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Project Management Glossary

Project Management Glossary

A partial glossary of Project Management terms. Complete glossary, the Guide to the Often Confusing World of Project Management Software Terminology, found in PROJECT.ZIP

Activity -- an activity is an individual task needed for the completion of a project.

Baseline Schedule -- the fixed project schedule. It is the standard by which project performance is measured.

Calendars -- lists time intervals in which activities or resources can or cannot be scheduled.

Control -- the process of comparing actual performance with planned performance, analyzing the differences, and taking the appropriate corrective action.

Critical Activity -- an activity that must be finished on time or the whole project will fall behind schedule.

Calculate Schedule (Critical Path Method) -- is a modeling process that defines all the project's critical activities which must be completed on time. A great advantage of this method is that it lets you fine tune and accelerate the project. Shorten various critical path activities, then check the schedule to see how it is affected by the changes. By experimenting in this manner, the optimal project schedule can be determined.

Critical Path -- the path (sequence) of activities which represent the longest total time required to complete the project. A delay in any activity in the critical path causes a delay in the completion of the project.

Duration -- the length of time needed to complete an activity.

Finish Float -- the amount of excess time an activity has at its finish before a successor activity must start.

Float -- the amount of time that an activity can slip past its duration without delaying the rest of the project.

Free Float -- the excess time available before the start of the following activity.

Gantt (Bar) Chart -- a graphic display of activity durations.

Lag -- the time delay between the start or finish of an activity and the start or finish of its successor(s).

Milestones -- an activity with zero duration (usually marking the end of a period).

Multi-Project Analysis -- used to analyze the impact and interaction of activities and resources whose progress affects the progress of a group of projects or for projects with shared resources or both.

Negative Float -- indicates that an activity must start before their predecessors finish in order to meet a Target Finish date.

Parallel Activities -- two or more activities that can be done at the same time.

Positive Float -- the amount of time that an activity's start can be delayed without affecting the project completion date.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) -- a project management technique for determining how much time a project needs before it is completed. Each activity is assigned a best, worst, and most probable completion time estimate. These estimates are used to determine the average completion time. The average times are used to figure the critical path and the standard deviation of completion times for the entire project.

Rescheduling -- recalculating the start and finish dates of all uncompleted activities based upon progress as of a specified date.

Resource -- anything that is assigned to an activity or needed to complete an activity. This may include equipment, people, buildings, etc.

Resource Leveling -- provides the capability to adjust project schedules in order to minimize the peaks in daily resource usages.

Slippage -- the amount of slack or float time used up by the current activity due to a delayed start.

Successor -- an activity whose start or finish depends on the start or finish of a predecessor activity.

Super-Critical Activity -- an activity that is behind schedule is considered to be super-critical.

Target Finish or Start -- the user's imposed finish or start date for an activity or project.

Total Float -- the excess time available for an activity to be expanded or delayed without affecting the rest of the project assuming it begins at its earliest time.

Work Flow -- the relationship of the activities in a project from start to finish.

Work Load -- the amount of work units assigned to a resource over a period of time.

Work Units -- Work units are the measurement of resources. For example, people as a resource can be measured by the number of hours they work.

Zero Float -- the condition where there is no excess time between activities.

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