Glossary


Refer to this list for definitions of essential Project controls / Cost Engineering / Earned Value management, terms submitted by Project Controls practitioners from around the world.

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50/50 Technique 

AACEi :
In earned value, a technique to earn budget based on assignment of budget equally across two accounting months. Budget is earned at 50% when started, and the remainder at completion. This technique is limited to work package less than two months in duration.

A

Acceleration

AACEi :
Conduct by the owner or its agent (either in a directed or constructive manner) in which a contractor is required to complete performance of a contracted scope of work earlier than scheduled. A directed acceleration occurs when the owner formally directs such acceleration completion. A constructive acceleration generally occurs when a contractor is entitled to an excusable delay; the contractor requests a time extension from the owner; the owner declines to grant a time extension or grants one in an untimely manner; the owner or its agent either expressly orders completion within the original performance period or implies in a clear manner that timely completion within the original performance period is expected; and the contractor gives notice to the owner or its agent that the contractor considers this action an acceleration order.

Accept/Acceptance

AACEi :
(1) The formal process of accepting delivery of a product or a deliverable.
(2) The act of taking custody based on satisfactory verification.
(3) The act of an authorized representative, for itself or as agent for another, assumes ownership of existing identified supplies tendered or approves specific services rendered as partial or complete  performance of the contract.
(4) In TCM risk management, a response strategy for both threats and opportunities.

APM :
A response to a threat where no course of action is taken.

PCI :
(1) The formal process of accepting delivery of a product or a deliverable.
(2) The act of taking custody based on satisfactory verification.
(3) The act of an authorized representative, for itself or as agent for another, assumes ownership of existing identified supplies tendered or approves specific services rendered as partial or complete performance of the contract.
(4) In TCM risk management, a response strategy for both threats and opportunities.

Acceptance Criteria

AACEi :
Implicit or explicit specifications that must be achieved for a product or service to be acceptable within the terms of the contract or agreement seeking its delivery.

APM :
The requirements and essential conditions that have to be achieved before a deliverable is accepted.

PMI :
A set of conditions that is required to be met before deliverables are accepted.

Acceptance Deliverables

PMI :
Products, results, or capabilities produced by a project and validated by the project customer or sponsors as meeting their specified acceptance criteria.

Acceptance, Final (Partial) 

AACEi :
The formal action by the owner accepting the work (or a specified part thereof), following written notice from the engineer that the work (or specified part thereof) has been completed and is acceptable subject to the provisions of the contract regarding acceptance.

Accepted Risk

AACEi :
Risks that are identified, but for which no other risk response is taken in the risk treatment process (e.g., avoid, reduce, transfer).

Access To The Work

AACEi :
The right of the contractor to ingress and egress, and to occupy the work site as required to reasonably perform the work described in the contract documents. An example of denial of access to the work would be on the segment of a sewer installation project where no easements or work limits are indicated, but the contractor is ordered, after contract award, to conduct operations within a narrow work corridor necessitating different or unanticipated construction methods (e.g., use of sheeting).

Account Code Structure

AACEi :
System used to assign summary numbers to elements of the work breakdown and account numbers to individual work packages.

Account Number

AACEi :
An alphanumeric identification of a work package. An account number may be assigned to one or more activities. Syn.: Shop Order Number.

Accountability

AACEi :
Answerable, but not necessarily charged personally with doing the work. Accountability cannot be delegated but it can be shared.

Accounting

APM :
The process of collecting and communicating financial information to meet legal requirements, business management requirements, plus internal and external stakeholders’ needs.

Accounts Payable

AACEi :
The value of goods and services rendered on which payment has not yet been made.

Accounts Receivable

AACEi :
The value of goods shipped or services rendered to a customer on which payment has not yet been received. Usually includes an allowance for bad debts.

Accrual

AACEi :
In earned value management, the actual costs that are recorded for goods and/or material received or services rendered before payment. For example, subcontractor service for a safety inspection for a specific piece of equipment in the month of January which was validated as completed may be recorded by accrual based on an estimated cost. However, the accruals originally recorded in January for the cost of this activity are adjusted after a final cost is determined.

Accuracy

PMI :
Within the quality management system, accuracy is an assessment of correctness.

Accuracy Range

AACEi :
An expression of an estimate’s predicted closeness to final actual costs or time. Typically expressed as high/low percentages by which actual results will be over and under the estimate along with the confidence interval these percentages represent. Syn.: Range of Accuracy.

Acquire Project Team

PMI :
The process of confirming human resource availability and obtaining the team necessary to complete project activities.

Acquisition

PMI :
Obtaining human and material resources necessary to perform project activities. Acquisition implies a cost of resources, and is not necessarily financial.

Action

AACEi :
A measure taken or implemented that is intended to influence the course of the project.

Action Item

AACEi :
Something agreed to be done as a meeting outcome and usually recorded in meeting minutes.

Action Owner

AACEi :
In TCM risk management, the party charged with implementing a risk response.

Action Plan

AACEi :
A plan that describes what needs to be done and by when. Project plans are action plans.

Activity

AACEi :
An operation or process consuming time and possibly resources (with the exception of dummy activities). An activity is an element of work that must be performed in order to complete a project. An activity consumes time, and may have resources associated with it. Activities must be measurable and controllable. An activity may include one or more tasks.

APM :
1. A task, job, operation or process consuming time and possibly other resources.
2. The smallest self-contained unit of work in a project.

PMI :
A distinct, scheduled portion of work performed during the course of a project.

PCI :
The smallest self-contained unit of work used to define the logic of a project. In general, activities share the following characteristics: a definite duration, logic relationships to other activities in a project, use resources such as people, materials or facilities, and have an associated cost.

Activity Attributes

AACEi :
Schedule-related characteristics and designations that uniquely describe a network activity. Attributes can include early and late start and finish dates; identification codes; resource assignments; predecessor and successor activities; and any other information that places the activity into accurate context of its place in the activity network.

PMI :
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 Bar

AACEi :
A rectangle representing an activity on the bar chart. Its length is scaled according to the time scale.

Activity Calendar

AACEi :
In computer scheduling, calendar that defines the working and non-working patterns applicable to an activity. The activity calendar is normally overridden by the project calendar.

Activity Code

AACEi :
Alphanumeric designation system, with code(s) assigned to an activity to group or categorize its properties. Coding is used for detail and summary reporting purposes.

PMI :
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 Cost

AACEi :
The monetary amount expended to complete an activity. Depending upon the cost model and job cost system used, Activity cost may or may not include indirect costs (jobsite and home office) as well as direct costs.

PMI :
Activity Cost Estimate: The projected cost of the schedule activity that includes the cost for all resources required to perform and complete the activity, including all cost types and cost components.

Activity Definition

AACEi :
Process of identifying specific activities that must be performed to produce project deliverables.

PMI :
Define Activity: The process of identifying and documenting the specific actions to be performed to produce the project deliverables.

Activity Description

AACEi :
A unique activity name and word description, which generally defines the work to be accomplished which easily identifies an activity to any recipient of the schedule.

Activity Duration

AACEi :
(1) Length of time from start to finish of an activity, estimated or actual, in working or calendar time units.
(2) Best estimate of continuous time (hours, days, weeks, and months) needed to complete the work involved in an activity. This takes into consideration the nature of the work, and the resources needed to complete the task. Baseline activity duration development can become very complex when productivity impacts and nonstandard production rates must be utilized to meet the constraints of the project.

APM :
The length of time that it takes to complete an activity.

PMI :
The time in calendar units between the start and finish of a schedule activity.

PCI :
Activity duration specifies the length of time (hours, days, weeks, months) that it takes to complete an activity. This information is optional in the data entry of an activity. Work flow (predecessor relationships) can be defined before durations are assigned. Activities with zero durations are considered milestones (milestone value of 1 to 94) or hammocks (milestone value of 95 to 99).

Activity Duration Estimating

AACEi :
Estimation of the number of work periods that will be needed to complete the activity.

PMI :
A quantitative assessment of the likely amount or outcome for the duration of an activity.

Activity File

PCI :
A file containing all data related to the definition of activities on a particular project.

Activity Identifier

AACEi :
Syn.: Activity Code; Activity Number.

PMI :
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.

PCI :
Activity Id: A unique code identifying each activity in a project.

Activity List

AACEi :
A table of scheduled activities listing their respective descriptions, unique identification codes, sufficiently detailed scopes, and predecessor and successor activities, so that the project team can readily discern the work of each activity and the project as a whole.

PMI :
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.

Activity Network Diagram

PMI :
Project schedule network diagram: A graphical representation of the logical relationships among the project schedule activities.

Activity Number

AACEi :
Syn.: Activity Code; Activity Identifier.

Activity On Arrow (AOA)

AACEi :
An activity network format. Schedule activities are represented by arrows and nodes are represented by circles. AOA networks require the use of “dummy” activities to properly model work flow.

Activity On Node (AON)

AACEi :
An activity network format. Schedule activities are represented by boxes or bars and relationships are represented by arrows. Pure AON networks rely solely on finish-to-start relationships and do not employ the use of activity lags to model work flow.

APM :
A network diagram where the activities are represented by the nodes.

PCI :
A network where activities are represented by a box or a node linked by dependencies.

Activity Relationship

AACEi :
Activity relationships determine how activities relate to one another and establish schedule logic.

Activity Resource Requirement

PMI :
The types and quantities of resources required for each activity in a work package.

Activity Sequencing

AACEi :
The process of identifying and documenting dependencies among schedule activities.

Activity Status

AACEi :
Information about the performance of an activity that is used to update schedule progress. Typical status information includes actual start and finish dates, percent complete, and remaining duration. This is information used to update the critical path method calculations periodically.

PCI :
The state of completion of an activity. A planned activity has not yet started. A started activity is in progress. A finished activity is complete.

Activity Times

AACEi :
Time information generated through the critical path method calculation that identifies the start and finish times for each activity in the network.

Activity Total Slack

AACEi :
The latest allowable end time minus earliest allowable end time. The activity slack is always greater than or equal to the slack of the activity ending event.

Activity Type

AACEi :
Dictates calendar used in scheduling software for schedule calculations. Typical activity types are: independent, task, hammock, WBS, and milestone.

Acts Of God

AACEi :
(1) An extraordinary interruption by a natural cause, as a flood or earthquake, or the usual course of events that experience, foresight or care cannot reasonably foresee or prevent.
(2) An event in nature over which neither the owner nor the contractor has any control.

Actual And Scheduled Progress

AACEi :
A comparison of the observable work done at a given time with the work planned up to that time.

APM :
Actual Progress: A measure of the work that has been completed for comparison with the baseline.

Actual Completion Date

AACEi :
The calendar date on which an activity was completed.

Actual Cost (AC)

AACEi :
Syn.: Actual Cost Of Work Performed.(ACWP).

PMI :
The realized cost incurred for the work performed on an activity during a specific time period.

PCI :
The cost actually incurred.

Actual Cost Of Work Performed (ACWP) 

AACEi :
(1) The actual expenditures incurred by a program or project.
(2) The direct costs actually incurred and the direct costs actually recorded and assigned in accomplishing the work performed. These costs should reconcile with the contractor's incurred cost ledgers when they are audited by the client.
(3) In earned value management, a measure of the actual cost of the work performed as of a data date.

APM :
The costs that have been charged to the budget and for which payment has been made, or accrued.

PCI :
The actual cost derived from the employed accounting system. Also called ACWP. The sum of costs actually incurred in accomplishing the work performed.

Actual Dates

PCI :
Actual dates are entered as the project progresses. These are the dates that activities really started and finished as opposed to planned or projected dates.

Actual Direct Cost

PCI :
Those costs specifically identified with a contract or project, based upon the contractor’s cost identification and accumulation system.

Actual Finish Date

AACEi :
Date when work on an activity is substantially complete. Activity substantial completion is when only minor or remedial work remains and successor activities may proceed without hindrance from the predecessor’s remaining work. It is not necessarily the last day work will be performed on that activity. The remaining duration of this activity is zero.

PCI :
Date on which an activity was completed.

Actual Start Date

AACEi :
Date when work on an activity actually started with intention of completing activity within the planned duration. The actual start date is not necessarily the first date work was performed on that activity. Interim starts and stops for an activity may show the need for splitting the activity into component parts.

PCI :
Date on which an activity was started.

Actual Time (AT)

AACEi :
The number of whole project time increments from project inception through time now (data date).

Actual [Duration, Start, Finish, Logic, Etc.]

AACEi :
Schedule information that shows what has actually occurred. For example, the actual start date for a task is the day on which the task actually started, and its actual cost is the expenditures incurred spent up to the present

PMI :
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.

Addaptive Life Cycle

PMI :
A project life cycle, also known as change-driven or agile methods, that is intended to facilitate change and require a high degree of ongoing stakeholder involvement. Adaptive life cycles are also iterative and incremental, but differ in that iterations are very rapid (usually 2–4 weeks in length) and are fixed in time and resources.

Addenda

AACEi :
Written or graphic instruments issued prior to the date for opening of bids which may interpret or modify the bidding documents by additions, deletions, clarification, or corrections.

Additional Quality Planning

PMI :
A set of tools used to define the quality requirements and to plan effective quality management activities. They include, but are not limited to: brainstorming, force field analysis, nominal group techniques and quality management and control tools.

Adjusted Internal Rate-Of-Return (AIRR)

AACEi :
The compound rate of interest that, when used to discount the terminal values of costs and benefits of a project over a given study period, will make the costs equal the benefits when cash flows are reinvested at a specified rate. [1]

Adjusting Leads And Lags

PMI :
A technique used to find ways to bring project activities that are behind into alignment with plan during project execution.

ADM

AACEi :
Syn.: Arrow Diagramming Method (ADM).

ADM Project

PCI :
Non-hierarchical project that uses the arrow-diagramming method.

Administrative Cost

AACEi :
Syn.: General & Administrative Costs (G&A).

Advance Material Release (AMR)

PCI :
A document used by organizations to initiate the purchase of long-lead-time or time-critical materials prior to the final release of a design.

Adverse Weather

AACEi :
Normal weather events that negatively affect the productivity of workers and/or which may affect a project’s critical path or consume float. What deems weather as being adverse is defined differently for each project depending on several factors, including location of a project, the project scope, and even the terms of union construction worker labor agreements. The definition of adverse weather cannot be standardized for all projects or locations, but represents conditions that should be expected during project execution that may impact work progress.

Advertising

PMI :
The process of calling public attention to a project or effort.

Affinity Diagram

PMI :
A group creativity technique that allows large numbers of ideas to be classified into groups for review and analysis.

Agent

AACEi :
A person authorized to represent another (the principal) in some capacity. The agent can only act within this capacity or "scope of authority" to bind the principal. Agency agreements can be oral or in writing.

Aggregate

AACEi :
A collection of items arbitrarily brought together as associated variables for analytical or comparative purposes.

Agile

APM :
A family of development methodologies where requirements and solutions are developed iteratively and incrementally throughout the life cycle.

Agreement

AACEi :
The written agreement between the owner and the contractor covering the work to be performed; other contract documents are attached to the agreement and made a part thereof as provided therein.

PMI :
Any document or communication that defines the initial intentions of a project. This can take the form of a contract, memorandum of understanding (MOU), letters of agreement, verbal agreements, email, etc.

Allocated Baseline

AACEi :
Requirements allocated to lower level system elements controlled by formal change control.

Allocated Requirements

AACEi :
Requirements apportioned to the elements of a system by applying applicable knowledge and experience. Determination of allocated requirements is not as scientifically rigorous as determination of derived requirements.

Allocation

AACEi :
1) In planning and scheduling, the process of distributing or assigning work on an activity to specific resources.
2) In cost estimating and budgeting, the process of distributing or assigning cost of an item or activity (often an overhead or indirect cost) to specific cost or budget accounts.

Allowances

AACEi :
1) For estimating, resources included in estimates to cover the cost of known but undefined requirements for an individual activity, work item, account or sub-account.
2) For scheduling, dummy activities and/or time included in existing activities in a schedule to cover the time for known, but undefined requirements for a particular work task, activity, account or subaccount.

Alternative Analysis

PMI :
A technique used to evaluate identified options in order to select which options or approaches to use to execute and perform the work of the project.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) 

AACEi :
Any procedure or combination of procedures used to resolve issues in controversy without the need to resort to litigation. ADR typically includes assisted settlement negotiations, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, fact-finding, mini-trials, and arbitration.

Alternative Generation

PMI :
A technique used to evaluate identified options in order to select which options or approaches to use to execute and perform the work of the project.

Alternative Resource

PCI :
A resource that may be substituted as the requirement for an activity if the requested resource is not available.

Ambiguity

AACEi :
An uncertainty in the meaning of provisions of a contract, document or specification. Mere disagreement about the meaning of a provision does not indicate an ambiguity. There must be genuine uncertainty of meaning based on logical interpretation of the language used in the contract. Generally, ambiguities in contracts are construed against the drafter of the agreement.

Amendment

AACEi :
A modification of the contract by a subsequent agreement. This does not change the entire existing contract but does alter the terms of the affected provisions or requirements.

Amortization

AACEi :
(1) As applied to a capitalized asset, the distribution of the initial cost by periodic charges to operations as in depreciation. Most properly applies to assets with indefinite life.
(2) The reduction of a debt by either periodic or irregular payments.
(3) A plan to pay off a financial obligation according to some prearranged schedule.

Analogous Critical Path

AACEi :
The logic path determined by transferring the calculated critical path of the collapsed as-built onto the analogous logic path on the as-built schedule. The analogous critical path allows the analyst to reconcile the total difference in completion date between the collapsed state and the as-built state with the sum of the extracted delays, whole or in part, lying on the analogous path.

Analogous Estimating

APM :
An estimating technique based on the comparison with, and factoring from, the cost of similar, previous work.

PMI :
A technique for estimating the duration or cost of an activity or a project using historical data from a similar activity or project.

Analysis

AACEi :
The examination of a complex whole and the separation and identification of its constituent parts and their relationships.

Analysis (Schedule Variance)

AACEi :
Comparison of actual cost/schedule performance to that planned. This comparison includes identification of “potential change notices” and their cause. Derives from the monitoring of project expenditures, progress and performance. Requires application of independent review and creative thought processes to come up with a comprehensive understanding of how, why, and where project accounts are headed. Analysis should result in corrective action to offset/minimize any potential overruns and maximize any potential under runs.

Analyst-Caused Risk

AACEi :
Syn.: Analyst-Induced Risk; Iatrogenic Risk.

Analyst-Induced Risk

AACEi :
Syn.: Analyst-Caused Risk; Iatrogenic Risk.

Analytical Estimating

APM :
An estimating technique that uses detailed specifications to estimate time and cost for each product or activity.

Analytical Techniques

PMI :
Various techniques used to evaluate, analyze, or forecast potential outcomes based on possible variations of project or environmental variables and their relationships with other variables.

And Relationship

AACEi :
Logical relationship between two or more activities that converges on or diverges from an event. The “and” relationship indicates that every one of the activities has to be undertaken.

Annual Value

AACEi :
A uniform annual amount equivalent to the project costs or benefits taking into account the