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228 Cards in this Set

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Coercive power
The type of power that comes with the authority to discipline the project team members. This is also known as “penalty power.” Generally used to describe the power structure when the team is afraid of the project manager.
Collective bargaining agreements
These are contractual agreements initiated by employee groups, unions, or other labor organizations; they may act as a constraint on the project.
A conflict resolution method; this approach requires both parties to give up something. The decision ultimately made is a blend of both sides of the argument. Because neither party completely wins, it is considered a lose-lose solution.
Expectancy Theory
People will behave on the basis of what they expect as a result of their behavior. In other words, people will work in relation to the expected reward of the work.
Expert power
A type of power where the authority of the project manager comes from experience with the area that the project focuses on.
A conflict resolution method where one person dominates or forces their point of view or solution to a conflict. The person with the power makes the decision. Win-lose,
Formal power
The type of power where the project manager has been assigned by senior management to be in charge of the project.
Hertzberg’s Theory of Motivation
States that there are two catalysts for workers: hygiene agents and motivating agents. Hygiene agents do nothing to motivate, but their absence de-motivates workers. Hygiene agents are the expectations all workers have: job security, paychecks clean and safe working conditions, a sense of belonging, civil working relationships, and other basic attributes associated with employment. Motivating agents are components such as reward, recognition, promotion, and other values that encourage individuals to succeed.
Mallow’s Hierarchy of Needs
A theory that states that there are five layers of needs for all humans; physiological, safety, social, esteem, and the crowning jewel, self-actualization.
Ouch’s Theory Z
This theory states that workers are motivated by a sense of commitment, opportunity, and advancement. Workers will work if they are challenged and motivated. Concept of lifetime employment (Japan).
Problem solving
The ability to determine the best solution for a problem in a quick and efficient manner. Also called confronting. Win-win.
Project interfaces
Project interfaces are the people and groups the project manager and the project team will work with to complete the project. There are three types of interfaces: organizational, technical, and interpersonal.
Referent power
Power that is present when the project team knows, or wants to work on the project or with, the project manager. Referent power also exists when the project manager references another, more powerful person, such as the CEO.
Resource histogram
A bar chart reflecting when individual employees, groups, or communities are involved in a project. Often used by management to see when employees are most or least active in a project.
Who decides what in a project.
Reward power
The project manager’s authority to reward the project team.
Who does what in a project.
A conflict resolution method that “smoothes” out the conflict by minimizing the perceived size of the problem. It is a temporary solution, but it can calm team relations and reduce boisterousness of discussions. Smoothing may be acceptable when time is of the essence or any of the proposed solutions would work. Lose-lose.
Staffing management plan
This subsidiary plan documents how project team members will be brought onto the project and excused from the project.
War room
A centralized office or locale for the project manager and the project team to work on the project. It can house information on the project, including documentation and support materials. It allows the project team to work in close proximity.
A conflict resolution method that is used when the issue is not important or the project manager is out-ranked. The project manager pushes the issue aside for later resolution. It can also be used as a method for cooling down. The conflict is not resolved, and it is considered a yield-lose solution.
Organizational interface
These are the people folks within the performing organization that the project team will work with to complete the project work.
Technical interfaces
The technical interfaces describe the relationship between the project and the technical disciplines’ input to the project. Consider a project to create a new building. The technical interfaces would include architects, mechanical engineers, structural engineers, and others.
Interpersonal interfaces
Interpersonal interfaces describe the reporting relationship among the people working on the project.
Human resources constraints
Includes organization structure, collective bargaining agreements, project management preferences, staffing, and procurements. When a labor union or other group is a constraint, it is also considered a stakeholder.
Responsibility assignment matrix (RAM)
A structure that relates the project organization structure to the work breakdown structure to help ensure that each element of the project scope of work is assigned to a responsible individual.
Organizational breakdown structure (OBS)
A depiction of the project organization arranged so as to relate work packages to organizational units.
Project power
There are five types of project power: expert, reward, formal, coercive, and referent.
Sources of conflict
Sources of team disagreement from most to least common: Schedules, Priorities, Resources, Technical beliefs, Administrative policies and procedures, Project costs, and Personalities.
Approaches to conflict resolution
Five approaches: problem solving, forcing, compromising, smoothing, and, withdrawal.
Cost of nonconformance
Loss of customers, rework, lost time, lost materials, and danger to workers; outweighs cost of quality.
Cost of quality
The costs incurred to ensure quality. Includes quality planning, quality control, quality assurance, and rework.
Gold plating
The process of adding extra features that may drive up costs and alter schedules. The project team should strive to deliver what was expected.
A technique to take what the project manager has planned or experienced regarding quality and compare it to another project to see how things measure up. The current project can be measured against any other project—not just projects within the performing organization or within the same industry. The goal of benchmarking is to evaluate the differences between the two projects and then to make corrective actions to the current project.
Flow chart
Technically, a flow chart is any diagram illustrating how components within a system are related.
Cause-and-effect diagrams
These diagrams show the relation between the variables within a process and how those relations may contribute to inadequate quality. This diagram can help organize both the process and team opinions, as well as generate discussion on finding a solution to ensure quality. These diagrams are also known as Ishikawa diagrams and fishbone diagrams.
System or process flow charts
These flow charts illustrate the flow of a process through a system, such as a project change request through the change control system, or work authorization through a quality control process. A process flow chart does not have to be limited to the project management activities; a process flow chart could demonstrate how a manufacturer creates, packages, and ships the product to the customer.
Design of experiments
The design of experiments approach relies on statistical what-if scenarios to determine what variables within a project will result in the best outcome. The goal of design of experiments is to isolate the root cause of an effect and then make adjustments to that cause to eliminate the unacceptable results.
Cost of conformance
This approach is the cost of completing the project work to satisfy the project scope and the expected level of quality. Examples of this cost include training, safety measures, and quality management activities to ensure that quality is met.
ISO 9000
An international standard that helps organizations follow their own quality procedures. ISO 9000 is not a quality system, but a method of following procedures created internally to an organization.
Quality management plan
This document describes how the project manager and the project team will fulfill the quality policy. In an ISO 9000 environment, the Quality Management Plan is referred to as the “project quality system.” Addresses three things about the project and project work: quality control, quality assurance, and quality improvement.
Quality control
A process in which the work results are monitored to see if they meet relevant quality standards. If the results do not meet the quality standards, the project manager applies root cause analysis to determine the cause of the poor performance and then eliminates the cause. Quality control is inspection orientated.
Quality assurance
Overall performance is evaluated to ensure the project meets the relevant quality standards. Quality assurance maps to an organization’s quality policy and is typically a managerial process. Quality assurance is generally considered the work of applying the quality plan.
Quality improvement
The project performance is measured and evaluated, and corrective actions are applied to improve the product and the project. The improvements can be large or small depending on the condition and the quality philosophy of the performing organization.
Quality policy
The formal policy an organization follows to achieve a preset standard of quality. The quality policy of the organization may follow a formal approach, such as ISO 9000, Six Sigma, or Total Quality Management (TQM), or it may have its own direction and approach. The project team should either adapt the quality policy of the organization to guide the project implementation or create its own policy if one does not exist within the performing organization.
Operational definitions
Operational definitions, also known as metrics, are the quantifiable terms and values to measure a process, activity, or work result.
Quality audits
Quality audits are about learning. The idea of a quality audit is to identify the lessons learned on the current project to determine how to make things better for this project—and other projects within the organization. The idea is that Susan the project manager can learn from the implementations of Bob the project manager and vice versa. Quality audits are formal reviews of what’s been completed within a project, what’s worked, and what didn’t work.
Attribute sampling
Measures conformance to quality on a per unit basis
Variable sampling
Measures conformance to quality as a whole
Quality management
There are several quality management philosophies: Kaizen, Total Quality Management, and Marginal Analysis.
Total Quality Management (TQM)
The organization strives for constant improvement for products and business practices.
The organization applies small changes to products and processes to improve consistency, reduce costs, and provide overall quality improvements.
Marginal analysis
Marginal analysis studies the cost of the incremental improvements to a process or product and compares it against the increase in revenue made from the improvements. The cost of the quality is not greater than the increased sales because of the level of quality implemented. Ideally, the revenue generated because of the quality improvements far exceeds the cost of the quality.
Pareto diagrams
A histogram, ordered by frequency of occurrence, that shows how many results were generated by each identified cause. A Pareto diagram is related to Pareto’s Law: 80 percent of the problems come from 20 percent of the issues (this is also known as the “80/20 rule”).
Quality audits
A quality audit is a process to confirm that the quality processes are performing correctly on the current project. The quality audit determines how to make things better for the project and other projects within the organization. Quality audits measure the project’s ability to maintain the expected level of quality.
A listing of activities that workers check to ensure the work has been completed consistently; used in quality control. Also, a listing of many possible risks that might occur on a project, used a tool in the risk identification process.
Trend analysis
Trend analysis is taking past results to predict future performance.
Control charts
These illustrate the performance of a project over time. They map the results of inspections against a chart. Control charts are typically used in projects or operations that have repetitive activities such as manufacturing, test series, or help desk functions. Upper and lower control limits indicate if values are within control or out of control. +/– 1 sigma 68.26 percent +/- 2 sigma 95.46 percent, +/- 3 sigma 99.73 +/- 6 sigma 99.99 percent. The mean in a control chart represents the expected result, while the sigma values represent the expected spread of results based on the inspection. A true six sigma allows only two defects per million opportunities and the percentage to represent that value is 99.99985%.
A category or rank used to distinguish items that have the same functional use, but do not share the same requirements for quality. Low grade may be acceptable, but low quality never is.
Deming’s approach to quality management (post WW II Japan). This approach is similar to the project management processes every project passes through.
Upper Control Limits (UCL)
The UCL is typically set at +3 or +6 sigma. Sigma results show the degree of correctness. +/– 3 sigma 99.73 percent +/– 6 sigma 99.99 percent
Lower Control Limits (LCL)
The LCL is set at –3 or –6 sigma. Sigma results show the degree of correctness. +/– 3 sigma 99.73 percent +/– 6 sigma 99.99 percent
The mean in a control chart represents the expected result.
The sigma values in a control chart represent the expected spread of results based on the inspection. A true six sigma allows only two defects per million opportunities and the percentage to represent that value is 99.99985%.
Rule of Seven
The Rule of Seven states that whenever seven consecutive results are all on one side of the mean, this is an assignable cause. There has been some change that caused the results to shift to one side of the expected mean. Again, the cause must be investigated to determine why the change has happened.
Analogous estimating
Uses similar historical information to predict the cost of the current project. Less costly and less accurate. Analogous estimating is also known as top-down estimating and is a form of expert judgment.
Parametric modeling
Uses a parameter, such as cost per metric ton, to predict project costs.
Bottom-up estimating
Starts from zero and adds the expenses from bottom-up. Most costly and time-consuming, but more accurate.
Top-down estimating
Uses a similar project as a cost baseline and factors in current project conditions to predict costs.
Direct costs
Costs that attributed directly to the project and cannot be shared with operations or other projects.
Variable costs
Costs that vary depending on the conditions within the project (number of meeting participants, supply and demand of materials, and so on).
Fixed costs
Costs that remain the same throughout the project.
Indirect costs
These costs can be shared across multiple projects that use the same resources – such as training room or piece of equipment. Costs attributed to the cost of doing business. Examples include utilities, office space, and other overhead costs.
Opportunity cost
This is a special cost because it really doesn’t cost the organization anything out of pocket, but rather the cost of a lost opportunity. Opportunity costs are an expense companies that complete projects for other organizations realize.
Rough order of magnitude
The accuracy of the estimate is –25 percent to +75 percent and is used in the initiation process and in top-down estimating.
Budget estimate
The accuracy of the estimate is –10 percent to +25 percent. This is used early in the planning process and also in top-down estimating.
Definitive estimate
The accuracy of the estimate is –5 percent to +10 percent. This is used late in the planning process and in bottom-up estimating.
Alternatives identification
Any process that identifies other solutions to an identified problem. These approaches typically use brainstorming and lateral thinking. In this process, alternatives-identification may include buy-versus-build scenarios, outsourcing, cross training, and other activities.
Resource identification
The resource identification is specific to the lowest level of the WBS.
Cost estimating
The process of calculating the costs of the identified resources needed to complete the project work. There is a distinct difference between cost estimating and pricing. A cost estimate is the cost of the resources required to complete the project work. Pricing, however, includes a profit margin.
Straight-line depreciation
Allows the organization to write off the same amount each year. The formula for straight-line depreciation is Purchase Value minus Salvage Value divided by Number of Years in Use.
Double-declining balance
Is considered accelerated depreciation. This method allows the organization to double the percentage written off in the first year.
Sum of the years depreciation
Works by writing out the number of years the equipment is in production and adding each year to the year before.
Chart of account
This is a coding system used by the performing organization’s accounting system to account for the project work.
Lifecycle costs
After project costs
0/100 Rule
This completion method allows for zero percent credit on an activity until it is 100 percent complete.
Actual costs (AC)
Total costs incurred that must relate to whatever cost was budgeted within the planned value and earned value in accomplishing work during a given time period. Formerly known as Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP).
Budget at Completion (BAC)
The sum of the total budgets for a project. The predicted budget for the project; what
Planned value
The physical work scheduled, plus the authorized budget to accomplish the physical work scheduled. Formerly known as Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS). For example, if a project has a budget of $100,000 and month six represents 50 percent of the project work, the PV for month six is $50,000.
Cost budgeting
Allocating the costs estimates to individual work activities. This process shows costs over time. The cost budget results in an S-Curve that becomes the cost baseline for the project.
Cost control
Controlling changes to the project budget. When changes occur, the cost baseline must be updated.
Cost estimating
Developing an approximation (estimate) of the cost of the resources need to complete project activities.
Cost Performance Index (CPI)
The cost efficiency ratio of earned value to actual costs. Used to predict magnitude of a cost overrun. CPI = EV/AC (BAC/CPI = projected cost at completion).
Cost variance (CV)
Any difference between the budget cost of an activity and the actual cost of that activity. CV= EV- AC.
Earned value (EV)
The physical work accomplished plus the authorized budget for this work. The sum of the approved cost estimates (may include overheard allocation) for activities completed during a given period. Formerly known as Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP). EV=%Complete X BAC
Earned value management (EVM)
A method for integrating scope, schedule, and resources, and for measuring project performance. It compares the amount of work that was planned with what was actually earned with what was actually spent to determine if cost and schedule performance are as planned.
Estimate at Completion (EAC)
The expected total cost of an activity, a group of activities, or the project when the defined scope of work has been completed. Most techniques for forecasting EAC include some adjustment of the original cost estimate, based on actual project performance to date. EAC=BAC/CPI. Also called Forecast Final Cost.
Estimate to Complete (ETC)
The expected additional cost needed to complete an activity, a group of activities, or the project. Most techniques for forecasting ETC include some adjustment to the original estimate, based on project performance to date. Also called “estimated to date.” Represents how much more money is needed to complete the project work: ETC=EAC-AC.
An assessment of the likely quantitative result. Usually applied to project costs and durations and should always include some indication of accuracy 9+/- percent).
Life-cycle costing
The concept of including acquisition, operating, and disposal costs when evaluating various alternatives.
Parametric estimating
An estimating technique that uses a statistical relationship between historical data and other variables (such as lines of code in software) to calculate an estimate. Two types: regression analysis and learning curve.
Percent Complete (PC)
An estimate, expressed as a percent, of the amount of work that has been completed on an activity or group of activities.
Cost baseline
This shows what the project is expected to spend. It’s usually shown in an S-curve and allows the project manager and management to predict when the project will be spending monies and over what duration. The purpose of the cost baseline is to measure and predict project performance.
Variance at Completion
The difference between the BAC and the EAC; its formula is VAC= BAC–EAC
Estimating publications
Typically a commercial reference to help the project estimator confirm and predict the accuracy of estimates. If a project manager elects to use one of these commercial databases, the estimate should include a pointer to this document for future reference and verification.
Chart of accounts
Any numbering system used to monitor project costs by category. The project chart of accounts is usually based on the corporate chart of accounts. Not the same as code of accounts.
Code of accounts
Any numbering system used to uniquely identify each element of the work breakdown structure.
Sunk costs
Monies that have been spent on a project are called sunk costs. In evaluating whether a project should continue or not, the sunk costs should not be considered—they are gone forever.
Straight-line depreciation
Straight-line depreciation allows the organization to write off the same amount each year. The formula for straight-line depreciation is Purchase Value minus Salvage Value divided by Number of Years in Use. For example, if the purchase price of a photocopier is $7,000 and the salvage value of the photocopier in five years is $2,000, the formula would read: 7,000–2,000/5= $1,000.
Double-declining balance
Double-declining balance is considered accelerated depreciation. This method allows the organization to double the percentage written off in the first year. In our above example, a single deduction was $1000 per year, which is twenty percent of the total deduction across the five years. With double-declining, the customer would subtract 40 percent the first year, and then 40 percent of the remaining value each subsequent year. In our example, the deducted amount for year one would be $2000. For year two it’d be $1200, and year three it would be $720. This is a great method for equipment that you don’t anticipate to have around for a very long time—such as computer equipment.
Sum of the years depreciation
Sum of the years depreciation works by writing out the number of years the equipment is in production and adding each year to the year before. In our example it was five years, so we’d do this: 5+4+3+2+1=15 (note the largest to smallest). The sum of the years, 15, becomes our denominator; the five, for the first year, is our numerator. So for the first year, we’d deduct 5/15ths (or one third) of the photocopier cost after the salvage amount, which would be $1650. The second year the four would be the numerator and we’d deduct $1250, and so on. Each year we’d deduct a slightly smaller percentage than the year before.
Regression analysis
This is a statistical approach to predict what future values may be, based on historical values. Regression analysis creates quantitative predictions based on variables within one value to predict variables in another. This form of estimating relies solely on pure statistical math to reveal relationships between variables and predict future values.
Learning curve
This approach is simple: the cost per unit decreases the more units workers complete; this is because workers learn as they complete the required work. The more an individual completes an activity, the easier it is to complete. The estimate is considered parametric, as the formula is based on repetitive activities, such as wiring telephone jacks, painting hotel rooms, or other activities that are completed over and over within a project. The cost per unit decreases as the experience increases because the time to complete the work is shortened.
Project scope
A description of all the required work, and only the required work, to complete the project.
Product scope
The features and functions that characterize and product or service.
Need and authorization for projects
Comes from the following sources: marketplace opportunity, business need, customers, advances in technology, legal, and social.
Project selection
Also known as Go/No Go decision making. Based on two different methods: Benefit measure methods and constrained optimization methods.
Benefit measure methods
Compares the value of one project against the value of another. Includes: murder boards, scoring models, benefit/cost ratios (BCR), payback period, discounted cash flow (future value), and net present value
Murder boards
Committee designed to expose strengths and weaknesses of projects
Scoring models
Models that use a common set of values for all of the projects up for selection, such as profitability, complexity, or customer demand. Each value has weight assigned. Also known as weighted scoring models.
Benefit/cost ratios (BCRs)
Examines the benefit to cost ratio such as 3:2.
Payback period
How long it takes the project to pay back its cost – weak model, doesn’t consider discount against time.
Discounted cash flow
Accounts for the time value of money.
Future value
A formula to calculate the future value of present money. FV = PV (1 + I)n FV is future value, PV is present value, I is interest rate, N is the number of time periods. Example (assumes 6% interest over 5 years): FV = 100,000(1+.06)5, FV = 100,000(1.338226), FV = 133,822.60
Present value
The present value of current cash flows. PV = FV÷(1 + I)n. PV = 160,000÷(1.338226). PV = $119,561. Project with the highest present value is usually the best option.
Net present value (NPV)
NPV evaluates the monies returned on a project for each time period the project lasts.
Internal rate of return (IRR)
The IRR is a complex formula to calculate when the present value of the cash inflow equals the original investment.
Constrained optimization methods
Complex mathematical formulas and algorithms that are used to predict the success of projects, the variables within projects, and tendencies to move forward with selected project investments. Not typically used for most projects. Includes linear programming, nonlinear programming, integer algorithms, dynamic programming, and multiobjective programming.
The process of breaking down the major project deliverables into smaller, manageable components.
Work Breakdown Structure
A deliverable-oriented grouping of project elements that organizes and defines the total work scope of the project. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work. Serves as the project scope baseline. Used as input to the following core processes: cost estimating, cost budgeting, resource planning, risk management planning, and activity definition.
Work package
The smallest component of the Work Breakdown Structure. May be assigned to another project manager to plan and execute. This may be accomplished through a subproject where the work package may be further composed into activities.
An element of work performed during the course of a project. An activity normally has an expected duration, and expected cost, and expected resource requirements. Can be subdivided into tasks. Formerly called a work item.
A generic term for work that is not included in the work breakdown structure, but potentially could be a further decomposition of work by the individuals responsible for that work. Also, lowest level of effort on a project.
A smaller portion of the overall project.
8/80 rule
No work package smaller than eight hours and no work package larger than 80.
WBS dictionary
Reference tool to explain the WBS components, the nature of the work package, the assigned resources, and the time and billing estimates for each element.
WBS template
A master WBS that is used in organizations as a starting point in defining the work for a particular project. This approach is recommended, as most projects in an organization are similar in the project lifecycles and the approach can be adapted to fit a given project.
Scope verification
The process of the project customer accepting the project deliverables.
Value-added change
The change will reduce costs (this is often due to technological advances since the time the project scope was created)
Scope statement
The scope statement provides a documented basis for making future project decisions and for confirming or developing a common understanding of project scope among stakeholders. As the project progresses, the scope statement may need to be revised or refined to reflect approved changes to the scope of the project. The scope statement provides justification for the project existence, lists the high-level deliverables, and quantifies the project objectives. Includes project justification, project’s product, project deliverables, and project objectives.
Scope planning
The process of progressively elaborating the work of the project, which includes developing a scope statement that includes the project justification, the major deliverables, and the project objectives.
Scope definition
Subdividing the major deliverables into smaller, more manageable components to provide better control.
Any measurable, tangible, verifiable outcome, result, or item that must be produced to complete a project or part of a project. Often used more narrowly in reference to an external deliverable, which is a deliverable that is subject to approval by the project sponsor or customer.
Individuals and organizations that are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected as a result of project execution or project completion. Thy may also exert influence over the project and its results.
The sum of the products and services to be provided as a project. Also see project scope and product scope.
Statement of Work (SOW)
A narrative description of products or services to be supplied under contract.
Scope change
Any change to the project scope. A scope change almost always requires an adjustment to the project cost or schedule.
Time value of money
An economic model to predict what the future fiscal value may be based on current fiscal value. The time value of money can also reverse-engineer what predicted monies are worth in today’s value.
Return on Investment (ROI)
The project’s financial return in proportion to the amount of monies invested in the project.
Activity definition
Identifying the specific activities that must be performed to product the various project deliverables.
Activity description (AD)
A short phrase or label used in a project network diagram. The activity description normally describes the scope of work of the activity.
Activity list
An output of activity definition, and includes all of the activities to be performed within the project. The WBS describes the components of the deliverables; the activity list defines the actions to create the deliverables.
Analogous estimating
Relies on historical information to predict what current activity durations should be. Analogous estimating is also known as top-down estimating and is a form or expert judgment. More reliable than predictions.
Arrow Diagramming Method (ADM)
Approach to activity sequencing uses arrows to represent the activities. The arrows are “connected” on nodes. ADM only uses finish-to-start relationships. ADM is an example of activity-on-arrow (AOA) networks.Dummy activities, to express activity relationships, are represented with dashed lines.
Conditional diagramming methods
Include system dynamics and the graphical evaluation and review technique (GERT). These models allow for loops and conditional branching. For example, GERT may require that tests of the product be performed several times before the project may continue. Based on the outcome of the testing, the project may use one of several paths to enable its completion. System dynamics is another example of conditional advancement.
Corrective action
Any method applied to bring the project schedule back into alignment with the original dates and goals for the project end date. Includes: extraordinary measures to ensure work packages complete as scheduled and with as little delay as possible, root-cause analysis of schedule variances, and implementing measures to recover from schedule delays.
Taking action to decrease the total project duration after analyzing a number of alternatives to determine how to get the maximum duration compression for the least costs. Usually, adds more resources to activities on the critical path to complete the project earlier (this adds to expense).
Critical path
The series of activities that determines the duration of the project. The critical path in a project usually has zero float, and is the path with the longest duration to completion. There can be more than one critical path in a network diagram. Should delays happen on non-critical paths, and all float is consumed, the critical path may change.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
This is the most common approach to calculating when a project may finish. It uses a “forward” and “backward” pass to reveal which activities are considered critical. Activities on the critical path may not be delayed; otherwise, the project end date will be delayed. The critical path is the path with the longest duration to completion. Activities not on the critical path have some float (also called slack) that allows some amount of delay without delaying the project end date. The following illustration is an example of the critical path.
Discretionary dependencies
The preferred order of activities. Also called soft logic, preferred logic, or preferential logic.
Duration (DU)
How long an activity takes. Does not include holidays or other nonworking periods. Sometimes incorrectly equated with elapsed time.
Duration compression
Shortening the project schedule without reducing the project scope. Often increases costs.
Early finish (EF)
The earliest possible point in time on which the uncompleted portions or an activity can finish. The EF for the first task is its ES, plus the task duration, minus one.
Early start
The earliest possible point in time on which the uncompleted portions or an activity can start. The ES of the first task is one.
The billable time for the labor to complete the activity (the number of labor units required, such as staff hours or days).
Fast tracking
Compressing the project schedule by overlapping activities that would normally be done in sequence, such as design and construction. This method changes the relationship of activities.
Finish No Earlier Than (FNET)
This somewhat unusual constraint requires the activity to be in motion up until the predetermined date.
Finish No Later Than (FNLT)
This constraint requires the project or activity to finish by a predetermined date. A common constraint.
Finish-to-finish (FF)
This relationship means Task A must complete before Task B does. Ideally, two tasks must finish at exactly the same time, but this is not always the case. For example, two teams of electricians may be working together to install new telephone cables throughout a building by Monday morning. Team A is pulling the cable to each office. Team B is connecting the cables to wall jacks and connecting the telephones. Team A must pull the cable to the office so Team B can complete their activity. The activities need to complete at nearly the same time, by Monday morning, so the new phones are functional.
Finish-to-start (FS)
This relationship means Task A must complete before Task B can begin. This is the most common relationship. Example: The foundation must be set before the framing can begin.
The amount of time that an activity may be delayed from its early start without delaying the project finish date. Float is a mathematical calculation, and can change as the project progresses and changes are made to the project plan. Also called slack, total float, and path float. Not the same as free float. Technically, there are three different types of float: free float, total slack, and project slack.
Float calculation
To officially calculate float, the LS is subtracted from the ES and the LF is subtracted from the EF.
Free float (FF)
This is the total time a single activity can be delayed without delaying the early start of any immediately following activities.
Gantt chart
A bar chart that represents the duration of activities against a calendar.
Graphical Evaluation and Review Technique (GERT)
GERT uses conditional advancement, branching, and looping of activities and is based on probable estimates.
Hammock activities
Summary activities included in a network diagram. May or may not have an internal sequence.
An unintended break in a network path. Hangers are usually caused by missing activities or missing logical relationships.
Positive time added to a task to indicate waiting.
Late finish
The latest point in time that an activity may finish without delaying a specified milestone (usually the project finish). The LF for the last activity in the PND equals its EF value.
Late start
The latest point in time that an activity may start without delaying a specified milestone (usually the project finish). The LS is calculated by subtracting the duration of the activity from its LF, plus one.
Negative time added to a task to “hurry up.” For example, in a FS dependency with a 10-day lead, the successor activity can start ten days before the predecessor has finished.
Management reserve
Provision to mitigate schedule/cost risk. Team members and the project manager should use a percentage of the project time as management reserve. Better than bloating.
Mandatory dependencies
The natural order of activities that must occur (can’t build house until foundation is in place). Also called hard logic.
Monte Carlo Analysis
Typically a computer program to estimate the many possible variables within a project schedule. Monte Carlo simulations predict probable end dates, not an exact end date. Monte Carlo Analysis can be applied to more than just scheduling. It can be applied to cost, project variables, and most often, risk analysis.
Network diagram
Shows the relationship of the work activities and how the work will progress from start to finish. Also known as PERT diagrams.
Parkinson’s Law
States: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)
Puts activities in boxes, called nodes, and connects the boxes with arrows that show relationships and dependencies. Also called AON (activity-on-node). Most common method. Has four types of relationships – FS, SS, SF, FF.
Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
PERT uses a weighted average formula to predict the length of activities and the project. Specifically, PERT uses a “pessimistic,” “optimistic,” and “most likely” estimate to predict when the project will be completed. Note that PERT is rarely used in today’s project management practices.
A temporary undertaking to create a unique product or service.
Project calendar
This calendar shows when work is allowed on the project.
Project schedule
Includes, at a minimum, a date for when the project begins and a date when the project is expected to end. Considered proposed until the resources needed are ascertained. Can be displayed as a PND, bar chart, or milestone chart.
Project slack
This is the total time the project can be delayed without passing the customer-expected completion date.
Quantitative durations
Use mathematical formulas to predict how long an activity will take based on the “quantities” of work to be completed. Consider any unit such as square feet painted per hour or number of units created per day.
Updates to the WBS.
Reserve time
A percentage of the project duration or a preset number of work periods that is usually added to the end of the project schedule.
Resource calendar
Controls when resources, such as project team members, consultants, and SMEs are available to work on the project.
Resource leveling
Any form of network analysis in which scheduling decisions are driven by resource management concerns. Smoothes out the project schedule so resources are not over-allocated. A result of this is that projects are often scheduled to last longer than initial estimates.
Resource leveling heuristic
A resource leveling heuristic is a method to flatten the schedule when resources are over-allocated. A heuristic is a fancy way of saying “rule of thumb.”
Term used in arrow diagramming method for float.
Start No Earlier Than (SNET)
This constraint requires that the project or activity not start earlier than the predetermined date. A common constraint.
Start No Later Than (SNLT)
This constraint requires the activity to begin by a predetermined date.
Start-to-finish (SF)
This relationship is unusual and is rarely used. It requires that Task A start so that Task B may finish. Such relationships may be encountered in construction and manufacturing. It is also known as just-in- time (JIT) scheduling. An example is a construction of a shoe store. The end of the construction is soon, but an exact date is not known. The owner of the shoe store doesn’t want to order the shoe inventory until the completion of the construction is nearly complete. The start of the construction tasks dictates when the inventory of the shoes is ordered.
Start-to-start (SS)
This relationship means Task A must start before Task B can start. This relationship allows both activities to happen in tandem. For example, a crew of painters is painting a house. Task A is to scrape the flecking paint off the house and Task B is to prime the house. The workers scraping the house must start before the other workers can begin priming the house. All of the scraping doesn’t have to be completed before the priming can start, just some of it.
Portions of a network template are also known as subnets or fragnets. Subnets are often associated with repetitive actions within a network diagram. Also called fragnet.
Supporting detail of activity list
Includes assumptions, constraints, reasoning behind identified work package, and information specific to the industry that the project is operating within.
active listening
This occurs when the receiver confirms the message is being received by feedback, questions, prompts for clarity, and other signs of having received the message.
administrative closure
Generating, gathering, and disseminating information to formalize phase or project completion.
bull’s eye
Creates limits to the acceptable earned value metrics. Any variances within the preset values automatically prompt communication to management.
Communication channel formula
A formula to predict the number of communication channels within a project; the formula is N(N-1)/2, where N represents the number of stakeholders.
Communications Management Plan
A plan that documents and organizes the stakeholder needs for communication. This plan covers the communications system, its documentation, the flow of communication, modalities of communication, schedules for communications, information retrieval, and any other stakeholder requirements for communications.
This is a part of the communications model; it is the inverse of the encoder. If a message is encoded, a decoder translates it back to usable format.
effective listening
The receiver is involved in the listening experience by paying attention to visual clues by the speaker and to paralingual intentions and by asking relevant questions.
Part of the communications model; the device or technology that packages the message to travel over the medium.
A response, question for clarification, or other confirmation of having received a sent message.
An educated estimate of how long the project will take to complete. Can also refer to how much the project may cost to complete.
Part of the communications model; this is the path the message takes from the sender to the receiver. This is the modality in which the communication travels typically refers to an electronic model, such as e-mail or the telephone.
Approximately 55 percent of oral communication is non-verbal. Facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language contribute to the message.
The pitch, tone, and inflections in the sender’s voice affect the message being sent.
progress reports
These provide current information on the project work completed to date.
Part of the communications model: the recipient of the message.
Schedule Performance Index (SPI)
The schedule efficiency ratio or earned value accomplished against the planned value. The SPI describes what portion of the planned schedule was actually accomplished. SPI = EV/PV.
Schedule Variance (SV)
Any difference between the scheduled completion of an activity and the actual completion of that activity. SV = EV – PV.
Part of the communications model: the person or group delivering the message to the receiver
status reports
These provide current information on the project cost, budget, scope, and other relevant information.
Trend analysis
Trend analysis is taking past results to predict future performance.
The difference between what was planned and what was experienced; typically used for costs and schedules.
Variance at Completion
The difference between the BAC and the EAC; its formula is VAC= BAC–EAC.
Communications matrix
A communications matrix can help the project manager organize communication needs by identifying who needs what information and when. A communications matrix identifies all of the stakeholders and shows where communication originates and to whom it is intended.