The 25 Project Management Terms All Beginner’s Should Know

PM Terminology

There’s a hefty library of terminology for new-comers in the project management industry to get familiar with, which can cause unnecessary issues and miscommunications to arise if you’re not already well versed.

This can be a bit daunting, but lucky for you EPMA has you covered with the 25 terms beginners in project management must familiarize themselves with for a PPM workplace:

  1. Action Item – A task or activity that needs to be completed.
  2. Agile – An iterative project management model that focuses on a series of sprints that include incremental improvements. Relies heavily on teamwork, communication, and collaboration for ongoing improvements. *See ‘Sprint’
  3. Baseline – The cost and schedule designated at the beginning of a project. Used to determine the overall status of a project throughout its life cycle. *See ‘Project Life Cycle’
  4. Change Management – The portion of project management that involves the approval or rejection of changes to the project.
  5. Contingency Plan – The secondary plan meant to serve as alternative action in the off-hand chance that your primary plan fails.
  6. CPM (Critical Path Method) – A step-by-step approach to ensure a project is completed in the shortest length of time possible.
  7. Deliverable – A product or requirement that is promise and delivered to a client.
  8. Feasibility Study – An evaluation of how practical devoting resources to a project is and how effective they will be.
  9. Gantt Chart – The bar chart used to showcase all the tasks constituting a project. The vertical axis lists tasks, the horizontal axis marks time.
  10. Lean Manufacturing (Lean Six Sigma) – The methodology of limiting variation in a production model. Centered around eliminating waste and defects while reducing production costs. *See ‘Six Sigma’
  11. Milestone – The significant moments of a project that designate progress being made.
  12. PMO (Project Management Office) – The over-arching organization that oversees project management related activities. Servers to aid their project managers and projects in need of facilitation and information throughout the process.
  13. Project Manager – The person tasked with managing a given project. The project manager is responsible for the planning, execution, reporting, and performance of the project, all while serving as the contact point for stakeholders and sponsors.
  14. Project Life Cycle – The phases of a project that include everything from planning to implementation and budget. From start to finish, a project’s life cycle should include a project’s planning, monitoring, controlling, execution, and closing.
  15. Resource Allocation – The process of assigning resources to project related activities.
  16. Risk Mitigation – The act of negating the possibility of a risk occurring.
  17. Scope – Everything that must happen for a project to be completed and considered successful.
  18. Scope Creep – Gradual, often unapproved, changes in a project’s scope that happen in-spite of a formal scope procedure. *See ‘Scope’
  19. Scrum – An Agile methodology approach to software development. Teams work through development sprints to complete their list of requirements. *See ‘Agile’
  20. Six Sigma – A process management style that focuses on eliminating defects in a product or service by optimizing the processes of production.
  21. SOW (Statement of Work) – A detailed list of deliverables contractually tied to specific delivery dates.
  22. Sprint – A single iteration in a given amount of time, in a continuous development cycle. They usually last anywhere from 1-3 weeks.
  23. Stakeholder – Any person or party with a vested interest in a project’s completion. This includes anyone affected by a project.
  24. Waterfall – The traditional model of project management that moves from one phrase to another as phases are completed.
  25. WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) – A hierarchical model showcasing everything a project team agrees to deliver throughout the project life cycle. The elements of the project are categorized and mapped in this structure to help form the scope and cost of said project.

Hopefully this mini library helped you decipher some of that notorious project management lingo! For more project management tips and best practices, check out our other blogs dedicated to helping you manage projects, like this one from Kaly Chapman, The 5 Most Common Mistakes When Managing a Project.

EPMA also offers tailored training sessions for those who are very serious about fusing project management with the Microsoft tools. Find more info about those in the Training section to the right or visit our website.