Top Ten Terms Project Managers Use: Part I

Here is 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 for some level of organization.

  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, that 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 is 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 managers go to tool for the project. Sometimes they are simple spreadsheets with a list of milestones (we discuss these shortly), or more complex Gantt 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 Quite typically, it lays out the schedule, or sequence of milestones that are to occur as part of the project. They can be as simple as listing the milestones, or as complex as showing dependencies, resources, the 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. His goal was to track progress (or lack thereof) in the manufacturing of arms and tie it to the responsible parties. It was also used at this time for the manufacturing of airplanes and ships.
  5. Milestones – This is a common term in general, and in the project management industry, they become the core of how we deliver projects. Milestones are three things, uniquely identifiable, that have an assigned date (even if it is yet to be firmed up), and eventually, be assigned.
Bonus Term

PMBOK –Pronounced [Pimbok], by many, 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 of this document: one being the five process groups, and the other is 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.

Next time is 6-10, and possibly another bonus term. I am interested in your feedback or any ideas you have for additional terms. Please feel free to email me at or call our main line at 301-360-0001

JEFF L. CHAMBERLAIN, PMP | Project Manager

Jeff comes to KTL Solutions with an extensive background in healthcare IT, technical consulting, and telecommunications. He has been a project manager for almost 20 years, holding certifications from the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional, from the Management and Strategy Institute as a Six Sigma Lean Professional, and he holds a Scrum Master Certification from the Scrum Alliance. He has managed both hardware and software implementations for both the government and private sectors, in industries such as healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, staff augmentation, supply chain and shipping.

Jeff has provided training for clients globally, working in Europe, Russia, North and South America on various topics from system optimization to wireless theory and design. He possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Writing from the University of Baltimore.

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