A not entirely serious Glossary of Project Management terms:

Activity List

You need one of these. It will define the tasks (activities) needed to finish the project. Think of a shopping list. A BIG shopping list.


Not only money, but all your resources. Count yourself in it and the office cat. There is never enough budget, of course.


Constraints are factors that will limit the project manager’s options. For example, a predefined budget is a constraint that is highly likely to limit your options regarding scope, staffing, and schedule. When a project is performed under contract, contractual provisions will generally be constraints.


The individual or organization who will use the project product. There may be multiple layers of customers. For example, the customers for a new pharmaceutical product may include the doctors who prescribe it, the patients who take it, and (in the USA) the insurers who pay for it.

Key success criteria

What your success is measured by. IF you are very lucky (and I have been) you get to write these. Marketing hate writing these, so here’s your opportunity!

Project sponsor

The big-wig who wants this all done. Theory has it, this person will sort out any problems you have with higher management, and will ‘sponsor’ the project through the organisation. Ha! They go to ground pretty-damn-quick, usually.
Formal Definition: the individual or group within the performing organization who provides the financial resources, in cash or in kind, for the project.

Project stakeholders

The individuals and organizations who are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected as a result of the project. You’ve got to identify the stakeholders, their needs and expectations, and then manage and influence those expectations to ensure a successful project. Easy peasy, really. So, tell me, is a call centre worker whose future employment depends on the outcome of a new product design project a stakeholder?

Key stakeholders on every project include:

  • Project manager –aha! Guess who?
  • Customer (see elsewhere)
  • Performing organization –the enterprise whose employees are most directly involved in doing the work of the project.
  • Sponsor (see elsewhere)

Project risks

Everything that can go wrong. Start listing them now. Why didn’t you start yesterday? And, yes, I meant everything.

Project Scope

What the project covers, what it doesn’t cover. The limits of your responsibility. Be careful in drawing this up. A definition of Project scope (i.e. a written scope statement) is essential to your future health, wealth and well-being.
For example, an engineering firm contracted to design a petroleum processing plant must have a scope statement defining the boundaries of its work on the design subproject. The scope statement forms a basis for identifying project objectives and project deliverables.

Scope Planning

The process of developing a written scope statement as the basis for future project decisions including, crucially, the criteria used to determine if the project or project phase has been completed successfully.

Scope statement

The scope statement should include, either directly or by reference to other documents:

  • Project justification–the business need that the project was undertaken to ad-dress. The project justification provides the basis for evaluating future trade-offs.
  • Project product–a brief summary of the product description
  • Project deliverables–a list of the summary level sub-products whose full and satisfactory delivery marks completion of the project. For example, the major deliverables for a software development project will include the working computer code, a user manual, and full documentation.
  • Project objectives–the quantifiable criteria that must be met for the project to be considered successful. Project objectives should include: cost, schedule, and quality measures. Unquantified objectives (e.g., customer satisfaction) entail high risk as you can never prove you met them.

Work Breakdown Structure

Essentially a structured Activity List. It defines the tasks (activities) needed to finish the project.

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