Project Management Terms and Concepts - Part 2

Managing projects in today’s challenging and complex business environment come with a fair set of challenges, like getting all the stakeholders on board on the same page. If you are new to project management, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of things that you need to learn, including the terms and concepts of project management.

We took a look at some essential terms and concepts which are important for the PMP® Certification exam. By studying these terms and concepts initially, aspirants can reduce their time to prepare for the knowledge areas, process groups, and processes. In this article, we will go through the following important terms and concepts that play a vital role in PMP® Certification training.

Are you a professional who is aspiring to be a project manager? Try answering this PMP® Practice Test Questions and assess yourself.

Important Terms and Concepts

Historical Information

Any information from previous projects that have been archived by the organizations is termed as historical information. This information can be used to evaluate future project decisions and includes documents and data on previous projects, including project files, records, correspondence, closed contracts, and closed projects.

ITTO's (Input, Tools, Techniques, and Outputs)

Each process listed in the PMBOK® Guide has a set of inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. Each process has a specific and unique role in each project management process that is used as a building block for that process. Tools and techniques are the actions or methods that are used to transform inputs into outputs. 

Tools could be many things, such as the method of decomposition, which is used to decompose a work breakdown structure into progressively smaller components until the last level of the work package is reached. Techniques are methods, such as flowcharting, which helps us to frame, approach, or solve the problem. PMI® combines tools and techniques since they both used to solve problems and create outputs. According to the PMBOK® Guide version 4, there are 516 inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the 42 processes listed in the PMBOK® Guide.

Knowledge Area

The knowledge areas in this material have been organized into nine groups. Each of the 42 processes defined in the PMBOK® Guide version 4, fits into any one of the nine knowledge areas. The nine knowledge areas which are listed in the PMBOK® Guide version 4 are:

  • Project Integration Management Knowledge Area
  • Project Scope Management Knowledge Area
  • Project Time Management Knowledge Area
  • Project Cost Management Knowledge Area
  • Project Quality Management Knowledge Area
  • Project Human Resource Management Knowledge Area
  • Project Communication Management Knowledge Area
  • Project Risk Management Knowledge Area
  • Project Procurement Management Knowledge Area

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned are documents focused on variance created at the end of each phase that detail what lessons learned should be shared with future projects. Lessons learned are organizational project assets, which are input into many planning processes.

Lessons learned must put a particular emphasis on what was planned to happen, what happened, and what you would have done differently to avoid these variances.

  • Milestone:

    The milestone could be any notable event in the project, program, or portfolio. A milestone may be a date, project deliverable, or any significant point of interest.

Project Constraints

Constraints could be any external factor that limits the ability to plan. The most common constraints are scope, time, cost, but they could be any factors such as law, weather, or resource availability. Constraints are used to help evaluate competing demands. Management directly or indirectly sets the priority for each constraint. Project managers use this constraint prioritization to plan and implement the project successfully.

  • Regulation:

    Regulations are requirements imposed by a government body. These regulations can establish product, project, or service characteristics. Regulations include applicable administrative provisions that have government-mandated compliance.
  • Standard:

    A document that provides, for common and repeated use, rules and guidelines or characteristics, for their activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in the given context.
  • System:

    The rules, processes, procedures, people, and other elements that support and outcome or process is known as a system. Several systems could be defined in project management, including project management information systems, change control systems, and work authorization system.

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Change Request

Change requests are any requested change to a documented baseline. Change requests are typically only implemented once the scope, cost, quality, schedule, quality is baselined. Change requests are processed according to the change control system and configuration control systems. Every documented change request needs to be either approved or rejected by a responsible person, either the project sponsor or the respective project manager.

  • Enterprise Environmental Factors:

    Enterprise Environmental Factors are any factors outside of the project's control that influence the project. It could include organizational attitudes, culture, reporting relationships, government, the economy, laws, etc.

  • Organizational Process Assets:

    All historical information or knowledge that an organization has at its disposal, which may be used to help future projects. Examples of organizational process assets include templates, forms, research results, work breakdown structures, quality standards, benchmarks, previous plans, contracts.

Rolling Wave Planning

Rolling wave planning is a planning technique that does not plan all project activities in the beginning. Only imminent project activities are planned in detail, while activities further in the future are planned at a higher level. Assume that you are on the edge of the field. You may be able to see a few blades of grass near your feet. The farther off you look, the less detail you may be able to perceive. Distant objects, such as mountain ranges located miles away, would appear hazy.

Similarly, rolling-wave planning is a tool, which assumes that things in the near future should be relatively clear, while project activities in the distant future may not be as detailed or precise. With this perspective in mind, project managers may decompose a few work packages into one or more schedule activities, anticipating their execution in the near term, while delaying the analysis of other work packages that will not be accomplished until later in the project.

  • Resources

    Resources are people, organizations, or materials that can be used on a project.

Requirement

The requirement could be considered as something that the product or service must do to satisfy an underlying need. For instance, requirements may include requests about how work is managed ("the office is closed down on Saturday - so you cannot perform certain jobs on Saturdays") features that stakeholders would like to see in their product such as a particular functionality should be incorporated in the system.

  • Variance 

    Variance is the difference between the original plan and the executed results.

Variance Analysis

Variance Analysis is a technique for determining the cause and degree of difference between the baseline and the actual performance. Project performance measurements are used to assess the magnitude of the variation from the original scope baseline. Essential aspects of the project scope control include determining the cause and degree of variance relative to the scope baseline and deciding whether corrective or preventive action is required.

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Conclusion

PMP aspirants need to work on some of the important terms and concepts before they can focus on the process areas, processes, and knowledge areas. By understanding these terms and concepts correctly, aspirants could reduce their time to study for the PMP® certification exam.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.