Project Management Terms and Concepts

No matter you are trying to find some basic project management terms or looking to understand the key differences between the key project management concepts, you are in the right page. There are some basic terms that can be understandable by the people who are out of the field of project management. However, there are some terms and concepts that most of the project management professionals can find difficult to understand. In this article, we collected some of the most popular project management terms and concepts that you should know.

Project Management Terms and Concepts

Like other disciplines and professions, project management has its own terminologies and concepts. While reading this article, you will see that some ordinary words have acquired a technical meaning over time. However, some of them are specific to the field of project management. Here below you can find top project management terms and concepts that you need to know.

  • Activity

Activities are the smallest units of works that form tasks. An activity is a component of task that should be performed during the project work.

  • Activity Sequencing

Activity sequencing is determining the relationships and dependencies of activities while creating a project schedule or a project network diagram. Activity and activity sequencing are widely used project management terms in scheduling. See: precedence diagram method

Agile is an iterative approach in project management to deliver the projects. Agile project management relies on agile principles to demonstrate behaviours of trust, flexibility and collaboration.

  • Assumptions

In project management, an assumption is a factor that is believed to be true while managing a project. Assumptions analysis is performed during the risk management processes.

  • Baseline

A baseline is the original or target plan. Baseline Schedule and Baseline Cost are created to understand how much the current status has deviated from the original plan.

  • Bottom-up Estimating

Bottom-up estimating is a technique which is performed at the lowest level of detail. It is the process of estimating individual components and gathering up them to estimate the overall budget or duration of a project.

  • Budget

As a project management term, a project budget is an estimate that outlines the projects direct costs and indirect costs.

  • Burn Down Chart

A burndown chart is a tool that demonstrates outstanding work versus time.  In other words, it shows the remaining works toward the project completion.

  • Business Plan

A business plan is a strategic document that describes the project goals and the steps to reach the goals.

  • CAPM Certification

CAPM is one of the most popular project management concepts. CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) is a worldwide certification which demonstrates the knowledge of the individual about the strategies and the terminologies included in the PMI’s PMBOK Guide.

  • Change Management

Change management is the process of identifying, documenting, approving and managing changes throughout the project life cycle.

  • Contingency Plan

A contingency plan is referred to as plan B which is applied when the Plan A fails.

  • Cost Variance (CV)

The cost variance shows how much the actual costs deviate from the budgeted costs.

  • Critical Path Method (CPM)

The critical path method is one of the most important project management terms. The critical path method is a project management technique which shows the path of the activities that must be completed on time in order to complete the project without delays. If there is a delay on the critical path, the project will delay.

  • Dependencies

Dependencies are the logical relationships between the activities. They show which activity is the predecessor and which one is the successor in order to model the sequence of work.

  • Earned Value Management (EVM)

Earned Value Management is a performance measurement technique which incorporates schedule and cost measurements to understand if the project is performing well or poorly.

  • Estimate At Completion (EAC)

Estimate at completion is a forecasting method which provides you the forecasted cost of the project when it is completed.

  • Fast Tracking

Fast-tracking is a schedule compression technique which changes the logic to perform the activities in parallel in order to compress the schedule.

  • Gantt Chart

Gantt chart is a project management concept in project planning and scheduling. Gantt Chart is a project scheduling tool that shows the activities on the vertical axis and the timeline on the horizontal axis. Activities are illustrated as bars and the length of the activity shows the duration.

  • Indirect Costs

Indirect costs are the costs that are not directly attributable to the cost of physical project activity. Overhead Costs, taxes, security costs, insurance, and administration costs are examples of indirect costs.

  • Kickoff Meeting

A kickoff meeting is the first meeting between the project team and the client while starting a new project or starting a new phase of a multi-phased project.

  • Monte Carlo Simulation

Monte Carlo Simulation is a visual technique which is used to understand the impact of risk and uncertainty in while forecasting models.

  • Organizational Process Assets

Organizational Process Assets are the procedures, handbooks, contracts, registers, templates of an organization that are used while conducting the business of an organization.

  • PERT Estimation

PERT Estimation (also known as three-point estimation) is an estimate calculated by a weighted average of optimistic, pessimistic and the most likely estimates.

  • PMBOK Guide

Most probably, the PMBOK Guide is the most popular project management term. The PMBOK Guide is a guide which includes the practices, terms, strategies and project management processes and knowledge areas.

  • PRINCE2 Certification

PRINCE2 is a certification which is administered by the Accrediting Professional Managers Globally. There are two levels: Practitioner and Foundation.

  • RACI Matrix

RACI Matrix ( also known as the responsibility assignment matrix) is a matrix describes the roles ad responsibilities of the people involved in a project.

  • Risk Register

The risk register is an essential tool in risk management which is used to document project risks and the actions to deal with them. Risk register is a popular project management term in risk management.

  • Scope Creep

Scope creep refer to the uncontrolled changes in the scope of the project. If it is not controlled, it will have harmful effects on the project.

  • Stakeholder

A stakeholder is an individual or an organization that has interests in the project’s outcome and deliverables.

  • Total Float

The total float can be defined as the amount of time that an activity can be delayed without delaying the project’s completion date.

  • Work Breakdown Structure

The work breakdown structure is a hierarchical breakdown of the project deliverables required to complete the project. It divides the project deliverables into smaller but manageable work packages.

Why Should You Know About The Project Management Terms and Concepts?

Project management, in the most general sense,  can be defined as initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the project by meeting the project-specific goals. Therefore, it requires a set of important skills and expertise for the success of a project.


Every profession and course have their own terminologies, so the same goes for project management. The project management terms and concepts refer to important meanings and practices to standardize the project’s processes.

See Also

Emotional intelligence in leadership

How to manage a project


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