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30 Essential Terms of Project Management

Published on Thu 21, 2020
30 Essential Terms of Project Management


Knowing project management jargon is the very first step for both preparation of standard project management exams and being a part of or handling a project. While acquaintance with PM terms is considered a primary step, not knowing the project management tongue can easily lead to miss-communication and eventually to critical loss during the project execution.  

So, let’s revise the project management glossary to identify some standard terms that you may come across or should know as a project manager or as an associate working on any project.

1. Activity: PMBOK V6 defines it as the smallest portion of a project used in planning, tracking, and control. It is also identified as an amount of work performed that converts inputs into appropriate output.

2. Assumptions: Assumptions are listed factors while dealing with the statement of work. It contributes to ensuring the validation and result of a project.

3. Backlog: Backlog is essentially everything that needs to be done to ensure the completion of a project. It is a prioritized list of tasks derived from the requirements and roadmap of the project.

4. Baseline: It is a fixed reference point against which all the actions and tasks of project progress is compared.

5. Business Case: It captures the reasoning for initiating a project and answers the question, “Why are we undertaking a project?” The business case generally outlines the problem statement, potential investments, and the benefits and impact of the project.

6. Work Breakdown Structure: It is a deliverable oriented breakdown of projects into smaller components. The main objective of WBS is to organize the term ‘work’ into manageable sections.

7. Milestones: These are tools to mark specific points along a project timeline and describes a set of related deliverables. Milestones are one of the components of the Gantt chart and are mainly used as anchors that may signal to project start, ending phase, etc.

8. Stakeholder: Stakeholders are people who are engaged in the project and are influenced by the project. They can be from both within an organization or from outside the organization.

9. Work Plan: It creates a clear path to the desired outcome. It is essentially a project management plan that outlines that identifies and describes the steps needed to achieve the goals.

10. Change Management: It a written document that holds the set of activities and procedures that needs to be undertaken by various roles to control and deal with the changes.

11. Gantt chart: Named after Henry Gantt, it is a bar graph that visually represents a project plan over time. A Gantt chart typically shows the status of tasks and who is responsible for them. The chart helps with planning, scheduling, and managing relationships between tasks.  

12. Dashboard: A project management dashboard displays key performance indicators of a project along with crucial problems that require further attention.

13. Deliverables: A deliverable is an element of output of project, activities, and tasks within the scope of a project.

14. Dependencies: Dependencies are the interlinking relationships between preceding tasks to succeeding tasks.

15. Kickoff Meeting: It is the first meeting between the client and the project team and sets the course and tone of the project.

16. Agile: Agile is a project management approach that focuses on the iterative progress and delivery of the project and starts delivering business value from the very beginning of the project.

17. Minimum Viable product: It is a project development methodology where the product development team moves towards the end product by adding a minimum number of features to satisfy early adopters and each iteration of the project.

18. Mission Critical: Being mission-critical identifies anything as being critical to the success of a project. While it can be associated with an activity or deliverable, it can also be associated with a whole project.

19. Contingency plan: It is the plan B that comes into action when the primary plan does not work. They provide solutions to critical risks that may have disastrous effects.

20. Cost estimation: Cost is an essential factor for any project. As that name suggests, cost estimation id the method of calculating the entire project cost.

21. Network Diagram: A network diagram is the graphical representation of all the activities, time duration, roles, responsibilities, relevant interrelationships, tasks, and the workflow scheme of your project.

22. Critical Path method:  It is the longest duration path through a network diagram, which determines the shortest time to complete the project.

23. Dummy Activity: it is a simulated activity of zero duration. Dummy activities are created for the sole purpose of demonstrating a specific relationship and path of action on the arrow diagramming method.

24. PMO: The project management office is a department in an organization that is in charge of overseeing project management in the organization. They can be internal or external departments with varying levels of control over projects.

25. Earned value: It is an approach that monitors project plan, actual work, and value to identify if the project is on track. It shows how much of the budget and time should have been spent on the current amount of work done.

26. Feasibility Study: It is the assessment that determines the viability of a project based on various lines like legal and technical feasibility.

27. Organizational Structure Planning: It is a hieratical structure of the organizational framework and is used for project planning, resource management, etc.

28. Risk Management: It is the process of identifying possible risks that may arise during a project and measuring their potential impact on different aspects of the project.

29. Scope Creep: Also referred to as requirement creep, it is the change in project scope at any point after the project begins.

30. Sprints: Sprint is identified as a set period of time during which a specific task or set of tasks/activities are completed and reviewed.

So, there it is. You know are now acquainted with 30 essential terms of project management. However, a word of caution is in order. This is not an extensive list, and there is much more to learn.

If you are interested in extensively diving into acquiring project management training, Certification Planner brings to you digital courses that you can take up from the safety of your home. Choose from CAPM, PMP, and PMI-ACP certification, depending upon your career requirements and secure your professional career. Visit us at to explore additional training solutions or drop your requirement at, and we will reach out to you. Happy Learning!

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