once control on the project team has been established, the project team’s focus shifts toward the project work. This is where people learn to work together.

operational definitions

The quantifiable terms and values used to measure a process, activity, or work result. Operational definitions are also known as metrics.

operations management

These are managers of the core business area such as design, manufacturing, and product development. Operations managers oversee and direct the salable goods and services of the organization.

organizational constraints

Within your organization, there may be multiple projects that are loosely related. The completion of another project may be a key milestone for your own project to continue.

organizational process assets

Historical information, templates, software, and other project management support materials that are provided to the project manager to help plan and manage the current project.

Ouchi’s Theory Z

This theory posits that workers are motivated by a sense of commitment, opportunity, and advancement. Workers will work if they are challenged and motivated.


Relating to the pitch, tone, and inflections in the sender’s voice that affect the message being sent.

parametric modeling

A mathematical model based on known parameters used to predict the cost of a project. The parameters in the model can vary based on the type of work being done. A parameter can be the cost per cubic yard, cost per unit, and so on.

Pareto diagram

A Pareto diagram is related to Pareto’s Law: 80 percent of the problems come from 20 percent of the issues (this is also known as the “80/20 rule”). A Pareto diagram illustrates problems by assigned cause, from smallest to largest.

Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

participative decision-making process

In this ideal model, all team members contribute to the discussion and decision process. Through compromise, experience, and brainstorming, the project team and the project manager can create a buzz of energy, excitement, and synergy to arrive at the best possible solution for a decision.

peer review

Peer review, as its name implies, is the process of allowing team members to review each other’s work.


The project team has settled into their roles and they focus on completing the project work as a team. During this stage a synergy is developed, this is the stage where high-performance teams come into play.

PERT chart

PERT is short for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. In plain language, this means a PERT chart can graphically illustrate tasks, their durations, and their dependency on other tasks in the work unit.

PERT estimate

The Program Evaluation and Review Technique, also known as PERT, is ideal for time and cost estimates. PERT uses a weighted average to predict how long the activity may take. PERT uses the formula of “pessimistic plus the optimistic, plus four times the most likely, divided by six. It’s divided by six because of one count for pessimistic, one count for optimistic, and four counts for most likely.


A portion of the project that typically must be completed before the next phase can begin. Each phase has a set deadline.

phased gate estimating

This cost approach helps the project team get to work on immediate deliverables as they work toward milestones at the end of each phase. The immediate actions of a project should be foreseeable, as opposed to actions that will happen way off in the future.

pilot team

A collection of users who agree to test the project deliverables before the rest of the organization sees the implementation. Their input to the project allows the project manager to realize if the project deliverables are on target or not.

planned value (PV)

The worth of the work that should be completed by a specific time in the project schedule.

planning group

This process group is iterative. All planning throughout the project is handled within the planning process group.


The book titled A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, which includes all knowledge and practices within the endeavor of project management.

portfolio review board

This group of stakeholders are responsible for determining which projects are worthy of the company’s capital. They define the governance of projects and programs within an organization and oversee the selection of the projects based on a number of factors such as return on investment, project value, risk to reward of proposed projects, and predicted financial outcomes of launching a new project.


Also referred to as post-project audit.

post-project audit

The purpose of this audit is to analyze the completed project, the effectiveness of the project team, the success of the project, the value of the deliverables, and the overall approval from the clients.

Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)

This method requires the project manager to evaluate each work unit and determine which tasks are its successors and which tasks are its predecessors to create the PND.

project life cycle

The project life cycle is unique to each project and is composed of the unique phases of a project.

project management information system (PMIS)

A PMIS is typically a computer program that assists with project management activities, recordkeeping, and forecasting.

project management life cycle

The project management life cycle is composed of five process groups: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

problem management meeting

A meeting to resolve problems as they arise on a project.

problem solving

This conflict resolution approach confronts the problem head-on and is the preferred method of conflict resolution. You may see this approach as “confronting” rather than problem solving. Problem solving calls for additional research to find the best solution for the problem. Problem solving is a win-win solution. It can be used if there is time to work through and resolve the issue, and it works to build relationships and trust.

process boundaries

Identifies where a process begins and where a process stops. By understanding the process boundaries, the project manager can document what things are needed for a particular process to begin and what conditions must be true for a process to stop.

process configuration identification

The project manager identifies all of the components within the process. The project manager documents how a process is completed, what the process interfaces are, and what each process in your workflow accomplishes.

process groups

The five process groups—initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing—comprise projects and project phases. These five process groups have sets of actions that move the project forward toward completion.

process metrics

The project manager can measure a process on speed, cost, efficiency, throughput, or whatever metric is most appropriate for the type of work the process is participating in.


The process of a seller soliciting, selecting, and paying for products or services from a buyer.

procurement audits

The successes and failures within the procurement process are reviewed from procurement planning through contract administration. The intent of the audit is to learn from what worked and what did not work during the procurement processes.

procurement management plan

This subsidiary project plan documents the decisions made in the procurement planning processes. It specifies how the remaining procurement activities will be managed.

product acceptance criteria

The project scope defines either directly or by reference the technical requirements, the expected deliverables, and/or the detailed design documents that constitute the product deliverables. The product acceptance criteria clearly define what the project must create in order for the project to be accepted by the customer and for the project to be considered completed.

product scope

The attributes and characteristics of the deliverables the project is creating.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

A scheduling tool that uses a weighted average formula to predict the length of activities and the project. Specifically, the PERT formula is (O + 4ML + P)/6.

project management office

A project management office (sometimes called the PMO) may centralize and coordinate the management of projects within an organization, line of business, or department. PMOs can vary by organization, though most offer project management support, guidance, and direction for projects within their business domain. It’s not unusual for a PMO to direct the actual project management of a project.

program managers

The program manager oversees all of these orchestrated projects in her program. If your project is operating within a program, then the program manager is a stakeholder.


A collection of related projects working in alignment toward a common cause. A program is a collection of projects working together to realize benefits that the company could not realize if the projects were managed independently of one another.

progress reports

These reports provide current information on the project work completed to date.

progressive elaboration

The process of providing or discovering greater levels of detail as the project moves toward completion.


A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service.

project acceptance agreement

A document that is typically written very early in the project timeline and in alignment with the defined project deliverables. The document is a clearly written explanation of what qualifies for an acceptance of the deliverables. These are typical of application development projects and often consist of a checklist of the required features of the project.

project calendar

A calendar that defines the working times for the project. For example, a project may require the project team to work nights and weekends so as not to disturb the ongoing operations of the organization during normal working hours. In addition, the project calendar accounts for holidays, work hours, and work shifts the project will cover.

project change request form

This form formalizes requests from anyone to the project manager. It requires the requestor to not only describe the change, but also to supply a reason why this change is appropriate and needed. Once the requestor has completed this form, the project manager can determine whether the change is indeed necessary, should be rejected, or should be delayed until the completion of the current project.

project charter

A project charter is similar to the goal, but more official, more detailed, and in line with your company’s vision and goals.

project closure phase

It requires proof of the project deliverables, approval from management, and satisfaction from the customers or end users.

project constraints

Constraints are anything that limit the project manager’s options. Predetermined budgets, deadlines, resources, preferred vendors, and required technology are all examples of constraints. Project management always has three constraints: time, cost, and scope. These are sometimes called the triple constraints of project management. The project manager should identify and document all of the known constraints.

project control phase

This phase of project management is a continuous cycle to oversee the project. It allows the project manager to manage task reporting, team meetings, reassignment of resources, change, and quality through software, communications, and the project team.

project deliverables

Project deliverables are the end result of the project. They are what the project produces.

project exclusions

The project scope statement must define the boundaries of the project to communicate what will not be included in the project deliverable. It’s important to define what’s excluded so that there’s no confusion when the project manager wants to close the project and the project customers are expecting more deliverables.

project execution

The project execution consists of the project team completing the project work according to the project plan.

project genesis

In the origin of the project, there is a reaction to a need or an idea to improve operations within an organization. This realization of an opportunity to fulfill a need is the concept of the project.

project goal

The clearly stated result a project should meet or deliver.

Project Information Center

This centralized room is a collection of all materials related to the project. The size of your project and the available real estate within your office building will determine your ability to create a Project Information Center. This could also be computer-based, such as a web site, to host project information.

project kickoff

A project kickoff is a meeting or an event to introduce the project, the management backing the project, the project manager, and the team members. It should be casual but organized, and used as a mechanism to assign ownership of the project to the team.

project manager

The individual accountable for all aspects of a project. The project manager is a stakeholder for the project. The project manager is responsible for developing the project plans, keeping the project on track, monitoring and controlling the project, and communicating the project status and performance.

project network diagram (PND)

A fluid mapping of the work to be completed. PNDs allow the project manager and the project team to tinker with the relationships between tasks and create alternative solutions to increase productivity, profitability, and the diligence of a project.

project planning phase

The cornerstone of a successful project is the planning phase. The project manager and project team must identify the required activities and estimate the time required to complete the activities in order to reach the project goal.

project resources

Project resources can be employees, contractors, or equipment that is used on a project.

project scope

The defined range of deliverables a project will produce. The project scope is concerned with the work and only the required work necessary to complete the project.

project sponsor

This is a person in the organization who has the authority to grant the project manager power over the project resources, assign a project budget, and support the presence of the project. This person also signs the project charter to officially launch the project and assign the project manager to the project.

Project team

These are the people who work on planning and executing the project plan. Depending on the organization and the staffing management plan, the project team may work full-time or part-time on the project. Team members may intermittently work on the project work as the plan warrants or be assigned to the project manager for the duration of the project.

project vision

In project management terms, the ability to clearly see the project deliverables and recognize the actions required to produce them.

projectized structure

An organizational structure where the project manager has the greatest amount of authority. The project team is assigned to the project on a full-time basis. When the project is complete, the project team members move on to other assignments within the organization.

purpose statement

A statement indicating why the research was initiated and reflecting the proposed project.

qualitative risk analysis

An examination and prioritization of the risks based on their probability of occurring and impact on the project if they do occur. Qualitative risk analysis guides the risk reaction process.

quality assurance (QA)

A process in which the overall performance is evaluated to ensure the project meets the relevant quality standards.

quality audit

A quality audit is a process used to confirm that the quality processes are performing correctly on the current project. The quality audit determines how to make things better for the project and other projects within the organization. Quality audits measure the project’s ability to maintain the expected level of quality.

quality control (QC)

An inspection-driven process in which the work results are monitored to see if they meet relevant quality standards.

quality management plan

This document describes how the project manager and the project team will fulfill the quality policy. In an ISO 9000 environment, the quality management plan is referred to as the “project quality system.”

quality policy

The formal policy an organization follows to achieve a preset standard of quality. The quality policy of the organization may follow a formal approach, such as ISO 9000, Six Sigma, or Total Quality Management (TQM), or it may have its own direction and approach. The project team should either adapt the quality policy of the organization to guide the project implementation or create its own policy if one does not exist within the performing organization.

quantitative risk analysis

A numerical assessment of the probability and impact of the identified risks. Quantitative risk analysis also creates an overall risk score for the project.

quote (or quotation)

A document from the seller to the buyer. Quotes are used when price is the determining factor in the decision-making process.

RACI chart

A RACI chart uses the legend of Responsible, Accountable, Consult, and Inform: the first letter of each responsibility spells RACI.


The recipient of the message. The receiver is part of the communications model.

referent power

Power that is present when the project team is attracted to, or wants to work on the project with, the project manager. Referent power also exists when the project manager references another, more powerful person, such as the CEO.

request for proposal (RFP)

A formal request from your company to a prospective vendor or vendors to create a proposal for the work to be completed and provide you with a cost estimate. An RFP does not guarantee anyone the job; it simply formalizes the proceedings of the selection process.

request for quote (RFQ)

A document from the buyer to the seller asking the seller to provide a price for the procured product or service.

residual risks

Risks that are left over after mitigation, transference, and avoidance. These are generally accepted risks. Management may elect to add contingency costs and time to account for the residual risks within the project.

resource calendar

The resource calendar shows when resources, such as project team members, consultants, and subject matter experts, are available to work on the project. It takes into account vacations, other commitments within the organization, restrictions on contracted work, overtime issues, and so on.

resource constraints

A resource constraint describes a situation where a project may need additional resources but doesn’t have access to the resources—for example, a particular type of equipment, a particular project team member, or a facility, such as a training room.

resource histogram

A bar chart reflecting when individual employees, groups, or communities are involved in a project. It is often used by management to see when employees are most or least active in a project.

resource leveling heuristics

A method to flatten the schedule when resources are over-allocated or allocated unevenly. Resource leveling can be applied in different methods to accomplish different goals. One of the most common methods is to ensure that workers are not overextended on activities.


Resources can be both workers and physical objects such as bandwidth, faster computers, or leased equipment.

return on investment (ROI)

Return on investment is the attitude that IT projects are not an expense but an investment that will allow an organization to become more profitable.

reward power

The project manager’s authority to reward the project team.


An unplanned event that can have a positive or negative influence on the project’s success.

risk database

A database of recognized risks. The planned response and the outcome of the risk should be documented and recorded in an organization-wide risk database. The risk database can serve other project managers as historical information. Over time, the risk database can become a risk lessons learned program.

risk management plan

A subsidiary project plan for determining how risks will be identified, how quantitative and qualitative analyses will be completed, how risk response planning will happen, how risks will be monitored, and how ongoing risk management activities will occur throughout the project life cycle.

risk owners

The individuals or groups responsible for a risk response.

roles and responsibilities matrix

A roles and responsibilities matrix is a method to identify all of the roles within a project and the associated responsibilities to the project work. This matrix is an excellent way to identify the needed roles of the project participants, identify what actions they’ll need in the project, and ultimately determine if you have all of the roles to complete the identified responsibilities.

root cause analysis

You’ll see this approach often in project management. Root cause analysis is a study of the effect that’s being experienced and then determining the causal factors of the effect. This is one of the purest forms of analysis, and the results are often graphed in a cause-and-effect diagram. You’ll also use this approach in quality control.

rough order of magnitude

This estimate is “rough” and is used during the initiating processes and in top-down estimates. The range of variance for the estimate can be –25 percent to +75 percent.

runaway project

A project that starts out well and then gains speed, momentum, and scope, causing runaways with your budget and increased man hours, and possibly hurting your reputation or career. The biggest element of a runaway project is the budget.

scales of probability and impact

Each risk is assessed according to its likelihood and its impact. There are two approaches to ranking risks: Cardinal scales identify the probability and impact by a numerical value, ranging from 0.01 as very low to 1.0 as certain. Ordinal scales identify and rank the risks from very high to very unlikely.

schedule management plan

The schedule management plan is a subsidiary plan that details how changes to the schedule may be allowed. This plan also defines how the actual changes themselves will be managed and how the changes may affect other areas of the project.

schedule performance index (SPI)

This index reveals the efficiency of work. The closer the quotient is to 1, the better: SPI = EV/PV.

schedule variance

Describes the difference between the earned value of the project work and the planned value of the project work. Schedule variances often prompt the project manager to create a schedule variance report explaining the variance in the project.

scope creep

A process that happens when a project manager allows small changes to enter into the project scope without formal approval. Eventually the scope of the project swells to include more deliverables than the project budget or team is able to deal with.

scope management plan

This plan details how the project scope will be protected from change, where changes to the scope may be permitted, and how the management of approved changes will be handled.

scope statement

A document that describes the work, and only the required work, to meet the project objectives. The scope statement establishes a common vision among the project stakeholders to establish the point and purpose of the project work. It is used as a baseline against which all future project decisions are made to determine if proposed changes or work results are aligned with expectations.

scope verification

The process of the project customer accepting the project deliverables. Scope verification happens at the end of each project phase and at the end of the project. Scope verification is the process of ensuring the deliverables the project creates are in alignment with the project scope.

secondary risks

Risks that stem from risk responses. For example, the response of transference may call for hiring a third party to manage an identified risk. A secondary risk caused by the solution is the failure of the third party to complete its assignment as scheduled. Secondary risks must be identified, analyzed, and planned for just as any identified risk must be.

semiflexible constraints

Semiflexible constraints do have a date value associated with them but require that the task begin or end by the specified date. Use these constraints sparingly.


Part of the communications model. The sender is the person or group delivering the message to the receiver.


This positive risk response allows your project team to partner or team with another entity to realize an opportunity that you may not have been able to realize on your own. Sharing examples are teaming agreements, joint ventures, partnerships, and special-purpose companies.

should-cost estimates

These estimates are created by the performing organization to predict what the cost of the procured product should be. If there is a significant difference between what the organization has predicted and what the sellers have proposed, either the statement of work was inadequate or the sellers have misunderstood the requirements. Should-cost estimates are also known as independent estimates.


This exercise allows the project team to play “what-if” games without affecting any areas of production.

single source

A specific seller that the performing organization prefers to contract with.


A conflict resolution method that “smoothes” out the conflict by minimizing the perceived size of the problem. It is a temporary solution, but it can calm team relations and temper boisterous discussions. Smoothing may be acceptable when time is of the essence or any of the proposed solutions would work.

soft logic

The preferred order of activities. Project managers should use these relationships at their “discretion” and document the logic behind making soft logic decisions. Discretionary dependencies allow activities to happen in a preferred order because of best practices, conditions unique to the project work, or external events. Soft logic is also known as discretionary dependency.

staffing management plan

Your project may not require the project team members to be on the project for the duration of the project schedule. This subsidiary project plan determines how project team members will be brought on to, and released from, the project.

stakeholder management strategy

Your project will likely have negative, neutral, and positive stakeholders. The stakeholder management strategy defines how you’ll bolster support for your project, fend off the negative stakeholders, alleviate fears and concerns, and promote the support for your project. You’ll use the stakeholder management strategy along with the project’s communications management plan.


The individuals, groups, and communities that have a vested interest in the outcome of a project. Examples include the project manager, the project team, the project sponsor, customers, clients, vendors, and communities.

standard costs

Your budget department may have preassigned standard costs for labor to do certain tasks like programming lines of code, installing hardware, or adding new servers. This preassignment of values helps you estimate labor costs of a project easily and without having to justify each labor expense as a line item.

STAR method

One of the best interview methods, especially when dealing with potential integrators, is the STAR methodology. STAR means Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Start No Earlier Than (SNET) constraint

When you specify a task as having the SNET constraint, you are assigning a task to start on or after a specific date. This constraint is semiflexible.

Start No Later Than (SNLT) constraint

This semiflexible constraint requires that a task begin by a specific date at the latest.

start-to-finish (SF) tasks

These rare tasks require that the predecessor doesn’t begin until the successor finishes. This relationship could be used with accounting incidents. For example, the predecessor task is to physically count all of the network jacks that have been installed—once they have been installed.

start-to-start (SS) tasks

These tasks are usually closely related in nature and should be started but not necessarily completed at the same time. An example is planning for the physical implementation of a network and determining each network’s IP addressing configurations. Each are closely related and should be done in tandem.

statement of work (SOW)

This fully describes the work to be completed, the product to be supplied, or both. The SOW becomes part of the contract between the buyer and the seller. The SOW is typically created as part of the procurement planning process and is used by the seller to determine whether it can meet the project’s requirements.

statistical sampling

A process of choosing a percentage of results at random for inspection. Statistical sampling can reduce the costs of quality control.

status reports

These reports provide current information on the project cost, budget, scope, and other relevant information.

status review meetings

Regularly scheduled meetings to record the status of the project work. These commonly employed meetings provide a formal avenue for the project manager to query the team on the status of its work, to record delays and slippage, and to forecast what work is about to begin.


A stage of team development where there’s a struggle for project team control and momentum of who’s going to lead the project team. It is during this phase that people figure out the hierarchy of the team and the informal roles of team members.


Project teams in a geographically diverse project. Each team on the project in each site is called a subteam.

SWOT analysis

This approach examines the project based on its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to test where the project could fail and where the project could improve. SWOT is a great technique to use on resources you’ve not used before or on requirements that you and your project team haven’t tried before.

system or process flowcharts

These show the relation between components and how the overall process works. They are useful for identifying risks between system components.

task list

A list of the major steps required from the project’s origin to its conclusion. A task list is created after the technology has been selected and before you create the implementation plan. The task list is based on the work packages within the work breakdown structure.

team leaders

Each subteam has a team leader that reports directly to the project manager and oversees the activities of the team members on the subteam.

three-point estimating

This estimating approach uses the worst-case, most likely, and optimistic approach to create an average cost or time duration for a project component.

tiered structure

In a tiered structure, the deliverables are released over multiple dates, allowing the IT project manager to agree to meet new requirements for the project scope.

time and material (T&M) billing method

Most technology integrators like to bill time and materials because there may be some additional problem discovered in the midst of the project that can result in the vendor working extra hours to solve it. T&M contracts should have a not-to-exceed clause (NTE) to contain costs.

to-complete performance index (TCPI)

This formula can forecast the likelihood of a project to achieve its goals based on what’s happening in the project right now. There are two different formulas for the TCPI, depending on what you want to accomplish. If you want to see if your project can meet the budget at completion, you’ll use this formula: TCPI = (BAC – EV) / (BAC – AC). If you want to see if your project can meet the newly created estimate at completion, you’ll use this version of the formula: TCPI = (BAC – EV) / (EAC – AC).

top-down estimating

A technique that bases the current project’s estimate on the total cost of a similar project. A percentage of the similar project’s total cost may be added to or subtracted from the total, depending on the size of the current project.

total budgeted costs

The amount of dollars budgeted for your project prior to the start of the project implementation phase. This is the same as budget at completion (BAC).

total quality management (TQM)

A process that has all employees within an organization working to fulfill their customers’ needs while also working to increase productivity. TQM stems from Dr. W. Edward Deming’s management principles, which the Japanese adopted after WWII. In the U.S. these principles were readily adopted in the 1980s after proof of their success in Japan.

total slack

The total time an activity can be delayed without delaying project completion.


A response to risks in which the responsibility and ownership of the risk is transferred to another party (for example, through insurance).

transition plan

The transition plan can help ease the transfer of the project deliverables from the project manager to the operations of the organization. This plan defines several things for both the project manager and the organization: transition dates, ownership, training, extended support, and warranties.

trend analysis

Trend analysis is taking past results to predict future performance.


Warning signs or symptoms that a risk has occurred or is about to occur. An example is a vendor failing to complete its portion of the project as scheduled.

upper management

The chief executive officers of an organization, such as the CEO, CIO, and COO.

usability laboratory

A place where the project team can test the technology prior to implementing it in production.

utility function

A person’s willingness to accept risk.

value added change

A change that positively affects the project deliverables. The cost or schedule costs incurred by the change may be less than the value the change will contribute to the project or its deliverables.


The difference between what was planned and what was experienced; typically used for costs and schedules.

variance at completion (VAC)

The difference between the budget at completion (BAC) and the estimate at completion (EAC); its formula is VAC = BAC – EAC.

virtual team

A virtual team is composed of geographically dispersed project team members. Communication demands increase when managing virtual teams.

war room

A centralized office or locale for the project manager and the project team to work on the project. It can house information on the project, including documentation and support materials. It allows the project team to work in close proximity.


A conflict resolution method that is used when the issue is not important or the project manager is out-ranked. The project manager pushes the issue aside for later resolution. It can also be used as a method for cooling down. The conflict is not resolved, and it is considered a yield-lose solution.

work authorization system

A tool that can control the organization, sequence, and official authorization to begin a piece of the project work.

work breakdown structure (WBS)

The WBS is a deliverable-oriented collection of project components. Work that isn’t in the WBS isn’t in the project. The point of the WBS is to organize and define the project scope.

work breakdown structure (WBS) dictionary

A reference tool to explain the WBS components, the nature of the work package, the assigned resources, and the time and billing estimates for each element.

work breakdown structure (WBS) template

A master WBS that is used in organizations as a starting point in defining the work for a particular project. This approach is recommended, as most projects in an organization are similar in the project life cycles, and the approach can be adapted to fit a given project.

work unit

A chunk of work that must be completed to ensure a phase ends on schedule so that the next phase can begin.


A workaround is an unplanned response to a risk that is not identified or accepted.

zero-based budgeting

Zero-based budgeting means that the budget to be created must always start at the number zero rather than factoring new expenses into a budget from a similar project.


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