Do you know all the most common and popular phrases that are used in the Project Management world? What are the TOP 13 Project Management terms?
Hey Crizpers, today we are going to have a kind of ‘revise & brush-up’ topic. I would like to outline the most popular 13 Project Management terms that are used often in my application field. And I am curious, does everybody else in the Project Management world use the same terms? Or do you have some different pop expressions? Please, add your portion of terms in comments!
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I was thinking about grouping these terms, and the best approach I have managed to choose is to split them into two project phases. Initiation, when everything starts, and Project Life. I believe that Project Initiation has the most of the ambiguous terms. So let’s start from the moment we are opening a project. I would stick with the most not-straight-forward expressions, thus I guess we will skip estimates and schedule.. If you need an explanation for these terms too, tell me in comments! Now, here we go.
People might have a confusion due to the term title. Project Plan itself is not a simple description of what we are going to do. Project Plan is a set of project documents that helps to keep the project on track and control the process. In the Project Plan kit we are adding Project Charter, Project Requirements, Project Scope, Project Schedule, Project Budget and Cost Management Plan, Project Metrics, Matrixes, Schemas, Quality Management Plan, and other useful papers. Finally, this gonna be a big folder and keeping it up-to-date is called managing Project Knowledge.
This is maybe one of the most mysterious docs. At least it was for me when I started my Project Management journey. Actually, similar to other Project Management documents, there is no rigid criteria on how to build a Project Charter. However, the main purpose of having this document is to outline the Project Manager’s authority to act on behalf of a customer who orders a project.
Additionally, we usually add a brief description of a project, customer contact information, list of the key stakeholders, information about the approved scope, budget and timeline. However, as I have mentioned, the content of Project Charter may very depends on the company requirements to the corporate documentation.
In a couple of words, these are the project result rules we need to comply with. When the project is being initiated, we have an idea. Once the light is on, a customer needs to clarify what the final output should look like and how exactly it should function. For instance, we want a new e-commerce website with the modern theme installed and with a payment method implemented. Here the e-commerce website, modern theme and a payment method would be the requirements.
The Scope of Work, or Project Scope is built out of the project requirements. Basically, this is a list of features that should be present in the final product. From the above we can take the e-commerce website, modern theme and a payment method. We need to define the platform we are going to take as a basis for our e-commerce, a suitable theme and a payment method to be implemented. Let’s say, we are going to pick WordPress, Goran theme and Stripe payment solution. These specified items will become features and a Project Scope.
By the way, Scope of Work and Statement of Work is the same thing. The only difference is that Scope of Work if for internal projects, and Statement of Work is for external customers. But maybe even this is not a big deal.
Work Breakdown Structure is a decomposition of the Project Scope. These gonna be activities we would need to undertake for every project feature to be delivered. We will be creating tasks to outline what should be done in order to have a WordPress solution installed. For instance, 1. Setting up a web-hosting; 2. Enabling a domain; 3. Enabling the WordPress e-commerce solution; 4. Adjusting basic settings and so on. WBS helps to clarify what should be done to get the work done.
Basically, this is a meeting when we discuss a project, its requirements, scope and other relevant details with the execution team. The moment when the kick-off meeting should have place may also vary from company to company. Some of them are kicking-off when they only have a request from a customer to initiate the work. Officially according to the taught standards, a kick-off meeting should be scheduled when a project is planned, estimates and timeline are set. In this meeting we need to explain to all the team members what they are going to do and how.
Project Life Terms
As for the Stakeholders, I guess we have already discussed this instance in the ‘How Risk Management Works‘ article. Shortly, a Stakeholder is a person who could impact, or could be impacted by the project. Thus, stakeholders are not just the key people, but this are everybody who are at least a little bit related to the project. As an example, if you are managing a project to build a new house, neighbors from the houses nearby and the city authorities will become the project stakeholders; as well as the customer who orders the project, your team, vendors, and people from other departments in your company, who assists to deliver the outcome.
This is an Agile and Scrum term. A Sprint is a short time-boxed period when a team works to complete a set amount of work. This helps to focus the team on delivering a certain volume of scope within the defined period of time according to the project priorities. Remember our features from the Scope. In the beginning of the project we are prioritizing them to define which ones would be more crucial. Let’s say, we cannot instal a payment method until we have a platform. However, for starting a product we may not need a new design instantly. Therefore, a platform setup becomes a feature of the top priority and we are going to take it into the first sprint. This will guarantee that the team will not be distracted to the new theme installation from the very start of the project.
Milestones are the logically separated packs of features and in the end of every milestone we should get a product that is able to live. One milestone usually contains several sprints if we talk about Agile. Let’s return to our features and look into them again. To start working the e-commerce website needs to have an active platform and a payment method. Therefore, we are most likely going to take these two features in the first milestone: WordPress setup and Stripe implementation. At the end of the milestone we would be able to launch the product and to start earning money. In the meantime, we will be working on the new design which is gonna be implemented in the second milestone.
As you may remember, in the ‘How Risk Management Works‘ article we have been discussing what a Risk is. This is a forecasted negative OR positive event which is likely to occur. I would advise you hopping onto that topic to get more details. For now you could keep in mind that Risk is not always something bad, and it is something that has not happened yet.
Anything that is bringing changes to the initially approved scope is a Change Request. Ideally, all of them should be documented, estimated, scheduled and APPROVED. Otherwise, there is a Risk of falling into Scope Creep and Gold Plating – check this article for two more terms.
I guess I have touched base on all the general terms that can be met in every project event in a small one. Let me know if you would like to get clarification on more terms? Which terms do you use in work?