Ad to Az

A pdf of the complete Praxis Comparative Glossary can be downloaded here.


From Adair to Avoid




John Adair1 developed his leadership model while working as a lecturer at the Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK. He was one of the first proponents of the idea that leadership can be trained and developed rather than being a purely innate ability in ‘born leaders’.

Adair identified three overlapping areas of core responsibility: task, team and individual. He called the balancing of these three elements, ‘Action Centred Leadership’.


  1. Adair J., (revised 2009), Effective Team Building, Pan MacMillan.

Adaptive life cycle

A development life cycle that has a high degree of stakeholder involvement and is also highly iterative and incremental. Agile approaches are the most common example.



A stage Bruce Tuckman added to his model of team building in 1977 to signify the stage where the team disbands.

Administer procurements (4.3.37)

The ISO21500 process that covers the management of suppliers. It includes the checking of performance and taking action as required to maintain compliance with project objectives.

In Praxis the nearest equivalent is the monitor step in the contract management procedure which works in conjunction with the control function and the delivery process.

The equivalent in the PMBoK® guide is Control Procurements.

PRINCE2 does not contain processes that explicitly deal with external contracts although the role of the senior supplier in the organisation structure is relevant. Controlling contracts should be seen as implicit in other control functions.


In APM BoK 7, this is an optional phase in a linear life cycle that facilitates the use of outputs to enable the use and acceptance of benefits. This is a phase that focuses on change management and is usually just seen as part of the benefits realisation phase and process.

Affinity diagram

The collection and presentation of ideas into related groups. Typically done as part of a brainstorming exercise where ideas are written on cards which are then arranged into groups.

Aggregated risk

A term used by MSP to describe the totality of risk across the programme. It can be used to refer to the totality of risk as it applies to a particular scenario or combination of risks.



Agile project management is an umbrella term for development methods that take an incremental and iterative approach. Although it originated in software development, and is still principally found in that environment, the principles can be applied to other disciplines.

The different flavours of agile are united by certain key characteristics:

  • Short development iterations known as sprints.
  • Very close working between developers and stakeholders.
  • Regular reprioritisation of work.
  • Rapid and flexible approach to addressing scope change.


A tool incorporated into PRINCE2 Agile that assesses the level of risk associated with using agile in combination with PRINCE2.

Analogous estimating

See comparative estimating.

Analytical estimating

See bottom-up estimating.

AND relationship

Most network diagrams only use this type of dependency between activities. It means that an activity cannot start until all its predecessors are complete.

See also OR relationship and probabilistic networks.

APM Body of Knowledge v6 (APM BoK 6)

The UK Association for Project Management’s Body of Knowledge covers project, programme and portfolio management in 68 functions based on a functional analysis of the discipline.

The equivalent in Praxis is the knowledge section of the framework.
Although much broader, in principle the APM BoK corresponds to the themes in PRINCE2 and the tools and techniques in the knowledge areas of the PMBoK® guide.

Since ISO21500 processes do not contain tools and techniques the standard does not have equivalent functional guidance.

APM Body of Knowledge v7 (APM BoK 7)

The 7th edition of the APM BoK adopts a completely different structure to the 6th edition. The hierarchical and functional structure of the 6th edition has been replaced by a more ‘text book’ approach.

The way in which each function is explained in a progression from project, through programme to portfolio has also been removed.

The 7th Edition reflects the growth of ‘Agile language’ throughout.


The term used in this glossary for the APM publication on planning, scheduling, monitoring and control. The book is subtitled The Practical Project Management of Time, Cost and Risk.

Application area

This term is quoted by the PMBoK® guide to describe a category of projects that share a common feature. Common features may be technical, commercial, environmental or any other aspect of a project's nature. E.g. ‘Internet Projects’ is a technical application area, ‘Marketing Projects’ is a commercial application area and ‘Government Projects’ is an environmental application area.

Applied direct costs

The actual direct costs of labour, material and all other direct resources in a time period independent of when the costs are committed or due to be paid. 

Appoint the executive and the project manager

The first activity in the PRINCE2 process: Starting up a Project (SU)
Having received a project mandate, the first step in PRINCE2 is to appoint the project executive who will lead the project board (the body providing sponsorship in a PRINCE2 project) and a project manager who will perform the day-to-day management of the project. The outputs of this activity are agreed job descriptions for both roles.

In Praxis these appointments are part of appointing the identification team in the identification process.

The equivalent appointments in the PMBoK® guide take place around the Develop Project Charter process.

ISO21500 has a similar process to the PMBoK® guide (Develop project charter) but doesn’t make any reference to the sponsor.

Apportioned effort

Effort that is not easily measured or divisible into discrete work packages but which is related and proportional to effort that can be measured.

This typically refers to overhead effort such as project management.


A term used in MSP 5th Ed. to describe mandatory elements of the programme’s strategy.

Approval to proceed

The approval necessary before commencement of the next phase, stage or tranche of a project or programme.

Approved change requests review

A review of change requests that have been approved to check that they have actually been implemented.


A way of resolving contractual disputes without resorting to legal action in the courts. Many contracts will nominate an arbitrator who may be asked to rule on a specific aspect of a contract that is in dispute.

Archived plan

Some computer packages allow versions of a schedule to be archived. This is particularly useful where a project is subject to a baseline review. If the project schedule needs to be re-baselined, then the original baseline can be archived to maintain a record of the changes.


The arrow drawn between two events in an activity on arrow network. Also sometimes used as an abbreviation for activity on arrow as in "an arrow network".

Arrow diagram method

See activity on arrow.

As late as possible

A term used in computer scheduling packages to indicate that an activity should be performed as late as possible, i.e. it should be scheduled to take up its entire amount of float.

As-of date

See progress date.

As soon as possible

A term used in computer scheduling packages to indicate that an activity should be performed as soon as possible, i.e. not scheduled to take up any of its float.

As-built schedule

A schedule that illustrates the actual performance of a project.

Ascertained cost

An alternative name for a cost plus fee contract.

As-is state

The MSP 4th Ed. term for an organisation’s existing operating model that is the starting point for change implemented by a programme.

More commonly known as the ‘Current state’.

Assemble the Project Initiation Documentation

This is the last activity in the PRINCE2 Initiating a Project (IP) process. It brings together all the information developed by other activities within the process and assembles it as the project initiation documentation (PID).

The PID then forms the basis of a decision whether or not to proceed with the project in the authorize the project activity.

In Praxis the equivalent documentation is brought together by the consolidate definition documentation activity in the definition process.

The PMBoK® guide process, Develop Project Management Plan is similar in scope and meets the same objective of having comprehensive documentation to support approval of the execution of the project. The corresponding process in ISO21500 is Develop project plans.

Asset life cycle

See product life cycle

Assess risks (4.3.29)

The ISO21500 process that is concerned with analysing the identified risks. It only references qualitative risk analysis but if quantitative risk analysis were required it should be included in this process.

In both Praxis and PRINCE2 this is covered by the assess activity in the risk management procedure. Both make reference to quantitative analysis as well as qualitative analysis.

The equivalents in the PMBoK® guide are Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis.


Often used to describe the work on an activity attributed to a specific resource.


It is inevitable that in developing project documentation, many assumptions will have to be made. These will be assumptions about available resources, risks or technology; there will be estimating assumptions for both time and cost and assumptions about the changing external context.

It is a common excuse that “there is no point in producing a plan that will be based on so many assumptions”. Assumptions cannot be avoided and the need to make them does not mean that it is not worth producing project plans. The only rule is that assumptions must be documented.

Assumptions analysis

Assumptions should be periodically examined to assess the likelihood of the assumption proving false and the potential impact of that false assumption.

This will usually result in risk events being added to the risk register.



Assurance is the set of systematic activities intended to ensure that the objectives and management processes of a project, programme or portfolio are fit for purpose.

In Praxis the goals of assurance are to:

  • review management planning;
  • monitor effectiveness of functions and processes;
  • give stakeholders confidence that the work is being managed effectively and efficiently.

This Praxis topic is equivalent to the P3 Assurance topic in the APM BoK. PRINCE2 divides this into project assurance and quality assurance.

The equivalent in ISO21500 is the Perform quality assurance process and in the PMBoK® guide it is also the Perform Quality Assurance process.

MSP 5th Ed. includes assurance as a theme and states that it should provide transparency and confidence that the programme will meet its objectives.

Assurance management plan


The assurance management plan sets out the preferred procedures, tools and techniques to be used in assurance.

This should cover both internal and external assurance and unlike other management plans will be owned by the sponsor rather than the project or programme manager.

Attribute sampling

A quality control method that samples a small set of products and uses the results to make predictions about the whole population.

Useful in a project where lots of products have common attributes but also useful when sampling a small set of projects to assess the overall capability maturity of a portfolio of projects.


A systematic evaluation of how a project or programme is being managed against a predetermined set of criteria.

Projects and programmes are designed to meet strategic organisational objectives. Senior management will rely on audits for assurance that the project or programme remains aligned with those objectives and is being managed in a way that maximises the probability of achieving all the benefits set out in the business case.

Authorised unpriced work

Work that has been authorised but for which a contract price has yet to be agreed.

Authorize a Stage or Exception Plan

The delivery of a PRINCE2 project is usually divided into stages. Each stage must be approved by the project board before it can be started. This activity is the point at which each new stage is approved and is part of the Directing a Project (DP) process.

The same activity is used to approve exception plans when they are required.

The corresponding activity in Praxis is review request for authorisation in the sponsorship process. The name reflects the fact that authorisation is not guaranteed.

There is no equivalent in the PMBoK® guide or ISO21500 since they do not contain specific sponsorship processes.

Authorize Initiation

In PRINCE2 the Initiating a Project (IP) process is where the detailed planning is done. Before investing in the initiating process the project board must approve a plan for this detailed work and the initial outline plan for the project (the project brief). This activity considers the brief and decides whether to proceed.

The corresponding activity in Praxis is review request for authorisation in the sponsorship process. The name reflects the fact that authorisation is not guaranteed.

There is no equivalent in the PMBoK® guide or ISO21500 since they do not contain specific sponsorship processes.

Authorize project closure

An activity in the PRINCE2 Directing a Project (DP) process which considers a request to close the project.

The corresponding activity in Praxis is review request for authorisation in the sponsorship process. The name reflects the fact that authorisation is not guaranteed.

There is no equivalent in the PMBoK® guide or ISO21500 since they do not contain specific sponsorship processes.

Authorize the Project

This is an activity within the PRINCE2 process, Directing a Project (DP).

Once the project initiation documentation (PID) has been assembled, it is submitted to the project board for approval. If the PID is accepted, the project manager can proceed with the first stage of the project.

The corresponding activity in Praxis is review request for authorisation in the sponsorship process. The name reflects the fact that authorisation is not guaranteed.

There is no equivalent in the PMBoK® guide or ISO21500 since they do not contain specific sponsorship processes.

Authorize Work Packages

This is an activity within the PRINCE2 process, Controlling a Stage (CS).

When a project manager assigns work to teams in the form of a work package. This package contains the product description(s) of the product(s) that must be developed and also specifies timescales, costs and progress reporting arrangements. This activity works in conjunction with the accept a work package activity in the Managing Product Delivery (MP) process.

The equivalent in Praxis is the authorise work activity in the delivery process, which works in conjunction with the accept work package activity in the development process.

This formal delegation of work from the project manager to a team or individual is not explicit in the PMBoK® guide or ISO21500 but could be considered implicit in the processes Direct and Manage Project Work (PMBoK® guide) and Direct project work (ISO21500)


One of the four possible threat responses.



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