Swiftly Improve Project Business

Project Business Glossary

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Organizations and individuals can apply This Project Business Glossary to immediately improve project business by reducing the risk of expensive and often disastrous misunderstandings.

Feel free to use it!

You are free to use the glossary for example by including it on your your project (business) management methodology or using it as a baseline for the development of your own glossary.

Please make sure you reference it correctly (see templates at the end of the page).

The Online Glossary 

Term, Acronym



Acceptance Testing Here: Formal testing conducted to provide evidence that a product, service, or other kind of result satisfies contractually agreed acceptance criteria Successful acceptance testing leads to validation or sign off by the customer.
Agile methods A family of frameworks and methods to improve -> Agility in projects Generally developed for internal projects. Nevertheless, they are often adapted and used for customer projects.
Agility The ability to respond quickly to changing requirements, wishes, and needs Contrasts with -> Predictiveness.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) Conciliation, mediation, expert determination, or arbitration (binding, non-binding) to resolve conflicts between contract parties unable to find a solution in negotiations with the purpose of avoiding a lawsuit Uses a third party to assist resolving the conflict or decide upon it.
Assets Things of value, such as money, buildings, reputation, skilled and unskilled people, that may be used in projects or not Project business management means to tap into the assets of other organizations and turn them into project resources.
Audit -> Review of documentation Preaudits precede the reviewed activities, postaudits or revisions follow them. Contrasts with -> inspection.
Backlog Here A list of work items (user stories) to be prioritized and completed based on the ranking done by a product owner reflecting the needs of the customer In project business: Reflecting the various wants and needs of the customer relating to the project’s results.
Benefit engineering Approach to resolve a project conflict, dispute, or crisis by adding benefits for the other party Contrasts with -> Cost engineering.
Bid Here: Response to an -> Invitation for bid (IfB) Often used confusingly.
Bid & proposal management The discipline of developing offers, such as -> bids, -> proposals, -> pitches, etc. Commonly done during -> Business development.
Bid bond Insurance or deposit to compensate the buyer in case the seller withdraws the offer before the contract is concluded Also see -> Performance bond, -> Warranty bond.
Bidders conference A customer-sponsored event with vendors from different disciplines and industries attending to present the project,  and respond to questions by the attendees Often used in government projects to make the project’s vendor selection protest-proof.
Bidding documents Documents used for any kind of business development May be documents provided by the customer or by the contractor.
Brain storming A technique used to generate divergent ideas on a particular subject Customer and contractor can jointly be involved to generate ideas that will add value for both.
Breach of contract Violation of contract terms by at least one party Depending on the jurisdiction, a breach may be immaterial, material, or repudiatory.
Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) A contractor designs and builds a product and operates it for an agreed-upon period, then hands it over to the final owner Commonly used -> Project finance scheme in public infrastructure projects. The Build phase is an investment by the contractor, the Operate phase must bring the payback, which is ended with Transfer.
Burn-down chart A chart showing the rate (story points/day) at which user stories or tasks are being completed or burned down It is a communication tool a contractor can use to report project progress to the customer.
Burn-up chart A chart showing the rate (story points/day) at which business value is growing Visualizes the impact and value of changes to the scope.
Business acumen Here: The ability to make and implement profitable project business decisions in a given situation and environment An essential skill in project business. Compare with -> Business spirit.
Business agility The quick realization of business value in an environment with low predictably In project business: Builds on mutual understanding and the speed and decisiveness of the players. Achieving business agility is often a driving force of -> Project business management.
Business case Here: A document discussing the benefits, costs, risks, and other aspects of a project, developed to support and justify decision making during project selection Mandatory projects may not have a business case but follow a regulatory requirement. For -> Contractors in -> Customer projects, the business justification is mostly income generation.
Business development The phase in -> project business management, when entering a contract is intended but before the contract has been agreed upon  
Business spirit Here: The preparation to consider, make, and implement profitable project business decisions in a given situation environment An essential trait in project business. Compare with -> Business acumen.
Business value Here: tangible or intangible return the customer or contractor anticipates to realize. Contractual business value is what the Customer is willing to pay for.
Buyer Here: Any person or organization in project business that buys project work and/or results from outside. After contract closure synonym with -> Customer Contrasts with -> seller.
Call-off contract A contract for works or services, which is entered into (u201ccalled offu201d) pursuant to a -> Framework agreement May contain specific terms for the works and services required, but in general the applicable terms will be those of the framework (i.e. pre-agreed).
Capture strategy A plan describing steps to win a business during business development Well developed and implemented capture strategies are often the key to successful business development on contractor side. -> Delivery strategy.
Cash flow Income minus cost in the customer project over time It is an aspect of the often delicate balance between money coming in and flowing out.
Cash-flow analysis Assessment and forecasts of -> Cash flow
Certification A formal validation of a person, organization, product, or a process by a third party against specified criteria A project contract may include clauses that require the use of certified people or subcontractors by the contractor.
Change control Another term for -> Change request management
Change management The management function to apply changes to an entire organization Often confused with -> Change request management and -> Change control.
Change request Request by either contract party to the other(s) to change scope, schedule, and other elements of the project plan Parties should have a process in place to manage change requests across the corporate borders.
Change request management The management function to manage change requests Also called Change control.
Civil law Legal system based on strict separation of powers Characterized by the existence of a Civil code. Contrasts with -> Common law.
Claim Here: Demands in money, rework, and other items of worth, mostly based on construed disruptions, changes, or other alterations to the contractually agreed project work  
Claim manager Role on -> Contractor or -> Customer side tasked with identifying situations that justify -> Claims against the other party A “war of claims” between contract parties can be damaging to a -> Cross-corporate project.
Client Synonym for -> Customer  
Code analysis The process of validating that software code conforms to guidelines and standards. May be contractually required as an integrity check on how well the contractor is working according to agreed upon design and coding rules.
Code of conduct Collection of rules that explains acceptable and inacceptable behavior, often with a mechanism to make it enforceable  
Collocated team -> Team with members in physical proximity Contrasts with -> Virtual team.
Common law Legal system based on the English mediaeval system of jurisprudence Also called Anglo-American law. Contrasts with -> Civil law.
“Completing over competing” Paradigm to develop and jointly follow a -> “Mission Success First” motto Implements the understanding that project success in a cross-corporate project is often damaged by competitive behavior of the parties involved.
Concurrent delay Here: Discord among contract parties Causes may be differing business interests and corporate cultures, incompatible egos, differing values, and many more.
Conflict Here: Discord among contract parties Causes may be differing business interests and corporate cultures, incompatible egos, differing values, and many more.
Consideration Here: Disadvantages, obligations entered into by contract parties when concluding the contract In Common law: All parties must have consideration to consider a contract valid.
Consortium Here: A temporary joint venture between -> contractors to do the project jointly. The shareholders (= members, venturers) of the consortium are commonly also its subcontractor. -> Teaming agreement. Certain consortia include the customer as a shareholder. See also -> Project alliance.
Constructive acceptance A non-formal, implicit acceptance by complaint-free usage of contractual deliverables over a period of time Often leads to -> claims and conflicts.
Constructive change A change construed from hindsight into project work Often leads to -> claims and conflicts.
Contract Agreement between two or more players (organizations, individuals) that is mutually binding, valid, and enforceable at court[1]  
Contract change A requested and approved change that leads to an amendment or addendum to the contract  
Contracting Here: The process of developing, concluding, performing, maintaining, changing, validating, and finally closing down of a contract in project business management Includes legal and commercial aspects.
Contract scope The work, services, products, and other obligations by the parties that are part of the contract May include obligations of the customer, such as -> provisions and -> enabling services.
Contract statement of work (CSOW) A -> Statement of work (SOW) that has become part of the project contract Often: The procurement SOW made binding by appending it to the contract.
Contractual work breakdown structure (CWBS) A Work breakdown structure (WBS) that has become part of the project contract May refer to the entire WBS or to parts of it.
Corruption Here: Application of undue influence on one or more individuals or organizations to gain an unjustified benefit Includes bribery and blackmailing.
Cost(s) Amount of money that it costs an organization to do a project, e.g. a contractor to do the project for the customer Contrasts with -> price.
Cost engineering Approach to resolve a project problem, in most cases a cost overrun, by reducing functions, features, or other costly elements Contrasts with -> Benefit engineering.
Cost reimbursable contract A contract type with a variable price depending on the costs for availability of resources, work done, and goods delivered that have been outlaid by the contractor and are reimbursed by the customer Reimbursement may include various forms of fees paid on top of the reimbursed outlays.
Cross-corporate project A -> Project performed by a -> Cross-corporate team. Contrasts with -> Cross-functional project.
Cross-corporate team A -> Team with members employed by different organizations Contrasts with -> Cross-functional team.
Cross-functional project A -> Project performed by a -> Cross-functional team. Contrasts with -> Cross-corporate project.
Cross-functional team A -> Team with members employed by different units (departments, divisions, etc.) inside the same organization Contrasts with -> Cross-corporate team.
Customer Synonym for -> client. Chiefly: Person or organization buying project work and/or results under contract against payment This definition excludes u201cinternal customersu201d or u201cinternal clientsu201d.
Customer-facing project -> Customer project  
Customer project Project done by one or more contractors for one or more paying customers See also -> Cross-corporate project. Contrasts with -> Internal project.
Deadline A due date (latest date) for a completion or delivery. Often combined with liquidated damages or penalties Often confused with -> Milestone and -> Phase gate.
Daily Stand-up Here: A daily stand-up meeting of a -> Cross-corporate team where status is exchanged, progress is reported, and impediments are discussed and removed Typical duration: 15 minutes.
Dashboard Here: A type of information radiator that provides customers and contractors with graphs and reports Indicates progress and trends and helps identify problems early.
Delivery strategy A plan describing steps to ensure customer happiness, profitability of, and cash flow from the project on contractor side Well developed and implemented delivery strategies are often the key to doing the business successfully. -> Capture strategy.
Design-Bid-Build (DBB) A project, where a contractor develops the design, but the subsequent implementation is done by another one Common in construction and infrastructure projects. Contrasts with -> Design-Build (DB) and -> Design-Build-Operate (DBO).
Design-Build (DB) A project, where a contractor develops the design and also does the implementation Common in construction and infrastructure projects. Contrasts with -> Design-Bid-Build (DBB) and -> Design-Build-Operate (DBO).
Design-Build-Operate (DBO) A project, where a contractor develops the design, does the implementation, and operates the results. Common in construction and infrastructure projects. Contrasts with -> Design-Build (DB) and -> Design-Bid-Build (DBB).
Disruption notice Message mostly by a contractor to a customer that work could not be performed due to disruptions outside the influence or responsibility of the contractor Can lead to -> Claims and -> Concurrent delay.
Done The criteria for accepting a product, feature, story, or other result as finished In project business, “doneness” criteria are mostly set by the customer to be satisfied by the contractor.
Earned value method Method for standardizing progress measurement against baseline schedule and costs Sometimes used in -> Project business for incentive models.
Enabling services Services provided by the customer to the contractor to enable the latter to do its work Compare with -> Provisions.
Effectiveness Here: The ability to deliver what has been agreed upon and is needed and helpful An example: In a fixed price project, effectiveness is what the contractor owes the customer. Contrasts with ->Efficacy and -> Efficiency.
Efficacy Here: Efficiency and effectiveness under controlled conditions An example: The performance of a product in a lab environment. Contrasts with -> Effectiveness and -> Efficiency.
Efficiency Efficacy and effectiveness weighted against costs and efforts occurring to develop or operate it An example: In a fixed price project, efficiency is what the contractor-side project manager owes his/her employer. Contrasts with -> Effectiveness and ->Efficacy.
E-procurement Electronic procurement using online media Often by utilization of portal systems.
Estimation Process of forecasting of costs, time, work, and other quantitative items Based on analogies, mostly from past projects.
Expert judgment Utilizing -> Subject Matter Experts for decision making

May also utilize -> Focus groups.

FIDIC Federation Internationale Des Ingenieurs-Conseils, International federation of consulting engineers

FIDIC offers a range of standard form contracts for project business in engineering.

Field change A change done during implementation, often in response to an emergency or the identified need for technical safeguards. Commonly circumvents change request processes.
Fixed price contract A contract type with a predefined price for the customer, in which the contractor assumes most or all cost risks May include some variable elements, such as price adjustments (e.g. for raw material costs or exchange rates), incentives, penalties, and award fees.
Focus group Here: A cross-functional, cross-disciplinary, or cross-corporate group of -> Subject matter experts.
Forecasts Here: Predictions of future cash-flows, work, milestones, etc. May be long-term or short-term.
Framework agreement Here: Long term agreement, which includes prices, terms, and other contract clauses that apply when the goods and services are ordered. Often used in combination with -> Purchase orders (POs) or -> Call-off contracts.
Freebie project Customer project that is done by the contractor free of charge Binds the customer for some time to use products or services of the contractor and pays back over time when these are invoiced.
Freelancer Self-employed one-person contractor  
Gemba The place where value-added work is being done: a work cell, the developer team room, the help desk, the customer’s office. In project business: Customers and contractors meet at gembas to observe, evaluate, coach, and engage with the team. Contrasts with formal status meetings.
General contractor -> Prime contractor  
Gentlemen’s agreement Private agreement that in case of a conflict is not intended to be remedied at court[2]  
Good faith Principle that each contract party assumes extended responsibility for the other parties’ success from the contract In civil law: Chiefly a legal requirement; in Common law: Possibly a contractual requirement.
Health check A review by a qualified auditor, where the auditee is the contractor, and the audit client is the customer to ensure project management is sufficiently developed to meet the customer’s requirements Another word is Project management audit.
Hit rate Percentage of -> offers sent by a contractor that win the customer’s acceptance and become business  
Incentives Here: Models used to motivate contractors to meet customer’s objectives  
Information 1. Content of communications
2. Response to a -> Request for information (RfI)
3. Processed and understood data
Information radiator A visual control that displays information in a place where customers, contractors, and other stakeholders can see it To be effective, the information must be current with sufficient detail to explain status.
Inspection -> Review of work reults Partially or full finished work results can be inspected. Contrasts with -> Audit.
Interface The point at which physical, system or information boundaries occur. Care should be taken to scope / describe this carefully in the contract specification to avoid costly misunderstandings.
Internal project A project done by an organization for its own purposes See also -> Cross-functional project. Contrasts with -> Customer project.
International Project Management Association (IPMAu00ae) Umbrella association constituted by a group of National project management associations Focusses on internal projects. See also -> PMI.
Invitation for bid (IfB) Requesting offers from sellers for a price-driven competition (-> bid), based on clear specifications of project work and results Often confused with -> Invitation to pitch (ItP), -> Invitation to tender (ItT), -> Request for proposal (RfP), -> Request for quotation (RfQ).
Invitation to bargain -> Invitation to treat
Invitation to pitch (ItP) Requesting offers from sellers for a solution-driven competition (-> pitch), based on a project price that has been fixed by the buyer before the competition started (u201cbudgetu201d) Often confused with -> Invitation for bid (IfB), -> Invitation to tender (ItT), -> Request for proposal (RfP), -> Request for quotation (RfQ).
Invitation to tender (ItT) Requesting offers from sellers for a mostly price-driven competition (-> tender) with unclear specification Often confused with -> Invitation for bid (IfB), -> Invitation to pitch (ItP), -> Request for proposal (RfP), -> Request for quotation (RfQ).
Invitation to treat (ItT) Non-binding -> offer Also called Invitation to bargain. Commercially considered an offer but not legally, acceptance of the non-binding offer does not constitute a contract.
Iteration A period during which the team is focused on producing a demonstrable interim result Contractual terms may state that the result will be shown to the customer, potentially be delivered, implemented, and paid. See -> “sprint”.
Iteration planning The activity to prioritize and identify the stories and concrete tasks for the next -> iteration Contract terms may state that the customer prioritizes the tasks based on -> business value.
Kaizen Incremental, gradual, and unending improvement by doing little things better and achieving increasingly higher standards Also called “Continuous improvement”. Kaizen in a project may be contractually mandated.
Kick-off meeting Meeting to present a mostly mature project plan to supervisors and other stakeholders to gain final approval A contractor may have a Kick-off meeting with the customer and a second, internal one. Often confused with -> On-boarding meeting.
Lead time Here: Time that a booking, a PO, a dispatch, etc. to ensure timely availability of an -> asset or a -> resource Lead time calculation helps schedule the latest moment when an activity needs to be performed.
Lean The approach that produces value quickly through a focus on reducing delays and eliminating waste Application of certain lean methods may be contractually mandated in a project.
Letter contract Fully negotiated but not yet signed contract, which is used as if it were signed to accelerate implementation See also -> Letter of intent.
Letter of intent (LOI) Legal document to drive a running negotiation forward by placing first enforceable obligations on the parties Contrasts with -> Memorandum of understanding. See also -> Letter contract.
Liquidity Ability of an organization to meet financial obligations, such as paying wages and invoices, repaying loans, etc.
Main contractor -> Prime contractor  
Management attention An -> asset of the performing organization(s) used as a -> resource by the project Assigning a management attention for project work to a contractor is often a driving force of -> Project business management.
Make-or-buy decision Here: The decision by an organization to use own resources for the project (“Make”) or outsource it partially or in full (“Buy”) Choosing the “Buy” option is commonly the starting point for project business.
Margin Difference of a contractor’s price to the customer minus assignable costs to do the project. In a portfolio of customer projects, the sum of the margins of the projects minus costs that cannot be assigned to individual projects represent profit Margin is sometimes calculated in % as costs/price – 1. A project with a price of $ 1,000,000 and costs of $ 800,000 would have a margin of 20%.
Memorandum of understanding (MOU) Diplomatic document to capture the status of a running negotiation Contrasts with -> Letter of intent.
Milestone A moment during the course of a project with duration zero, when something important has been achieved or has happened Often confused with -> Deadline and -> Phase gate.
u201cMission Success Firstu201d An overarching paradigm or motto for a -> cross-corporate project Reduces the various priorities in a project to just one: Mission success.
Naming Here: A single customer-approved vendor, which the contractor must use as sub-contractor Contrasts with -> Nominating.
Nominating Here: A list of customer-approved vendors, from which the contractor has to select a sub-contractor Contrasts with -> Naming.
Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) Contractual or private agreement to keep information confidential and not disclose it to the public May precede the actual project contract or be included in it.
Offer Any form of -> Bid, -> Pitch, -> Proposal, -> Quotation that is submitted to a prospective customer or contractor with the intention to enter a mutually binding contract  
Offer/no-offer decision The decision on the side of a -> seller to respond to a -> Request for quotation (RfQ), -> Invitation for bid (IfB), etc. with a formal offer or not.  
On-boarding meeting Meeting to bring internal and external team members together, discussing roles, rules, and more details A customer may have on-boarding meetings with contractors and also internal ones. Often confused with -> Kick-off meeting.
Outsourcing -> Procurement  
Owner Here: The final buyer/customer on tier 0 of the project  
Performance bond Insurance or deposit to compensate the buyer and or subcontractors, when the contractor is not able or prepared to meet contractual obligations See -> Bid bond, -> Warranty bond.
Phase gate A process in a phase model, when one phase has been ended, and before the next can begin. Commonly a time of review of the previous phase, risk assessment of the next phase, and final approval to go on with the project Often confused with -> Deadline and -> Milestone.
Pitch Here: Response to an -> Invitation to pitch (ItP) Often used confusingly.
Portfolio Here: A group of customer projects under a common supervision domain and with a joint intention to make paying customers happy, ensure profitability and contribute positively to the organization’s liquidity. See also -> Project business management office (PBMO).
Predictiveness The ability to make long-term forecasts and plans Contrasts with -> Agility.
Prequalification questionnaire (PQQ) A self-disclosure form attached to a -> Request for information (RfI) or following it as a next step before entering the actual competition. Often used to shortlist vendors  
Price Here: Amount of money that the customer pays to the contractor according to the contract Contrasts with -> Costs.
Prime contractor A person or organization who acts as contractor to one or more customers and as a customer to one or more subcontractors Also called main contractor or general contractor.
Private finance initiative (PFI) A u2011> Project finance scheme whereby a public asset is long-leased (e.g. 25 years) to a private organization, who leases it back to a public user (e.g. school or hospital). The obligations to upgrade and maintain the asset is with the private organization.
Privity of contracts A legal doctrine that a contractual relationship must be direct; e.g.: a -> customer has a contractual relation with a -> prime contractor but not with -> subcontractors Seems to be valid in all legal systems.
Procurement Process to buy project work and results from outside the organization  
Procurement statement of work A statement of work used to inform sellers during a project business development process of the required and intended work and results to be offered. May be turned into a -> Contract statement of work (CSOW), when the contract is agreed upon  
Product Here: A collection of tangible and intangible features that are integrated and packaged into releases that offer value to the customer or another project stakeholder The value of the product is validated during -> acceptance testing.
Product contract A contract type obliging the contractor to deliver work results A contract type in -> Civil law environments. Contrasts with -> Service contract.
Profitability (Portfolio) The degree to which payments from the project customers exceed costs of the contractor to perform the portfolio Includes the costs of winning new business and other costs that cannot be directly assigned to individual projects (“Corporate overhead”).
Profitability (Project) The degree to which payments from the project customer exceed costs of the contractor for the project. Includes the costs of winning the specific business.
Program Here: A set of projects done (mostly) by contractors that are coordinated and combined to an overarching endeavor by the customer The project goals to be met by the contractors add up to a joint program mission that is managed by the customer.
Project Here: A temporary agreement (internal or cross-corporate) to invest assets as resources for the creation of unique results.  
Project alliance A multilateral contract between one or more customers and a number of contractors. May have the form of a temporary joint venture and is then also called a u201ccustomer-led -> consortiumu201d.
Project business The business of doing projects for other organizations or mandating projects to other organizations under contract, assuming that the organizations involved are independent, This definition includes both sides customers and contractors.
Project Business Foundation The home association for organizations and individuals involved in u2011> Project business This definition includes both sides customers and contractors.
Project business healing day A moderated event bringing customers and contractors together with a focus on problem solution and performance improvement  
Project business management The management discipline and the set of tools, techniques, management approaches, and artifacts employed to manage u2011> project business This definition includes both sides customers and contractors.
Project business management office (PBMO) Operational unit that unifies language and approaches across a -> Portfolio of customer projects and supervises profitability of the projects and their positive or negative impact on the organization’s liquidity. An evolution of the Project management office (PMO) commonly found in organizational portfolios with internal projects.
Project charter Foundation document of the project and formal authorization of the project manager  
Project contract -> Contract  
Project finance A set of schemes that finance projects based on the expectation of monetary benefits gained from its results Examples are u2011> Build-operate-transfer (BOT) and u2011> Private financial initiative (PFI).
Project management The management discipline and the set of tools, techniques, management approaches, and artifacts employed to manage a u2011> project This definition includes internal and cross-corporate projects.
Project management audit -> Health check  
Project Management Institute (PMIu00ae) Association for project managers Focusses on internal projects. See also -> IPMA.
Project owner The final (= tier 0) customer of a -> Project supply network  
Project supply network (PSN) Cross-corporate multi-contract system with customer(s), contractors, subcontractors, and so on, possibly spanning multiple -> Tiers, working together to achieve the project mission The last part of the definition may be wishful thinking in many PSNs. Compare with Supply chain management (SCM) in operations.
Proof of concept (POC) contract A contract to develop a functional model or prototype before the actual product or service is contracted out A form of solution analysis and feasibility study. Legally a separate contract, in the project regarded as a (pre)phase or a project on its own.
Proposal Here: Response to a -> Request for proposal (RfP) Often used confusingly.
Prospective customer (prospect) The buyer during the time of business development  
Provisions Here: Deliveries by the customer to the contractor to enable the latter to do its work Compare with -> Enabling services.
Public-private partnership (PPP) A set of contract types between public customers and private contractors A common example is -> Build-operate-transfer (BOT) .
Purchase order (PO) Offer by a buyer to enter a contract for the purchase of goods or services. Acceptance by the seller and conclusion of the contract is expected by delivering what was requested Often used in the context of a -> Framework agreement, which provides the -> Terms & conditions (T&Cs).
Quotation Here: Response to a -> Request for quotation (RfQ)  
Release Here: A version of a -> product that is approved to be handed over to the customer or other stakeholders.  
Relational contracting An approach to contracting that focuses on partnership among the parties more than on competition  
Request for information (RfI) Requesting self-disclosure from sellers before the actual competition (-> bid, -> pitch, -> proposal) is entered, often intended to shortlist vendors and to announce a coming competition to them  
Request for proposal (RfP) Requesting offers from sellers for a solution- & price-driven competition (-> proposal), based on a rough description of project work and results Often confused with -> Invitation for bid (IfB), -> Invitation to pitch (ItP), -> Invitation to tender (ItT) -> Request for quotation (RfQ).
Request for quotation (RfQ) Request for offer(s) from one (or a small number of) seller(s) without entering a competition (-> quotation), commonly for small procurement items that do not justify the costs and time Often confused with -> Invitation for bid (IfB), -> Invitation to pitch (ItP), -> Invitation to tender (ItT), -> Request for proposal (RfP).
Resources Own or someone else’s assets that are used for the project Project business management means to tap into the -> assets of other organizations and turn them into project resources.
Retrospection Here: The structured reflective practice with either customer or contractor team, or both, to learn and improve based on what has already been done In iterative approaches, retrospections must be done at the end of every -> iteration.
Review -> Audit of documentation or -> Inspection of work results.  
Rework The need to work again on a work result that has previously been considered finished Often a major cost driver in project business and a common cause for losses made by contractors.
Risk Uncertainty, that matters In project business management, commercial and legal risks should be managed in addition to project risks.
Scope The amount and contents of the work that needs to be done and of the results that the project must produce
Scope statement Document developed by the project team(s) describing and specifying the scope of the project and often additional information such as management approach  
Seller Here: Any person or organization in project business selling goods and services to a ->project buyer. A seller may be a prospective contractor during business development and becomes a contractor, when the contract is agreed upon. Contrasts with -> Buyer.
Service contract A contract type obliging the contractor to provide services and the availability of resources A contract type in -> Civil law environments. Contrasts with -> Product contract.
Situational Project Management The ability to call upon different practices, methods, and behaviors to respond adequately to changing situations, contexts, and requirements.
Sprint A time-boxed -> iteration Used in methods such as Scrum.
Staged deliveries An approach to hand over project deliverables to the customer in a number of increments over time May be used as a proactive business approach or to respond to delays by delivering what is finished, handing over unfinished items at a later moment.
Stakeholder Every person, group of people, or organization that the team(s) should be aware of and consider during decision making The term is often otherwise used, depending on organizational traditions and applied methods.[3]
Stakeholder register List of identified stakeholders including relevant information for their consultation, engagement, and management  
Statement of work (SOW) In procurement: A document describing or specifying the needs, wants, and other intentions of the buyer during business development to allow one or more sellers to develop an -> offer. Can become a -> Contract statement of work (CSOW) There is also an internal statement of work with a different function.
Story Here: An invitation for a conversation about customer-side requirements, features, and/or units of business value that can be estimated and tested Stories may be the basic unit of communication, planning, and negotiation between customer and contractor.
Subcontractor A -> Contractor working under contract for a -> Prime contractor The Subcontractor may assign work to sub-subcontractors, which can lead to a complex -> Project supply network.
Subject matter expert (SME) A specialist used for -> Expert judgment May also attend -> Focus groups.
Submission date Here: The -> deadline for submission of a -> bid, -> proposal, or other form of -> offer Steps planned to make best use of the time available until the submission date are often a core element of a -> Capture strategy.
Target cost contract (TCC) Form of -> Cost reimbursable contract, in which the fee varies depending on cost over-/underruns The variable fee is typically calculated through a sharing of cost over-/underruns between contractor and customer.
Team A group of people working together with a dedication to help each other and achieve a common goal  
Teaming Here: Cooperation of two or more vendors to do a customer project together that one alone would be unable to do  
Tender Response to an -> Invitation to tender (ItT) Often used confusingly.
Terms & conditions (T&Cs) A series of clauses which is signed by the parties thus making a -> contract or becoming part of it. It can be dangerous territory if you have unwittingly signed up to someone else’s T&Cs.
Tier Here: Distance of a -> contractor to the final -> customer, which represents Tier 0. Used to describe -> Project supply networks. Similar to the use in Supply chain management (SCM) in operations.
Time and material contract (T&M) A contract type with a variable price depending on the amount of work done and goods delivered by the contractor
Turnkey project contract Form of contract, mostly in plant engineering and construction for the outsourcing of a project from beginning to final delivery Various other names are used across industries, e.g. -> Engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contract.
United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) A body of commercial law that can be used for international project contracts as a u201cthird partyu201d law. Not applicable in all countries, application limited.
Value stream Here: The set of actions that take place to incrementally add value to a customer from the initial request to final value realization Contrasts with -> Collocated team. Often achieved through intensive use of communication technology.
Virtual team -> Team with members in distant locations Contrasts with -> Collocated team. Often achieved through intensive and disciplined use of communication technology.
Voice of the customer The term used to describe the stated and unstated needs or requirements of the customer Commonly needs to go through a translation process to develop requirement statements that the contractor must understand and meet.
Warranty The guarantee of a fault-free, fit-for-use, and specification-compliant product promising free repairs, replacement, or reimbursement for errors found during a predefined period May be legal warranty or contractual warranty.
Warranty bond Insurance or deposit to compensate the buyer and or subcontractors, when the contractor is not able or prepared to meet contractual warranty obligations See -> Bid bond, Performance bond.
Waste Here: Any activity that consumes resources, without adding value to the product or service a customer receives, or to another stakeholder Also known as negative value.

[1] Some legal systems know the concept of valid but unenforceable contracts.

[2] Some legal systems have a constitutional guarantee that agreements can be remedied at court and do not allow for such agreements.

[3] The SCRUM method, to give an example, uses a different definition of the term u201cstakeholdersu201d.

Creator: Oliver F. Lehmann (Germany). Contributors: David Odigie (Canada), Sarah Schu00fctte(UK), Stanimir Sotirov (Bulgaria)

The Downloadable Glossary 

Notes, Disclaimer, and Referencing


We observed that cross-corporate project business is best done when the words and acronyms are commonly understood. Confusion on terminology can lead to expensive misunderstandings and damage the relationships of people and organizations involved. The main purpose of this glossary is to ensure a common understanding by providing either a) an authoritative resource for methodology development, training, and contracting, or b) a baseline that helps develop one’s own glossary.

Whilst we believe the Project Business Glossary to be comprehensive, it is not “definitive” or “final”, nor claims to be. It is “live” in the sense that it may be updated by the Project Business Foundation as a result of suggestions by the user community, which we welcome. A clear versioning process ensures that despite future changes, the glossary can be used as a reference in methodology development, education, and contracting. You can submit your suggestions by sending a message to info@project-business.org.

Users of the Project Business Glossary should remember that certain industry sectors and organizations may use (by choice, law, or convention) specific definitions, abbreviations or acronyms in their methodologies and contracts that are different from this glossary. In such cases, we recommend that the definition to be used and understood in the specific situation should be discussed and the decision made should be documented. However, even in these situations, the Project Business Glossary can be helpful by providing a baseline easing discussion, documentation, and decision making.

We believe the Project Business Glossary supports a general cross-industry understanding and enables better collaboration through the avoidance of confusion, misunderstandings, or false assumptions.


Disclaimer: The Project Business Glossary is provided as is, without any warranty or guarantees.

Although the Project Business Foundation makes any effort to provide the glossary as an accurate, authoritative, and valuable asset for its users, it is the sole responsibility of the individuals and organizations using it to ensure compliance with specific contractual and legal requirements.

By using this glossary, the user agrees that any form of liability (including product liability) or legal responsibility on the side of the Project Business Foundation and its management for losses, expenses of whatever nature, injury, loss of life or any other forms of damages by the Project Business Foundation is excluded.

The user further agrees that the use of the glossary underlies solely German law and that the application of any other law is explicitly excluded. The user understands that the provision of the Project Business Glossary is a free service and no “Produkt” according to the definition of § 2 Produkthaftpflichtgesetz (product liability law) and is therefore not subject to the application of this law.

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