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Project Management Terminology

In our constant quest to provide you with valuable information, here is a useful list of APM project management terms and definitions which we feel will  benefit you, especially those new to the industry and are studying for Project Management qualifications.

Project management is the process by which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such that the agreed benefits are realised. Projects are unique, transient endeavours undertaken to achieve a desired outcome. Projects bring about change and project management is recognised as the most efficient way of managing such change.

Programme management is the coordinated management of related projects, which may include related business as usual activities that together achieve a beneficial change of a strategic nature for an organisation. What constitutes a programme will vary across industries and business sectors but there are core programme management processes.

Project success is the satisfaction of stakeholder needs and is measured by the success criteria as identified and agreed at the start of the project.

Benefits management is the identification of the benefits at an organisational level and the monitoring and realisation of those benefits.

Project context refers to the environment within which a project is undertaken. Projects do not exist in a vacuum and an appreciation of the context within which the project is being performed will assist those involved in project management to deliver a project.

Stakeholder management is the systematic identification, analysis and planning of actions to communicate with, negotiate with and influence stakeholders. Stakeholders are all those who have an interest or role in the project or are impacted by the project.

Project life cycles consist of a number of distinct phases. All projects follow a life cycle and life cycles will differ across industries and business sectors. A life cycle allows the project to be considered as a sequence of phases which provides the structure and approach for progressively delivering the required outputs.

Project reviews take place throughout the project life cycle to check the likely or actual achievement of the objectives specified in the project management plan ( PMP) and the benefits detailed in the business case. Additional reviews will take place following handover and closeout to ensure that the benefits are being realised by the organisation.

The business case provides justification for undertaking a project, in terms of evaluating the benefit, cost and risk of alternative options and rationale for the preferred solution. Its purpose is to obtain management commitment and approval for investment in the project. The business case is owned by the sponsor.

Organisational roles are the roles performed by individuals or groups in a  project. Both roles and responsibilities within the projects must be defined to address the transient and unique nature of projects and to ensure that clear accountabilities can be assigned.

Project sponsorship is an active senior management role, responsible for identifying the business need, problem or opportunity. The sponsor ensures the project remains a viable  proposition and that benefits are realised, resolving any issues outside the control of the project manager.

The project management plan brings together all the plans for the project. The purpose of the project management plan ( PMP) is to document the outcomes of the planning process and to provide the reference document for managing the project. The project management plan is owned by the project manager.

Scope management is the process by which the deliverables and work to produce them are identified and defined. Identification and definition of the scope must describe what the project will include and what it will not include, i.e what is in and out of scope.

Scheduling is the process used to determine the overall project duration and when activities and events are planned to happen. This includes identification of activities and their logical dependencies, and an estimation of activity durations, taking into account requirements and availability of resources.

Resource management identifies and assigns resources to activities so that the project is undertaken using appropriate levels of resources and within an acceptable duration. Resource allocation, smoothing, levelling and scheduling are techniques used to determine and manage appropriate levels of resources.

Estimating uses a range of tools and techniques to produce estimates. An estimate is an approximation of project time and cost targets that is refined throughout the project life cycle.

Project risk management is a structured process that allows individual risk events and overall project risk to be understood and managed proactively, optimising project success by minimising threats and maximising opportunities.

Project quality management is the discipline that is applied to ensure that both the outputs of the project  and the processes by which the outputs are delivered meet the required needs of stakeholders. Quality is broadly defined as fitness for purpose or more narrowly as the degree of conformance of the outputs and process.

Change control is the process that ensures that all changes made to a project’s baselined scope, time, cost and quality objectives or agreed benefits are identified, evaluated, approved, rejected or deferred.

Issue management is the process by which concerns that threaten the project objectives and cannot be resolved by the project manager are identified and addressed to remove the threats they pose.

Configuration management comprises the technical and administrative activities concerned with the creation, maintenance and controlled change of the configuration throughout the project life cycle.

Information management is the collection, storage, dissemination, archiving and appropriate destruction of project information. Information reporting takes information and presents it in an appropriate format which includes the formal communication of project information to stakeholders.

Procurement is the process by which the resources (goods and services) required by a project are acquired. It includes development of the procurement strategy, preparation of contracts, selection and acquisition of suppliers, and management of the contracts.

Communication is the giving, receiving, processing and interpretation of information. Information can be conveyed verbally, non verbally, actively, passively, formally,  informally, conciously or unconciously.

Teamwork is when people work collaboratively towards a common goal as distinct from other ways that individuals can work within a group.

Leadership is the ability to establish vision and direction, to influence and align others towards a common purpose, and to empower and inspire people to achieve project success. It enables the project to proceed in an environment of change and uncertainty.

Handover and closeout is the final phase in the project life cycle. During this phase final project deliverables are handed over to the sponsor and users. Closeout is the process of finalising all project matters, carrying out final project reviews, archiving project information and redeploying the project team.

If you need any further information please contact Robert Carson:

Tel: +44 1935 816774

For further infomation about 20|20 Business Insight Project Management training courses or consulting services, follow these links:

Project Management training courses – full course list
Project Management training courses – open course schedule
Project Management Consulting services

This is written by Tony Marks, 20|20 Business Insight’s CEO. For more insights from Tony along with real-world case-studies you can buy his book “20:20 Project Management – how to deliver on-time, on budget and on spec” on Amazon (click on the book title to go to the book page on Amazon).