25 Important Project Management Terms That Will Lead You to Success

Project management is a process of planning and organizing business resources to achieve specific goals. It may entail an ongoing activity or a one-time business project. Business resource management includes personnel, technology, intellectual property, and finances. When you’re handling a PM task, you might be overwhelmed by many things you need to learn. Also, the terms used in project management can confuse you, particularly if you got this role without enough training. Luckily, we’ve decided to help you. Let’s begin with a couple of important terminologies commonly used in the PM sphere. Knowing these top 25 project management terms is a perfect move to ensure the project you’re supervising is successful.

25 Project Management Terms You Must Know

Here’s an outline of some common PM terms you should know in order to ensure your project is successful:

  1. Agile Methodology

This method is utilized for project and product management. Dashes are utilized in shorter bursts of tasks in an iterative means to complete software projects. Initially, Agile was created for the IT and engineering projects. However, continuous innovations have forced the marketing field to start using Agile. This methodology is gaining popularity since its working style is flexible.

  1. Deliverables

These are all the tangible results that are produced by a project. It produces deliverables, such as documents, computer systems, plans, aircraft, and buildings. Internal deliverables are created as the outcome of performing the project, and they are required for the project team. The stakeholders and customers can also produce external deliverables.

  1. Assumption

For successful project implementation, external events or conditions may arise. If you think that the possibility of event happening is satisfactory, you can categorize it as assumptions. They have a probability of 0-100%. This means it is possible that an event happens (0%), and it isn’t also a fact (100%). An assumption is essential since it sets the context whereby the whole cue of a project is definite.

  1. Constraints

These are the limitations that are beyond the control of the team and require to be managed. They’re not problems. Nevertheless, the project managers ought to know the existence of constraints since they exemplify limitations that must be executed within a project.

  1. Gantt Chart

This is another project management term to know. The Gantt chart is a bar chat, which represents events as blocks while the time passes. The beginning and end of this block correspond to the start and end date of the event.

  1. Cost Variance

It is utilized to calculate the expense difference between the earned value of a project and its actual cost delivery progress. In applications, cost variances show the project is on a budget because it’s delivering value more than it’s acquiring cost. The project is termed over the budget when it shows a negative cost variance.

  1. Critical Path

This is a series of events that need to be finalized on schedule for the whole project to be accomplished on time. It’s the longest duration path via the work plan. If one’s activity on the critical path is late by 24 hours, the whole project will be overdue by the same time.

  1. Earned Value

It is utilized to define the overall work accomplished at a given duration. The project’s earned value is defined by adding the budgeted expenses for all activities in the project plan. The actual calculation can utilize a range of calculation approaches such as 50-50% or 0-100%. A real percentage can also be used to determine the credited value of a task.

  1. Functional Manager

This is an individual you will report to in your functional company. Usually, this is a person who conducts a project performance review.

  1. Issue

This is a primary problem that can obstruct the progress of a project. It can’t be solved by the project team or project manager without external help. The project team must handle the issues via a dedicated problem management process.

  1. Lifecycle

This is a procedure or path followed by a project until its completion. There are numerous lifecycle models. For software development, it includes planning, design, analysis, support, and implementation.

  1. Milestone

This refers to the scheduling activity that indicates the accomplishment of deliverables. It gives a measure of how a project has progressed towards a specific goal. Milestones don’t usually indicate duration but must have fixed dates.

  1. Customers

This is another important term used in project management. The customers are a group of individuals who are direct beneficiaries of a service or a project. They are those for whom a business project is performed.

  1. Work Plan

This is a summary of objectives that help the project team attain set goals. The purpose of a work plan is to improve the efficiency and completion of a project. It presents every activity involved, who’s accountable for every task, and when the responsibilities will be accomplished. It includes product definition, job scope, work sequencing schedule, and budget.

  1. Objective

This is a tangible statement that defines what a project is attempting to accomplish. An objective must be written at the lowest level. This allows it to be assessed at the completion of the project to find out if it was accomplished. The success of any project is defined depending on whether the objectives were accomplished.

  1. Program

This is an umbrella structure created to manage a sequence of interrelated projects. It doesn’t create any deliverables. The function of the program is to offer general guidance and direction to ensure that interrelated projects interact effectively.

  1. Project

This is a temporary structure to plan and manage business activities. It also produces defined deliverables. Projects aren’t the same, and that’s why it’s hard to compare them.

  1. Project Management Office (PMO)

This is an agency within an organization that is responsible for developing and enforcing project tools, techniques, and processes. The PMO may form at various levels, such as program, department, and enterprise.

  1. Project Manager

This important project management term refers to an individual with the power to supervise a project. A project manager is accountable for the procedures utilized to manage one. These specialists also have human management roles for the team members. The procedure utilized to run the project includes determining the work, establishing a budget, and a work plan.

  1. Project Plan

This is a paperwork that defines the procedures, techniques, and tools utilized to control and manage a project. The procedures include risk management, issue management, time management, and change management.

  1. Project/Work Schedule

Typically, a work project is linked with a Microsoft project. It’s also the same as a scheduling technique. It’s a series of activities with resources, durations, and particular dependencies that predicts the project’s completion date.

  1. Stakeholder

These are groups or individuals who have a share in the results of a project. Typically, the stakeholders come from the organization and may include managers, internal customers, workers, and administrators. However, there are also external stakeholders in the project, including investors, suppliers, government agencies, and community groups.

  1. Project Baseline

This is used to build an original budget and schedule estimation using the accepted project scope before the project is done. The experienced project managers will compare the project baseline to the current status to define costs and schedule variances.

  1. Waterfall Methodology

This is an analytical lifecycle approach with consecutive stages that come with design, analysis, testing, deployment, and development. Predictive approaches work effectively when the design and requirements are perfectly defined.

  1. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

WBS is a hierarchy developed to provide a breakdown of work into clods that can be managed. This enables each level of the Work Breakdown Structure to be easily internalized and understood by project teams. This hierarchy is usually created by the project team to determine which deliverables are vital before they’re divided into various sub-deliverables.


When any project is assigned, make sure you start it with a clear identification of pre-set objectives. This will help you run a successful project. For this to happen, you need to familiarize yourself with important project management terminologies. This blog post serves as a PM term cheat-sheet for those individuals who are new to the field. You can easily kick-start your project management task by going through these critical terminologies.