Project management terms
and definitions


Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP)

This measures the actual cost of work done as opposed to what was budgeted in the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP).

Adaptive Project Framework (APF)

A project management methodology that grew from the idea that most IT projects can’t be managed using traditional PM methods. Work is done in stages, and evaluated after each stage.



The original cost and schedule you set for your project. It helps you determine how far the team has deviated from the original plan. Based on this knowledge, you’ll be able to better estimate the time and resources your team needs to complete the next project.


A general list of planned expenses.


Gantt chart

This horizontal bar chart devised by Henry Gantt at the turn of the 20th century has been used to visualize project schedules by project managers all over the world. It includes all of a project’s tasks, milestones, and deadlines, start and end dates, and illustrates task dependencies.


An objective or milestone set by an individual or organization.



A visual approach to project management where teams create physical representations of their tasks, often using sticky notes on whiteboards (or via online apps). Tasks are moved through predetermined stages to track progress and identify common roadblocks.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Measurable indicators of where your project stands, determined before project work begins. Did we hit 10,000 page views today? Make 50 sales calls this week? Have we doubled revenue ? It’s helpful to use KPIs to navigate the project path and, if needed, get back on course.



The act of marshaling people and resources in order to accomplish a set of objectives.


PDU (Professional Development Unit)

A continuing education unit. To maintain certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP), you will need ongoing professional development, which is measured in PDUs.

PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique)

A statistical tool used to visualize a project’s schedule, sequence of tasks, and even the critical path of tasks that must be completed on time in order for the project to meet its deadline. Developed by the US Navy in the 1950s, the private sector had its own version called Critical Path Method (CPM).



A PM methodology where a small team is led by a Scrum Master whose main job is to clear away all obstacles to completing work. Work is done in short cycles called sprints, but the team meets daily to discuss current tasks and roadblocks that need clearing.



An individual unit of work.


A graphical representation of a sequence of events.