Project Management Glossary

Looking for something? Here’s a guide to the main project management topics that you can find on this blog. Each link goes to a dedicated article about the topic so you can learn more in-depth way.

Keep checking back as we add more articles! Is there something you’d like to see that isn’t here? Get in touch and let me know and I can add it to my content calendar. To be honest, I might already have something on that topic that hasn’t been linked yet!


The 7-S Framework

When it comes to project management things can move really quickly, and sometimes that means things get out of hand. When you’ve got a lot to do, ensuring that your project is aligned to your organisational goals becomes even more important – it’s too easy to let slip that strategic alignment that we have heard so much about in the project management press over the past year or so.

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Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto date was 11-13 February 2001. That’s when the Snowbird summit happened and the 17 authors got together to work out how things for software developers could be better.

It has been 20 years since the Agile Manifesto, and that’s a moment worth marking. We’ve come a long way since the “birth” of a movement, and it’s hard to describe the impact that agile methods have had on the way work gets done.

It seems like every tool now includes an option to display work on Kanban boards, and that’s just the start of it.

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Agile team roles

Agile project management is a way of managing work that delivers iterative, incremental benefits.

It’s different to predictive project management — where you know what you are building and are planning how to get there — because when you work with Agile methods, you adapt as you go.

You aren’t always sure of the destination, and that’s why Agile methods like Scrum, Scrumban, and Kanban are great for delivering projects with high uncertainty or where the exact product spec is still being worked out as you go.

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Agile project management is a way of managing work that delivers iterative, incremental benefits.

It’s different to predictive project management — where you know what you are building and are planning how to get there — because when you work with Agile methods, you adapt as you go.

You aren’t always sure of the destination, and that’s why Agile methods like Scrum, Scrumban, and Kanban are great for delivering projects with high uncertainty or where the exact product spec is still being worked out as you go.

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Artificial Intelligence in project management

Where is artificial intelligence taking project management? AI has turned up in the project management trends articles over the past few years and it’s now most definitely here to stay.

I caught up with Lloyd Skinner, CEO at Greyfly, a consultancy specializing in improving project outcomes through the application of AI tools and experienced professionals, to talk about how AI is changing the way we lead projects.

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Project management is a human process. It’s unique to the individual and the client, in terms of how good or how mature they are in regards to project delivery.

Lloyd Skinner


Business Acumen

‘Business acumen’ is one of those skills that you see on role profiles for jobs. It’s also something mentioned in the standards for professional project management bodies. Apparently, business acumen is something that project managers should have.

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Capacity Planning

I’m being flippant – there is a bit more to it than that, but in short capacity planning is a way of effectively and easily working out who is available at any time for project work.

It relies on having a single resource pool which you can use to track people, their skills and availability and other resources like rooms or equipment. In other words, it makes everything about project human resource management transparent.

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Conflict Management

Projects can be a hotbed of conflict. From the difficult stakeholder who wants to undermine the project’s success to a disagreement about a feature of a deliverable, project work lends itself to workplace conflict situations.

And project managers contribute hugely to that because we go out and look for it. We challenge leaders, we talk about risk and what might go wrong and we call people out on poor performance through project monitoring and control.

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Projects are constrained by and are dependent on the environment in which they are taking place – both the corporate environment and the wider environment outside the company.

In this article we’ll look at everything you need to know about project dependencies and constraints.

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Construction project management

Construction project management has similarities to managing projects in other industries: ultimately, you’re aiming to get something delivered on time, on budget and to the required scope with an acceptable degree of quality.

The role of a construction project manager is to make that happen.

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Decision making tools

If you are a project manager, making tough calls and decisions is part of your everyday life.

Usually, the more time you spend in this role, the more thick-skinned you become in making risky calls on your own. After all, directing the project is your job and your priority is delivering results within your deadlines.

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Delegating tasks is something every project manager needs to get good at. If you want to do more work, you need more people doing the work. It’s not rocket science to realize that the project manager can’t do all the tasks.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day (and you probably don’t have the skills to do everything anyway).

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Projects are constrained by and are dependent on the environment in which they are taking place – both the corporate environment and the wider environment outside the company.

In this article we’ll look at everything you need to know about project dependencies and constraints.

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A project manager approached me recently with a problem. She knew that some of the data that was being submitted in internal reports was — frankly — made up. It was made up with the best intentions from educated guesses and extrapolation.

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Project managers forecast the future all the time: we forward-schedule tasks, plan how much money we’ll need in Quarter 4 and book resources for activities that haven’t happened yet.

But how much do you really know about the business of predicting the future? I caught up with forecasting superhero William M. Davis for a quick primer in forward planning.

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Job description

The project management job descriptions you see in profiles on LinkedIn might not represent exactly what you would do in the role.

That’s because project managers do so many different things!

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Job titles

If you’re searching for a project management job, you’ve no doubt come across a range of different job titles. Which one should you go for? The ‘project manager’ job descriptions have a wide variety of roles and duties, which can make it hard to know what’s right for you.

And therein lies the challenge.

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Kick off meeting

As I’ve got older and more experienced, I’ve also got lazier when it comes to preparing for project meetings. Recently I was completely caught out when I checked my diary in the morning. That afternoon I had four external people coming in for a meeting that I had forgotten about!

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Legal project management

Legal Project Management (LPM) is a discipline recognised widely in the legal services sector. All of the large law firms in the City of London, along with some of the larger regional firms, now employ legal project managers.

What is legal project management? What do legal project managers do? What, if anything, differentiates legal project managers from professional project managers active in other industry sectors?

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Lessons learned management techniques

Lessons learned are the bits of organizational knowledge that we pick up as we go through our projects. You’ll typically find them split into things that went well – all the things that we patted ourselves on the back about, and then the things that didn’t go so well where the team found there were issues

We need to make the distinction between ‘lessons captured and ‘lessons learned’ because often on projects we write things down and capture them without actually learning or doing anything with them.

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Managing expectations

Have you ever delivered a project on time and within budget only to discover that your client is unhappy with the final result? This often stems from mismatched expectations, and is quite unpleasant for both parties.

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Meeting minutes transcription

When I started my career and acquired my habits, there wasn’t an alternative. But — ta da! — tech has moved on so much that now there are tools that transcribe your meetings for you. Regardless of the type of project meeting you are in, most sessions need some kind of record.

Press record on the app, and the software listens, transcribes and then gives you the meeting minutes draft. Genius!

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The PMBOK® Guide Seventh Edition talks about models as a way of helping project managers understand what is already out there that they can use in their own work.

Think of models as shortcuts: approaches that present a way of thinking that’s tried-and-tested and is 99% likely to be applicable to your organization. They give you a framework for how to respond to a situation or deal with a project scenario.

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Percent complete

When you are trying to calculate percentage complete in a Gantt chart, you need to take into account various different figures, and get lots of information from other people. Or do you? There are simple ways to track percent complete on your project, so you know what to input into your software.

In this article we’ll look at 3 methods to track percent complete.

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Performance domains

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge – (PMBOK® Guide) Seventh Edition represents a major shift in the way ‘how to do project management’ is presented by PMI.

Instead of the Knowledge Areas, we have the whole body of project management split up into 3 performance domains.

This change has been a long time coming, and I welcome the shift. But what does it actually mean?

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Principles of project management

A principle is a norm, rule, value or fundamental truth which serves as a guide for behavior or action.

Principles are not prescriptive. They don’t tell you how to do something. They are not policies or goals. They simply underpin the things that you should be doing. Think of principles as inalienable truths to live by – or in our case, to work by.

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The purpose of a program is to tie together related work.

If you work on a program, either as a project manager, or in a program office role (or as the program manager) you’ll know that the goal is that your work contributes to the organization’s strategic aims.

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Program manager

Program management is the ability to lead a program, keep all the moving parts moving in the right direction and deliver the overall change.

Program management requires a different skill set to project management, but it’s often considered as a future career move for experienced project managers.

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Project budget

A project budget is a financial document that lays out what you think you’ll spend on a project. It covers all the expenses required to deliver the project.

In other words, it’s the way you answer the question: “How much is this project going to cost?”

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Project closure

We tend to spend lots of time talking about project set up, having a fully-thought through business case, or all the stuff you have to do while the project work is being done. But there’s another area that is arguably as important, if not more so than those: how to close a project.

In this article we’ll take you through the 7 steps for closing a project so nothing gets forgotten and the project can be wrapped up tidily. Ready? Let’s get started.

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Project initiation

It’s a quick way to speed up finding out what you need to know from your project sponsor when you meet for the first time.

Covering everything from what they think success looks like to who else needs to be involved, you can use it as a prompt to help you get your project off to a great start.

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Project resource management

Resources are the largest contributor to successful project delivery, and project managers spend significant time planning and managing their activities. Both resource and project managers work in tandem to develop resourcing strategies for projects.

The project manager estimates the resource requirement and creates open positions that get fulfilled by the resource manager. Once deployed, the project manager ensures that the assigned resources perform at their maximum potential and complete the delivery.

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Project risk management

Risk management is a staple skill of project managers. As the project environments we work in get more and more complex, with greater levels of uncertainty and more transformative, disruptive projects, being able to deal with risk remains top of the list of desirable skills for managers in all areas of business.

However, project risk management is something that many project managers find tricky. The theory is easy – implementing risk management successfully so that it is actually useful on the project is a little bit harder.

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Project scope management

Scope creep in project management is where additional requirements are added to the project, beyond what was originally agreed and these additions are not formally authorized.

Scope creep happens when the project sponsor says, “Can you just…?”

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Proposal budget

A proposal budget instead aims to convince the evaluator that reads your proposal that you have a solid grasp of your plan and that you are worthy of being trusted with funding.

Granted, if the budget you build in the proposal phase is carefully put together and everything goes according to plan, you will end up using that directly as your project budget, but for the purposes of this article, let’s just stick to the proposal phase.

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Working out who does what on your project can be a challenge. A RACI chart is a project management tool that helps you do exactly that.

In this article I’ll give you everything you need to know about producing a RACI chart for your project.

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Ever wondered what RAID is all about in project management? You’ll hear project managers talking about their RAID logs as part of how to manage a project, or updating the RAID, but what does it all mean?

Get a RAID log template as part of a complete project workbook here.

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Roles and responsibilities document

Does your project team have a roles and responsibilities document that sets out what everyone does? You should do. It’s a really simple document that helps clarify how everyone is contributing to the project.

In this article we’ll look at what it is and how you can use it.

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ROWE means a way of managing human resources whereby they are rewarded for results, not hours worked. In other words, earning a salary is linked to output, not how much time you spend at your desk. If you can hit your targets in an afternoon, take the rest of the week off.

You can see how this culture will encourage creative thinking and focus, as well as innovative approaches to problem solving. It sounds perfect for project teams!

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Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM)

A rough order of magnitude estimate is used to give you a very high level view of potential project costs.

Ideally, you’d be able to provide a definitive estimate, carefully created from loads of input from subject matter experts and plenty of research on past projects and their budgets.

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Carole recommends everyone involved in project delivery acquires a basic understanding of how the human brain works and uses this knowledge to inform their actions.

Unconvinced? Think about the projects you’re working on. How often have you seen a team member becoming defensive or a client getting wound up and quite aggressive over something relatively minor?

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Whether you want to understand how customers move through your small business, or mapping the processes used on a major civil engineering project, SIPOC is a visual process mapping tool that can help you see the big picture, identify the individuals involved and then plan more effectively – especially if you intend to change a process.

But what’s it all about? Read on…

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Steering group

A Project Steering Group is the oversight committee of a project. You might use the term Project Board or Governance Committee, or something else that means a similar thing. All projects should have one, but the make up of the group depends on your project. It’s generally acknowledged that having strong leadership in projects is important for success, so getting your Project Steering Group set up as soon as you can is a good start.

Here’s an introduction to project steering groups as part of the governance framework so you can get yours set up and working on your project.

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Success criteria

Project success criteria are the standards by which the project will be judged at the end to decide whether or not it has been successful in the eyes of the stakeholders.

OK, I’m glad we got that sorted. Now let’s look at why we should care about project success criteria.

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Task management

Projects are made up of tasks. Lots of them. Staying on top of your tasks as a team is so important if you want to hit your project deadlines.

In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about task management and how to keep your team on track managing their tasks.

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Tolerances are an important part of being able to work autonomously as a project manager. You need to have the authority and freedom of action to be able to change the direction the work is going in.

However, the project sponsor is the person responsible for decisions that affect the project budget and the schedule, where making a change would deviate from the agreed plan.

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T-shaped project management

Have you ever heard of a T-shaped developer?

It’s a common phrase used in software development where the developer has broad experience in their role but is also profoundly skilled in one specific area.

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Version Control

Document version control is the process of tracking and managing different versions (or drafts) of a document so you know which is the current iteration of a file.

Version control is used for lots of project management documents as well as other assets.

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Zombie Control

A zombie project is one that never ends. It simply consumes resources and carries on because no one has the foresight (or courage) to kill it off.

Don’t be the project manager that lets a project go on and on by accepting every scope change and picking up all the operational work as well as the requests for new functionality, additions or improvements.

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