Introduction to Project Management Terminonlogy


Project Management has its own lexicon of terms. They sound like normal language, but can mean something completely different with a project perspective. This document provides a quick cheat sheet to the terms.



A Lexicon of Terms

Project Management. It’s an industry. It’s a career. It’s a job. It’s a prestigious certification. It’s an essential skill set in any corporation. It’s a set of processes, methods and techniques. It’s a lexicon – a collection of words with specific meanings based upon the context. And to many, project management is confusing.

This primer of terms helps the uninitiated lay person (there are two types of people in the world – project managers and the rest of the population; we’ll call them lay people) understand the lingo of project managers. In many cases, terms overlap the project manager’s dialogue and the lay person’s world. Unfortunately, the words will have different meanings and the comprehension of the message will be lost.

For example, if a project manager stands before executives and boldly claims he is crashing the project, the executives would probably fire him immediately. Using his jargon, the project manager simply stated he was adding people to the project which would increase cost.

On the other had, if a project manager were to proclaim she was fast-tracking her project, the executives might get excited because they would conclude the project’s priority just become urgent and would receive the most attention. In actuality, the project manager was stating she would be accelerating some tasks, overlapping efforts which raises the risk level, not the priority level.

Understanding these subtleties in meaning is essential to proper and clear communications between project managers and lay people.

We also have a blog where we’ve defined some of these terms in more depth. Visit us at

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About the Author

David A. Zimmer, PMP, MS CS has managed projects for over 30 years in David A. Zimmer, MS CS, PMP, #davidazimmer, #davidzimmer, #davidzimmerpmp, #davidazimmerpmpthe telecommunications, pharmaceutical, construction and aero-space industries. Over the years, he trained thousands of people in several countries in the finer art of project, program and portfolio management. As an author, speaker, adjunct professor and consultant, Mr. Zimmer combines theory with real-world practical experience to create a new reality for his clients.


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