Top Ten Terms Project Managers Use Part I

We’ve got another top ten list for you – this time, in two parts. I wanted to bring you the top ten terms Project Managers use; I am grouping them in topical areas to make digesting them as easy as possible.

Speaking the language of project management can pay dividends for you and your business, leading to increased efficiency as you work alongside project managers to carry projects to completion.

Ready? Let’s get started.

1. Quality, Cost, Delivery (QCD)

Referred to as the three-legged stool, or the three-sided table of project management. These terms are closely tied in project management; scrimping on one will directly affect the other two negatively. Tony Gruebl conceptualized an alternative view of this trio in his book “Bare Knuckled Project Management.” It shows the sponsor, team, and project manager on each side of the table. For a fascinating take on project management, read this book. I wrote a review about it a few months back.

2. WBS

This abbreviation is “work breakdown structure, and it’s a method of defining a task or event in a project. In many cases, it represents the smallest level of effort for a given task. For example, if the project was rebuilding a carburetor, one of the tasks might be to place the O-ring on the float bowl. We use these values to organize a project, provide some sequencing to events, and to help provide estimates.

3. Project Schedule

The project schedule is the roadmap of the project. It is the project manager’s go-to tool for the project. Sometimes they are simple spreadsheets with a list of milestones (we’ll discuss these shortly), and sometimes they’re more complex Gant charts (we will cover these, too).

4. Gantt chart

This is a specific kind of project schedule that has long been used in the project management industry. Mechanical engineer Henry Gantt created it in the early part of the 20th Typically, it lays out the schedule, or the sequence of milestones that are to occur as part of the project. These charts can be as simple as listing the milestones, or as complex as showing dependencies, resources, level of effort indexes, etc. One of its early known usages was by William Crozier, a World War I Artillery General. His goal was to apply it to the building of arsenals in order to track progress (or lack thereof) in the manufacturing of arms, and then to tie it to the responsible parties. It was also used at this time for the manufacturing of airplanes and ships.

5. Milestones

Common term in general, and in the project management industry, they become the core of how projects are delivered. Milestones must meet three criteria: they must be uniquely identifiable, have an assigned date (even if it is yet to be firmed up), and eventually be assigned.

Bonus Term

PMBOK

Pronounced “pim-bok,” PMBOK is an acronym for the Project Managers Body of Knowledge. This is the end-all, be-all reference for pretty much everything project management since about 1996. It has its roots in a white paper put out in 1983. The document received recognition by the American National Standards Institute, as well as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. When studying for project management certifications, this is the go-to guide, as all testing is based on information contained therein.

There are two main focal points within this document. One is the identification of the five process groups, and the other is the identification of the ten knowledge areas. Over the years, this document has grown significantly, and now, in its fifth edition, it comes in at a sizable 589 pages.

So, there you have them: project management terms one through five. In my next post, we’ll cover terms six through 10, and possibly another bonus term. I am interested in your feedback, and in any ideas you have for additional terms.