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PMP Exam Resources: Planning Schedule Glossary

Free PMP Terms and Definitions

Understanding common project management terms can be a challenge for all project managers. To help you understand those terms and definitions Crosswind Project Management has created a free to use glossary to help in your pmp training. In this page you will find the terms and definitions associated within the component areas of framework to get a better understanding of how this process works and relates to project management.

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TermDefinition
ActivityA unique, scheduled segment of project work that typically has an associated cost, duration, and resources; sometimes called a task
Activity AttributesThe characteristics of an activity that include activity codes, predecessor activities, successor activities, logical relationships, leads and lags, resource requirements, imposed dates, constraints, and assumptions
Activity DependencyThe relationship between two activities or between an activity and a milestone, also known as a logical relationship
Activity Duration EstimateThe projected duration of an activity
Activity ListA listing of scheduled activities, with such details of a description, identifier, and scope of work, used to ensure that team members comprehend the work that will be performed during the project
Backward PassA network diagramming method that calculates the late start (LS) and late finish (LF) dates of each activity by working backward through the schedule from the project completion date
Bar ChartA graphical representation of schedule-related information. Typically, schedule activities or work breakdown structure components are displayed vertically on the far left of the chart, dates are displayed horizontally across the top of the chart, and activity duration's are displayed as date-placed horizontal bars. Also see Gantt chart.
CrashingA compression technique to shorten the duration of the schedule, typically by adding additional resources to critical path activities
Critical PathThe progression of activities that comprise the longest path through the project; used to ascertain the project duration
Critical Path ActivityAn activity on the critical path of a project schedule
Critical Path MethodA technique used to assess minimum project duration and ascertain any schedule adaptability that appertains to logical network paths
DependencyThe relationship between two activities or between an activity and a milestone, also known as a logical relationship
Discretionary DependencyAn activity that the project manager (or other decision maker) arbitrarily chooses to designate as a dependency; for example, making the reservation of a hotel room dependent on the purchase of a plane ticket; also known as soft logic
Duration (DU or DUR)The time, exclusive of holidays or other days in which business is not conducted and typically measured in workdays or workweeks, required to complete a specific activity or WBS component
Early Finish Date (EF)The earliest possible date for an activity to be completed based upon the schedule network logic
Early Start Date (ES)The earliest possible date for an activity to be started based upon the schedule network logic
EffortThe amount of labor (typically measured in hours, days, or weeks) required to complete an activity or WBS component
Elapsed TimeThe actual time to complete a task.
External DependencyA relationship between project activities and non-project activities
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TermDefinition
Fast TrackingA schedule compression approach that puts some activities in parallel, instead of in series to shorten pieces of, or the overall project duration.
Finish DateA point in time related to the completion of a schedule activity and typically qualified as actual, planned, estimated, scheduled, early, late, baseline, target, or current.
Finish-to-finish (FF)A dependency that requires the completion of a predecessor activity prior to the completion of the successor activity
Finish-to-start (FS)A dependency that requires the completion of a predecessor activity prior to the start of the successor activity
FloatThe amount of time an activity can be delayed without delaying successor activities or the project completion date
Forward PassA network diagramming method that calculates the early start (ES) and early finish (EF) dates of each activity by working forward through the schedule from the project inception date or a specific point in time
Free FloatThe amount of time an activity can be delayed without violating any schedule limitation and without delaying the early start date of successor activities
Gantt ChartA graphical representation that registers activities on the vertical axis and depicts the activity durations, based on their start and finish dates, on the horizontal access; also known as a bar chart
Internal DependencyA relationship between multiple project tasks.
LagThe amount of time, predicated on the start or finish of a predecessor activity, a successor activity must be delayed
Late Finish Date (LF)The latest possible date for an activity to be completed based upon the schedule network logic, the project finish date, and schedule limitations
Late Start Date (LS)The latest possible date for an activity to be started based upon the schedule network logic, the project finish date, and schedule limitations
LeadThe amount of time, predicated on the start or finish of a predecessor activity, a successor activity can be moved up
Mandatory DependencyA relationship that is necessitated by virtue of a contractual requirement or the work itself
MergeA coming together (convergence) of activities on a network diagram
MilestoneA meaningful project event typically preceded by a series of activities that lead to its completion
Milestone ChartsA summary chart that itemizes key milestones over time on the project.
Milestone ListA list of significant events in the project that may be designated as mandatory or optional
Milestone ScheduleA summary timetable that itemizes key milestones
Near-critical ActivityAny schedule network diagram activity that is close to zero slack
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TermDefinition
Network DiagramA schematic of logical relationships that make up the flow of activities on the project; always drawn from left to right
Network PathAn uninterrupted series of activities depicted in a schedule network diagram and connected by dependencies
NodeA point in a schedule network that is the juncture of some or all dependency lines
Over-allocationA situation in which a resource is applied to too many activities at the same time to accomplish them all within the acceptable timeframe
Path ConvergenceA node on a network diagram that indicates the merger of parallel paths; distinguished by an activity with multiple predecessors
Path DivergenceA dependency between a schedule activity and its multiple successors; sometimes called a burst
Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)A technique used to create a schedule model in which activities are represented by nodes and graphically linked by one or more logical relationships in order to display the sequence in which the activities are to be performed.
Precedence RelationshipA dependency in the precedence diagramming method; also known as a logical relationship
Predecessor ActivityAn activity that logically precedes a successor activity
Project ScheduleThe document, an output of the schedule model, that depicts linked activities with their estimated dates, durations, milestones, and resources
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TermDefinition
Project Schedule Network DiagramA graphical representation of the logical relationships that exist among activities in the project schedule
Resource LevelingA technique in which resource constraints dictate start and finish date adjustments in order to balance the demand for resources with the resources available
Resource Optimization TechniquesAn approach to resource allocation that adjusts schedule start and finish dates to ensure that resource assignments do not exceed predefined capacity limits
ScheduleThe document, an output of the schedule model, that depicts linked activities with their estimated dates, durations, milestones, and resources
Schedule BaselineThe authorized version of the schedule model that is used as the basis for comparison and can only be modified through a formal change control procedure
Schedule CompressionAny technique, such as crashing or fast tracking, used to shorten the duration of the schedule while maintaining the project scope
Schedule ForecastsEstimates, based on current project information, that are associated with future schedule events
Schedule Management PlanThe document, part of the project or program management plan, that authenticates standards and activities used to produce, track, and administer the schedule
Schedule ModelA model which includes activity durations and dependencies, used to produce the project schedule
Sequential RelationshipsAn approach where one phase has to be complete before the next one starts.
Start DateThe date work begins on an activity; can include qualifiers such as actual, planned, estimated, scheduled, early, late, target, baseline, and current
Start-to-finish (SF)A dependency that requires the start of a predecessor activity prior to the completion of the successor activity
Start-to-start (SS)A dependency that requires the start of a predecessor activity prior to the start of the successor activity
Successor ActivityAn activity that logically follows its predecessor activity
Summary ActivityAn array of related schedule activities aggregated and displayed as a single activity.
Total Slack (Total Float)The amount of time an activity can slip (be delayed) from its early start date without delaying the overall finish date
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