International Project Management Day




25 Project Management Terms Defined (excerpt)


Quick Summary
Are you unsure of terms like "sunk costs" and acronyms like RACI? This excerpt from the Dictionary of Project Management Terms, (3rd ed.) defines 25 terms from common PM-centric lingo, so you can be sure everyone is speaking the same language.


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What this is

Context and definitions for 25 project management terms, excerpted from the Dictionary of Project Management Terms (3rd ed.), by J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, and Executive Vice President at ESI International.


Why it's useful

No matter how long they've been in the profession, and whether or not they use the formal title, project managers are often bombarded with new and ambiguous terms like sunk costs, RACI matrixes, and time boxing. Wading through these technical terms and acronyms can cause confusion and miscommunication if not everyone attaches the same meaning to them. This excerpt highlights these and other ubiquitous business and project management terms, as defined by a widely recognized project management expert, to help you ensure everyone is speaking the same language.


How to use it

  • Browse the list for definitions of common project management terms and see if your understanding matches up against the textbook definition. (Do you really know who your Benefits Manager is?)
  • Consider running a Term of the Week conversation with your teams. Even if you're not planning to actually do it, you may be surprised at the conversations and insights that result from talking about what Agile Project Management or ISO 21500 really means.
  • For more information about the Dictionary of Project Management Terms, visit the ESI website.
About the Author

J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, author of Dictionary of Project Management Terms (3rd edition, October 2008), is Executive Vice President at ESI International, a global learning company helping people and organizations improve the way they manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors. Complementing a 17-year career with four U.S. federal agencies, Mr. Ward is responsible for, among other things, ESIÕs product offerings worldwide. He is a noted author and speaker, appears frequently at project management gatherings around the world, and has more than thirty-three years in the industry.


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Related Files
Dictionary of Project Management Terms, by J. Leroy Ward.
Check out the complete dictionary this excerpt was taken from for definitions of over 3,400 business and project management terms. Task Responsibility Matrix Formats
Includes, among other formats, an example of RACI in action. Spiral/Iterative Project Phase Approach
This template illustrates the use of iterative development and time-boxing to plan and execute a project. Agile: Overview and Core Methods
For a bit more about agile, if you wanted more than 200 words but less than a textbook.



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