20 Terms that all Project Management Professionals should know WEDNESDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2018


An essential part of any successful Project Management Office is effective communication and one way to ensure this is a common language.  This glossary includes 20 of the most frequently used terms that your project team should be aware of and be using.

1. Assumptions
In any project, there will be external factors that lead to the success of a project.  If the probability of this event is high, it should be listed as an assumption.  Assumptions set the context of the project and are important when both defining and monitoring projects.

2. Clients / Customers
The person(s) that directly benefit from the project is the client or customer.  Traditionally, internal beneficiaries are “clients” and external ones are “customers”.

3. Constraints
Any limitations that are outside of the project team’s control and will need to be considered and managed around.

4. Critical path
The set sequence of events and activities that must be completed on time for the whole project to come in on schedule.

5. Deliverable
Any tangible results that are produced by the project.  These can be the overall result (the building of the house) or the documents, plans and systems developed throughout the project.  Internal deliverables are the ones only used for the team, whilst external ones are for the clients/customers.

6. Functional Manager
The person that a member of the team reports into.  The Project Manager may be the functional manager, but this might not be the case in matrixed organisations.

7. Gantt Chart
A type of bar chart that gives a visual depiction of activities (tasks or events) displayed against time.  The left of the chart lists all the activities and along the top is a suitable timescale.  A Gantt Chart allows the team to understand what the various activities are when they are due to begin and end, how much overlap exists in activities and arguably the most important, the start and end date of the whole project.

8. Goals
Goals give you the focus required to develop a roadmap to fulfil the project objective – these should follow the SMART principle of being specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

9. Issue
A major problem that will significantly hinder or delay the progress of the project.  It is important that these proactively dealt with, ideally within an agreed issues management process.

10. Lifecycle
The process used to develop the deliverables produced by the project. 

11. Milestone
This is a reference point or event that marks the completion of a major deliverable and can be used as a checkpoint to monitor how a project is progressing.

12. Objective
An agreed statement that describes what the project is trying to achieve.  Similar to the goals, the objective should be SMART.

13. Project
A temporary structure or configuration to manage work and build the deliverables.  As it is always a temporary structure, with different elements, it is difficult to compare projects against others.

14. Project Phase
Any logical grouping of work that is goal-oriented and contains a particular number of the work steps. Each phase ends at a milestone, leading to an easy review of project progression.

15. Requirements
Descriptions of how the product or service developed in the project should act and perform.

16. Risk
Any external events and issues that will have a negative effect on the project, should they occur.  Similar to assumptions, risks have probabilities attached to them and these should be considered when identifying possible risks to the project.

17. Roadmap
A Project Roadmap is a simple presentation of Project Ambitions and Project Goals alongside a timeline.  This should be available to view at a glance and not be a detailed plan.

18. Scope
A simple way of defining the boundaries of any project. This should clearly lay out what the project should deliver and what it should not.

19. Stakeholder
Any person(s) that have a stake in the outcome of the project.  A project can have both internal stakeholders (internal clients, employees, administrators) and external ones (investors, suppliers, etc).

20. Workplan
Work plans show all the tasks involved in a project, who is responsible for each task and when the tasks will be completed. 

About the Author

Graham Auld is a Senior Recruitment Consultant at CV Screen specialising in Project Manager Recruitment throughout the UK. 

For more information or general recruitment advice, please speak to our specialist Project Management Recruiter Graham Auld on or call on 0345 200 8170 or visit

POSTED BY   AT  11:16