Top 100 Project Management Terms

Project management has a rich vocabulary of key concepts, tools, acronyms, and methodologies. We've assembled the top 100 project management terms (and then some) in this glossary to serve as a comprehensive list of project management terminology. Project Insight is committed to helping project managers make work life easier with clearer communication, better decision-making, and a more profound grasp of their discipline. Whether you're starting your journey or looking to refresh your knowledge, bookmark this glossary as your go-to project management resource. 

Acceptance Criteria

 The conditions that must be met before project deliverables are accepted.

Activity List

 A documented list of actions, activities, and work that must be performed.


 A task or set of tasks that are carried out in order to create an assignable deliverable.

Ad Hoc Tasks

 Tasks that arise unexpectedly or are not planned in advance.

Aggregate Planning

 A process to develop, analyze, and maintain a preliminary, approximate schedule of the overall operations of an organization.

Agile Crystal

 A family of Agile methods (like Crystal Clear, Crystal Yellow) focused on principles that prioritize people and their interactions.

Agile Transformation

 The process of transforming an organization's form and functions to adopt the Agile methodologies and values.


 An iterative and incremental project management approach that emphasizes flexibility and customer satisfaction.

Analogous Estimating

 A cost estimation technique that uses the cost of previous, similar projects as a baseline to estimate the cost of the current project.


 A belief considered true without verification, used for planning purposes.


 The original plan plus or minus approved changes.

BCWP (Budgeted Cost of Work Performed)

 Represents the money budgeted for the work that has been performed up to a particular point in time.

Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)

 A financial metric used to determine the relative value of projects. It calculates the benefit provided by a project against its costs.


 A point of congestion or blockage in a system or process, which limits throughput and slows down production or progress.

BPM (Business Process Management)

 A systematic approach to optimizing and managing an organization's business processes

Business Forecasting

 The process of estimating or predicting future developments in business, based on past and present data.

Change Control

 A process that ensures that any changes made to a project are introduced in a controlled and coordinated manner.

Change Management

 The systematic approach to dealing with change both from the perspective of an organization and the individual.

Change Request

 A formal proposal to modify any document, deliverable, or baseline.


 A document that authorizes a project, specifying the stakeholders and detailing the scope and objectives.

Closing Process Group

 The processes used to finalize all activities to formally close a project.

Communication Log

 A record of all communication activities, including sender, receiver, date, message, and medium.

Communication Plan

 A document that details how project information will be conveyed to stakeholders.

Conflict Management

 The practice of identifying and handling conflicts in a productive manner.


 A factor that limits the team's options, like budget, resources, or timeline.

Contingency Plan

 A plan devised for events that might happen in the future.

Convergent Thinking

 A process of narrowing down multiple ideas into a single solution.

Cost Management Plan

 A plan that details how project costs will be managed and controlled.

Crisis Management

 The process by which an organization deals with disruptive and unexpected events that threaten to harm the organization or stakeholders.

Critical Path

 The sequence of stages determining the minimum time needed for an operation.


 Involving collaboration between different teams or groups within an organization.

Decision Log

 A document that records and tracks decisions made during a project.

Decision Matrix

 A tool used to evaluate and prioritize a list of options based on specific criteria.


 Any tangible outcome, result, or item that is produced to complete a project.

Delphi Technique

 An information-gathering technique used in decision-making where anonymous responses from experts are aggregated to come to a consensus.


 Relationships between activities where one activity relies on another to start or finish.

Divergent Thinking

 A way of generating many ideas in the brainstorming phase and exploring all possible solutions.

Earned Value Management (EVM)

 A performance measurement framework that integrates scope, cost, and schedule metrics.

Effective Communication

 The exchange of information so that the message is accurately received and understood by the other party.

Estimate at Completion (EAC)

 A forecast of how much the project will cost upon completion.

EVM (Earned Value Management)

 A technique used to track project performance and progress by comparing planned values with actual values.

Execution Process Group

 The processes used to complete the work defined in the project management plan.

Fallback Plan

 An alternative plan that can be implemented if the original plan fails.

Feasibility Study

 An assessment of how practical an idea is based on various factors.


 The amount of time an activity can be delayed without delaying the project.

Forward Pass Project Management

 A technique used in the critical path method to determine the earliest start and finish times for each activity.

Gantt Chart

 A horizontal bar chart representing the sequence and duration of tasks within a project.

Gold Plating

 Adding extra features or functions to a product that were not originally specified, usually without the customer's knowledge or approval.

Initiating Process Group

 The processes performed to define and authorize a new project.


 An unforeseen problem that isn’t an immediate risk but could turn into one if not addressed.

Iterative Process

 A process that approaches tasks through a cycle of planning, executing, and evaluating.

Kick-off Meeting

 The official start of the project or phase.

Knowledge Areas

 Defined sets of project management knowledge, with their associated processes, practices, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques.

Lessons Learned

 Documentation of experiences that can be used for future reference.


 A significant event or achievement in the project.

Mission Critical

 Essential to the core function or success of a project or organization.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group

 The processes required to track, review, and regulate project performance.

Monte Carlo Simulation

 A mathematical technique that allows for risk assessment by running multiple trial runs, or simulations, using random variables.

MoSCoW Prioritization Method

 A technique used to prioritize requirements by categorizing them as Must have, Should have, Could have, or Won't have.

Net Present Value (NPV)

 The difference between the present value of cash inflows and outflows over a period of time. Used in capital budgeting to analyze profitability.

Network Diagram

 A flowchart that illustrates a project's sequential steps.


 An intended outcome, meaning, or purpose.

Operations Strategy

 A long-term plan that outlines how a project or organization will allocate resources to support infrastructure and production.

Order of Magnitude

 An estimation given in broad ranges, often used in the early phases of a project.

Organizational Process Assets (OPAs)

 Plans, processes, and knowledge bases specific to and used by the performing organization.

Organizational Project Management

 The integration of all aspects of a project, including strategy, portfolio, and program management.

Performance Measurements

 The outputs of performance measurement processes, like KPIs.

Performance Reporting

 Documenting and providing information about the performance of a project compared to the baseline.

PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique)

 A statistical tool used in project management to analyze and represent the tasks involved in completing a project.

Planned Value (PV)

 The budgeted amount for the work that was supposed to be done up to a particular point in time.

Planning Fallacy

 The tendency to underestimate the amount of time needed to complete future tasks.

Planning Process Group

 The processes used to establish the total scope of the effort, define and refine project objectives, and develop the course of action.

PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge)

 A set of standard guidelines and terminologies for project management.


 Projects, programs, sub-portfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.


 The action or process of deciding the importance or order of tasks.

Program Manager

 A person responsible for managing several related projects.


 A group of related projects managed in a coordinated way.

Project Baseline

 A fixed reference point against which project progress is measured.

Project Charter

 A formal document authorizing a project.

Project Hierarchy

 The breakdown of project elements and tasks in descending order of detail.

Project Life Cycle

 The phases a project passes through from initiation to close.

Project Management Office (PMO)

 A centralized unit that oversees the management of projects.

Project Management Plan

 A formal document that defines how a project will be executed, monitored, and controlled.

Project Manager

 The person responsible for the success of the project.


 A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

Proof of Concept

 A demonstration that verifies if a concept or idea is feasible in real-world conditions.

Quality Assurance (QA)

 Processes that ensure required quality standards are met.

Quality Control (QC)

 The process of evaluating overall project performance.


 The totality of features and inherent or assigned characteristics that meet requirements and produce project success.

Raid Log

 A project management tool used to track Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies.


 A condition or capability needed by stakeholders.

Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS)

 A hierarchical representation of resources by category and type.

Resource Calendar

 A calendar that shows the availability and non-availability of resources.

Resource Planning

 Determining what resources (people, equipment, materials) are needed in what quantities to complete a project.


 Skilled professionals, equipment, services, supplies, commodities, or funds.

Risk Management Plan

 A plan detailing the approach to manage uncertainty.

Risk Mitigation

 Strategies and practices to reduce or control the probability or impact of negative events.

Risk Owner

 The individual or entity responsible for managing risks.


 An uncertain event or condition that may affect project objectives.

Root Cause

 The fundamental reason for the occurrence of a problem.

Schedule Variance (SV)

 The difference between the earned value and the planned value in a project.

Scope Baseline

 The approved version of a scope statement, WBS, and its associated WBS dictionary.

Scope Creep

 Uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in project scope.

Scope Management Plan

 A plan detailing how project scope will be defined, validated, and controlled.


 The sum of the products, services, and results produced in a project.

Scrum Master

 An individual in scrum methodology who ensures the team adheres to scrum practices and principles.

Scrum of Scrums

 A meeting in which representatives from multiple scrum teams discuss their work and align on priorities.

Situational Leadership

 A leadership style that changes based on the maturity and capability level of the followers.

Soft Costs

 Non-tangible costs such as administrative and personnel costs.

Stakeholder Management Plan

 A plan detailing strategies to engage stakeholders.


 Individuals, groups, or organizations who may affect or be affected by a decision, outcome, or deliverable.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

 A set of step-by-step instructions to help teams carry out complex routine operations.

Status Report

 A report summarizing the current status of a project.

Steering Committee

 A group of high-level stakeholders responsible for providing guidance on overall strategic direction.

Strategic Initiatives

 Efforts or projects undertaken to support an organization's long-term strategic objectives.

Stretch Goals

 Objectives set intentionally high to encourage extraordinary effort and performance.

Task Analysis

 Breaking down a task into steps and components to understand its nature and requirements.


 A defined piece of work.

Team Building

 Activities or exercises aimed at improving team performance and morale.


 A group of individuals working together to deliver project requirements.

Theory of Constraints

 A management philosophy that focuses on identifying and removing constraints to increase throughput.

Time Blocking

 Allocating specific blocks of time for specific activities or tasks.

Time Cost

 The monetary value associated with the time required to complete a task or project.

Triple Constraint

 The combination of the three most significant restrictions on any project

Use Case

 A description of how users will use a system or product to achieve specific goals.


 The assurance that a product, service, or system meets the needs of the customer and other identified stakeholders.


 The difference between what was planned and what was actually achieved.

Vendor Management

 The process of controlling costs, driving service excellence, and mitigating risks in outsourcing processes.

Vertical Slice

 A type of deliverable that demonstrates functionality across multiple layers of a solution.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

 A hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work.

Working Styles

 The typical ways in which individuals or groups approach and carry out tasks.

Online 8/14/2023
Trina Schaetz
Updated on: