Glossary - Terms and Definitions

Activity - For the purposes of the LifecycleStep, an activity is the smallest unit of work identified on the Project Schedule. (In other methodologies, an activity may be broken down even further into tasks.)

Applications - The term "applications" or "business applications" refers to the software systems that are used to automate otherwise manual processes within your company. Examples of applications include payroll, accounts payable, CRM software, time reporting, inventory management, etc. In some companies these entities might be referred to as "systems". Applications can be internally developed or they can be packages purchased from an outside vendor.

Automated Test – A test controlled with a test script that automatically performs a predefined set of operations.

Best Practice - The winning strategies, approaches, and processes that produce superior performance in an organization.  A best practice is a by-product of a successful end-result.

Client - The persons or group that are the direct beneficiary of a project or service. They are the people for whom the project is being undertaken. (Indirect beneficiaries are probably stakeholders.) If the persons or group are internal within your company, LifecycleStep refers to them as "clients". If they are external, LifecycleStep refers to them as "clients".

Configuration Management – The process of identifying, organizing, controlling, and managing changes. Configuration management typically refers to an IT environment and changes to the hardware and software.

Defect – An error or bug in software. Defects typically refer to errors that are discovered after software goes into production.

Deliverable - A deliverable is any tangible outcome that is produced by the project. These can be documents, plans, computer systems, buildings, aircraft, etc. Internal deliverables are produced as a consequence of executing the project, and are usually only needed by the project team. External deliverables are those that are created for clients and stakeholders.

Design - A clear specification for the structure, organization, appearance, etc., of a deliverable. 

Functional Manager - The functional manager is the person that you report to within your functional organization. Typically, they are the person that does your performance review. Your project manager may also be your functional manager, but they do not have to be. If your project manager is different from your functional manager, then your organization is probably utilizing matrix management.

Guideline - A recommended approach, parameter, etc., for conducting an activity or task, utilizing a product, etc.

Key Learning - Notable information discovered while performing an activity, utilizing a tool, creating a deliverable, etc.  When key learnings are shared, productivity can be gained by warning others of pitfalls, or informing others of valuable short cuts, tips, etc.

Lifecycle - This term refers to the process used to build and support the deliverables produced by the project. (Since a project has a start date and end date, the long-term support of a solution is usually performed after the project is completed.) For software development, the entire lifecycle might consist of planning, analysis, design, construct/test, implementation and support.

Naming Convention - A sub-component of a Design which specifically addresses the name composition and structure of named software design deliverables.

Policy - A guiding principle designed to influence decisions, actions, etc. Typically a policy designates a required process or procedure within an organization.

Procedure - A clear specification for the sequence, timing, execution, etc., of a process. 

Program Manager - The person with authority to manage a program. (Note that this is a role. The Program Manager may also be responsible for one or more of the projects within the program. They would be project manager on those projects as well as overall Program Manager.) The Program Manager leads the overall planning and management of the program. All project managers within the program report to the Program Manager.

Project - A structure to complete a specific defined deliverable or set of deliverables. A project has a specific begin date and end date, specific objectives and specific resources assigned to perform the work. A project manager has overall responsibility and authority over a project. When the objectives are met, the project is considered complete.

Project manager - The person with authority to manage a project. This includes leading the planning and the development of all project deliverables. The project manager is responsible for managing the budget and schedule and all project management procedures (scope management, issues management, risk management, etc.). See 407.1 Role of a Project Manager.

Project Team - The project team consists of the full-time and part-time resources assigned to work on the deliverables of the project, which will help achieve the project objectives. They are responsible for

  • Understanding the work to be completed

  • Planning out the assigned activities in more detail if needed.

  • Completing assigned work within the budget, timeline and quality expectations

  • Informing the project manager of issues, scope changes, risk and quality concerns

  • Proactively communicating status and managing expectations

The project team can consist of human resources within one functional organization, or it can consist of members from many different functional organizations. A cross-functional team has members from multiple organizations. Having a cross-functional team is usually a sign of your organization utilizing matrix management.

Project Phase - A major logical grouping of work on a project. A phase also represents the completion of a major deliverable or set of related deliverables. On an IS development project logical phases might be planning, analysis, design, construct, test and implementation.

Reference Material - Information of general interest.

Regression testing – A testing technique that attempts to determine whether recent changes in one part of the application have unexpectedly adversely affected other parts. In regression testing a standard set of test data is run through software that has been changed. The results are compared to the known outcome of the prior test to validate that any changes to the test results can be explained and that there are no unexpected test results elsewhere.

Scope - Scope is the way that we describe the boundaries of the project. It defines what the project will deliver and what it will not deliver. For larger projects, it can include the organizations affected, the transactions affected, the data types included, etc.

Solutions - This term refers generically to the deliverables produced by any project. It is assumed that the completion of a project will result in a solution to a business problem or a business need.

Sponsor (Executive Sponsor and Project Sponsor) - The person who has ultimate authority over the project. The Executive Sponsor provides project funding, resolves issues and scope changes, approves major deliverables and provides high-level direction. They also champion the project within their organization. Depending on the project, and the organizational level of the Executive Sponsor, they may delegate day-to-day tactical management to a Project Sponsor. If assigned, the Project Sponsor represents the Executive Sponsor on a day-to-day basis, and makes most of the decisions requiring sponsor approval. If the decision is large enough, the Project Sponsor will take it to the Executive Sponsor.

Stakeholder - Specific people or groups who have a stake in the outcome of the project. Normally stakeholders are from within the company, and could include internal clients, management, employees, administrators, etc. A project may also have external stakeholders, including suppliers, investors, community groups and government organization.

Standard - A required approach for conducting an activity or task, utilizing a product, etc. Many times a standard is a best practice that must be followed to have a better chance of overall success.

Steering Committee - A Steering Committee is usually a group of high-level stakeholders who are responsible for providing guidance on overall strategic direction. They do not take the place of a Sponsor, but help to spread the strategic input and buy-in to a larger portion of the organization. The Steering Committee is usually made up of organizational peers, and is a combination of direct clients and indirect stakeholders.

Technique - A well-defined procedure used to accomplish a specific activity or task.  More than one technique may be available for accomplishing a specific activity or task.  Selection of the technique should be based on project approach, available tools, etc.

Test Case - A set of conditions, a specific logical test and the expected results of the test. A test case validates that a particular feature of function works correctly. It is a logical test because the test cases are usually created first and the actual test data is created afterward.

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