Common Project Management Terminology

Assumption: A factor in the planning process that is considered to be true, real, or certain, without proof or demonstration

Change Control: A process whereby modifications to project scope, schedule, time, quality, and other components are identified, documented, and either approved or rejected; helps reduce scope creep and ensures the full impact of a change is known, documented, and communicated before being implemented

Constraint: A limiting factor that affects the execution of a project, program, portfolio, or process

Customer: The person(s) or organization(s) that will pay for the project’s product, service, or result

End User: The person(s) or organization(s) that will use the project’s product, service, or result; may be the same as the Customer

Portfolio: All of an organization’s projects, programs, subportfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives; portfolio management is the centralized management of one or more portfolios

Program: A group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available form managing them individually; program management is the centralized management of one or more programs

Project: A temporary endeavor undertaken to produce a unique product, service, or result. ITS also uses the following criteria to define a project:

  • Requires more than 40 hours of work
  • Requires resources from 2+ ITS teams (or more than 40 hours of work from one ITS team)
  • Has a significant level of impact or complexity
  • Is not related to existing daily operations

Project Charter: The document that formally authorizes the existence of a project, provides a high-level project overview, and authorizes the project manager to apply organizational resources to project activities

Project Management Life Cycle: The series of phases that a project passes through from identification to closeout

Project Management: The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements

Project Management Office: An organizational structure that standardizes the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques

Project Plan: The document that describes how the project will be executed, monitored, and controlled; includes, but is not limited to, the project schedule

Project Sponsor: A person or group that provides resources (especially funding) and support for the project, program, or portfolio and is accountable for enabling success; also may be referred to as the “Project Champion”

Scope: The sum of the products, services, and results to be provided as a project; should be defined both in terms of inclusion (“What is in scope?”) and exclusion (“What is out of scope?”)

Stakeholder: An individual, group, or organization that may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project

Triple Constraint: Scope, time, and cost – the three key attributes that must be handled effectively for successful completion of any project, so called because a change to any one of these factors almost always leads to a modification to one or both of the others; also referred to as the “Iron Triangle”

Work Breakdown Structure: A hierarchical breakdown of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables

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The PMO Team

Vikki M. Massey, PMP, MS, MA
(901) 448-8040

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Shawn Bryan
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