Trying to find the definition of a Project Management Term?

Acceptability Criteria
A limit or limits placed upon the degree of non-conformance permitted in material or products expressed in definitive operational terms. Also known as acceptance criteria.

Acceptable Quality Level ("AQL")
The maximum percent defective (or the maximum number of defects per hundred units) that, for the purpose of sampling inspection, can be considered satisfactory as a process average.

The formal process of accepting delivery of a product or intermediate project deliverable after having assured that it meets the stated requirements.

Acceptance Number
The maximum number of defects or defective units in the sample that will permit acceptance of the inspection lot or batch.

Acceptance Review
A control gate at which the buyer determines that the item presented for acceptance complies with its specification. Acceptance Reviews occur at all levels in the system hierarchy. The verification results are presented as evidence of specification compliance.

Acceptance Test
Tests conducted in accordance with an approved verification plan and approved test procedures. Tests are best conducted by an independent organization and witnessed by a representative of the buyer for compliance with the test procedure and verification plan.

Acceptance Test Procedure ("ATP")
Detailed step-by- step instructions for the set-up, operation, and evaluation of tests. The procedure includes the approach to sampling and statistical quality control.

A listing or statement of fiscal, corporate, or project cost data.

Being answerable for results.

Accountability Matrix
A structure that relates the project organization structure to the work breakdown structure to help ensure that each element of the project's scope of work is assigned to a responsible individual. Same as Responsibility Assignment Matrix.

See Project Accounting.

In project accounting, a set of cost statements that display the current status of the project and future status upon completion.

Accrual Accounting
A system of accounting in which expenses are recognized when incurred, and revenues are recognized when they are known, regardless of the time when actual payment of cash is made or received.

Accrued Cost
A cost that is incurred all at once at a certain time in a project or gradually, for instance, over the entire time a task is being worked on.

A degree of exactness, usually expressed as a range when used in connection with cost and time estimates.

The obtaining under contract of supplies and services to meet the needs of a project.

Acquisition Control
A system for acquiring project equipment, material and services in a uniform and orderly fashion.

Acquisition Evaluation
Review and analysis of responses to determine supplier's ability to perform the work as requested. This activity may include an evaluation of supplier's financial resources, ability to comply with technical criteria and delivery schedules, satisfactory record of performance and eligibility for award.

Acquisition Methods
The various ways by which goods or services are acquired from suppliers.

Acquisition Negotiations
Contracting without formal advertising. This method offers flexible procedures, permits bargaining and provides an opportunity to prospective suppliers to revise their offers before the award.

Acquisition Plan
The document that describes the approach for acquisition. It defines competitive or sole source, schedule, funding, manpower, facilities, risk, etc.

Acquisition Planning
The process by which the efforts of all personnel responsible for an acquisition are coordinated and integrated through a comprehensive plan for fulfilling the organization's need in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost. It includes developing the overall strategy for managing the acquisition.

Acquisition Process
The process of acquiring personnel/goods/services for new or existing work within the general definitions of contracts requiring an offer and acceptance, consideration, lawful subject matter and competent parties.

Action Item
Something agreed to be done as a result of a discussion at a meeting and usually recorded in the minutes of that meeting.

Action Plan
A description of what needs to be done, when and by whom.

An element of work performed during the course of a project. An activity normally has an expected duration, an expected cost, and expected resource requirements. Activities are often subdivided into tasks.

Activity Calendar
In computer scheduling, the calendar that defines the working and non-working patterns for an activity. The Activity Calendar is normally overridden by the Project Calendar.

Activity Code
A set of numeric or alpha-numeric characters that uniquely identifies a particular activity. Typically developed by numbering the activities and tasks in the WBS. See also Activity ID.

Activity Definition
Identifying the specific activities that must be performed to produce the various project deliverables.

Activity Description
A short phrase or label used in a project network diagram. The activity description normally describes the scope of work of the activity.

Activity Duration
The best estimate of the time necessary for the accomplishment of the work involved in an activity, considering the nature of the work and resources needed for it.

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

Activity ID
A unique code identifying each activity in a project. See also Activity Code.

Activity List
List of project activities.

Activity on Arrow ("AOA")
A network diagram showing sequence of activities, in which each activity is represented by an arrow, with a circle representing a node or event at each end. See also Arrow Diagramming Method.

Activity on Node ("AON")
A network where activities are represented by a box or a node linked by dependencies. See also Precedence Diagram Method.

Activity Properties
A description of the attributes of the activity such as start and finish times, resources required and anticipated cost, etc.

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

Information that shows what has actually occurred. For example, the actual start date for a task is the day on which the task actually started, and its actual cost is the amount spent up to the present.

Actual Cost of Work Performed ("ACWP")
Total costs incurred (direct and indirect) in accomplishing work during a given time period. ACWP is used in the earned value method of progress measurement. See also earned value analysis.

Actual Costs
The costs actually incurred and recorded for work performed. Sometimes referred to as Actuals.

Actual Dates
The dates that activities really started and finished as opposed to planned or projected dates.

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

Actual Expenditures
See Actual Costs.

Actual Finish
Date on which an activity was completed.

Actual Finish Date ("AF")
The calendar date that work actually ended on an activity. It must be prior to or equal to the data date. The remaining duration of this activity is zero.

Actual Start Date ("AS")
The date work actually started on an activity.

See Actual Cost of Work Performed

Added Value
The addition of some worthwhile quality or performance improvement as a result of some action taken, which may or may not have been part of the original understanding, agreement or contract.

See Arrow Diagram Method

Administrative Closure
Generating, gathering, and disseminating information to formalize phase or project completion.

Administrative Change
A unilateral contract modification, in writing, that does not affect the substantive rights of the parties (e.g., a change in the billing office).

See Automated Data Processing

See Alternative Dispute Resolution

See Actual Finish Date

A legal relationship by which one party is empowered to act on behalf of another party.

A list of things to be done or discussed, typically at a meeting.

Summation of parts. Typically used in reference to estimating.

Agreement, Legal
A legal document that sets out the terms of a contract between two parties.

See As-Late-As-Possible

A type of mathematical model used for running calculations, typically computerized. For example, different project management scheduling software programs use different Algorithms for calculating Resource Leveling.

Allocated Baseline
Requirements allocated to lower level system elements that are controlled by formal change control.

The process of allocating work on a task to specific resources. See also Resource Allocation.

Allowable Cost
A cost that meets the tests of:

  • Reasonableness
  • Relevance to the contract
  • Accounting in accordance with standards promulgated by the Cost Accounting Standards Board, if applicable; otherwise, generally accepted accounting principles and practices appropriate to the particular circumstances
  • The terms of the contract

Alternate Resource
A resource that may be substituted in a task if the requested resource is not available.

Alternatives Analysis
Breaking down a complex scope situation for the purpose of generating and evaluating different solutions and approaches.

Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR")
Any procedure or combination of procedures voluntarily used to resolve issues in controversy without the need to resort to litigation. These procedures may include, but are not limited to, assisted settlement negotiations, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, fact-finding, mini-trials, and arbitration.

Review of the means available and the impact of trade-offs to attain the objectives.

See Advanced Material Release

The study and examination of something complex and separation into its more simple components. Analysis typically includes discovering not only what are the parts of the thing being studied, but also how they fit together and why they are arranged in this particular way. A study of schedule variances for cause, impact, and corrective action.

Analogous Cost Estimating
An estimating method which determines the rough cost of a project by comparing it with an older, similar project for which actual costs are available. A variety of top-down estimating that is typically used in the early planning stages before a more accuate, bottoms-up approach can be generated.

Anticipated Award Cost
The most probable contract price at time of tender and award. It forms part of the forecast to complete.

See Activity on Arrow

See Activity on Node

See Average Outgoing Quality

See Area of Project Management Application

Apparent Low Bidder
The contractor who has submitted the lowest compliant bid for all or part of a project as described in a set of bid documents.

An act of putting to use (new techniques): an act of applying techniques.

Application Area
A category of projects that have common elements not present in all projects. Application areas are usually defined in terms of either the product of the project (i.e., by similar technologies or industry sectors) or the type of customer (e.g., internal vs. external, government vs. commercial, etc.).

Application Programmers
Those programmers responsible for the development of computer programs that perform a specific function.

Apportioned Effort
Effort that is not itself readily divisible into short-span work packages but which is related and proportional to measured effort in other work packages. Project management overhead as an example.

Apportioned Task
A task that is dependent on or related to the performance of another task.

An impartial evaluation of information concerning a system, service or product to determine either its value or its measure of effectiveness and efficiency for purposes of making recommendations.

An allocation of funds to a project by the owner or sponsor after the project has been approved to proceed.

A process for sanctioning a proposed course of action, often following some form of review.

Approval to Proceed
Approval by an authorizing committee or person at a project's initiation or prior to the beginning of the next stage.

To accept as satisfactory. Approval implies that the thing approved has the endorsement of the approving agency-, however, the approval may still require confirmation by somebody else. In management use, the important distinction is between approve and authorize.
Persons who approve something are willing to accept it as satisfactory for their purposes, but this decision is not final. Approval may be by several persons. The person who authorizes has final organization authority. This authorization is final approval.

Approved Bidders List
A list of contractors that have been pre-qualified for < purposes of submitting competitive bids

Approved Changes
Changes that have been approved by higher authority.

See Acquisition Plan Review

See Acceptable Quality Level

Something done without apparent logic.

A formalized system for dealing with grievances and administering corrective justice as part of collective bargaining agreements.

The design and interconnection of the main components of a system.

A repository for infrequently used or historic records.

Area of Project Management Application ("APMA")
The environment in which a project takes place, with its own particular nomenclature and accepted practices e.g. facilities, products or systems development projects (to name a few.)

The graphic presentation of an activity. See also arrow diagramming method.

The graphic presentation of an activity. The tail (see I-Node) of the arrow represents the start of the activity. The head (see J- Node) of the arrow represents the finish. Unless a time scale is used, the length of the arrow stem has no relation to the duration of the activity. Length and direction of the activity are usually a matter of convenience and clarity.

Arrow Diagramming Method
A network diagramming technique in which activities are represented by arrows. The tail of the arrow represents the start and the head represents the finish of the activity (the length of the arrow does not represent the expected duration of the activity). Activities are connected at points called nodes (usually drawn as small circles) to illustrate the sequence in which the activities are expected to be performed. See also precedence diagramming method.

See Actual Start Date

As-built Design
The documentation that describes the ultimate "As-built" configuration to provide for future replication. It includes design changes implemented for manufacturing improvements and integration and verification corrective actions. The "As-built" baseline becomes the " Build-to" baseline for new builds. In construction, "As-built" drawings are referred to as the "record" drawings.

As-Built Schedule
The final project schedule which depicts actual Completion (Finish) dates, actual duration dates and start dates.

See As Late As Possible

As Late As Possible
An activity for which the project scheduler sets the start dates as late as possible without delaying the early dates of any successor.

Delivery or consumption of resources or information just as and when required.

As-of Date
The date that a piece of information, such as a status report, is reporting up to.

As-Performed Schedule
The final project schedule which depicts actual completion (finish) dates, actual durations, and start dates.

See As Soon As Possible

As Soon As Possible
An activity for which the project scheduler sets the start date to be as soon as possible. This is the default activity type in most project management tools.

A functional unit designed and managed as an entity. Examples include electronic boxes, mechanical assemblies, and software components.

A determination of value, usually in dollar terms, of an asset, situation or condition that requires some action.

Factors that, for planning purposes, are considered to be true, real, or certain. Assumptions affect all aspects of project planning, and are part of the progressive elaboration of the project. Project teams frequently identify, document, and validate assumptions as part of their planning process. Assumptions generally involve a degree of risk.

Assumptions Analysis
A technique to explores the assumptions' accuracy and identifies risks to the project from inaccuracy, inconsistency, or incompleteness of assumptions.

To examine with the intent to verify.

Assurance Program
See Quality Assurance Program.

See Acceptance Test Procedure

A characteristic or property of a requirement.

The loss of a resource due to causes beyond the control of the project manager.

A planned and documented activity performed by qualified personnel to determine by investigation, examination, or evaluation of objective evidence, the adequacy and compliance with established procedures, or applicable documents, and the effectiveness of implementation.
• Examples of areas that may be the subject of an audit include an organization's financial situation, an individual's finances, or an organization's operations, projects, or programs. An audit may assess the adequacy of internal controls, operational efficiency, compliance with laws, regulations, established policies and procedures, and the status and quality of a project/program.

The power to make and enforce a decision.

See Approval

To give final approval. A person who can authorize something is vested with authority to give final endorsement which requires no further approval

Authorized Unpriced Work
The effort for which contract cost adjustments has not been agreed to, but for which authorization to proceed has been granted.

Authorized Work
An effort that has been approved by higher authority and may or may not be definitive.

Automated Data Processing ("ADP")
The application of electronic equipment, especially computers, to manage, manipulate, display, and store data.

Automatic Test Equipment
Equipment built to perform a test or sequence of tests. If built in, it is referred to as BITE (Built In Test Equipment).

See Authorized Unpriced Work

Capable of being used. Usually refers to resources and/or funding.

Average Outgoing Quality ("AOQ")
The average quality of outgoing product including all accepted lots, plus all rejected lots after the rejected lots have been effectively 100 percent inspected and all defectives replaced by non-defectives.

Average Outgoing Quality Limit ("AOQL")
The maximum of the average outgoing qualities for all possible incoming qualities for a given sampling plan.

Average Sample Size Curve
The curves that show the average sample sizes which may be expected to occur under the various sampling plans for a given process quality.

Keeping away from. Typically used as a risk reduction strategy by adopting a workaround.

The notification to a bidder of acceptance of a bid.

Award Fee
A contract fee provision used to motivate a contractor to respond to issues that are assigned and measured periodically. The contract specifies award fee periods, usually six to nine months long. The award fee criteria are negotiated prior to the start of the award fee period, providing the buyer flexibility to change the incentive emphasis as the project evolves. The determination is made unilaterally by the buyer and is not subject to the legal disputes clause provisions.

Award Letter
A letter sent in response to an offer that accepts that offer.

Full dictionary founds on