pm glossary


AcceptanceThe formal process of accepting delivery of a product or a deliverable.

ActivityThe smallest self-contained unit of work used to define the logic of a project. In general, activities share the following characteristics: a definite duration, logic relationships to other activities in a project, use resources such as people, materials or facilities, and have an associated cost.

Activity DefinitionIdentifying the specific activities that must be performed in order to produce project deliverables.

Activity DurationActivity duration specifies the length of time (hours, days, weeks, months) that it takes to complete an activity. This information is optional in the data entry of an activity. Work flow (predecessor relationships) can be defined before durations are assigned. Activities with zero durations are considered milestones (milestone value of 1 to 94) or hammocks (milestone value of 95 to 99).

Activity Duration EstimatingEstimating the number of work periods that will be needed to complete the activity.

Activity FileA file containing all data related to the definition of activities on a particular project.

Activity IDA unique code identifying each activity in a project.

Activity-on-NodeA network where activities are represented by a box or a node linked by dependencies. See also Precedence Diagram Method.

Activity StatusThe state of completion of an activity. A planned activity has not yet started. A started activity is in progress. A finished activity is complete.

Actual CostThe cost actually incurred.

Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP)The sum of costs actually incurred in accomplishing the work performed.

Actual Direct CostsThose costs specifically identified with a contract or project, based upon the contractor’s cost identification and accumulation system. See also Direct Costs.

Actual DatesActual dates are entered as the project progresses. These are the dates that activities really started and finished as opposed to planned or projected dates.

Actual FinishDate on which an activity was completed.

Actual StartDate on which an activity was started.

ACWPSee Actual Cost of Work Performed.

ADM ProjectNon-hierarchical project that uses the arrow-diagramming method.

Advanced Material Release (AMR)A document used by organizations to initiate the purchase of long-lead-time or time-critical materials prior to the final release of a design.

AllocationSee Resource Allocation.

Alternate ResourceA resource that may be substituted as the requirement for an activity if the requested resource is not available.

Approval to ProceedApproval by the project board at initiation or prior to the beginning of the next stage.

Archive PlanA function of some computer programs that allows versions of a plan to be archived.

Arrow Diagram Method (ADM)One of two conventions used to represent an activity in a project. Also known as Activity-on-Arrow or i/j method.

As-Late-As-Possible (ALAP)An activity for which the application sets the early dates as late as possible without delaying the early dates of any successor.

As-Soon-As-Possible (ASAP)An activity for which the application sets the early dates to be as soon as possible. This is the default activity type in most project management systems.

AssumptionsStatements taken for granted or truth.

Authorized Unpriced Work (AUW)Any scope changed for which authorization to proceed has been given, but for which the estimated costs are not yet settled.

Authorized WorkThe effort which has been defined, plus that work for which authorization has been given, but for which defined contract costs have not been agreed upon.


Backward PassA procedure within time analysis to calculate the late start and late finish dates of all activities in a project.

Balanced MatrixAn organizational matrix where functions and projects have the same priority.

Bar ChartA view of project data that uses horizontal bars on a time scale to depict activity information. Frequently called a Gantt chart.

BaselineA copy of the project schedule for a particular time (usually before the project is started) that can be used for comparison with the current schedule.

Baseline DatesOriginal planned start and finished dates for an activity. Used to compare with current planned dates to determine any delays. Also used to calculate budgeted cost of work scheduled for earned-valued analysis.

Baseline ReviewA customer review conducted to determine with a limited sampling that a contractor is continuing to use the previously accepted performance system and is properly implementing a baseline on the contract or option under review.

Baseline ScheduleThe baseline schedule is a fixed project schedule. It is the standard by which project performance is measured. The current schedule is copied into the baseline.

Batch OperationsOperations performed by the computer without the need for any user intervention.

BCWPBudget Cost of Work Performed.

BCWSBudget Cost of Work Scheduled.

BenefitsThe enhanced efficiency, economy and effectiveness of future business operations to be delivered by a program.

Benefits FrameworkAn outline of the expected benefits of the program, the business operations affected and current and target performance measures.

Benefits ManagementCombined with program management, Benefits Management is the process for planning, managing, delivering and measuring the program benefits.

Benefits Management PlanSpecifies who is responsible for achieving the benefits set out in the benefit profiles and how achievement of the benefits is to be measured, managed and monitored. The Benefits Management Plan is part of the program definition.

Benefits ProfilesLocated in the program definition, the Benefits Profiles describe the planned benefits to be realized by the program. The benefits profile also states where, when and how they are to be realized.

Bottom Up Cost EstimatingThis is the method of making estimates for every activity in the work breakdown structure and summarizing them to provide a total project cost estimate.

BrainstormingThe unstructured generation of ideas by a group of people.

Breakdown StructureA hierarchical structure by which project elements are broken down, or decomposed. See also Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

BudgetThe planned cost for an activity or project.

Budget CostThe cost anticipated at the start of a project.

Budget at Completion (BAC)The sum total of the time-phased budget.

Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP)A measure used in earned value management system that allows you to quantify the overall progress of the project in monetary terms. BCWP is calculated by applying a performance measurement factor to the planned cost. (By comparing BCWP with ACWP, it is possible to determine if the project is under or over budget.) Another term for BCWP is "earned value."

Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS)The sum of the budgets for all planned work scheduled to be accomplished within a given time period. This term is often used to designate the cumulative to-date budget.

Budget ElementBudget elements are the same as resources -- the people, materials, or other entities needed to do the work of the program. For example, Engineer, Technician, Travel, and Pipe can all be budget elements. These budget elements can be validated against a Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). Budget elements are typically assigned to a work package, but can also be defined at the cost account level.

Budget EstimateSee Estimate.

BudgetingTime phased financial requirements.

Budget UnitThe budget unit is the base unit for the calculation. For example, the Engineer budget element might have a budget unit of hours. Since budget units are user defined, they can be any appropriate unit of measure. For example, a budget unit might be hours, dollars, linear feet, or tons.

BurdenOverhead expenses distributed over appropriate direct labor and/or material base.

Business AssuranceEnsuring that actual costs and elapsed time is in line with plan costs and schedule times and that the business case remains available.

Business Assurance CoordinatorA person in the project assurance team who is responsible for planning, monitoring and reporting on all business assurance aspects of a project.

Business CaseA document used to justify the commitment of resources to a project.


Calculate ScheduleThe Critical Path Method (Calculate Schedule) is a modeling process that defines all the project's critical activities which must be completed on time. The Calc tool bar button on the Gantt and PERT (found in most GUI-based PM software) windows calculates the start and finish dates of activities in the project in two passes. The first pass calculates early start and finish dates from the earliest start date forward. The second pass calculates the late start and finish activities from the latest finish date backwards. The difference between the pairs of start and finish dates for each task is the float or slack time for the task (see FLOAT). Slack is the amount of time a task can be delayed without delaying the project completion date. A great advantage of this method is the fine-tuning that can be done to accelerate the project. Shorten various critical path activities, then check the schedule to see how it is affected by the changes. By experimenting in this manner, the optimal project schedule can be determined.

Calendar FileA file containing calendar information for one or more calendars.

CalendarsA project calendar lists time intervals in which activities or resources can or cannot be scheduled. A project usually has one default calendar for the normal work week (Monday through Friday for example), but may have other calendars as well. Each calendar can be customized with its own holidays and extra work days. Resources and activities can be attached to any of the calendars that are defined.

Case StructureA breakdown of the project budget. Case numbers can be subdivided only twice to produce three levels: Case, Sub-Case, and Sub-Sub-Case.

Change Control Board (CCB)A formally constituted group of stakeholders responsible for approving or rejecting changes to the project baselines.

Change in ScopeSee Scope Change.

Change RequestsChange requests may arise through changes in the business or issues in the project. Change requests should be logged, assessed and agreed on before a commitment to the project can be made. Changes may be needed to the scope, design, methods or planned aspects of a project.

Chart of AccountsAny numbering system, usually based on corporate chart of accounts of the primary performing organization, used to monitor project costs by category.

ChildA lower-level element in a hierarchical structure.

Chunk ChartList of prioritized project work areas for a given case number and fiscal year as part of a Dept. of Energy (DOE) Defense programs (DP) Sector Project Data Document (PDD)

Close OutThe completion of work on a project.

Code FileA file used in reporting that contains information associated with codes entered on an activity record.

CommitmentA binding financial obligation typically in the form of a purchase order. If commitments are entered as a budget, a forecast using the method Retain EAC can show the open commitments.

Committed CostsCosts that will still be incurred even if the project is terminated.

CommunicationThe transmission of information so that the recipient understands what the sender intends.

Communications PlanningDetermining project stakeholders’ communication and information needs.

Completion DateThe date calculated by which the project could finish following careful estimating.

Compound RiskA risk made up of a number of inter-related risks.

Concurrent EngineeringThe systematic approach to the simultaneous, integrated design of products and their related processes, such as manufacturing, testing and supporting.

ConfigurationThe technical description needed to build, test, accept, operate install, maintain and support a system.

Configuration ItemA part a of configuration that has a set function and is designated for configuration management.

Configuration LibrarianResponsible for administering configuration management. The configuration librarian may be on a project team or have system responsibilities rather than project responsibilities.

Configuration ManagementThe process of defining the configuration items in a system, controlling the release and change of those items throughout the project, recording and reporting the status of configuration items, and verifying the completeness of configuration items.

Conflict ManagementThe ability to manage conflict effectively.

ConstraintsApplicable restrictions that will affect the scope of the project.

Consumable ResourceA type of resource that remains available until consumed (for example, a material).

ContingencyA Contingency is the planned allotment of time and cost for unforeseeable elements with a project. Including contingencies will increase the confidence of the overall project.

Contingency PlanningThe development of a management plan that uses alternative strategies to ensure project success if specified risk events occur.

ContractA mutually binding agreement in which the contractor is obligated to provide services or products and the buyer is obligated to provide payment for them. Contracts fall into three categories: fixed price, cost reimbursable or unit price.

Contract Budget BaseThe negotiated contract cost value plus the estimated value of authorized but unpriced work.

Contract Close-outSettlement of a contract.

Contract Target Cost (CTC)The negotiated costs for the original definitized contract and all contractual changes that have been definitized, but excluding the estimated cost of any authorized, unpriced changes. The CTC equals the value of the BAC plus management or contingency reserve.

Contract Target Price (CTP)The negotiated estimated costs plus profit or fee.

Contract Work Breakdown Structure (CWBS)A customer-prepared breakout or subdivision of a project typically down to level three which subdivides the project into all its major hardware, software, and service elements, integrates the customer and contractor effort, provides a framework for the planning, control, and reporting.

Control and CoordinationControl is the process of developing targets and plans; measuring actual performance and comparing it against planned performance and taking the steps to correct the situation. Coordination is the act of ensuring that work is being carried out in different organizations and places to fit together effectively in time, content and cost in order to achieve the project objectives effectively.

Control ChartsControl charts display the results, over time, of a process. They are used to determine if the process is in need of adjustment.

ControlControl is the process of comparing actual performance with planned performance, analyzing the differences, and taking the appropriate corrective action.

Controlling RelationshipThe early dates of an activity is controlled either by a target date on the activity or, more normally, by one of the predecessor relationships. In the latter case, the relationship is called the controlling relationship.

Coordinated MatrixAn organizational structure where the project leader reports to the functional manager and doesn’t have authority over team members from other departments.

Corrective ActionChanges made to bring future project performance into the plan.

CostCost can be divided into internal and external expenses. External costs can be controlled by contracts and budgets for each phase of a project and for each deliverable or work product. Internal cost is the cost of project resources.

Cost AccountA cost account is usually defined as the intersection of the program's work breakdown structure (WBS) and organizational breakdown structure (OBS). In effect, each cost account defines what work is to be performed and who will perform it. Cost accounts are the focal point for the integration of scope, cost, and schedule. Another term for Cost Account is Control Account.

Cost Account Manager (CAM)A member of a functional organization responsible for cost account performance, and for the management of resources to accomplish such tasks.

Cost Account Plan (CAP)The management control unit in which earned value performance measurement takes place.

Cost Benefit AnalysisThe analysis of the potential costs and benefits of a project to allow comparison of the returns from alternative forms of investment.

Cost Breakdown StructureA hierarchical structure that rolls budgeted resources into elements of costs, typically labor, materials and other direct costs.

Cost BudgetingAllocating cost estimates to individual project components.

Cost CodesCode assigned to activities that allow costs to be consolidated according to the elements of a code structure.

Cost Control PointThe point within a program at which costs are entered and controlled. Frequently, the cost control point for a program is either the cost account or the work package.

Cost Control SystemAny system of keeping costs within the bounds of budgets or standards based upon work actually performed. Cost Control is typically a level in the budget element breakdown structure.

Cost CurveA graph plotted against a horizontal time scale and cumulative cost vertical scale.

Cost ElementA unit of costs to perform a task or to acquire an item. The cost estimated may be a single value or a range of values.

Cost EstimatingThe process of predicting the costs of a project.

Cost IncurredCosts identified through the use of the accrued method of accounting or costs actually paid. Costs include direct labor, direct materials, and all allowable indirect costs.

Cost ManagementThe effective financial control of the project through evaluating, estimating, budgeting, monitoring, analyzing, forecasting and reporting the cost information.

Cost of MoneyA form of indirect cost incurred by investing capital in facilities employed on government contracts.

Cost of QualityThe cost of quality planning, control, assurance and rework.

Cost OverrunThe amount by which a contractor exceeds or expects to exceed the estimated costs, and/or the final limitations (the ceiling) of a contract.

Cost Performance Report (CPR)A monthly cost report generated by the performing contractor to reflect cost and schedule status information for management.

Cost Plus Fixed Fee Contract (CPFF)A type of contract where the buyer reimburses the seller for the seller’s allowable costs plus a fixed fee.

Cost Plus Incentive Fee Contract (CPIFC)A type of Contract where the buyer reimburses the seller for the seller's allowable costs and the seller earnes a profit if defined criteria are met.

Cost Reimbursement Type ContractsA category of contracts based on payments to a contractor for allowable estimated costs, normally requiring only a "best efforts" performance standard from the contractor. Risk for all growth over the estimated value rests with the project owner.

Cost/Schedule Control Systems Criteria (C/SCSC)Thiry-five defined standards which have been applied against private contractor management control systems since 1967 in order to insure the government that cost reimbursable and incentive type contracts are managed properly.

Cost/Schedule Planning and Control Specification (C/SPCS)The United States Air Force inititative in the mid-1960's which later resulted in the C/SCSC.

Cost Schedule Status Report (C/SSR)The low-end cost and schedule report generally imposed on smaller value contracts, not warranting full C/SCSC.

Cost Performance Index (CPI)Ratio of work accomplished versus work cost incurred for a specified time period. The CPI is an efficiency rating for work accomplished for resources expended.

Cost VarianceThe difference between the budgeted and actual cost of work performed.

CrashingThe process of reducing the time it takes to complete an activity by adding resources.

Critical ActivityAn activity is termed critical when it has zero or negative float.

Criticality IndexUsed in risk analysis, the criticality index represents the percentage of simulation trails that resulted in the activity being placed on the critical path.

Critical PathSeries of consecutive activities that represent the longest path through the project.

Critical Path Method (CPM)A technique used to predict project duration by analyzing which sequence of activities has the least amount of scheduling flexibility. Early dates are figured by a forward pass using a specific start date and late dates are figured by using a backward starting from a completion date.

C/SCSSee Cost/Schedule Control Systems.

C/SCSCSee Cost/Schedule Control System Criteria.

CustomerAny person who defines needs or wants, justifies or pays for part or the entire project, or evaluates or uses the results.

Cutoff DateThe ending date in a reporting period.


See cost variance.


DangleAn activity or network which has either no predecessors or no successors. If neither, referred to as an isolated activity.

Data TypeThe characteristic indicating whether a data item represents a number, date, character string, etc.

Delaying ResourceIn resource scheduling, inadequate availability of one or more resources may require that the completion of an activity be delayed beyond the date on which it could otherwise be completed. The delaying resource is the first resource on an activity that causes the activity to be delayed.

DelegatingThe process by which authority and responsibility is distributed from Project Manager to subordinates.

DeliverableA report or product that must be completed and delivered to ensure satisfaction of contractual requirements.

Delphi TechniqueA process where a consensus view is reached by consultation with experts. Often used as an estimating technique.

DependenciesDependencies are relationships between products or tasks. For example, one product may be made up of several other ‘dependent’ products or a task may not begin until a ‘dependent’ task is complete. See also logical relationship.

Dependency LinksDifferent types of links connecting activities in a precedence network.

Design and Development PhaseThe time period in which production process and facility and production processes are developed and designed.

Detailed PlansSee Detailed Resource Plan and Detailed Technical Plan.

Detailed Resource PlanA plan implemented when it’s necessary to plan and control a certain major activity within a stage. The plan sets costs and resource usage that correspond to the detailed technical plan.

Detailed Technical PlanA plan used to give a specific breakdown of major activities. It exists in all but the smallest projects.

Deterministic NetworkA network with no facilities to accommodate probabilistic dependencies. Precedence networks are said to be deterministic.

Direct CostsThose costs (labor, material, and other direct costs) that can be consistently related to work performed on a particular project. Direct costs are best contrasted with indirect costs that cannot be identified to a specific project.

Discontinuous ActivityAn activity in which the interval between the start and finish dates is allowed to exceed its duration in order to satisfy start-to-start and finish-to-finish relationships with other activities.

Discontinuous ProcessingThis option assigns the discontinuous attribute to all activities for a time analysis session, except where overridden by a specific activity type.

Discrete EffortTasks that have a specific measurable end product or end result. Discrete tasks are ideal for earned value measurement. See Work Package.

Discrete MilestoneA milestone that has a definite scheduled occurrence in time.

DurationDuration is the length of time needed to complete an activity.

Duration CompressionOften resulting in an increase in cost, duration compression is the shortening of a project schedule without reducing the project scope.


EACSee Estimate At Completion.

Earliest Feasible DateThe earliest date on which the activity could be scheduled to start based on the scheduled dates of all its predecessors, but in the absence of any resource constraints on the activity itself. This date is calculated by resource scheduling.

Early DatesCalculated in the forward pass of time analysis, early dates are the earliest dates on which an activity can start and finish.

Early FinishThe Early Finish date is defined as the earliest calculated date on which an activity can end. It is based on the activity's Early Start which depends on the finish of predecessor activities and the activity's duration. (See EARLY START) Most PM software calculates early dates with a forward pass from the beginning of the project to the end.

Early StartThe Early Start date is defined as the earliest calculated date on which an activity can begin. It is dependent on when all predecessor activities finish. Most PM software calculates early dates with a forward pass from the beginning of the project to the end.

Earned HoursThe time in standard hours credited as a result of the completion of a given task or a group of tasks.

Earned ValueA cost control that allows you to quantify the overall progress of the project in monetary terms. Earned value is calculated by applying a performance measurement factor to the planned cost. Another term for earned value is Budget Cost of Work Performed.

Earned Value AnalysisAnalysis of project progress where the actual money budgeted and spent is compared to the value of the work achieved.

Earned Value Cost ControlThe quantification of the overall progress of a project in dollar terms so as to provide a realistic yardstick against which to compare the actual cost to date.

Earned Value ManagementA management technique that relates resource planning to schedules and to technical cost and schedule requirements. All work is planned, budgeted, and scheduled in time-phased increments constituting a cost and schedule measurement baseline.

EffortThe number of labor units necessary to complete the work. Effort is usually expressed in staffhours, staffdays or staffweeks and should not be confused with duration.

Effort-Driven ActivityAn effort-driven activity provides the option to determine activity duration through resource usage. The resource requiring the greatest time to complete the specified amount of work on the activity will determine its duration.

Effort RemainingThe estimate of effort remaining to complete an activity.

Elapsed TimeElapsed time is the total number of calendar days (excluding non-work days such as weekends or holidays) that is needed to complete an activity. It gives a "real world view" of how long an activity is scheduled to take for completion.

End ActivityAn activity with no logical successors.

Engineering Cost EstimateA detailed cost estimate of the work and related burdens, usually made by industrial engineering or price/cost estimating. Another term for Engineering Cost Estimate is Bottom-up Cost Estimate.

Enterprise-WideAcross an entire sector of technology, business area, etc.

EstimateThe prediction of the quantitative result. It is usually applied to project costs, resources and durations.

Estimate At Completion (EAC)A value expressed in either dollars and /or hours, to represent the projected final costs of work when completed. The EAC is calculated as ETC + ACWP.

Estimate To Complete (ETC)The value expressed in either dollars or hours developed to represent the cost of the work required to complete a task. Cobra calculates the ETC by subtracting the budgeted cost of work performed from the budget at complete. The ETC is calculated as BAC - BCWP.

EstimatingThe act of combining the results of post project reviews, metrics, consultation and informed assessment to arrive at time and resource requirements for an activity.

ETCSee Estimate to Complete.

EventA point that is the beginning or end of an activity and identified by the I-node or J-node respectively.

ExceptionsThose items that exceed the pre-defined acceptable cost and/or schedule variance.

Expected Monetary ValueA measure of probabilistic value. The EMV is calculated by multiplying each outcome value by its probability and adding all of the results together. It can be calculated using a formula shown here.

ExpenditureA charge against available funds, evidenced by a voucher, claim, or other documents. Expenditures represent the actual payment of funds.

Extended Subsequent Applications Review (ESAR)A formal review performed in lieu of a full C/SCSC demonstration review, when contractor conditions have changed or when programs change

External ConstraintAn external constraint on a project could be any factor that affects the ability to complete the project on time, on budget, or on scope.


Fast –TrackingThe process of reducing the number of sequential relationships (FS) and replacing them typically with parallel relationships (SS).

FF LinkSee Finish to Finish link.

FilterA facility allowing subsequent commands to operate only on records that conform to specified criteria.

Finish DateThe actual or estimated time associated with an activity’s completion.

Finish FloatFinish float is the amount of excess time an activity has at its finish before a successor activity must start. This is the difference between the start date of the predecessor and the finish date of the current activity, using the early or late schedule. (Early and Late dates are not mixed.) This may be referred to as slack time. All floats are calculated when a project has its schedule computed.

Finishing ActivityA finishing activity is the last activity that must be completed before a project can be considered finished. This activity is not a predecessor to any other activity -- it has no successors. Many PM software packages allow for multiple finish activities.

Finish-To-Finish LagThe finish-to-finish lag is the minimum amount of time that must pass between the finish of one activity and the finish of its successor(s). All lags are calculated when a project has its schedule computed. Finish-to Finish lags are often used with Start-to-Start lags.

Finish-To-Start LagThe finish-to-start lag is the minimum amount of time that must pass between the finish of one activity and the start of its successor(s). The default finish-to-start lag is zero. All lags are calculated when a project has its schedule computed. In most cases, Finish-to-Start lags are not used with other lag types.

Firm Fixed Price Contract (FFP)A contract where the buyer pays a set amount to the seller regardless of that seller’s cost to complete the project.

Fixed DateA calendar date (associated with a plan) that cannot be moved or changed during the schedule.

Fixed-Duration SchedulingA scheduling method in which, regardless of the number of resources assigned to the task, the duration remains the same.

Fixed FinishSee Imposed Finish.

Fixed Price ContractsA generic category of contracts based on the establishment of firm legal commitments to complete the required work. A performing contractor is legally obligated to finish the job, no matter how much it costs to complete. Risks of all cost growth rest on the performing contractor.

Fixed StartSee Imposed Start.

FloatFloat is the amount of time that an activity can slip past its duration without delaying the rest of the project. The calculation depends on the float type. See START FLOAT, FINISH FLOAT, POSITIVE FLOAT, and NEGATIVE FLOAT. All float is calculated when a project has its schedule computed.

Forecast At Completion (FAC)Scheduled cost for a task.

Forecast Final CostSee Estimate at Completion.

Forward PassA procedure within time analysis to determine the early start and early finish dates of activities.

FragnetSee Subnet.

Free FloatThe maximum amount by which an activity can be delayed beyond its early dates without delaying any successor activity beyond its early dates.

FS LinkSee Finish to Start.

Functional Manager (FM)The person responsible for the business and technical management of a functional group.

Functional MatrixAn organization type where the project has a team leader in each functional department and the products are passed from one team to the next.

Functional OrganizationThe hierarchical organization of a staff according to their specialty.

Funding ProfileAn estimate of funding requirements.


Gantt (Bar) ChartA Gantt chart is a time-phased graphic display of activity durations. It is also referred to as a bar chart. Activities are listed with other tabular information on the left side with time intervals over the bars. Activity durations are shown in the form of horizontal bars.

Gantt, HenryThe inventor of the Gantt Chart.

General and Administrative (G&A or GANDA)A form of indirect expenses incurred for the administration of a company, including senior executive expenses. Such expenses are spread over the total direct and burden costs for the company.

GoalA one sentence definition of specifically what will be accomplished, while incorporating an event signifying completion.


HammocksA hammock groups activities, milestones, or other hammocks together for reporting. A hammock's milestone number ranges from 95 to 99. This allows for five levels of summation. For example, two hammocks at the 95 level can be combined in a 96 level hammock. Any number of hammocks are allowed within the five levels for a project. Most PM software calculates the duration of a hammock from the early and late dates of the activities to which it is linked.

Hard ZerosIn resource scheduling, there is a distinction made between resource availabilities specified as zero but which can be exceeded under certain circumstances, and hard zeros, which can never be exceeded. Hard zeros may cause an activity to be impossible to schedule, in which case the resource scheduling process may be aborted.

Hierarchical Coding StructureA coding system that can be represented as a multi-level tree structure in which every code except those at the top of the tree has a parent code.

Highlight ReportA highlight report reviews progress to date and highlights any actual or potential problems. The project manager prepares this report at intervals determined by the project board.

HistogramA histogram is a graphic display of resource usage over a period of time. It allows the detection of overused or underused resources. The resource usage is displayed in colored vertical bars.

The ideal level for a resource on the screen is indicated by a another color (typically red). (The printed histogram uses a horizontal line to display the maximum usage set in the Resource Label window.) If the resource bar extends beyond the red area for any given day, resources need to be leveled (or spread out) for proper allocation. The resource histograms should be checked after resources are assigned to the project activities.

HolidayAn otherwise valid working day that has been designated as exempt from work.

Hypercritical ActivitiesActivities on the critical path with negative float. This can be achieved through the imposition of constraints such as target dates.


Immediate ActivityAn activity that can be forced to start on its earliest feasible date by resource scheduling, even if that means overloading a resource.

ImpactThe assessment of the adverse effects of an occurring risk.

Impact AnalysisAssessing the pros and cons of pursuing a particular course of action.

Implementation Review or VisitAn initial visit by members of the customer C/SCSC review team to a contractor’s plant to review the contractor’s plans for implementing C/SCSC on a new contract. Such visits should take place within 30 days after contract award.

Imposed FinishA finished date imposed on an activity by external constraints.

Imposed StartA start date imposed on an activity by an external constraint.

Indirect CostResources expended which are not directly identified to any specific contract, project, product or service, such as Overhead and G&A.

Individual Work PlanAn individual work plan defines the responsibilities of an individual team member and is the lowest level of a technical plan.

Informal ReviewA less formal subset of a quality review.

Information DistributionDistributing information to stakeholders in a timely manner.

InitiationCommitting the organization to begin a project.

In ProgressAn activity that has been started, but not yet completed.

Integrated Baseline Review (IBR)The newest form of the Department of Defense C/SCSC verification review process in which the technical staff lead the effort to verify that the entire project baseline is in place, together with a realistic budget to accomplish all planned work.

Integrated Cost/Schedule ReportingSee Earned Value.

Integrated Product Development Teams (IPDT)The development of new products with use of multi-functional teams, who work in unison form the conceptual idea until completion of the product. Integrated product development teams are best contrasted with the traditional form of sequential functional development. Another term for IPDT is Concurrent Engineering.

IntegrationThe process of bringing people, activities and other things together to perform effectively.

International Project Management AssociationA federation of European project management organizations. This does not include PMI or AIPM.

Invitation for Bid (IFB)Similar to a request for proposal, but often with a more specific application area.

IT Executive CommitteeThe departmental top management group that is responsible for the overall direction of IT projects.


Key Event ScheduleSee Master Schedule.

Key Performance IndicatorsMeasurable indicators that will be used to report progress that is chosen to reflect the critical success factors of the project.

KPISee Key Performance Indicators.


Labor Rate VariancesDifference between planned labor rates and actual labor rates.

LadderA sequence of parallel activities connected at their starts or finishes, or both.

LagLag is the time delay between the start or finish of an activity and the start or finish of its successor(s). See FINISH-TO-FINISH LAG, FINISH-TO-START LAG, and START-TO-START LAG.

Late DatesCalculated in the backward pass of time analysis, late dates are the latest dates on which an activity can start and finish.

Late Event DateCalculated from backward pass, it is the latest date an event can occur.

Late FinishLate Finish dates are defined as the latest dates by which an activity can finish to avoid causing delays in the project. Many PM software packages calculate late dates with a backward pass from the end of the project to the beginning.

Late StartLate Start dates are defined as the latest dates by which an activity can start to avoid causing delays in the project. Many PM software packages calculate late dates with a backward pass from the end of the project to the beginning.

LeadershipGetting others to follow direction.

Level of Effort (LOE)Work that does not result in a final product (such as liaison, coordination, follow-up, or other support activities) and which cannot be effectively associated with a definable end product process result. Level of effort is measured only in terms of resources actually consumed within a given time period.

LevelingSee Resource Leveling.

Life-Cycle CostingWhen evaluating alternatives, Life-Cycle Costing is the concept of including acquisition, operating and disposal costs.

LikelihoodAssessment of the probability that a risk will occur.

Line ManagerThe manager of any group that makes a product or performs a service.

LinkSee Logical Relationship.

LinksSee Dependency Links.

LogicSee Network Logic.

Logic DiagramSee Project Network Diagram.

Logic LinkSee Dependency Links.

Logic LoopA circular sequence of dependency links between activities in a network.

Logical RelationshipA logical relationship is based on the dependency between two project activities or between a project activity and a milestone.

LoopIn networks, a set of symbols indicating that one or more activities are mutually dependent.


Management by ProjectA term that is gaining popularity, used to describe normal management processes that are being project managed.

Management DevelopmentAll aspects of staff planning, recruitment, development, training and assessment.

Management Reserve (MR)A portion of the Contract Budget Base that is held for management control purposes by the contractor to cover the expense of unanticipated program requirements. It is not a part of the Performance Measurement Baseline. Another term for Management Reserve is Contingency.

Master ScheduleA summary schedule that identifies major activities and milestones.

MaterialProperty which may be incorporated into or attached to an end item to be delivered under a contract or which may be consumed or expended in the performance of a contract. It includes, but is not limited to raw and processed material, parts, components, assemblies, fuels and lubricants, and small tools and supplies which may be consumed in normal use in the performance of a contract.

Mathematical AnalysisSee Network Analysis.

Matrix OrganizationAn organizational structure where the Project Manager and the Functional Managers share the responsibility of assigning priorities and for directing the work.

MethodologyA documented process for management of projects that contains procedures, definitions and roles and responsibilities.

Mid-Stage AssessmentAn assessment in the middle of a project that can be held for several reasons: 1) at the request of the project board; 2) to authorize work on the next stage before current one is completed; 3) to allow for a formal review in the middle of a long project; or 4) to review exception plans.

Milestone PlanA plan containing only milestones which highlight key points of the project.

Milestone ScheduleA schedule that identifies the major milestones. See also Master Schedule.

MilestonesA milestone is an activity with zero duration (usually marking the end of a period).

Military TimeA means of representing time by use of a twenty-four-hour clock.

Mission StatementBrief summary, approximately one or two sentences, that sums up the background, purposes and benefits of the project.

MitigationWorking to lesson risk by lowering its chances of occurring or by reducing its effect if it occurs.

Modern Project Management (MPM)A term used to distinguish the difference between current broad range project management, which encompasses scope, cost time, quality and risk, from more traditional project management.

MonitoringMonitoring is the analyzing and reporting of project performance as compared to the plan.

Monte Carlo SimulationThe technique used by project management applications to estimate the likely range of outcomes from a complex random process by simulating the process a large number of times.

MSASee Mid-Stage Assessment.

Multi-ProjectA project consisting of multiple subprojects.

Multi-Project AnalysisMulti-project analysis is used to analyze the impact and interaction of activities and resources whose progress affects the progress of a group of projects or for projects with shared resources or both. Multi-project analysis can also be used for composite reporting on projects having no dependencies or resources in common.

Multi-Project ManagementManaging multiple projects that are interconnected either logically or by shared resources.

Multi-UserApplication allowing multiple users simultaneous access to a project and its data.

Must FinishSee Imposed Finished.

Must StartSee Imposed Start.


Near-Critical ActivityA low total float activity.

Negative FloatThe amount of time by which the early date of an activity exceeds its late date.

Negotiated Contract CostThe estimated cost negotiated in a Cost-Plus-Fixed-Fee Contract or the negotiated contract target cost in either a Fixed Price-Incentive Contract or a Cost-Plus-Incentive-Fee Contract. See also Contract Target Cost.

NegotiationThe art of achieving what you want from a transaction, leaving all other parties involved content that the relationship has gone well.

NetworkA view of project data in which the project logic is the sole determinant of the placements of the activities in the drawing. Frequently called a flowchart, PERT chart, logic drawing, or logic diagram.

Network AnalysisNetwork analysis is the process of identifying early and late start and finish dates for project activities. This is done with a forward and backward pass through the project. Many PM software tools will check for loops in the network and issue an error message if one is found. The error message will identify the loop and all activities within it.

Network DiagramA view of project data in which the project logic is the sole determinant of the placements of the activities in the drawing. Frequently called a flowchart, PERT chart, logic drawing or logic diagram.

Network LogicThe collection of activity dependencies that make up a project network.

Network PathA series of connected activities in a project network.

Nonrecurring CostsExpenditures against specific tasks that are expected to occur only once on a given program. Examples are such items as preliminary design effort, qualifications testing, initial tooling, and planning.

Not Earlier ThanA restriction on an activity that indicates that it may not start or end earlier than a specified date.

Not Later thanA restriction on an activity that indicates that it may not start or end later than a specified date.


ObjectivesPredetermined results toward which effort is directed.

OffsetSee Resource offset.

Order of Magnitude EstimateSee Estimate.

Organization DesignThe design of the most appropriate organizational design for a project. There are five basic kinds of organizational design: functional, coordination, balanced, second, and project.

Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS)A hierarchical structure designed to pinpoint the area of an organization responsible for each part of a project.

Organizational PlanningThe process of identifying, assigning and documenting project responsibilities and relationships.

Original BudgetThe initial budget established at or near the time a contract was signed or a project authorized, based on the negotiated contract cost or management’s authorization.

Original DurationSee Baseline Duration.

Other Direct Costs (ODC)A group of accounting elements which can be isolated to specific tasks, other than labor and material. Included in ODC are such items as travel, computer time, and services.

Out-of-Sequence ProgressProgress that has been reported even though activities that have been deemed predecessors in project logic have not been completed.

Output FormatIn Open Plan, device-specific information that governs the final appearance of a report or drawing.

Overall Change ControlCoordinating changes across the entire network.

OverheadCosts incurred in the operation of a business which cannot be directly related to the individual products or services being produced. See also "Indirect Cost."

OverloadThe amount of required resources which exceeds the resource limit.

OverrunCosts incurred in excess of the contract target costs on an incentive type contract or the estimated costs on a fixed fee contract. An overrun is that value of costs which are needed to complete a project, over that value originally authorized by management.

Over Target Baseline (OTB)A baseline which results from formal reprogramming of an overrun, used only with the approval of the customer.


Parallel ActivitiesParallel activities are two or more activities than can be done at the same time. This allows a project to be completed faster than if the activities were arranged serially in a straight line.

PathA path is a series of connected activities. Refer to CRITICAL PATH METHOD for information on critical and non-critical paths.

Path ConvergencePath Convergence is the tendency of parallel paths of approximately equal duration to delay the completion of the milestone where they meet.

PDMSee Precedence Diagram

Percent CompleteOne measure of completion used to determine the remaining duration of a partially completed activity.

Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB)The time-phased budget plan against which project performance is measured. It is formed by the budgets assigned to scheduled cost accounts and the applicable indirect budgets. For future effort, not planned to the cost account level, the Performance Measurement Baseline also includes budgets assigned to higher-level CWBS elements. The PMB does not include any management or contingency reserves, which are isolated above the PMB.

Performance Measurement Techniques (PMT)Performance measurement techniques (PMTs) are the methods used to estimate earned value. Different methods are appropriate to different work packages, either due to the nature of the work or to the planned duration of the work package. Another term for Performance Measurement Techniques is Earned Value Methods.

Performance ReportingCollecting project performance information and distributing it to ensure project performance.

PerformingA team building stage where the emphasis is on the work currently being performed.

Performing OrganizationThe organizational unit responsible for the performance and management of resources to accomplish a task.

Period of PerformanceThe time interval of contract performance that includes the effort required to achieve all significant contractual schedule milestones.

Pessimistic DurationThe longest duration in the three duration technique.

PhaseSee Project Phase.

Physical Percent CompleteThe percentage of the work content of an activity that has been achieved.

PlacementsThe ability to direct aspects of a network view.

PlanA plan is an intended future course of action. It is the basis of the project controls.

Planned ActivityAn activity not yet started.

Planned CostCosts set when the schedule becomes the plan or baseline plan.

PlanningThe process of identifying the means, resources and actions necessary to accomplish an objective.

Planning PackageA logical aggregation of far-term work within a cost account that can be identified and budgeted but not yet defined into work packages. Planning packages are identified during the initial baseline planning to establish the time phasing of the major activities within a cost account and the quantity of the resources required for their performance. Planning packages are placed into work packages consistent with the rolling wave concept prior to the performance of the work.

Planning StageThe stage prior to the implementation stage when product activity, resource and quality plans are produced.

PMISee Project Management Institute.

PMPSee Project Management Professional.

Pool ResourceA group of resources related by skill, department or function.

Positive FloatPositive float is defined as the amount of time that an activity's start can be delayed without affecting the project completion date. An activity with positive float is not on the critical path and is called a non-critical activity. Most software packages calculate float time during schedule analysis. The difference between early and late dates (start or finish) determines the amount of float.

Post Implementation ReviewA review between 6-12 months after a system in a project has met its objectives and the system continues to meet user requirements.

Post Project AppraisalAn evaluation that provides feedback for future use and education.

Precedence Diagram Method (PDM)One of the two methods of representing project as networks, in which the activities are represented by nodes and the relationships between them by arcs. (The other method, Arrow Diagram Method, is rarely used.)

Precedence NotationPrecedence notation is a means of describing project work flow. It is sometimes called activity-on-node notation. Graphically, precedence networks are represented by using descriptive boxes and connecting arrows to denote the flow of work.

PredecessorAn activity that must be completed (or be partially completed) before a specified activity can begin is called a predecessor. The combination of all predecessors and successors (see SUCCESSOR) relationships among the project activities forms a network. This network can be analyzed to determine the critical path and other project scheduling implications.

Predecessor ActivityIn the precedence diagramming method it is the "from activity," or the activity which logically precedes the current activity.

PresenterPerson with the responsibility of making sure that those at a quality review have information needed to carry out the review.

Priority RuleA rule used to determine the order of processing in resource scheduling algorithms.

ProbabilityLikelihood of a risk occurring.

ProcessA set of interrelated work activities in which value is added to the inputs to provide specific outputs.

Procurement PlanningDetermining what to procure and when.

Product Breakdown StructureThis identifies the products which are required and which must be produced. It describes the systems in a hierarchical way.

Product DescriptionThe description of the purpose form and components of a product. It should always be used as a basis for acceptance of the product by the customer.

Product Flow DiagramRepresents how the products are produced by identifying their derivation and the dependencies between them.

Product Realization Team (PRT)A mutli-disciplinary team that is responsible for the definition, development, delivery and support of a product through concurrent engineering methods.

ProgramA broad effort encompassing a number of projects.

Program Benefits ReviewA review to assess if targets have been reached and to measure the performance levels in the resulting business operations.

Program Benefits Review ReportA report produced at the end of a program that describes the findings, conclusions and recommendations in the program benefit review.

Program BriefProduced in the program identification phase, the program brief sums up the program and gives the terms of reference for the work to be carried out and the program director’s terms of reference.

Program Definition PhaseProgram management’s second phase including a feasibility study, full definition and funding approval.

Program DirectorThe senior manager with the responsibility for the overall success of the program. The program director is drawn from the management of the target business area.

Program DirectorateA committee that directs the program when circumstances arise where there is no individual to direct the program.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)PERT is a project management technique for determining how much time a project needs before it is completed. Each activity is assigned a best, worst, and most probable completion time estimate. These estimates are used to determine the average completion time. The average times are used to figure the critical path and the standard deviation of completion times for the entire project.

Program Execution PhaseThe phase in program management where project portfolio management and transition activities are undertaken.

Program ExecutiveA group of individuals that supports the program director.

Program Identification PhaseProgram management’s first phase. Here, all high-level change proposals from available strategies and initiatives are considered and their objectives and directions translated into achievable programs of work.

Program ManagementThe effective management of several individual but related projects in order to produce an overall system that works effectively.

Program Management OfficeThe office responsible for the business and technical management of a specific contract or program.

Program PlanA term that refers to all of the following: benefits management plans, risk management plan, transition plan, project portfolio plan and design management plan.

Program Status DateThe date up to which all program information is complete.

Program Support OfficeA group that gives administrative support to the program manager and the program executive.

ProgressThe partial completion of a project, or a measure of same. Also, the act of entering progress information for a project.

Progress PaymentsPayments made to a contractor during the life of a fixed-price type contract, on the basis of some agreed-to formula, for example, BCWP or simply costs incurred on most government type contracting.

Progress ReportingThe act of collecting information on work done and revised estimates, updating the plan and reporting the new revised plan.

ProjectA set of activities directed to an overall goal. Also, the collection of data relating to the achievement of that goal. More specifically, a network of activities, or file(s) containing such a network.

Project AppraisalThe discipline of calculating the viability of a project.

Project Assurance TeamA three-member team comprised of the business assurance coordinator, the technical assurance coordinator and the user assurance coordinator whose roles cross stage boundaries and through whom continuity of project development and technical product integrity is maintained.

Project BoardA project board is the body to which the Project Manager is accountable for achieving the project objectives. The project Board should be viewed to represent the stakeholders. For example, on a small project the sponsor may represent the interests of the ‘executive’, the ‘senior user’, and the ‘technical authority’, where in a large project, the Project Board may be larger than the three or four usual members.

Project BoundaryThe boundary of a project which is defined to indicate how the project interacts both with other projects and non-project activity both in and outside of the organization.

Project BriefA statement of reference terms for a project.

Project CalendarA calendar that defines global project working and non-working periods.

Project ChampionA senior manager who is above the project manager who gains support and resources for the project.

Project CharterA project charter clearly defines a project definition in order to bring a project team into necessary agreement. A project charter consists of a mission statement, including background, purpose, and benefits, a goal, objectives, scope and assumptions and constraints.

Project ClosureThe formal end of a project. It requires the project board’s approval.

Project Communications ManagementA subset of project management that includes communications planning, information planning, information distribution, performance reporting and administrative closure in an effort to correctly disseminate project information.

Project Cost ManagementA subset of project management that includes resource planning, cost estimating, cost control and cost budgeting in an effort to complete the budget with in its approved proposal.

Project CultureThe general attitude toward projects within the business.

Project Data Document (PDD)A summary of the project plan for the business office.

Project DirectorThe manager of a very large project that demands senior level responsibility or the person at the board level in an organization who has the overall responsibility for projects management.

Project DirectoryA file containing a record for each project maintained by the system.

Project EnvironmentThe project environment is the context within which the project is formulated, assessed and realized. This includes all external factors that have an impact on the project.

Project EvaluationA documented review of the project’s performance, produced at project closure. It ensures that the experience of the project is recorded for the benefit of others.

Project FileA file containing the overall plans of a project and any other important documents.

Project InitiationThe beginning of a project at which point certain management activities are required to ensure that the project is established with clear reference terms and substantial management structure.

Project Initiation DocumentA document approved by the project board at project initiation that defines the terms of reference for the project.

Project Issue ReportA report that raises either technical or managerial issues in a project.

Project LifecycleThe events, from beginning to end, necessary to complete a project.

Project LogicThe relationships between the various activities in a project.

Project Logic DrawingA representation of the logical relationships of a project.

Project ManagementApproach used to manage work with the constraints of time, cost and performance targets.

Project Management Body of KnowledgeThis is an inclusive term that describes the sum of knowledge within the profession of project management. As with other professions such as law and medicine, the body of knowledge rests with the practitioners and academics that apply and advance it.

Project Management InstituteThe American professional body for project managers.

Project Management Professional (PMP)An individual certified by the Project Management Institute.

Project Management SoftwareA computer application designed to help with planning and controlling resources, costs and schedules of a project.

Project Management TeamMembers of the project team who are directly involved in its management.

Project ManagerThe Project Manager is the individual responsible for the day-to-day management of the project.

Project MatrixAn organization matrix that is project based in which the functional structures are duplicated in each project.

Project OrganizationA term which refers to the structure, roles and responsibilities of the project team and its interfaces to the outside world.

Project Network DiagramDrawn from left to right to shown project chronology, a Project Network Diagram displays the logical relationships between project activities.

Project PhaseA group of related project activities that come together with the completion of a deliverable.

Project PlanA document for management purposes that gives the basics of a project in terms of its objectives, justification, and how the objectives are to be achieved. This document is used as a record of decisions and a means of communication among stakeholders.

Project Plan DevelopmentProject Plan Development is the process of putting the results of other planning processes into a consistent document.

Project Plan ExecutionThe act of carrying out activities as stated in the project plan.

Project PlanningDeveloping and maintaining a project plan.

Project PortfolioThe constituent projects within a program.

Project Portfolio PlanA plan within the program definition statement that defines a schedule of work that includes the timing, resourcing and control for the programs projects.

Project Procurement ManagementA subset of project management that includes procurement planning, solicitation and solicitation planning, source selection, contract administration and contract close-out in an effort to obtain goods and services from outside organizations.

Project Quality ManagementA subset of project management that includes quality planning, quality assurance and quality control in an effort to satisfy the needs and purpose of the project.

Project Risk ManagementA subset of project management that includes risk identification, risk quantification, risk response development and risk response control in an effort to identify, analyze and respond to project risks.

Project SchedulePlanned dates for starting and completing activities and milestones.

Project Scope ManagementA subset of project management that includes initiation, scope planning, scope definition, scope verification and scope change control in an effort to ensure that the project has all of the necessary work required to complete it.

Project SponsorA sponsor is a person or group concerned with the definition of project objectives in the context of the sponsoring organization.

Project Status ReportA report on the status of accomplishments and any variances to spending and schedule plans.

Project StrategyA comprehensive definition of how a project will be managed.

Project Success/Failure CriteriaThe criteria by which the success or failure of a project may be based.

Project Support OfficeThe central location of planning and project support functions that has the responsibility of managing resources across projects and maintaining planning standards.

Project TeamThose who report to the project manager.

Project Technical PlanA plan produced at the beginning of a project that addresses strategic issues related to quality control and configuration management.

Project Time ManagementA subset of project management that includes activity definition, activity sequencing, activity duration estimating, schedule development and schedule control in order to complete the project on time.

PROMS-GThe project management special interest group of the British Computer Society.

PublicIndividuals who have an interest in the project outcome, but are not directly involved in it.

Public RelationsAn activity meant to improve the project organization’s environment in order to improve project performance and reception.



See Quality Assurance.

Qualitative Risk AnalysisA generic term for subjective methods of assessing risks.

QualityA trait or characteristic used to measure the degree of excellence of a product or service.

Quality Assurance (QA)The process of evaluating overall project performance on a regular basis to provide confidence that the project will satisfy the relevant quality standards.

Quality Assurance PlanA plan that guarantees a quality approach and conformance to all customer requirements for all activities in a project.

Quality Control (QC)The process of monitoring specific project results to determine if they comply with relevant standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory performance.

Quality CriteriaThe characteristics of a product that determines whether it meets certain requirements.

Quality FileContains records of quality reviews and technical exceptions procedures of a project.

Quality GuideThe quality guide describes quality and configuration management procedures and is aimed at people directly involved with quality reviews, configuration management and technical exceptions.

Quality PlanningDetermining which quality standards are necessary and how to apply them.

Quality ReviewA review of a product against an established set of quality criteria.


Readiness AssessmentA meeting or series of meetings by selected members of the customer C/SCSC review team at a contractor’s plant, to review contractor plans and progress in implementing C/SCSC in preparation for a full demonstration review.

Recurring CostsExpenditures against specific tasks that would occur on a repetitive basis. Examples are sustaining engineering, production of operational equipment, tool maintenance, etc.

RelationshipA logical connection between two activities.

Relationship FloatRelationship free float is the amount by which the lag on that relationship would have to be increased in order to delay the successor activity. Relationship total float is the amount by which it would have to be increased in order to cause a delay in the completion of the project as a whole (or the violation of a late target).

Remaining DurationTime needed to complete the remainder of an activity or project.

ReplanningActions performed for any remaining effort within project scope. Often the cost and/or schedule variances are zeroed out at this time for history items.

Report Specification FileA set of codified instructions, which defines the layout of a report.

Re-ProfilingIn resource scheduling it is possible to indicate that the specified resource requirement profile may be modified to fit the availability, without changing the total amount required.

Request for ChangeA proposal by the project manager for a change to the project as a result of a project issue report.

Request for Proposal (RFP)A bid document used to solicit proposals from prospective sellers of products or services.

Request for QuotationEquivalent to a Request for Proposal but with more specific application areas.

RequirementsA negotiated set of measurable customer wants and needs.

ResourceAn item required to accomplish an activity. Resources can be people, equipment, facilities, funding or anything else needed to perform the work of a project.

Resource AnalysisA term for resource leveling and resource smoothing.

Resource AssignmentThe work on an activity related to a specific resource.

Resource AvailabilityThe level of availability of a resource, which may vary over time.

Resource Breakdown StructureA feature of hierarchical resources that facilitates both roll-up reporting and summary resource scheduling by enabling you to schedule at the detailed requirements level, and roll up both requirements and availabilities to a higher level.

Resource CalendarA calendar that defines the working and non-working patterns for specific resources.

Resource Driven Task DurationsTask durations that are driven by the need for scarce resources.

Resource HistogramA view of project data in which resource requirements, usage, and availabilities are shown against a time scale.

Resource LevelA specified level of resource units required by an activity per time unit.

Resource LevelingThe resource scheduling process of determining scheduled dates such that neither the project completion date nor any target finishes are jeopardized while minimizing the maximum extent to which any resource availability is exceeded.

Resource-Limited Resource SchedulingThe production of scheduled dates in which the resource constraints are considered as absolute and project completion is delayed as necessary to avoid exceeding resource requirements.

Resource OffsetIn the definition of resource requirements, the number of work periods between the start of the activity and when the resource is first required.

Resource OptimizationA term for resource leveling and resource smoothing.

Resource PeriodIn the definition of a resource requirement, the number of work periods for which a resource is required.

Resource PlanningEvaluating what resources are needed to complete a project and determining the quantity needed.

Resource PoolA higher level resource in a resource breakdown structure.

Resource ProfileThe multiple specification of a single resource requirement or availability to indicate a variation over a period of time.

Resource RequirementThe requirement for a particular resource by a particular activity.

Resource SchedulingThe process of determining dates on which activities should be performed in order to smooth the demand for resources, or to avoid exceeding stated constraints on these resources. (See also, Resource Leveling, Time-Limited Resource Scheduling and Resource-Limited Resource Scheduling.)

Resourcing PlanPart of the definition statement stating how the program will be resource loaded and what supporting services, infrastructure and third party services are required.

Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)The RAM correlates the work required by a Contract Work Breakdown Structure (CWBS) element to the functional organization responsible for accomplishing the assigned tasks. The responsibility assignment matrix is created by intersecting the CWBS with the program Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS). This intersection identifies the cost account.

Responsibility ChartSee Responsibility Assignment Matrix.

Responsibility MatrixSee Responsibility Assignment Matrix.

Responsible OrganizationA defined unit within the contractor’s organization structure which is assigned responsibility for accomplishing specific tasks, or cost accounts.

RetainageA part of payment withheld until the project is completed in order to ensure satisfactory performance completion of contract terms.

ReviewersThose responsible for ensuring a product is completed and fault free at a quality review.

RFCSee Request for Change.

RiskThe probability of an undesirable outcome.

Risk AnalysisA technique designed to quantify the impact of uncertainty. Usually, but not necessarily, associated with the Monte Carlo Simulation technique.

Risk Analysis HistogramA view in which the results of risk analysis are displayed as vertical bars, S-curves, or tables against a date scale.

Risk AvoidancePlanning activities to avoid risks that have been identified.

Risk EventA discrete occurrence that effects a project.

Risk IdentificationDetermining which risk events will effect the project.

Risk ManagementThe art and science of identifying and assessing the risk factors during a project and responding to them in the best interests of the project objectives.

Risk Management PlanPart of the program definition statement that contains a record of all the risks in the business environment, and to the program itself.

Risk MatrixA matrix with risks located in rows, and with impact and likelihood in columns.

Risk PrioritizingOrdering of risks according first to their risk value, and then by which risks need to be considered for risk reduction, risk avoidance, and risk transfer.

Risk QuantificationEvaluating the probability of risk event effect and occurrence.

Risk RankingAllocating a classification to the impact and likelihood of a risk.

Risk ReductionAction taken to reduce the likelihood and impact of a risk.

Risk RegisterA file that holds all information on identifying and managing a risk.

Risk Response ControlResponding to changes in risk during a project.

Risk Response DevelopmentDeveloping a plan of action to enhance opportunities and decrease threats.

RisksRisks are events that if they occur can jeopardize the successful completion of the project. Risks should be identified and assessed for probability of occurrence and impact on the project.

Risk TransferA contractual arrangement between two parties for delivery and acceptance of a product where the liability for the costs of a risk is be transferred from one party to the other.

Risk ValueThe number obtained when numeric impact and likelihood values are multiplied.

Rubber BaseliningAn attempt by a contractor to take far-term budget and move it into the current period, in an attempt to disguise cost problems. Approach will be to move budget, but without a corresponding value of work, to mask cost difficulties. It is an indicator of a likely cost overrun condition.


ScheduleA Schedule is the timetable for a project. It shows how project tasks and milestones are planned out over a period of time.

Schedule CompressionSee Duration Compression.

Schedule ControlControlling schedule changes.

Schedule DatesThe start and finish dates calculated by the resource scheduling program, having regard to resource constraints as well as project logic.

Schedule DevelopmentDeveloping a project schedule based on activity sequences, activity durations and resource requirements.

Schedule Performance Index (SPI)Ratio of work accomplished versus work planned, for a specified time period. The SPI is an efficiency rating for work accomplishment, comparing work accomplished to what should have been accomplished.

Schedule VarianceThe difference between the budgeted cost of work performed and the budgeted cost of work scheduled at any point in time (BCWP-BCWS).

Scheduled FinishThe date calculated by the resource scheduling program as the earliest date on which an activity can finish, having regard to resource constraints as well as project logic.

Scheduled StartThe date calculated by the resource scheduling program as the earliest date on which an activity can start, having regard to resource constraints as well as project logic.

SchedulingScheduling is the process of determining when project activities will take place depending on defined durations and precedent activities. Schedule constraints specify when an activity should start or end based on duration, predecessors, external predecessor relationships, resource availability, or target dates.

ScopeThe scope is the sum of work content of a project.

Scope BaselineSee Baseline.

Scope ChangeAny change in a project scope that requires a change in the project’s cost or schedule.

Scope Change ControlControlling changes to the scope.

Scope DefinitionBreaking down a deliverable in to smaller manageable parts to ensure better control.

Scope VerificationEnsuring all identified project deliverables have been completed satisfactorily.

Scope of WorkA chronological description of the work to be accomplished or resources to be supplied.

S-CurveA display of cumulative costs, labor hours or other quantities plotted against time.

Security PlanA plan to abide by security measures related to the project.

Semi-Time-Scaled Logic DrawingA drawing in which the positioning of the activities is modified somewhat by some date. Unlike true time-scaled drawings in which all horizontal positions correspond to a point in time, semi-time scaled logic drawings simply group activities whose dates fall within a specific time period.

Senior TechnicalA member of the project board who represents the interests of the development and operational organizations.

Senior UserA member of the project board who represent the interests of user and others affected by the project.

SequenceSequence is the order in which activities will occur with respect to one another. This establishes the priority and dependencies between activities. Successor and predecessor relationships are developed in a network format. This allows those involved in the project to visualize the work flow.

SF LinkSee Start to Finish.

Should-Cost EstimatesAn estimate of the cost of a product or service used to provide an assessment of the reasonableness of a prospective contractor’s proposed cost.

Skill GroupsSome computer packages allow the definition of resources by their skills. The scheduling algorithm then chooses the most appropriate resource for an activity based on its availability and skill.

SkillsA feature of hierarchical resources that allows you to assign an attribute to a resource, and to define the resource requirement for an activity in terms of that attribute.

SlippageSlippage is the amount of slack or float time used up by the current activity due to a delayed start. If an activity without float is delayed, the entire project will slip.

SmoothingThis refers to a resource-scheduling option that modifies the way time-limited scheduling (and resource-limited with thresholds) works. The objective of time-limited scheduling is to minimize the maximum extent that each resource availability needs to be exceeded, and the standard algorithm gives itself the maximum flexibility to achieve this by making use of any excess already incurred. The smoothing option modifies this so that it will not use the excess for a particular activity unless necessary in order to schedule that activity within its total float.

Soft ProjectA project that is intended to bring about change and doe not have a physical end product.

Soft SkillsSoft skills include team building, conflict management and negotiation.

SolicitationThe process of obtaining quotes, bids or proposals.

Solicitation PlanningIdentifying targets for quotes, bids or proposals.

Source SelectionChoosing from potential contractors.

Span ActivitySee Hammocks.

Spending PlanThe total budgeted funds, based on the same subcategories as the cost plan, for a given task area over a given fiscal year.

Spending Plan Adjustments FormA form used to change and authorize a spending plan adjustment during a fiscal year. The form explains why the spending plan and the cost plan do not match.

SplittingIn resource scheduling, it is possible to specify that an activity may be split if this results in an earlier scheduled finish date. This means that the specified duration may be divided into two or more pieces, while retaining the specified profile for resource requirements relative to this split duration.

SS LinkSee Start to Start.

StageA subsection of a project that has its own organizational structure, life span and manager.

Stage AssessmentSee End Stage Assessment and Mid-Stage Assessment.

Stage FileA file with the detailed management plans and reports for the stage.

Stage ManagerThe person responsible for the management and successful completion of the stage.

Stage Resource PlanA plan with all of the details of the required resources for a stage.

Stage TeamsA team built to complete a stage.

Stage Technical PlanA plan that states all of the technical products, activities and quality controls of a stage.

StakeholdersStakeholders are the people who have a vested interest in the outcome of the project.

Start-to-FinishSee Logical Relationship.

Start FloatStart float is the amount of excess time an activity has between its Early Start and Late Start dates.

Start-To-Start LagStart-to-start lag is the minimum amount of time that must pass between the start of one activity and the start of its successor(s). This may be expressed in terms of duration or percentage.

Starting ActivityA starting activity has no predecessors. It does not have to wait for any other activity to start. Many PM software packages permit multiple start activities if needed.

Statement of Work (SOW)A description of product and service to be procured under contract; a statement of requirements.

Status DateSee Time Now.

Status ReportsWritten reports given to both the project team and to a responsible person on a regular basis stating the status of an activity, work package, or whole project. Status Reports should be used to control the project and to keep management informed of project status.

StretchingIn resource scheduling it is possible to specify that an activity may be stretched if this results in an earlier scheduled finish date. This means that the specified duration may be increased, while the specified profile is reduced proportionally.

SubcontractA contractual document which legally defines the effort of providing services, data, or other hardware, from one firm to another.

SubnetA division of a project network diagram representing a subproject.

SubnetworkSee Subnet.

SubprojectA group activities represented as a single activity in a higher level of the same.

Subsequent Application Review (SAR)A review by customer personnel to determine whether the contractor has properly applied the C/SCSC to a new contract.

SuccessorA successor is an activity whose start or finish depends on the start or finish of a predecessor activity. Refer to PREDECESSOR for related information.

Sunk CostsUnavoidable costs.

Super-Critical ActivityAn activity that is behind schedule is considered to be super-critical. It has been delayed to a point where its float is calculated to be a negative value. The negative float is representative of the number of units an activity is behind schedule.

SystemThe complete technical output of the project including technical products.

System Acceptance LetterA letter signed by the senior technical member of the project board after ensuring the project has completed system test requirements and is ready for user acceptance.

Systems and ProceduresSystems and procedures detail the standard methods, practices and procedures of handling frequently occurring events within the project.

Systems ManagementManagement that includes the prime activities of systems analysis, systems design and engineering and systems development.


Target Completion DateA date which contractors strive toward for completion of the activity.

Target DateDate imposed on an activity or project by the user. There are two types of target dates; target start dates, and target finish dates.

Target Finish -- ActivityTarget Finish is the user's imposed finish date for an activity. A Target Finish date is used if there are pre-defined commitment dates. Most PM software will not schedule a Late Finish date later than the Target Finish date. Your favorite PM software may alert you to negative float which occurs when a Late Finish date is later than a Target Finish date. This is caused by the duration of predecessors which makes it impossible to meet the Target Finish date. The negative float can be eliminated by reducing the duration of predecessors, increasing parallelism, or extending the Target Finish date.

Target Finish DateThe date planned to finish work on an activity.

Target Finish -- ProjectA user's Target Finish date can be imposed on a project as a whole. A Target Finish date is used if there is a pre-defined completion date. Most PM software will not schedule any Late Finish date later than the Target Finish date. See TARGET FINISH ACTIVITY on how to deal with negative float.

Target ScheduleSee Baseline.

Target Start -- ActivityTarget Start is an imposed starting date on an activity. Most PM software will not schedule an Early Start date earlier than the Target Start date.

Target Start DateThe date planned to start work on an activity.

TaskAlso called an activity. Tasks take place over a period of time and generally consumes resources.

TeamA team is made up of two or more people working interdependently toward a common goal and a shared reward.

Team BuildingThe ability to gather the right people to join a project team and get them working together for the benefit of a project.

Team DevelopmentDeveloping skills, as a group and individually, that enhance project performance.

Team LeaderPerson responsible for managing a stage team.

Team MembersIndividuals, reporting to the project manager, who are responsible for some aspect of the projects activities.

Technical AssuranceThe monitoring of the technical integrity of products.

Technical Assurance CoordinatorA member of the project assurance team who is responsible for reporting the technical assurance aspects of a project.

Technical ExceptionUnplanned situations relating to an end product.

Technical FileA file that holds all of the end products to be delivered at the end of a project.

Technical GuideA document that guides stage managers, team leaders and technical assurance coordinators on planning the production of products.

Technical ProductsProducts produced by a project for an end user.

Three Duration TechniqueA method to reduce estimating uncertainty.

Time AnalysisThe process of calculating the early and late dates for each activity on a project, based on the duration of the activities and the logical relations between them.

Time-Limited Resource SchedulingThe production of scheduled dates in which resource constraints may be relaxed in order to avoid any delay in project completion.

Time NowThe time at which all remaining work starts. Sometimes referred to as the status date because all progress information entered for a project should be correct as of this date. No work will be scheduled by the time analysis or resource scheduling programs prior to this date.

Time RecordingThe recording of effort done on each activity in order to update a project plan.

Time Recording SoftwareSoftware packages that build a time sheet from project planning software files and feed actual effort back to the project plan.

Time-Scaled Logic DrawingA drawing that allows you to display the logical connection between activities in the context of a time scale in which each horizontal position represents a point in time.

Time-Scaled Network DiagramAny project network diagram drawn so that the positioning of the activity represents schedule.

Time SheetA means of recording the actual effort expended against project and non-project activities.

To Complete Performance Index (TCPI)The projected performance which must be achieved on all remaining work in order to meet some financial goal set by management.

TolerabilityAn accepted level of risk in order to achieve certain benefits.

ToleranceThe permitted cost and timescale limits set by the executive committee for the project or set by the project board.

Top Down Cost EstimatingThe total project cost subdivided for individual activities based on historical costs and other project variables.

Total Allocated Budget (TAB)The sum of all budgets allocated to the contract. This value is the same as the Contract Budget Base (CBB) unless an Over Target Baseline (OTB) has been established.

Total FloatThe maximum number of work periods by which an activity can be delayed without delaying project completion or violating a target finish date.

Total Quality Management (TQM)A strategic, integrated management systems for customer satisfaction that guides all employees in every aspect of their work.

TrackingCollecting actual time, cost and resource information and putting them back into the project plan.

Transition PlanPart of the program definition statement that describes how the transition from the current business operation to the new environment of the blueprint will be managed.

Triple ConstraintTriple constraint is accomplishing performance specifications, time schedules and monetary budgets simultaneously.

Turnaround ReportA report created especially for the various responsible managers to enter their progress status against a list of activities that are scheduled to be in progress during a particular time window.


Undistributed Budget (UB)Budget applicable to contract effort which has not yet been identified to specific cost accounts or work packages.

User Acceptance LetterA letter prepared by the project or stage manager after ensuring that the system complies with the user's acceptance criteria.

User Assurance CoordinatorThe individual who represents the users on a day-today basis and is responsible for reporting and monitoring the user assurance components of a project.


ValidationA term used in C/SCSC to mean approval or compliance with the criteria.

ValueA standard, principle or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.

Value ManagementA structured means of improving business effectiveness that includes the use of management techniques such as value engineering and value analysis.

VarianceA discrepancy between the actual and planned performance on a project, either in terms of schedule or cost.

Variance at Completion (VAC)Variance at Complete is the algebraic difference between Budget at Complete and Estimate at Complete.

Variance ThresholdThe amount of a variance which will require a formal Problem Analysis Report, as agreed to by the contractor and the customer. Variance parameters will differ depending on the function, level and stage of the project.

Variation OrderThe term used in the construction industry for an approved technical change to the project.


WBS DictionaryA document that describes each element in the WBS including a Statement of Work (SOW), describing the work content of the WBS element, and a Basis of Estimate (BOE), describing how the budget of the element was developed. Additional information about each WBS element might include the responsible organization, contract number, and so on. The WBS Dictionary will often result in the project or contract statement of work (SOW).

What-If AnalysisThe process of evaluating alternative strategies.

WorkThe total number of hours, people or effort required to complete a task.

WorkaroundAn unplanned response to a negative event.

Work Breakdown CodeA code that represents the ‘family tree’ of an element in a work breakdown structure.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)The WBS is a tool for defining the hierarchical breakdown and work in a project. It is developed by identifying the highest level of work in the project. These major categories are broken down into smaller components.

The subdivision continues until the lowest required level of detail is established. These end units of the WBS become the activities in a project. Once implemented, the WBS facilitates summary reporting at a variety of levels.

Work FlowWork flow is the relationship of the activities in a project from start to finish. Work flow takes into consideration all types of activity relationships.

Work LoadWork load is the amount of work units assigned to a resource over a period of time.

Work ItemSee activity.

Work PackageDetailed short-span tasks, or material items, identified by the performing contractor for accomplishing work required to complete a project. A work package represents a further breakdown of the work defined by the cost account. In traditional cost/schedule systems, the criteria for defining work packages is as follows: 1) Each work package is clearly distinguishable from all other work packages in the program. 2) Each work package has a scheduled start and finish date. 3) Each work package has an assigned budget that is time-phased over the duration of the work package. 4) Each work package either has a relatively short duration, or can be divided into a series of milestones whose status can be objectively measured. 5) Each work package has a schedule that is integrated with higher-level schedules.

Work ProductsWork Products are the results or deliverables that need to be produced in order to complete the project and deliver the necessary changes. The work products may range from a new building to a completed training course.

Work UnitsWork units is the measurement of resources. For example, people as a resource can be measured by the number of hours they work.


Zero FloatZero float is a condition where there is no excess time between activities. An activity with zero float is considered a critical activity. If the duration of any critical activity is increased (the activity slips), the project finish date will slip.