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Project Management Key Terms – Part 9

Project Management Key Terms – Part 9


This is also known as an activity, an individual step performed to reach a project’s goals

Technical performance measurement

A performance measurement technique that compares technical accomplishments during project execution to the project management plan’s schedule of planned technical achievements.

It may use key technical parameters of the product produced by the project as a quality metric.  Be achieved metric values are part of the work performance information

Three-point estimates

An estimating method of accounts for uncertainty by averaging the optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely estimates.  A three-point Estimates may be modified by averaging the one optimistic, one pessimistic, and for most likely estimates


A cost, time, quality, technical, or resource value used as a parameter, and which may be included in product specifications.  Crossing the threshold should trigger some action, such as generating an exception report


A condition or situation unfavourable to the project, a negative set of circumstances, a negative set of events, a risk that will have a negative impact on a project objective if it occurs, or a possibility for negative changes.

Time and material (T&M) contract

A type of contract that is a hybrid contractual arrangement containing aspects of both cost reimbursable and fixed price contracts.

Time and material contracts resemble cost reimbursable type arrangements in that they have no definitive end, because the full value of the arrangement is not defined at the time of the award.

Thus, time and material contracts can grow in contract value as if they were a cost reimbursable type arrangements.  Conversely, time and material arrangements can also resemble fixed price arrangements.

For example, the unit rates are preset by the buyer and seller, when both parties agree on the rates for the category of senior engineers

Timescale schedule network diagram

Any project schedule network diagram drawn in such a way that the positioning and length of the schedule activity represents its duration.  Essentially, it is a bar chart that includes schedule network logic


The area of a Gantt chart that displays units of time.  When the timescale is placed against those units of time, task bars graphically represent the timing of tasks

To complete performance index (TCPI)

The calculated projection of cost performance that must be achieved on the remaining work to meet a specified management goal, such as the budget at completion or the estimate at completion.  It is the ratio of remaining work to the funds remaining

Total float

The total amount of time that a schedule activity may be delayed from its early start date without delaying the project finish date, or violating a schedule constraint.

Calculated using the critical path method technique and determining the difference between the early finish dates and late finish dates.  This is also known as free float


Recording the actual progress of work completed and the cost approved for projects task

Trend analysis

An analytical technique that uses mathematical models to forecast future outcomes based on historical results.

It is a method of determining the variance from a baseline of the budget, cost, schedule, or scope parameter by using prior progress reporting periods’ data and projecting how much that parameters variance from baseline might be at some future point in the project if no changes are made in executing the project.

Triggers indications that the risk has occurred or is about to occur.  Triggers may be discovered in the risk identification process and watched in the risk monitoring and control process.  Triggers are sometimes called risk symptoms or warning signs.


The assurance that the product, service, or system meets the needs of the customer and other identified stakeholders.  It often involves acceptance and suitability with external customers

Value engineering

An approach used to optimize project lifecycle costs, save time, increased profits, improve quality, expand market share, solve problems, and/or use resources more effectively


A quantifiable deviation, departure, or divergence away from unknown baseline or expected value

Variance analysis

A method for resolving the total variance in the set of scope, cost, and schedule variables into specific component variances that are associated with defined factors affecting the scope, cost, and schedule variables.


The evaluation of whether or not a product, service, or system complies with a regulation, requirement, specification, or impose condition.  It is often an internal process

Virtual team

A group of persons with shared objectives and fulfill their roles with little or no time spent meeting face to face.  Various forms of technology are often used to facilitate communication among team members.  Virtual teams can be comprised of persons separated by a great distance

Voice of the customer

A planning technique used to provide products, services, and results that truly reflect customer requirements by translating those customer requirements into the appropriate technical requirements for each phase of project product development.

Work authorization

A permission and direction, typically written, to begin work on a specific schedule activity or work package or control account.  It is a method for sanctioning project work to ensure that the work is done by the identified organisation, at the right time, and in the proper sequence.

Work authorization system

This tool is a subsystem of the overall project management system.  Is a collection of formal documented procedures that defines how a project work will be authorized (committed) to ensure that the work is done by the identified organisation, at the right time, and in the proper sequence.

It includes the steps, documents, tracking system, and defined approval levels needed to issue work authorizations.

Work breakdown structure (WBS)

A deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.  It organizes and defines the total scope of the project

Work breakdown structure component

An entry in the work breakdown structure that can be at any level

Work breakdown structure dictionary

A document that describes each component in the work breakdown structure (WBS).  For each WBS components, the WBS dictionary includes a brief definition of the scope or statement of work, defined deliverables, a list of associated activities, and the list of milestones.

Other information may include, responsible organization, start and end dates, resources required, and estimate of cost, charge number, contract information, quality requirements, and technical references to facilitate performance of the work.


The amount of work that any resources performing and are given time, taking into account all tasks to which the resource is assigned

Work package

A deliverable or project work component at the lowest level of each branch of the work breakdown structure.

Work performance information

Information and data on the status of the project schedule activities being performed to accomplish the project work, collected as part of the direct and manage project execution processes.

Information includes, status of deliverables, implementation status for change requests, corrective actions, preventative actions, and defect repairs, forecasted estimates to complete, reported percent of work physically completed, achieved value of technical performance measures, start and finish dates of schedule activities.


A response to a negative risk that has occurred.  If distinguished from contingency plan in that a work around is not planned in advance of the occurrence of the risk event.

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