Systems View of Project Management Terms

Best practice
An optimal way recognized by industry to achieve a stated goal or objective.
Critical path
The series of activities in a network diagram that determines the earliest completion of the project; it is the longest path through the network diagram and has the least amount of slack or float.
Enterprise project management software
Software that integrates information from multiple projects to show the status of active, approved, and future projects across an entire organization; also called portfolio project management software.
Ethics
A set of principles that guides decision making based on personal values of what is considered right and wrong.
Gantt chart
A standard format for displaying project schedule information by listing project activities and their corresponding start and finish dates in calendar form.
Leader
A person who focuses on long-term goals and big-picture objectives while inspiring people to reach those goals.
Manager
A person who deals with the day-to-day details of meeting specific goals.
Portfolio project management software
Software that integrates information from multiple projects to show the status of active, approved, and future projects across an entire organization
Program
A group of projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control that are not available from managing projects individually.
Program manager
A person who provides leadership and direction for the project managers heading the projects within a program.
Project
A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
Project management
The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.
Project Management Institute (PMI)
An international professional society for project managers.
Project management knowledge areas
Project integration management, scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communications, risk, procurement, and stakeholder management.
Project Management Office (PMO)
An organizational group responsible for coordinating the project management functions throughout an organization.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
Certification provided by PMI that requires documenting project experience and education, agreeing to follow the PMI code of ethics, and passing a comprehensive exam.
Project management tools and techniques
Methods available to assist project managers and their teams; some popular time-management tools include Gantt charts, network diagrams, and critical path analysis.
Project manager
The person responsible for working with the project sponsor, the project team, and the other people involved to meet project goals.
Stakeholders
People involved in or affected by project activities.
Triple constraint
Balancing scope, time, and cost goals.
Adaptive software development (ASD)
A software development approach used when requirements cannot be clearly expressed early in the life cycle.
Agile
Quick and coordinated in movement; a method based on iterative and incremental development in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration.
Agile software development
A method for software development that uses new approaches, focusing on close collaboration between programming teams and business experts.
Champion
A senior manager who acts as a key proponent for a project.
Deliverable
A product or service, such as a technical report, a training session, a piece of hardware, or a segment of software code, produced or provided as part of a project.
Executive steering committee
A group of senior executives from various parts of the organization who regularly review important corporate projects and issues.
Functional organizational structure
An organizational structure that groups people by functional areas such as IT, manufacturing, engineering, and human resources.
Human resources (HR) frame
A frame that focuses on producing harmony between the needs of the organization and the needs of people.
IT governance
The authority and control for key IT activities in organizations, including IT infrastructure, IT use, and project management.
Kill point
A management review that should occur after each project phase to determine if projects should be continued, redirected, or terminated
Matrix organizational structure
An organizational structure in which employees are assigned both to functional and project managers.
Offshoring
Outsourcing from another country.
Organizational culture
A set of shared assumptions, values, and behaviors that characterize the functioning of an organization.
Outsourcing
An organization’s acquisition of goods and services from an outside source.
Phase exit
A management review that should occur after each project phase to determine if projects should be continued, redirected, or terminated
Political frame
A frame that addresses organizational and personal politics.
Politics
Competition between groups or individuals for power and leadership.
Predictive life cycle
A software development approach used when the scope of the project can be articulated clearly and the schedule and cost can be predicted accurately.
Project acquisition
The last two phases in a project (implementation and close-out) that focus on delivering the actual work.
Project feasibility
The first two phases in a project (concept and development) that focus on planning.
Project life cycle
A collection of project phases, such as concept, development, implementation, and close-out.
Project organizational structure
An organizational structure that groups people by major projects.
Scrum
The leading agile development methodology for completing projects with a complex, innovative scope of work.
Structural frame
A frame that deals with how the organization is structured (usually depicted in an organizational chart) and focuses on different groups’ roles and responsibilities to meet the goals and policies set by top management.
Symbolic frame
A frame that focuses on the symbols, meanings, and culture of an organization.
Systems
Sets of interacting components working within an environment to fulfill some purpose.
Systems analysis
A problem-solving approach that requires defining the scope of the system to be studied, and then dividing it into component parts for identifying and evaluating its problems, opportunities, constraints, and needs.
Systems approach
A holistic and analytical approach to solving complex problems that includes using a systems philosophy, systems analysis, and systems management.
Systems development life cycle (SDLC)
A framework for describing the phases involved in developing and maintaining information systems.
Systems management
Addressing the business, technological, and organizational issues associated with creating, maintaining, and modifying a system.
Systems philosophy
An overall model for thinking about things as systems.
Systems thinking
A holistic view of an organization to effectively handle complex situations.
Virtual team
A group of people who work together despite time and space boundaries using communication technologies.
Agile methods
An approach to managing projects that includes an iterative workflow and incremental delivery of software in short iterations.
Artifact
A useful object created by people
Burndown chart
A chart that shows the cumulative work remaining in a sprint on a day-by-day basis.
Closing processes
Formalizing acceptance of the project or project phase and ending it efficiently.
Daily Scrum
A short meeting in which the team shares progress and challenges.
Executing processes
Coordinating people and other resources to carry out the project plans and create the products, services, or results of the project or project phase.
Initiating processes
Defining and authorizing a project or project phase.
Kick-off meeting
A meeting held at the beginning of a project so that stakeholders can meet each other, review the goals of the project, and discuss future plans.
Methodology
A description of how things should be done.
Monitoring and controlling processes
Regularly measuring and monitoring progress to ensure that the project team meets the project objectives.
Planning processes
Devising and maintaining a workable scheme to ensure that the project addresses the organization’s needs.
Process
A series of actions directed toward a particular result.
Product backlog
A single list of features prioritized by business value.
Product owner
The person responsible for the business value of the project and for deciding what work to do and in what order when using a Scrum method.
Project management process groups
The progression of project activities from initiation to planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing
PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2)
A project management methodology developed in the United Kingdom that defines 45 separate subprocesses and organizes these into eight process groups.
Rational Unified Process (RUP) framework
An iterative software development process that focuses on team productivity and delivers software best practices to all team members.
Scrum team or development team
A cross-functional team of five to nine people who organize themselves and the work to produce the desired results for each sprint.
ScrumMaster
A person who ensures that the team is productive, facilitates the daily Scrum, enables close cooperation across all roles and functions, and removes barriers that prevent the team from being effective.
Six Sigma methodologies
DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) is used to improve an existing business process, and DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify) is used to create new product or process designs.
Sprint
A set period of time, normally two to four weeks, during which specific work must be completed and made ready for review when using Scrum methods.
Sprint backlog
The highest-priority items from the product backlog to be completed in a sprint.
Stakeholder register
A document that includes details about identified project stakeholders.
Standard
Best practices for what should be done.
User stories
Short descriptions written by customers of what they need a system to do for them.
Balanced scorecard
A methodology that converts an organization’s value drivers to a series of defined metrics.
Baseline
The approved project management plan plus approved changes.
Business service management (BSM) tools
Tools that help track the execution of business process flows and expose how the state of supporting IT systems and resources affects end-to-end business process performance in real time.
Capitalization rate
The rate used in discounting future cash flow
Cash flow
Benefits minus costs or income minus expenses.
change control board (CCB)
A formal group of people responsible for approving or rejecting changes on a project.
Change control system
A formal, documented process that describes when and how official project documents may be changed.
Configuration management
A process that ensures that the descriptions of a project’s products are correct and complete.
Cost of capital
The return available by investing capital elsewhere.
Directives
New requirements imposed by management, government, or some external influence.
Discount factor
The rate used in discounting future cash flow;
Integrated change control
Identifying, evaluating, and managing changes throughout the project life cycle.
Interface management
Identifying and managing the points of interaction between various elements of a project.
Internal rate of return (IRR)
The discount rate that results in an NPV of zero for a project.
Mind mapping
A technique that uses branches radiating from a core idea to structure thoughts and ideas.
Net present value (NPV) analysis
A method of calculating the expected net monetary gain or loss from a project by discounting all expected future cash inflows and outflows to the present point in time
Opportunities
Chances to improve an organization.
Opportunity cost of capital
The rate used in discounting future cash flow
organizational process assets
Formal and informal plans, policies, procedures, guidelines, information systems, financial systems, management systems, lessons learned, and historical information that can influence a project’s success.
Payback period
The amount of time needed to recoup the total dollars invested in a project, in terms of net cash inflows.
Problems
Undesirable situations that prevent an organization from achieving its goals.
Project charter
A document that formally recognizes the existence of a project and provides direction on the project’s objectives and management.
Project integration management
Processes that coordinate all project management knowledge areas throughout a project’s life, including developing the project charter, developing the preliminary project scope statement, developing the project management plan, directing and managing the project, monitoring and controlling the project, providing integrated change control, and closing the project.
Project management plan
A document used to coordinate all project planning documents and guide project execution and control.
Required rate of return
The minimum acceptable rate of return on an investment.
Return on investment (ROI)
A method for determining the financial value of a project; the ROI is the result of subtracting the project costs from the benefits and then dividing by the costs.
Strategic planning
Determining long-term objectives by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, studying opportunities and threats in the business environment, predicting future trends, and projecting the need for new products and services.
SWOT analysis
Analyzing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats; used to aid in strategic planning.
Weighted scoring model
A technique that provides a systematic process for selecting projects based on numerous criteria.