Glossary of Project Management Terms – C

A project calendar lists time intervals in which activities or resources can or cannot be scheduled. A project usually has one default calendar for the normal work week (Monday through Friday for example), but may have other calendars as well. Each Calendar can be customised with its own holidays and extra work days. Resources and activities can be attached to any of the calendars that are defined.

A project capability (or outcome) that enables a benefit to be achieved. Alternatively having the necessary attributes to perform or accomplish.

Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) is the amount a company spends to buy fixed assets, or to add to the value of an existing fixed asset with a useful life that extends beyond the taxable year.

Monetary investment in the project. Alternatively wealth used of available for use in the production of more wealth.

Capital Cost
The carrying cost in a balance sheet of acquiring an asset and bringing it to the condition where it is capable of performing its intended function over a future series of periods. Note: See also “revenue costs”.

Capital Employed
Amount of investment in an organisation or project, normally the sum of fixed and current assets, less current liabilities at a particular date.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a certification in project management managed by the Project Management Institute in accordance with their published ANSI standard A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, shortened to PMBOK Guide.

Cascade Chart
Bar chart on which the vertical order of activities is such that each activity is dependent only on activities higher in the list.

Cash Flow
Cash receipts and payments in a specified period.

Cash Flow, Nett
Difference between cash flow received and payments made during a specific period.

An end user representative, often seconded into a project team. Someone who acts as an advocate for a proposal or project.

Change Control
Process that ensures potential changes to the deliverable of a project or the sequence of work in a project, are recorded, evaluated, authorised and managed.

Change Control Board
A formally constituted group of stakeholders responsible for approving or rejecting changes to the project baselines.

Change Log
A record of all project changes, proposed, authorised or rejected.

Change Management
The formal process through which changes to the project plan are approved and introduced.

Change Request
A request needed to obtain formal approval for changes to the scope, design, methods, costs or planned aspects of a project. Change requests may arise through changes in the business or issues in the project. Change requests should be logged, assessed and agreed on before a change to the project can be made.

Child Activity
Subordinate task belonging to a “parent” task existing at a higher level in the Work Breakdown Structure.

The party to a contract who commissions the work and pays for it on completion.

Close Out
The completion of work on a project.

The formal end point of a project, either because it has been completed or because it has been terminated early.

Code of Accounts
Any numbering system, usually based on corporate code of accounts of the primary performing organisation, used to monitor project costs by category.

Advancement of an installation from the stage of static completion to full working order and achievement of the specific operational requirements.

A binding financial obligation, typically in the form of a purchase order or contract.

Committed Costs
Costs that are legally committed even if delivery has not taken place with invoices neither raised nor paid.

The transmission of information so that the recipient understands clearly what the sender intends.

Communications Planning
Determining project stakeholders’ communication and information needs.

Completion Date
The date calculated by which the project could finish following careful estimating.

Compound Risk
A risk made up of a number of inter-related risks.

Conception Phase
The phase that triggers and captures new ideas or opportunities and identifies potential candidates for further development in the feasibility phase.

Concurrent Engineering
The systematic approach to the simultaneous, integrated design of products and their related processes, such as manufacturing, testing and supporting.

Functional and physical characteristics of a product as defined in technical documents and achieved in the product. Note: In a project this should contain all items that can be identified as being relevant to the project and that should only be modified after authorisation by the relevant manager.
(Includes documentation).

Configuration Audit
A check to ensure that all deliverable items on a project conform with one another and to the current specifications. It ensures that relevant quality assurance procedures have been implemented and that there is consistency throughout project documents.

Configuration Control
A system through which changes may be made to configuration items.

Configuration Identification
Identifies uniquely all items within the configuration.

Configuration Item
A part of configuration that has a set function and is designated for configuration management. It identifies uniquely all items within the configuration.

Configuration Management
See BS EN ISO 10007 for guidance on configuration management, including specialist terminology.

Conflict Management
The ability to manage conflict creatively and effectively.

Applicable restrictions that will affect the scope of the project or the sequence of project activities. These may include deadlines, regulatory requirements and dependencies on other projects to deliver.

Consumable Resource
A type of resource that only remains available until consumed (for example, a material).

Provision of a margin (for example, within the funds available for the project, as a float within the initial project plan, or in over specification of product characteristics) so that project achievement may be optimised against the project objectives in the face of risk impact – allowing for the cost and opportunity cost of the margin.

Contingency Plan
Mitigation plan. Alternative course(s) of action devised to cope with project risks. Note: See risk plan.

Contingency Planning
The development of a management plan that uses alternative strategies to minimise or negate the adverse effects of a risk, should it occur.

A mutually binding agreement in which the contractor is obligated to provide services or products and the buyer is obligated to provide payment for them. Contracts fall into three main categories, fixed price, cost reimbursable or unit price but may contain elements from each.

Contract Budget Base
The negotiated contract cost value plus the estimated value of authorised but un-priced work.

Contract Close-out
Settlement of a contract.

Contract Target Cost
The negotiated costs for the original defined contract and all contractual changes that have been agreed and approved, but excluding the estimated cost of any authorised, un-priced changes. The contract target cost equals the value of the budget at completion plus management or contingency reserve.

Contract Target Price
The negotiated estimated costs plus profit or fee.

A person, company or firm who holds a contract for carrying out the works and/or the supply of goods in connection with the Project.

Control is the process of comparing actual performance with planned performance, analysing the differences, and taking the appropriate corrective action.

Control Charts
Control charts display the results, over time, of a process. They are used to determine if the process is in need of adjustment.

Co-ordinated Matrix
An organisational structure where the project leader reports to the functional manager and doesn’t have authority over team members from other departments.

Co-ordination is the act of ensuring that work carried out by different organisations and in different places fits together effectively. It involved technical matters, time, content and cost in order to achieve the project objectives effectively.

Corrective Action
Changes made to bring future project performance back into line with the plan.

Cost Account
A cost account defines what work is still to be performed, who will perform it and who is to pay for it. Cost accounts are the focal point for the integration of scope, cost, and schedule. Another term for Cost Account is Control Account.

Cost Account Manager
A member of a functional organisation responsible for cost account performance, and for the management of resources to accomplish such tasks.

Cost Benefit Analysis
An analysis of the relationship between the costs of undertaking a task or project, initial and recurrent, and the benefits likely to arise from the changed situation, initially and recurrently. Note: The hard tangible, readily measurable benefits may sometimes be accomplished by soft benefits which may be real but difficult to isolate, measure and value.
(Allows comparison of the returns from alternative forms of investment.)

Cost Breakdown Structure
Hierarchical breakdown of a project into cost elements.

Cost Budgeting
Allocating cost estimates to individual project components.

Cost Centre
Location, person, activity or project in respect of which costs may be ascertained and related to cost units.

Cost Code
Unique identity for a specified element of work. (Code assigned to activities that allow costs to be consolidated according to the elements of a code structure.)

Cost Control Point
The point within a programme at which costs are entered and controlled. Frequently, the cost control point for a project is either the cost account or the work package.

Cost Control System
Any system of keeping costs within the bounds of budgets or standards based upon work actually performed.

Cost Curve
A graph plotted against a horizontal time scale and cumulative cost vertical scale.

Cost Element
A unit of costs to perform a task or to acquire an item. The cost estimated may be a single value or a range of values.

Cost Estimating
The process of predicting the costs of a project.

Cost Incurred
Costs identified through the use of the accrued method of accounting or costs actually paid. Costs include direct labour, direct material, and all allowable indirect costs.

Cost Management
The effective financial control of the project through evaluating, estimating, budgeting, monitoring, analysing, forecasting and reporting the cost information.

Cost Overrun
The amount by which a contractor exceeds or expects to exceed the estimated costs, and/or the final limitations (the ceiling) of a contract.

Cost Performance Index
A measure, expressed as a percentage or other ratio of actual cost of budget plan.
(Ratio of work accomplished versus work cost incurred for a specified time period. The CPI is an efficiency rating for work accomplished for resources expended.)

Cost Performed Report
A regular cost report to reflect cost and schedule status information for management.

Cost Plan
A budget which shows the amounts and expected dates of incurring costs on a project or on a contract.

Costs Plus Fixed Fee Contract
A type of contract where the buyer reimburses the seller for the seller’s allowable costs plus a fixed fee.

Cost Plus Incentive Fee Contract (CPIFC)
A type of contract where the buyer reimburses the seller for the seller’s allowable costs and the seller earns a profit if defined criteria are met.

Cost Reimbursement Type Contracts
A category of contracts based on payments to a contractor for allowable estimated costs, normally requiring only a “best efforts” performance standard from the contractor. Risk for all growth over the estimated value rests with the project owner.

Cost/Schedule Planning and Control Specification (C/SPCS)
The United States Air Force initiative in the mid-1960s, which later resulted in the C/SCSC.

Cost – Time Resource Sheet (CTR)
A document that describes each major element in the WBS, including a Statement of Work (SOW) describing the work content, resources required, the time frame of the work element and a cost estimate.

Cost Variance
The difference (positive or negative) between the actual expenditure and the planned/budgeted expenditure.

Credited Resource
Resource that is created by an activity or event and can then be used by the project.

Critical Activity
An activity is termed critical when it has zero or negative float.

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)
A method of planning and managing projects that puts more emphasis on the resources needed to carryout project tasks. It is the Theory of Constraints (TOC) applied to projects.

Critical Path
Sequence of activities through a project network from start to finish, the sum of whose duration determines the overall project duration. Note: There may be more than one such path.
(The path through a series of activities, taking into account interdependencies, in which the late completion of activities will have an impact on the project end date or delay a key milestone).

Critical Path Analysis
Procedure for calculating the critical path and floats in a network.

Critical Path Method
A technique used to predict project duration by analysing which sequence of activities has the least amount of scheduling flexibility. The Critical Path Method is a modelling process that defines all the project’s critical activities that must be completed on time. The start and finish dates of activities in the project are calculated in two passes. The first pass calculates early start and finish dates from the earliest start date forward. The second pass calculates the late start and finish activities from the latest finish date backwards. The difference between the pairs of start and finish dates for each task is the float or slack time for the task (See Float). Slack is the amount of time a task can be delayed without delaying the project completion date. By experimenting with different logical sequences and/or durations the optimal project schedule can be determined.

Critical Performance Indicator
A critical factor against which aspects of project performance may be assessed.

Critical Success Factor
A factor considered to be most conducive to the achievement of a successful project.

Criticality Index
Used in risk analysis, the criticality index represents the percentage of simulation trails that resulted in the activity being placed on the critical path.

Any person who defines needs or wants, justifies or pays for part of or the entire project, or evaluates or uses the results. Could be the project promoter, client, owner or employer.

Cut-Off Date
The ending date of a reporting period.