Published here June 2017

Introduction | Background
A New Goal for Our Glossary | Description

Background

In the intervening five years since the issue of Glossary v5.5, we have continued to collect new or revised terms and their definitions and add them to our database. Interestingly, during this period our research of the literature and numerous books has revealed that authors have found the desirability of introducing many new terms and definitions that suit their purpose in project management writing. Moreover, amongst many of the terms and their definitions that we have picked up, some authors have tended to shift the focus and intent of a given term. This is done either through elaboration, for purposes of clarifying their intent, or shifting direction for making a particular point.

A good example of this is the definition of the term: scope. The definition provided in the original PMBOK Glossary of 1987 was: "The work content and products of a project or component of a project."[1] The definition in the current Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 5th Edition (2013) is "The sum of the products, services, and results to be provided as a project."[2] Perceptive readers will observe the shift from the focus on the management of the work to the focus on the delivery of the deliverables. Today, in the Information/Technology arena, the idea of the "scope" of a project inevitably includes even more such as connecting with the project's customers to ensure that what is to be delivered is what they really want.

Thus we find that quite a number of project management definitions are specific to particular environments, and not others. Consequently, the issue for us has been how best to divide up an extended glossary into some set of useful groupings? And for that matter, what about those terms whose definitions are either universal, or otherwise on the margins of a group, to the extent that they should be recognized in more than one grouping? The challenge is considerable and the answer very often quite subjective.

At the same time in this intervening period between 1987 and 2017, a lot has also happened in the world of project management. For example, project management has continued to expand, or be recognized, in a whole new range of industry sectors, as indeed it should be. And these typically represent broad but quite distinct areas of project management application. In addition, there is increasing agreement that the scope of project management is more than the successful management of a single project with its associated tools and techniques. Rather, its scope now extends into program management, project portfolio management and even project management governance.

Introduction  Introduction

1. Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Glossary of Terms, p27, Project Management Institute, PA, 1987.
2. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 5th Edition, Glossary, p562, Project Management Institute, Inc. PA, 2013
 
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