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Glossary not only for a project captain

Terms from project management can make a lot of people seasick. However project management is very important for every company so the project can make progress as it is supposed to, every team member know what to do and finally the project can achieve its stated goal. To give you and your crew clear view on the horizon, we have described the most common project management terms for you.

Agile methods

These are the most effective project management methodologies, based on the active cooperation and open communication, not only in your team, but also with the customer. These methods easily respond to changes in customer requirements and the entire project flow is easier to adapt.

Acceptance criteria

Acceptance criteria are the conditions that must be fulfilled for the results of the project to be accepted thus the project could be successful.


This is the property or economic resources of the company. Or we can say the asset is the aggregate of all resources belonging to the entrepreneur and is intended to business use.

Alternative planning

That’s actually kind of a plan B – alternative strategy for developing a plan in case insurmountable complications arise.


This term is used for counter trade in which no money is involved. Simply it means product or service for product or service.


Brainstorming is creative group activity that should generate as many new creative ideas on a given topic as possible.


These are the money devoted to the certain project or activity.

Change management

This is a systematic approach to deal with the changes required for the company development and competitiveness. It means knowledge, tools, processes and techniques to adapt an individual or group to beneficial change.

Communication management

This is the collection of rules, plans and control of all communication channels across one organisation or between more of them.

Contingency plan

This is a backup plan in the case of any disaster, like unexpected expenses or any team change comes up. It can also be explained as a collection of steps to be used in these unexpected situations, when the original plan cannot be used.

Cost management

As simple as it sounds, cost management is the term for management of costs, concern for better efficiency and performance of the company. It includes for example using more economical technologies, improving work organisation or optimum use of funding.

Cost variation

Cost variation expresses how real costs differ from the planned ones. Simply it tells you if you overrun or saved the costs.


Costs are monetary values of all inputs you used through the project implementation.

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)

CBA is the method that compares the project benefits and the costs we have invested in it.

Critical success factors (CSF)

CSF are specific elements and circumstances necessary to enable a positive outcome of the project.


Delegation means shifting the responsibility for a particular task or work in general from one team member to another.


Documentation is a set of documents with information pertinent to the project.

Earned value

Earned value is the partial value of the consumed resources planned for the project, which corresponds to the percentage of completion of the project.


This is simply the ability to quickly adapt to new circumstances as they arise.

Gantt chart

Gantt chart is a bart chart that shows a visual view of scheduling of a sequence of activities in time. The chart lists the project’s time dates on the horizontal axis. On the vertical axis there are all tasks to be performed.

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This term refers to the positive or negative influence of any event over the project goal.


This is the process to successfully achieve the goal.

Incident management

This is the process used as a response for an unplanned event. It is the practice of minimizing the negative impact and restoring normal service operation, when it is interrupted or worsened.


Inputs ar all physical and non-physical assets used for the project, such as money, skills, material or information.


This is the act of control and organization. Together with the implementation they run concurrently from the beginning to the end of the project.

Management team

These are the people in charge (or in leading roles) who work on the project.

Net present value (NPV)

NPV is the value of all cash flows. This method expresses how much money for the company will the investment in the project bring.


This is the ability to meet specific goals. It can be also seen as the amount of work done in a specific time period.

Problem management

This kind of management is focused on the examination of problem’s causes and incidents in order to minimize or better completely prevent future troubles. Problem management should simply reduce the likelihood and impact of incidents.


These are simply the steps designed to achieve particular results. These steps are directly linked to each other and they repeat. You can imagine the process as a cake, but the project is the cake baking itself.


Product is the item or the service which is the result of the production. It can be anything what can be offered on the market and is produced for profit.


Project is actually the implementation of process. It is the set of tasks and activities which leads to achieving the set goals. Project is unique and has a set time in which it should be completed for certain costs, but there is not necessary to always set time frame, because sometimes it is handy to have one never-ending project for example for day-to-day agenda. Project has a clear vision.

Project assumptions

Assumption is any factor that can have impact on the project. It has to be taken into account in the planning phase.

Project goal

Project goal is the successful final result of the project.

Project management

Project management covers the planning, delegation, management and controlling of all project aspects and also motivation of the team to achieve the project goal in budget. Simply, it is the use of specific skills, tools and techniques to make everything work and achieve the project goal.

Project manager

Project manager is someone, who manages the whole project and is in charge of it. He or she is responsible for the project, its progress and quality and also for reaching the project’s goal. Project manager has to ensure that the project is on time, on budget and within scope.

Project milestone

This is s marker in the project that signifies an achievement or the completion of a phase in a project timeline. Milestone can be also seen as a checkpoint.

Project plan

This is the documentation that outlines the project. It includes information about the project goal, what procedures has to be followed to achieve it,  project timeline and the execution and control stages of the project.

Project schedule

Project schedule is a timetable that organizes tasks and due dates of the project within allowed time frame.

Project support

This can be any kind of assistance provided for the project, such as consultancy or advice, administrative services or collection of current data.

Quality control

Quality control is the process through which the product quality is maintained. It includes measuring the specific values or observation of specific characteristics, which may influence the quality of the product.


This is the possible event or condition that may occur and have a negative impact on the project’s goal.

Risk management

Risk management focuses on what could go wrong, analyses and evaluates the risks and threats for the project. These could be financial risks or lack of human skills.


Roadmap is a plan fot further development. Simply, it defines the direction in which the project should evolve and what should be accomplished in which deadline.


Source is everything what is needed to the work on the project, such as people, equipment and documents.


This is a carefully developed long-term plan or method for achieving the goal.


Supplier is a person or an organisation, which supplies you with a product or a service. The supplier can provide the inputs to your projects or the complete project.


Team is simply the group of people, who work together on a project to achieve the certain goal. So simply you and your crew.


This can be any external negative event, person or activity, which could damage the value of the assets and have an adverse effect on the progress of the project.

Time management

Time management is a set of activities (such as delegation, time analysis or prioritization) that leads to better time scheduling and increasing efficiency. It answers to a questions how to divide the time between the tasks effectively.

Waterfall model

This is the classical sequential model. The waterfall model emphasizes a logical progression of steps, so one activity can start after another one is finished. While using this method, detailed planning, deadlines and timeline are very important.

Isn’t there whole sea of terms? More like an ocean! But you need to clarify the terminology before you dive into the project, so the whole crew is clear. It’ll avoid a lot of potential misunderstandings.

Updated on 28.2.2023
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