Practice Exams:

25 Project Management Terms You Should Know as a PM Professional

For many career paths, having project management skills is a strong advantage in progressing on the career ladder. It is all about the application of knowledge, experience, skills, and processes to attain a specific project goal. The main elements of project management cover:

  • Highlighting the importance of a project;
  • Establishing the prerequisites of projects as well as the allocation of resources, timeframe, and deliverables;
  • Management of issues, risks, project changes, and budget;
  • Engendering effective communication among team members and stakeholders;
  • Project closure in a controlled and timely manner.

Basically, there are common terms that are associated with project management. Understanding these terms will enable a project team to standardize the startup process and work in synergy. In this blog, we will look at 25 PM terms as well as what they mean. Let’s get right into them.

1. Stakeholders

The stakeholders are an integral part of project management. These are people who are influenced by the project and engaged in it. There are different categories of them in a project. The members of the organization who have some involvement in the project are referred to as stakeholders. There are also the external stakeholders such as government bodies who can influence the project. In the case of product development, the customers are also stakeholders because the products need to meet their demand. In general, the project must meet the expectations of all stakeholders.

2. Change Management

This term refers to a project management plan that possesses the authority to reject or approve changes on a project. This is designed to help in managing changes that happen in the course of a project, based on prior planned statements and requirements. A project manager can only modify the deadline and budget of a project to reflect the extra work if change management gives approval of the new change in a project.

3. Baseline

This is another important term and it refers to the process of evaluating the performance of a project. Basically, there are three baselines within project management, namely, schedule baseline, cost baseline, and scope baseline. The combination of these three ones is seen as a total performance measurement baseline.

4. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

This is an important term in project management. WBS refers to the hierarchical break down of work into manageable sizes to enable a project team to understand each level of the work breakdown structure. The team develops a WBS by first analyzing the primary deliverables of the project and then further divides these into sub-deliverables. This division process continues until each unit gets assigned to a team member.

5. Project Life Cycle

This is another important term in project management you need to know. The project life cycle covers project planning, designing, analysis, budget, and implementation. It can have various models but each of them signifies a single phase to develop the project deliverables. Typically, a project life cycle entails project initiation, planning, monitoring & controlling, execution, and closure.

6. Milestone

This is a scheduling process describing significant events or time that mark significant moments in the course of a project. It is best practice for the project managers to utilize milestones during a project to highlight specific achievements. Milestone is a component of the Gantt chart and it’s usually represented as a diamond on the project schedule. They are majorly used for the starting phase, ending phase, and fixed dates on the plan in the course of a project.

7. Gantt Chart

This refers to a bar chart that graphically shows scheduled information about a project. This is very valuable in the scheduling and planning of projects. Additionally, it is also useful in the management of relationships among tasks. The Gantt chart can be used for keeping a project team and sponsors up to date on the project’s progress.

8. Triple Constraint

Projects are usually placed under certain constraints. Triple constraint refers to four elements, including time, cost, scope, and product quality, which is characterized by a triangle with scope, cost, and time at corner sides, and quality at the center. It is important to know that there is a balance among these elements because a change in any of them will affect others.

9. Work Plan

This refers to the outline of a collection of goals designed to help a project team attain the specified goals. The purpose of the work plan is to enhance efficiency, systematic, and completion of a project based on schedule, prerequisites, and budget. It provides all tasks involved in the project and highlights the individuals responsible for each as well as the timeframe for completion.

10. Business Plan

This refers to a document file that describes project goals. It covers the specific goals of the business as well as the strategies to achieve them. The business plan also contains the contextual information related to a project.

11. Contingency Plan

This term refers to the alternative plan in the case that the first plan doesn’t work. It covers circumstances that may or may not happen in the future. With a contingency plan, a project team makes provision for solutions for exceptional risks.

12. Critical Path Method (CPM)

This term refers to the function that enables a project team to write an algorithm for project activities. It is often referred to as the shortest or critical path, and it is mainly used for scheduling. CPM is a step-by-step approach that allows an individual to analyze both critical and non-critical tasks in a project.

13. Brainstorming

Before the design or execution of a project, it is crucial for the teams to carry out a complete SWOT analysis of the project. This will help them calculate risks, solutions, and so on. The technique that will be used while performing all of this is brainstorming.

14. Human Resources Planning

In any organization, the human resource handles everything that has to do with manpower as well as its deployment. Human resource planning in project management helps to identify the individual’s roles and makes it easy to identify the relationships between the team members and their association to the project.

15. PERT Chart

Also referred to as Program Evaluation Review Technique, PERT Chart is designed to be used for the evaluation of reviews. It creates, organizes, and establishes tasks. A network chart, a logic diagram, and a precedence diagram can also be developed in PERT Chart.

16. PERT Estimate

This is used in the calculation of costs and time. It is an accurate estimating method with the formula: (Pessimistic case + Optimistic case + 4 x the Most likely case) / 6. You can short this formula to (P+O+4M)/6. Pert Estimate utilizes a biased middling to anticipate the endurance of a specific task.

17. Agile

This is an approach specifically used for project and product management. Agile was first developed to be used for IT and Engineering projects. However, with continuous innovation, it has been adopted by the marketing industry. Due to its flexible work style, Agile has continued to make a significant impact across industries, and it has become a popular term even in project management.

18. Risk Mitigation

At the initiation of a project, it is critical to understand the possible risks that may be encountered in the course of completing the project. With this, you can alter your plan or opt for alternatives to avoid the occurrence of such risks. Risk mitigation is the term that refers to the identification of risk. Without possible risk identification, the project can become unsuccessful as you will probably spend more time than expected when you come across risks that are not planned in the course of the project.

19. Assumption

Assumptions are itemized as factors in the course of handling statement of work and working on a project. This is to ensure the confirmation and outcome of the project. Assumption Analysis refers to the practice where the project manager can identify or calculate the accuracy part in the project.


During a project, the work package entails Activity. In some cases, it is described as the nominal part of the project. It recognizes the development of timeline, accurate estimation, as well as other areas by switching them into smaller tasks. The unique function of Activity is sequencing, and with WBS, it offers two major processes, namely, Identification & Documentation.

21. Dummy Activity

The project managers always suggest Dummy Activities before a project goes through the final activities. They are reflected in dashed lines, and they are also used to describe a failure when it has occurred in the process of completing the project.

22. Feasibility Study

This is another popular term in project management that refers to the process of assessing a designed plan. It covers activities, such as market research, detailed project study, polls, and many others.

23. Business Case & Use Cases

Business Case refers to a document file used for storing data, such as costs, benefits, and calculations. Use Cases, on the other hand, provide the prerequisite of software tests. These requirements are directly from the end consumer.

24. Case Study

This is a process where a team or an individual carries out research on the specific aspects of a project with the intention of analyzing its critical aspects. It contains document files with approaches, product specifications, and practices.

25. Closing Processes

This describes the termination of a project, including all the processes and phases. It refers to the end of a successfully completed project, and it means that all the five steps of the PM life cycle have been completed with the closing process being the last step.


For successful delivery of a project, it is crucial that a project team begin it with appropriate identification of goals. To be able to achieve this, every member of the team must understand different PM terms. The above are some of the terms that you need to know as a project manager or a project team member.