Glossary of Project Management Terms – B

Backward Pass
Procedure whereby the latest event times or the latest finish and start times for the activities of a network are calculated.

Balanced Matrix
An organisational matrix where functions and projects have the same priority.

Balanced Scorecard
A performance management tool which began as a concept for measuring whether the smaller-scale operational activities of a company are aligned with its larger-scale objectives in terms of vision and strategy.

Bar Chart
Chart on which activities and their durations are represented by lines drawn to a common time scale. Note 1: A Gantt chart is a specific type of bar chart and should not be used as a synonym for bar chart.
Note 2: See also “cascade chart”.

Reference levels against which the project is monitored and controlled. A baseline is an approved configuration item, for example a project plan that has been signed off for execution. The baseline records the planned costs, schedule and technical requirements against which a project is measured.

Baseline Cost
The amount of money a project or an activity was intended to cost when the project plan was baselined.

Baseline Dates
Original planned start and finished dates for activity. Used to compare with current planned dates to determine any delays. Also used to calculate budgeted cost of work scheduled for earned-valued analysis.

Baseline Plan
The fixed project plan. It is the standard by which performance against the project plan is measured.

Baseline Review
A customer review conducted to determine that a contractor is continuing to use the previously accepted performance system and is properly implementing a baseline on the contract or option under review.

Baseline Schedule
The baseline schedule is a fixed project schedule. It is the standard by which project performance is measured. The current schedule is copied into the baseline schedule, which remains frozen until it is reset. Resetting the baseline is done when the scope of the project has been changed significantly, for example after a negotiated change. At that point, the original or current baseline becomes invalid and should not be compared with the current schedule.

A review of what other organisations are doing in the same area.

The quantifiable and measurable improvement resulting from completion of project deliverables that are perceived as positive by the stakeholders. It will normally have a tangible value, expressed in monetary terms, that will justify the investment.

Benefits Framework
An outline of the expected benefits of the project or programme, the business operations affected and current and target performance measures.

Benefits Management
The identification of the benefits (of a project or programme) at an organisational level and the tracking and realisation of those benefits.

Benefits Management Plan
Specifies who is responsible for achieving the benefits set out in the benefit profiles and how achievement of the benefits is to be measured, managed and monitored.

Benefits Realisation
The practice of ensuring that the outcome of a project produces the projected benefit.

Benefits Realisation Review
A review undertaken after a period of operations of the project deliverables. It is intended to establish that the project benefits have or are being realised.

A tender, quotation or any offer to enter into a contract.

Bid Analysis
An analysis of bids or tenders.

A strategic planning tool used to provide the terms-of-reference for new projects. The BOSCARD acronym stands for Background, Objectives, Scope, Constraints, Assumptions, Risks and Deliverables. These headings are commonly found in terms-of-reference and project initiation documents.

Bottom Up Cost Estimating
This method of making estimates for every activity in the work breakdown structure and summarising them to provide a total project cost estimate.

The unstructured generation of ideas by a group of people in a short space of time.

Branching Logic
Conditional Logic. Alternative paths in a probabilistic network.

Breakdown Structure
A hierarchical structure by which project elements are broken down, or decomposed. See also Product Breakdown Structure (PBS), Organisational Breakdown Structure (OBS) and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

Quantification of resources needed to achieve a task by a set time, within which the task owners are required to work. Note: prepared and approved prior to a defined period, for the purpose of attaining a given objective for that period. (The planned cost for an activity or project.)

Budget at Completion (BAC)
The sum total of the time-phased budgets.

Budget Cost
The cost anticipated at the start of the project.

Budget Elements
Budget elements are the same as resources – the people, materials, or other entities needed to do the work. Budget elements can be validated against a Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). They are typically assigned to a work package, but can also be defined at the cost account level.

Budget Estimate
An approximate estimate prepared in the early stages of a project to establish financial viability or secure resources.

Budget Unit
The budget unit is the base unit for calculation. For example, the Engineer budget element might have a budget unit of hours. Since budget units are user defined, they can be any appropriate unit of measure. For example, a budget unit might be hours, pounds sterling, linear metres, or tons.

Budgetary Control
System of creating budgets, monitoring processes and taking appropriate action to achieve budgeted performance. Note: A budget should provide the information necessary to enable approval, authorisation and policy-making bodies to assess a project proposal and reach a rational decision.

Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP)
The planned cost of work completed to date. BCWP is also the “earned value” of work completed to date.

Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS)
The planned cost of work that should have been achieved according to the project baseline dates.

Time phased financial requirements.

Build (stage)
A stage within the implementation phase where project deliverables are built or constructed.

Overhead expenses distributed over appropriate direct labour and/or material base.

Business as usual
An organisation’s normal day-to-day operation

Business Case
Provides justification for undertaking a project, in terms of evaluating the benefit, cost and risk of alternative options and the rationale for the preferred solution. Its purpose is to obtain commitment and the approval for investment in the project. Owned by the sponsor.