Project Management Terms and Concepts

Project management is a tough, challenging job. It's no surprise that there would be jargon, terminology, and knowledge that needs to be learned. That's just what happened over the years and is still happening today.

The following is a list of project management concepts and terms that will benefit you even if you're a seasoned veteran. If you need an introduction to project management, maybe these short definitions will help.

General Terms and Concepts

Let us look into a few common terms and concepts.

Project Plan

A project plan is a document that lays out the details of a project's cost, schedule, and scope before it even begins. This ensures that everything runs smoothly and helps guide communication among stakeholders by covering every topic in detail.

WBS or Work Breakdown Structure

A work breakdown structure is a way to organize your team's work. The hierarchical nature of it helps everyone understand what's expected and the project will be completed more efficiently.

CPM or Critical Path Method

The algorithm to schedule project activities is called CPM. It enables you to set the order of steps needed in order to achieve the goal of a project, and then it determines how long will it take by detailing the amount of time needed.

Project Manager

Any time you're working on a project, make sure to have a project manager in charge. They'll plan, use resources efficiently and keep within the scope of the project.

Project Stakeholder

A project stakeholder is anyone with a direct or indirect interest in a project. They affect or are affected by decisions made throughout the project's lifecycle, which can range from the marketplace to partners and executives.

PPM or Project Portfolio Management

Project portfolio management (PPM) is a method of organizing and managing planned projects. It includes people from across a company or organization, who collectively manage the project plans in order to maximize the return on investment (ROI).


Collaborative projects require more than just one individual. Interconnected networks are needed to facilitate communication, and the process is called collaboration.

Agile Project Management

Agile project management is a type of approach to delivering projects. It breaks down the project into smaller parts, known as 'iterations,' and prioritizes projects according to urgency or importance. Projection frameworks exist for those interested in implementing this style of project management, with Scrum being a popular one among those who are more familiar with agile practices.

Waterfall Model

The waterfall project management approach is a traditional model that assumes projects happen in a linear fashion and progresses down cascading ladder-like steps. The phases are completed one after another, with no overlap and it doesn't allow for amendments, making it difficult to make modifications mid-way through.

Project Budget

A project budget is a formalized document that includes a list of required and approved financial resources, including expenses and other costs associated with a specific project.

Project Timeline

A project timeline is a document that outlines the events in order of their occurrence. It also records exactly what needs to be done, as well as how it will occur.


Milestones are used as a reference point to see how far the project has gotten. They serve as checkpoints for progress measurement.


Dependencies tell us the relationship between different project activities and their order. There are four types of dependencies

Start-to-start: Any task that has a predecessor must be completed before the Successor can start

Finish-to-start: The successor must finish the work plan before starting it

Start-to-finish: It's crucial that the successor starts after the predecessor finishes, or vice versa.

Finish-to-finish: As the successor starts, the predecessor is finished

Work in Progress

A workflow is the collection of tasks a company adds to its project plan. It progresses through a list from start to finish.

Work in Progress Limit

Teams can maximize the productivity of their work by setting a WIP limit. This can help teams identify bottlenecks faster and allow them to focus on single tasks more efficiently.


A bottleneck is often a position or process that's overwhelmed with the amount of work coming in, causing other options and priorities to suffer.


Scrum is a popular framework used for successfully implementing a software project. The framework uses iterative methods, which are a continuous systematic collaboration among team members.


A sprint is a specific time frame during which predetermined goals are accomplished. Timeframes typically range from 2 weeks to 4 weeks, depending on the business and needs of the team. Sprint meetings are held each day during this time frame, where progress can be monitored and goals adjusted as needed.

Kickoff Meeting

A kickoff meeting is the first meeting that happens between the project team and their client. This meeting typically occurs after the basic project details have been finalized, but the main project work is not yet started. A kickoff meeting serves the purpose of reviewing a project's expectations.

Meeting Agenda

A meeting agenda is a list of all the topics to be discussed during a meeting, including detailed descriptions and the order of topics. The expected outcomes are included for each topic.

Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes are typically written notes of the details discussed in a meeting. After the meeting, they can be circulated among those who attended to gain new insights and potential follow-up actions.

Stand-Up Meeting

Stand-up meetings allow you to stay in the loop by getting updates on your work progress. A stand-up meeting is typically conducted at a similar time frame and place every day.

Follow Up

After a meeting, you should always schedule some time to chat with participants if you need general feedback on the topics discussed during the meeting. Sometimes it's even best to hold a dedicated follow-up meeting in order to suit your needs more appropriately.

Resource Allocation

There are many ways to allocate resources during a project. However, the best way to accomplish the task is to figure out how each group of people will best serve the project’s end goal. This involves scheduling and assigning resources in a way that maximizes their use so that projects can be finished as efficiently as possible.

Resource Breakdown Structure

This is usually made according to the function, such as resource type. The list facilitates planning and control of a particular project work.

Resource Leveling

Resource leveling is a process that takes into account schedules, resource allotment, and working hours. This adjusts the project schedule so resources don't have to work overtime. It also impacts the critical path of projects which helps to improve quality.

Resource Availability

Resource availability is an important characteristic of a particular resource.

One associated effect of time resource scarcity is when the cost of a resource rises while the overall cost goes down.

Resource Calendar

A resource calendar helps you organize your workload. It indicates when a specific resource will be available and not available for the upcoming period, helping you plan ahead and avoid overload.

Risk Management

In order to reduce the chances of negative impacts on project operations, risk management is a systematic process that identifies and assesses risks. It ensures continued project goals by working to minimize their impact during the process.

Risk Mitigation

To reduce the probability of adverse effects and risk, you must develop plans that focus on mitigating threats. A successful risk mitigation strategy focuses on developing actions that ensure overall project objectives.


It's time for us to wrap up our list of project management concepts. We hope you found the list helpful!

Updated on: 22-Dec-2022


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