Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v5.5 is copyright © R. Max Wideman, 2000‑2022.

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Wideman's PM Glossary v5.5

Introduction | What's New in Version 5.5 | International Recognition
About the Author | Sources and References | Order v6.1

A Glossary that is Comparative and Linked

Using the right engine oil is key to a smooth running engine. Similarly, communicating with the right vocabulary is essential to a smooth running project. But the vocabulary of project management is not only extensive but tends to consist of different "dialects" according to the type of project, the technology involved, and the sponsoring organization.

Even in the same area of project management application, many terms have multiple "interpretations" as demonstrated by the definitions quoted in this Glossary. Indeed, many seemingly familiar terms mean very different things to different people. For example, this Glossary now lists more than thirty definitions of the word "Project". True, many of them are similar, but by no means identical. Equally, some terms have labels that look the same but refer to very different things. For example: "Change Management" and "Management of Change" are very different practices.

It would be nice if everyone agreed and understood the same meaning for a given label. But language is a living lexicon leading to changes by general consensus over time and, in any case, authors are entitled to define terms in their own way to suit their particular purpose. Language serves us much better this way. Unfortunately, the inappropriate application of copyright can also lead authors into attempting to say the same thing but in different words.

What all this does mean is that it is essential to establish a set of terms for each program or collection of projects, especially where intentions may be significantly different. The possibility of miscommunication is always a serious risk to project success.

Hence the purpose of this Glossary — to help you see what others think and to make the best selection for your particular project environment. As you will see, web technology allows us to provide links within the definitions quoted, to connect to terms defined elsewhere in the Glossary. This is intended to help you to better understand the term you are looking at.

This updated version 5.5 contains over 6,400 entries covering over 4,400 discrete terms derived from over 200 sources. Its scope has been extended to cover project management, program management, project portfolio management and corporate program analysis.

We believe that a copy of this Glossary should be a part of every project manager's toolkit, not just for reference, but also for the wealth of knowledge that it contains — all from respected sources.


We are indebted to the many people who have contributed to this glossary whether wittingly or unwittingly. In particular to Graham Wideman for creating the software capable of generating this Glossary and to Penny Schneider for the web site art work.

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