Project Management Terminology

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Effective communication is an important element of successful project management, which makes a common language essential.  Unfortunately, in the project management profession there is still confusion over terminology.  For example, a phase gate that usually represents a milestone decision point might also be referred to as a phase boundary, an investment gate, a review point, a phase exit, an off-ramp, an exit point, a kill point and so on.  In fact, the expression “project management” itself has a variety of definitions depending on which methodology we use.  PRINCE2, presumably in an attempt to differentiate itself, has not helped with a lot of re-invented terminology.  And as a start, here are some key terms (funnily enough none of which are explained in the PMI lexicon below) that do confuse:

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