Project management glossary

CIO.com’s project management glossary provides definitions and information for many common – and not so common – terms used in the complex field of project leadership and management.

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Functional organization

This is a typical hierarchy in most companies. Each employee reports to one superior and departments are set up based on their area of expertise. In this type of organization, projects are selected and work is completed and measured for the most part separate from other areas.

Initiating phase

At the start of any project, before any work can actually begin, there are specific processes that are undertaken for the purpose of defining a new or existing project in order to obtain approval(s) to proceed with that project. This is the phase where all of the details and requirements are outlined and financial resources are determined and allocated. All stakeholders (individuals who will impact, or be impacted by the decisions, activities or outcomes of a project) who will be involved in the project are also identified in this phase. The goal of this phase is also to ensure the project’s purpose and objectives are clearly identified and expectations are set. This phase is referred to as the” Initiating Process Group” within the project management field and involves several specific processes.

Integrated change control process

The process of reviewing, approving, managing and communicating, and formally documenting changes to aspects of the project such as deliverables, assets, documents, plans.

Matrix organization

This type of organization combines a functional and projectized features and can be weak, balanced or strong, depending on the influence of various management in different areas. If the management in specific areas utilizes their influence more than others, the matrix organization can be fairly weak whereas if the management in each of functional areas works together in synergy to accomplish successful project outcomes that meet business goals, this matrix organization can be very strong.

Monitoring and controlling phase

Within this phase/process group, there are processes initiated to track, measure and analyze and control the project progress, resources, scheduling, time, and quality to ensure it is in alignment with the parameters outlined in the planning phase. The steps in this phase are repeated as many times as necessary. A significant amount of documentation may be required for the purpose of identifying any issues and corrective actions to be taken. Throughout this phase, there may be subsequent approvals required if changes are needed triggering additional documentation and/or updates to the project management plan. The monitoring and controlling are done throughout the entire project from execution.

Organizational process assets

Every organization/business has their own procedures/practices, internal processes, plans, or databases used in conducting business. These are also utilized as inputs within the project management process.

Organizational project management (OPM)

Aimed at achieving successful strategic alignment, this is a strategy-based execution framework that incorporates project, program and portfolio management combined with organizational internal policies and practices to improve performance, provide a competitive advantage, and deliver optimal results.

Planned value (PV)

This is the approved budget assigned to scheduled work (not including any reserves). Even though the budget for the scheduled work is allocated per phase, over the full duration of the project, it is actually measured at a point in time and identifies actual work that should be complete.

Planning phase

This “Planning” phase follows the initiating phase; there are several processes performed that involve determining exactly what the project will entail in terms of effort, objectives, and activities. Items like the project management plan and other documents that are required to complete the project will be created. This is an extremely important phase/process group because project management is so multifaceted and requires that many activities including……….The goal of this phase is to define and document in detail things like the methods, actions, time, cost, quality, risks and path required to successfully complete the project and align with strategy. A significant amount of time, effort and attention to detail should be put into this phase in order to reduce the risk of errors, additional work, and possible failure later on.

Portfolio/portfolio management

For the purpose of meeting strategic objectives, businesses may choose to group, organize and prioritize projects, programs or sub-portfolios. This is similar to program management, but at a higher level for the purpose of meeting overall business strategic goals instead of just meeting specific benefits.

Product scope

The documented detailing of characteristics of products, services or results and the relationships between them as well as in organizations need in this regard. One example could be why a business needs a business plan, the sections to be documented could be, the type of information required in the business plan, and how and when it will be used. The product scope is also considered an input within the project statement of work (SOW) document.

Program/program management

If the company has similar projects, activities or subprograms they can be grouped and managed together as it may be more efficient and make more sense than managing them separately. For the purpose of meeting specific benefits, it would make sense that similar projects would then be categorized under one program instead of individual projects.

Project

In the project management field a project is defined as an undertaking that is temporary in nature for the purpose of creating a product, service, or result that is unique. A project must have a definite beginning and end (not ongoing), it can be over a very short or very long duration, but must remain a temporary endeavor. Projects are typically initiated by a party not directly involved in the project, like an executive of the organization or authorized representative.

Project charter

This is the first formal document created by the person initiating the project, permitting a project manager to launch a project and start utilizing the resources within an organization to predict/estimate project activities. This documentation sets out parameters such as the start and end date, as well as key high-level details of the project (including assumptions and limitations) in order to gain formal project approval from an organization’s management.

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