Glossary of Project Management Terms – A

Abstract Resource
Imaginary resource introduced so that its availability and activity requirement gives an extra means of control. (For example, two jobs not being worked on simultaneously in order to obviate an accident hazard)

A response to a risk (threat or opportunity) where no course of action is taken.

Acceptance Criteria
The requirements and essential conditions that have to be achieved before project deliverables are accepted

Acceptance Test
Formal, pre-defined test conducted to determine the compliance of the deliverables with the acceptance criteria

Work done for which payment is due but has not been made

Accrued Costs
Costs that are earmarked for the project and for which payment is due, but has not been made

Acquisition Strategy
The establishment of the most appropriate means of procuring the component parts or services of a project

Task, job, operation or process consuming time and possibly other resources.
(The smallest self-contained unit of work used to define the logic of a project. In general, activities share the following characteristics: a definite duration, logic relationships to other activities in the project, use resources such as people, materials or facilities, and have an associated cost. They should be defined in terms of start and end dates and the person or organisation responsible for their completion.)

Activity Definition
Identifies the specific activities which must be performed in order to produce the project deliverables

Activity Duration
The length of time (hours, days, weeks, months) that it takes to complete an activity

Activity File
A file containing all data related to the definition of activities on a particular project

Activity ID
A unique code identifying each activity in a project

Activity-on-Arrow Network
Arrow diagram – a network diagram in which the arrows symbolise the activities

Activity-on-Node Network
Precedence diagram – a network diagram in which the nodes symbolise the activities

Activity Status
The state of completion of an activity. A planned activity has not yet started. A started activity is in progress. A finished activity is complete.

Actual Cost
Incurred costs that are charged to the project budget and for which payment has been made, or accrued

Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP)
A term used in earned value management. Cumulative cost of work accrued on the project in a specific period or up to a specific stage. Note: for some purposes cost may be measured in labour hours rather than money.

Actual Dates
Actual dates are entered as the project progresses. These are the dates on which activities started and finished as opposed to planned or forecast dates.

Actual Direct Costs
These costs are specifically identified with a contract or project. See also Direct Costs.

Actual Expenditure
The money that has already been paid

Actual Finish
Date on which an activity was completed.

Actual Start
Date on which an activity was started.

Actual Time Expended
The elapsed time from the beginning to

The last stage of team building where the team disbands.

The legal process by which an arbiter or other independent third party reviews evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning, set forth by opposing parties to come to a decision or judgement which determines rights and obligations between the parties involved

Advanced Material Release
A document used by organisations to initiate the purchase of long-lead-time or time-critical materials prior to the final release of a design.

Agile development
A family of software development methodologies with emphasis on real time communication. Agile methods promote a process that encourages development iterations, teamwork, stakeholder involvement, objective metrics and effective controls.

An arrangement whereby two or more organisations agree to manage a contract or range of contracts between them jointly

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
The collective term for settling disputes with the help of an independent third party without a court hearing. For example arbitration, adjudication and mediation

AND Relationship
Logical relationship between two or more activities that converge on or diverge from an event. Note: The AND relationship indicates that every one of the activities has to be undertaken.

The term used when an individual accepts a deliverable as fit for purpose so that the project can continue.

The process of using a third party appointed to settle a dispute

Directed connecting line between two nodes in a network.
Note 1: It symbolises an activity in “activity-on-arrow”
Note 2: It symbolises a dependency relationship in “activity-on-node”

Arrow Diagram Method (ADM)
One of two conventions used to represent and activity in a network diagram. Also known as Activity-on-Arrow method.

As-Late-As-Possible (ALAP)
An activity for which the early start date is set late as possible without delaying the early dates of any successor.

Associated revenue
That part of a project cost that is of a revenue nature and therefore charged as incurred to the profit and loss account. Note: Associated revenue differs from the capital element of the project in that the capital element is taken as an asset to the balance sheet and depreciated over future accounting periods.

As-Soon-As-Possible (ASAP)
An activity for which the early start date is set to be as soon as possible. This is the default activity type in most project management systems.

Statements taken for granted as fact and upon which the project business case and plan is justified

The process of examining with the intent to verify

Systematic retrospective examination of the whole, or part, of a project or function to measure conformance with predetermined standards. Note: Audit is usually qualified, for example financial audit, quality audit, design audit, project audit, health and safety audit.

Authorisation points
The points at which the business case is reviewed and approved

Authorised Un-Priced Work
Any scope change for which authorisation to proceed has been given, but for which the estimated costs are not yet settled.

Authorised Work
The effort which has been defined, plus that work for which authorisation has been given, but for which defined contract costs have not been agreed upon.

Automatic Decision Event
Decision even where the decision depends only on the outcome of the preceding activities and that can be programmed or made automatic.