Glossary of Project Management Terms – P
P3M3, also known as the Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model is a reference guide for structured best practice. It breaks down the broad disciplines of portfolio, programme and project management into a hierarchy of Key Process Areas (KPAs). P3M3 is owned by the Cabinet Office, formally OGC.
Parallel activities are two or more activities than can be done at the same time. This allows a project to be completed faster than if the activities were arranged serially.
Task within the work breakdown structure that embodies several subordinate “child” tasks.
Named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the Pareto Principle is the idea that by doing 20% of the work you can produce 80% of the benefit of doing the whole job. Or for quality improvement, most problems are produced by a few key causes.
The law that says; “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” by Cyril Northcote Parkinson as the first sentence of a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955.
Parties (to a contract)
The person or companies who sign a contract with one another.
Activity or an unbroken sequence of activities in a project network. (Refer to critical path method for information on critical and non-critical paths).
A measure of the completion status of a partially completed activity. May be aggregated to sections of a project or the whole project.
Performance Measurement Techniques
Performance measurement techniques are the methods used to estimate earned value. Different methods are appropriate to different work packages, either due to the nature of the work or to the planned duration of the work package.
Statement of the totality of needs expressed by the benefits, features, characteristics, process conditions, boundaries and constraints that together define the expected performance of a deliverable. Note: A performance specification should provide for innovation and alternative solutions, by not defining or unduly constraining the technical attributes of the intended deliverable.
A team building stage where the emphasis is on the work currently being performed.
A tool used to schedule, organize and co-ordinate tasks within a project. PERT stands for Program Evaluation Review Technique, a method developed by the United States Navy in the 1950s to manage the Polaris submarine missile programme. Also known as a precedence diagram, a network chart and logic diagram.
A strategic planning tool used to evaluate the impact Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors might have on a project. It involves an organization considering the external environment before starting a project.
Phase (of a project)
That part of a project during which a set of related and interlinked activities are performed. Note: A project consists of a series of phases that together constitute the whole project life cycle.
Physical Percent Complete
The percentage of the work content of an activity that has been achieved.
A form of testing new development and its implementation prior to committing to its full release.
A plan is an intended future course of action. It is owned by the project manager, it is the basis of the project controls and includes the “what, the “how”, the “when” and the “who”.
An activity not yet started.
Estimate cost of achieving a specific objective.
A member of a project team or project support office with the responsibility for planning, scheduling and tracking of projects. They are often primarily concerned with schedule, progress and manpower resources.
The process of identifying the means, resources and actions necessary to accomplish an objective.
The stage prior to the implementation stage when product activity, resource and quality plans are produced.
The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is a collection of processes and knowledge areas accepted as best practice within the project management discipline.
Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally recognized certification in project management.
A grouping or bundle of projects, collected together for management convenience. They may or may not have a common objective, they are often related only by the use of common resources.
The co-ordinated management of a portfolio of projects to achieve a set of business objectives.
Positive float is defined as the amount of time that an activity’s start can be delayed without affecting the project completion date. An activity with positive float is not on the critical path and is called a non-critical activity. The difference between early and late dates (start or finish) determines the amount of float.
Post Implementation Review
A review between 6-12 months after a system in a project has met its objective to verify that it continues to meet user requirements.
Post Project Appraisal
An evaluation that provides feedback in order to learn for the future.
Precedence Diagram Method
One of the two methods of representing project as networks, in which the activities are represented by nodes and the relationships between them by arrows.
A multiple dependency network. An activity-on-node network in which a sequence arrow represents one of four forms of precedence relationship, depending on the positioning of the head and the tail of the sequence arrow. The relationships are:
a) Start of activity depends on finish of preceding activity, either immediately or after a lapse of time.
b) Finish of activity depends on finish of preceding activity, either immediately or after a lapse of time.
c) Start of activity depends on start of preceding activity, either immediately or after a lapse of time.
d) Finish of activity depends on start of preceding activity, either immediately or after a lapse of time.
In an activity-on-arrow network, an event at the beginning of an activity.
That work which is carried out prior to commissioning in order to demonstrate that commissioning may be safely undertaken.
An activity that must be completed (or be partially completed) before a specified activity can begin.
Prime or Lead Contractor
A main supplier who has a contract for much or all of the work on a contract.
Network containing alternative paths with which probabilities are associated.
Likelihood of a risk occurring.
Set of interrelated resources and activities, which transform inputs into outputs.
The securing of goods or services.
Determining what to procure and when.
Product Breakdown Structure
A hierarchy of deliverable products, which are required to be produced on the project. It forms the base document from which the execution strategy and product-based work breakdown structure may be derived. It provides a guide for Configuration Control documentation.
The description of the purpose form and components of a product. It should always be used as a basis for acceptance of the product by the customer.
Product Flow Diagram
Represents how the products are produced by identifying their derivation and the dependencies between them.
A broad effort encompassing a number of projects and/or functional activities with a common purpose.
Programme Benefits Review
A review to assess if targets have been reached and to measure the performance levels in the resulting business operations.
The senior manager with the responsibility for the overall success of the programme.
A committee that directs the programme when circumstances arise where there is no individual to direct the programme.
Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
PERT is a project management technique for determining how much time a project needs before it is completed. Each activity is assigned a best, worst and most probable completion time estimate. These estimates are used to determine the average completion time. The average times are used to calculate the critical path and the standard deviation of completion times for the entire project.
The effective management of several individual but related projects or functional activities in order to produce an overall system that works effectively.
Programme Management Office
The office responsible for the business and technical management of a specific contract or programme.
Individual or body with responsibility for managing a group of projects.
Programme Support Office
A group that gives administrative support to the programme manager and the programme executive
The partial completion of a project, or a measure of the same.
Payments made to a contractor during the life of a fixed-price type contract, on the basis of some agreed-to formula, for example, Budget Cost of Work Performed or simply costs incurred.
A regular report to senior personnel, sponsors or stakeholders summarising the progress of a project including key events, milestone, costs and other issues.
Unique set of co-ordinated activities, with definite starting and finishing points, undertaken by an individual or organisation to meet specific objectives within defined time, cost and performance parameters. (See also BS ISO 10006).
(Alternative Definition: An endeavour in which human, material and financial resources are organised in a novel way to deliver a unique scope of work of given specification, often within constraints of cost and time, and to achieve beneficial change defined by quantitative and qualitative objectives.)
The discipline of calculating the viability of a project.
Project Base Date
Reference date used as a basis for the start of a project calendar.
A project board is the body to which the Project Manager is accountable for achieving the project objectives.
A statement of reference terms for a project. A written statement of the Client’s goals and requirements in relation to the project.
A calendar that defines global project working and non-working periods.
Communication linking various areas of a project to ensure the transfer of information or hardware at interface points at the appropriate times and identification of any further necessary resources.
Project Co-ordination Procedure
Defines the parties relevant to the project and the approved means of communicating between them.
Person within the parent organisation who promotes and defends a project.
Formal termination of a project at any point during its life.
Project Cost Management
A subset of project management that includes resource planning, cost estimating, cost control and cost budgeting in an effort to complete the project within its approved budget.
The general attitude toward projects within the business.
A report that defines a project i.e. why it is required, what will be done, how, when and where it will be delivered, the organisation and resources required, the standards and procedures to be followed.
The manager of a very large project that demands senior level responsibility or the person at the board level in an organisation who has the overall responsibility for project’s management.
The project environment is the context within which the project is formulated, assessed and realised. This includes all external factors that have an impact on the project.
A documented review of the project’s performance, produced at project closure. It ensures that the experience of the project is recorded for the benefit of others.
A file containing the overall plans of a project and any other important documents.
The beginning of a project at which point certain management activities are required to ensure that the project is established with clear reference terms and adequate management structure.
Project Issue Report
A report that raises either technical or managerial issues in a project.
Project Life Cycle
All phases or stages between a project’s conception and its termination. Note: The project life cycle may include the operation and disposal of project deliverables. This is usually known as an “extended life cycle”.
Project Life Cycle Cost
Cumulative cost of a project over its whole life cycle.
A project diary. A chronological record of significant occurrences throughout the project.
The relationships between the various activities in a project.
Project Logic Drawing
A representation of the logical relationships of a project.
Planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project and the motivation of all those involved in it to achieve the project objectives. (Alternative definition – The controlled implementation of defined change).
Project Management Body of Knowledge
This is an inclusive term that describes the sum of knowledge within the profession of project management. As with other professions, such as law and medicine, the body of knowledge rests with the practitioners and academics that apply and advance it.
Project Management Office (PMO)
An organization or department that oversees and mentors groups of projects. Often the PMO is responsible for setting up policies and standards for the projects in the organization, reviewing and consolidating project reports for external stakeholders, and checking project performance against the organization’s standards.
Project Management Plan
A plan for carrying out a project, to meet specific objectives, that is prepared by or for the project manager.
Project Management Software
Computer application software designed to help with planning and controlling resources, costs and schedules of a project. It may also provide facilities for documentation management, risk analysis etc.
Project Management Team
Members of the project team who are directly involved in its management.
Individual or body with authority, accountability and responsibility for managing a project to achieve specific objectives.
An organisation matrix that is project based in which the functional structures are duplicated in each project.
Comparison of current project status with what was planned to be done to identify and report any deviations.
Representation of activities and/or events with their inter-relationships and dependencies.
Project Network Techniques
Group of techniques that, for the description, analysis, planning and control of projects, considers the logical inter relationships of all project activities. The group includes techniques concerned with time, resources, costs and other influencing factors, e.g. uncertainly. Note: The terms “programme evaluation and review technique” (PERT) “critical path analysis” (CPA), “critical path method” (CPM) and “precedence method” refer to particular techniques and should not be used as synonyms for project network.
Structure is that created or evolved to serve the project and its participants.
(A term, which refers to the structure, roles and responsibilities of the project team and its interfaces to the outside world.)
A group of related project activities that come together with the completion of a deliverable.
A document for management purposes that gives the basics of a project in terms of its objectives, justification, and how the objectives are to be achieved. This document is used as a record of decisions and means of communication among stakeholders. It gives the supporting detail to the project definition, which details the schedule resource and costs for the project.
Developing and maintaining a project plan.
The constituent projects within a programme.
Project Procedures Manual
A collected set of the management and administrative procedures needed for the project.
Project Procurement Management
A subset of procurement management that includes procurement planning, source selection, enquiry, tender assessment, placement of purchase orders and contracts for goods and services, contract and purchase order administration and close-out in an effort to obtain goods and services from outside organisations.
Project Progress Report
Formal statement that compares the project progress, achievements and expectations with the project plan.
Project Quality Management
A subset of project management that includes quality planning, quality assurance and quality control to satisfy the needs and purpose of the project.
Project Review Calendar
Calendar of project review dates, meetings and issues of reports set against project week numbers or dates.
Project Risk Management
A subset of project management that includes risk identification, risk quantification, risk response development and risk response control in an effort to identify, analyse and respond to project risks.
(Planned dates for starting and completing activities and milestones).
Project Scope Management
A subset of project management that includes initiation, scope planning, scope definition, scope verification and scope change control in an effort to ensure that the project has all of the necessary work required to complete it.
(1) The individual or body for whom the project is undertaken, the primary risk taker
(2) The individual representing the sponsoring body and to whom the project manager reports.
(3) A person or organisation providing funds for the project.
The creation of the project team.
Project Status Report
A report on the status of accomplishments and any variances to spending and schedule plans.
A comprehensive definition of how a project will be developed and managed.
Project Success/Failure criteria
The criteria by which the success or failure of a project may be judged.
Project Support Office
The central location of planning and project support functions. Often provides personnel and facilities for centralised planning, cost management, estimating, documentation control and sometimes procurement to a number of projects.
Set of individuals, groups and/or organisations that are responsible to the project manager for undertaking project tasks. (Includes all contractors and consultants).
Project Technical Plan
A plan produced at the beginning of a project that addresses technical issues and strategic issues related to quality control and configuration management.
Project Time Management
A subset of project management that includes activity definition, activity sequencing, activity duration estimating, schedule development and schedule control in order to complete the project on time.
An activity meant to improve the project organisation’s environment in order to improve project performance and reception.