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PMP Definitions

PMP Definitions

If you intend taking the PMP exam then it is important that you become familiar with the exact terminology that needs to be applied.

First we will compare and contrast the terms project and operations.  The definition of a project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.  Operations are ongoing, and produce identical or similar outputs.

It is very often the case that the end product of a project is then passed over into operations where it is used to deliver benefits for the organization.

A product, also called a deliverable, describes an artefact or a component of an artefact.  The artefact is quantifiable and for a given project it may be the end product or describe a component of the end-product.  Since any deliverables may be a product a result, or a capability, you can see how this can be the same as a product.  When considering different types of resources, then you may describe material or goods as a form of products.  They deliverable may be created from within the project or it may be developed external to the project.

These should not be confused with the tasks or activities, and it easy way to spot the difference is that a task is normally described by a noun and a verb for example ‘create a document’.  Whereas a product would be described by a noun or outcome for example ‘new Computer System’.

A service is described as a function of a series of steps and actions that supports the business or a stakeholder for example ‘help desk’.

A result is defined as an outcome, information or knowledge and may typically described some form of study, research or a trial. It is an output obtained by performing project management processes and activities and such results may include outcomes and documentation.

The definition of a project manager is the person who has been assigned by the performing organization to achieve the project’s objectives.  Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to the project objectives in order to meet by project requirements.

Projects, programmes and portfolios.

Many individuals and organisations often confuse the differences between these three and is therefore important for you to understand clearly the differences between them:

Programme.  The American spelling is Program.  It defines a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available for managing them individually.  Programs may also include aspects of related work outside of the scope of the projects within such a programme.

Programme management/Program Management.  This is the Centralized coordinated management of a programme in order to achieve the programs strategic objectives and benefits.  Programs are not large and complex projects as they are a collection of projects that support a common goal.

A precise definition of programme management will include managing the integration of multiple projects with our ongoing operations, governments throughout the programme, and realizing the benefits that the programme is expected to deliver.

Portfolios are more strategic then projects and consist of a group of projects or programs that are grouped together to meet strategic business objectives.  Projects within the portfolio are grouped in order to facilitate affected management of the work to meet the above strategic business objectives.

Portfolio management is described as the centralised management of one or more portfolios which would include identifying, prioritising, authorizing, managing, and controlling projects, programmes and other related work in order to achieve the specific portfolio strategic business objectives.

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About the Author Dave Litten

David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of project-related downloadable video training products under the Primer and PM Mastery System brand names. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.