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 PMBOK Glossary

Acceptance Criteria. Those criteria, including performance requirements and essential conditions, which must be met before project deliverables are accepted.

Acquire Project Team [Process]. The process of confirming human resource availability and obtaining the team necessary to complete project assignments.

Activity. A component of work performed during the course of a project.

Activity Attributes  [Output/Input]. Multiple attributes associated with each schedule activity that can be included within the activity list. Activity attributes include activity codes predecessor activities, successor activities, logical relationships, leads and lags, resource requirements, imposed dates, constraints, and assumptions.

Activity Code. One or more numerical or text values that identify characteristics of the work or in some way categorize the schedule activity that allows filtering and ordering of activities within reports.

Activity Duration. The time in calendar units between the start and finish of a schedule activity. See also duration.

Activity Identifier. A short unique numeric or text identification assigned to each schedule activity to differentiate that project activity from other activities. Typically unique within any one project schedule network diagram.

Activity List [Output/Input]. A documented tabulation of schedule activities that shows the activity description, activity identifier, and a sufficiently detailed scope of work description so project team members understand what work is to be performed.

Actual Cost (AC). Total costs actually incurred and recorded in accomplishing work performed during a given time period for a schedule activity or work breakdown structure component.  Actual cost can sometimes be direct labor hours alone, direct costs alone, or all costs including indirect costs. Also referred to as the actual cost of work performed (ACWP). See also earned value management and earned value technique.

Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP). See actual cost (AC).

Actual Duration. The time in calendar units between the actual start date of the schedule activity and either the data date of the project schedule if the schedule activity is in progress or the actual finish date if the schedule activity is complete.

Administer Procurements [Process]. The process of managing procurement relationships, monitoring contract performance, and making changes and corrections as needed.

Analogous Estimating  [Technique]. An estimating technique that uses the values of parameters, such as scope, cost, budget, and duration or measures of scale such as size, weight, and complexity from a previous, similar activity as the basis for estimating the same parameter or measure for a future activity.

Application Area. A category of projects that have common components significant in such projects, but are not needed or present in all projects. Application areas are usually defined in terms of either the product (i.e., by similar technologies or production methods) or the type of customer (i.e., internal versus external, government versus commercial) or industry sector (i.e., utilities, automotive, aerospace, information technologies, etc.).

Application areas can overlap.

Approved Change Request [Output/Input]. A change request that has been processed through the integrated change control process and approved.

Assumptions. Assumptions are factors that, for planning purposes, are considered to be true, real, or certain without proof or demonstration.
Assumptions Analysis [Technique]. A technique that explores the accuracy of assumptions and identifies risks to the project from inaccuracy, inconsistency, or incompleteness of assumptions.

Authority. The right to apply project resources, expend funds, make decisions, or give approvals.

Backward Pass. The calculation of late finish dates and late start dates for the uncompleted portions of all schedule activities. Determined by working backwards through the schedule network logic from the project’s end date. See also schedule network analysis.

Baseline. An approved plan for a project, plus or minus approved changes. It is compared to actual performance to determine if performance is within acceptable variance thresholds.  Generally refers to the current baseline, but may refer to the original or some other baseline. Usually used with a modifier (e.g., cost performance baseline, schedule baseline, performance measurement baseline, technical baseline).

Bottom-up Estimating [Technique]. A method of estimating a component of work. The work is decomposed into more detail. An estimate is prepared of what is needed to meet the requirements of each of the lower, more detailed pieces of work, and these estimates are then aggregated into a total quantity for the component of work. The accuracy of bottom-up estimating is driven by the size and complexity of the work identified at the lower levels.

Brainstorming [Technique]. A general data gathering and creativity technique that can be used to identify risks, ideas, or solutions to issues by using a group of team members or subject-matter experts.

Budget. The approved estimate for the project or any work breakdown structure component or any schedule activity. See also estimate.

Budget at Completion (BAC). The sum of all the budgets established for the work to be performed on a project or a work breakdown structure component or a schedule activity. The total planned value for the project.

Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP). See earned value (EV).

Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS). See planned value (PV).

Buffer. See reserve.

Buyer. The acquirer of products, services, or results for an organization.


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