Project Management: Breaking Through Thejargon
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Regardless of whether or not you're top of your game in project management, or you're fresh from project management training and looking to start your career, project management jargon can be difficult to get your head around at the best of times. Whenever you think you know your Waterfalls from your Scrums, another word crops up you have to memorise, which means it's all an endless learning curve.

Here are some of the most common pieces of project management jargon:

Assignment Contouring

This describes the way we distribute project work. It is a process in itself and needs doing in order to clearly outline when work begins and when it needs to be completed.

Baseline Plan

This is a clear image or document showing what the original plan looks like, and also added images or documents showing the project at different points (usually predecided points chosen at the beginning of the project).

Closing Phase

This is where a project manager will compare reports, analysis and various other documents accumulated throughout the project and compare that information to the information on the original plan. This enables the project manager to understand if the budget was used effectively and managed intelligently, and to understand if the project was effective throughout.

Critical Path

These are important tasks that have a clear influence on the completion of the project. If the tasks are not completed by their set dates, the project will not finish on time.

Deadlines

A deadline relates to any task or assignment you have assigned a date to. The deadline is when the task or assignment needs to be completed by.

Fixed Duration, Fixed Units and Fixed Work

These are fairly explanatory terms but still confusing nonetheless if it's the first time you have encountered them. Fixed duration means the task can only take a certain amount of time to complete, a fixed unit is where the units are fixed, and fixed work is where the work expected cannot be changed. Typically you would expect to learn about these terms on project management courses such as APMP or PMP.

Free Slack

This is the amount of time around milestones or project deadlines that you are allowed to use as leeway. For example your project may need to be completed within 6 months but you have 2 weeks slack within that to work around.

Initiation Phase

This is the very beginning of a project and comes before the planning phase. During the initiation phase the project manager will establish the project goal and create a clear vision for the team. This is the part of the task when communications will be established and discussions will take place in order for the goal to be clearly determined before any work begins.

Master Project

This is a file that basically contains all the information about a project, and is used to control and manage various lesser projects.

Risk Management

This is where the project manager and their team evaluate all areas of the project in order to ascertain potential factors that may negatively impact the project. Risk factors will usually be categorised into low, medium and high risk with the priority risks being reported to senior management and stakeholders. The team will seek to eradicate these risk factors or work to lower the risks considerably.

These are just some of the many pieces of project management jargon you will come across during your career. If you think you need to understand project management language in more detail, consider booking into some project management training.


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