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


From Fallback plan to Furlong



In dictionary terms this is simply the act of making something possible or easier. APM BoK 7 uses the term in the context of collaborative group working to solve problems.

Fallback plan

An alternative name for a contingency plan.

Fast tracking


If a project’s overall duration needs to be shortened, one course of action is to overlap activities or groups of activities that were previously planned as sequential. This may result in increased resource requirements, costs and almost certainly increased risk. Compressing a project schedule in this way is known as fast tracking.

Feasibility study

A study to assess whether a particular approach to a project or programme is possible and practical within the terms of the business case.

Feedback log

A log that records and tracks feedback from all stakeholders and ensures that all feedback is dealt with.

Feeder buffer


A reserve of time applied to a non-critical chain in the critical chain technique.

Finance management plan


Not all aspects of this plan will be relevant in some contexts. In other contexts it may be necessary to expand this into multiple management plans.

For example, projects that are part of a programme may not need to perform investment appraisal or establish funding. Major infrastructure programmes may need to develop a management plan for funding that is separate to the management plan for financial control.

Financial contingency

The MSP 5th Ed. chooses to highlight this particular form of contingency and defines it as the financial allowance made available to seal with both identifies and unidentified risk.

Financial measure of benefit

A metric that expresses a benefit in financial terms e.g. related to financial savings or increased revenue.

Financial management


Financial management covers all aspects of obtaining, deploying and controlling financial resources. The goals of financial management are to:

  • estimate the cost of achieving the objectives;
  • assess the viability of achieving the objectives;
  • secure funds and manage their release throughout the life cycle;
  • set up and run financial systems;
  • monitor and control expenditure.

This Praxis summary function has three component functions for use in more complex contexts:

In the PMBoK® guide these aspects are covered by the project cost management knowledge area and in ISO21500 by the cost subject group.

PRINCE2 does not have a theme dedicated to financial matters but these are mentioned in the plans theme and progress theme.

MSP does not go into great detail on financial matters. What it does cover is contained mainly in the business case theme. The SPgM contains a section on Program Financial Management with seven supporting processes.

Finish activity

An activity in a precedence diagram which deliberately has no succeeding activities, i.e. it represents a finish point in the network. Networks can have multiple finish activities.

Finish event

The event at the end of an activity in an activity on arrow diagram. Also known as a j-node.

Finish float

Float normally indicates that the start and finish of an activity can be delayed without affecting the critical path. In certain circumstances the start of an activity may be on the critical path but its finish is not. The activity is then said specifically to have finish float. This situation arises from the use of finish to finish links in precedence networks and dummies linking the finishes of activities in an activity on arrow network.

Finish no earlier than (FNET)

A type of imposed date specifying that an activity cannot finish earlier than the specified date.

If all previous activities can be completed with time to spare and this activity is on the critical path, this would lead to a critical path that has float.

Finish no later than (FNLT)

A type of imposed date specifying that an activity cannot finish later than the specified date.

If all previous activities cannot be completed in time and this activity is on the critical path, this would lead to a critical path with negative float.

Finish to finish link

A type of dependency link in a precedence diagram which indicates that the successor may not finish until the predecessor has finished. Also known as an FF link.

Finish to start link

A type of dependency link in a precedence diagram which indicates that the successor may not start until the predecessor has finished. Also known as an FS link.

Firm fixed price contract

See firm price contract.

Firm price contract


A payment method where a fixed price is agreed for a fixed specification. The difference between a firm price and a fixed price is that a firm price contract does not permit changes to the agreed specification.

Fishbone diagram

See Ishikawa diagram.

Fixed duration

Some scheduling software allows activity durations to fluctuate for different scheduling purposes. For example, some resource limited scheduling algorithms will adjust resource usage profiles within an activity in order to match supply with demand. This results in changes to the activity duration.

A fixed duration activity is defined to prevent the duration being changed to anything other than the period specified.

Fixed costs

Costs that have to be borne by the project or programme regardless of the amount of work being done e.g. office space or software licences.

Fixed finish

See imposed finish.

Fixed formula method

A method in earned value management for allocating a proportion of the budget value of an activity or work package to the start of the work and the remaining value to the end of the work.

See also earning rules.

Fixed price contract


A payment method where a fixed price is agreed for a fixed specification. Any changes to the agreed specification are often paid on a time and materials basis.

Fixed price incentive fee contract


A payment method where the customer pays the supplier a fixed price but the supplier can earn additional fees if defined performance criteria are met.

Fixed price with economic price adjustment contract

See variation of price contract.

Fixed start

See imposed start.


A measure of the time flexibility available in the performance of an activity. Three degrees of flexibility are known as total float, free float and independent float. Total float and free float are useful in performing resource limited scheduling. Independent float is rarely calculated, either manually or electronically.

The term total float is often reduced to simply ‘float’.

In precedence networks that use start to start or finish to finish links the float at the beginning of an activity (start float) may be different to that at the end of the activity (finish float).


An agile approach where backlog items are pulled from the backlog as resources become available without breaking the work into timeboxes.

Follow-on actions

A project or component of a project (stage, work package, sub-project) may be closed despite there being some outstanding activities to perform or issues to resolve.

These are collectively known as follow-on actions and must be documented in a follow-on actions report for handover to another team or plan.

Follow-on actions recommendations

The PRINCE2 term for follow-on actions that are included in an end stage report or end project report.

Follow-on actions report

The nature of a follow-on actions report will vary considerably according to its context. In simple terms it must list the actions that remain outstanding when the project or programme team is demobilised. Such actions could relate to unfinished deliverables, corrective action on existing deliverables or tidying up managerial loose ends such as final payments.

Forecast expenditure

The future, estimated costs for a project, programme or portfolio.

Forecast final cost

  See estimated cost at completion.

Forensic schedule analysis

The study of how actual events caused delay in a schedule. Typically used to build, justify or counter a contractual claim for additional payments.


The first stage of team building in the Tuckman model.

Forward pass

The first phase of critical path analysis. It calculates the earliest starts and earliest finishes of activities.

The calculation starts by assuming that the earliest start of the first activity is 0.  Durations are then added to the earliest starts to calculate the earliest finishes. The earliest start for an activity with more than one predecessor is equal to the latest of the earliest starts of the predecessor activities.

The principle is exactly the same for both precedence and activity on arrow networks.


Template sections of a network diagram or schedule that represent repetitive sections of a schedule, e.g. the floors of a multi storey building.

This term was initially coined by the Primavera scheduling application to describe a feature unique to that product. Since used by guides such as the APM PSMC to refer generally to sections of a schedule that can be cut and pasted.

Free float

The amount of time an activity may be delayed without causing any knock on delay to successor activities.

The formula for calculating the free float of an activity ‘A’ is:

Free floatA= Earliest latest start of all successor activities - earliest startA - durationA


Both the APM BoK and the knowledge section of Praxis are based on a functional analysis of project, programme and portfolio management. Individual components in both guides (such as risk management or stakeholder management) are therefore known as functions.

Much of the information covered in APM BoK and Praxis functions is included in the PMBoK® guide as the tools and techniques of the various processes.

ISO21500 processes do not contain tools and techniques and therefore it omits most of this information.

In PRINCE2 and MSP the themes are effectively the same as functions but are not as extensive.

Function point analysis


A parametric estimating technique for software development that was developed by A.J. Albrecht while working for IBM in the early 1980s.

The principle of this approach is that software is made up of a number of function points that fit into one of five types. For each function point a score (the multiplier) is given depending upon its degree of complexity.

Function point count

The number of function points in a software program weighted to account for their differing degrees of complexity. Part of the parametric estimating technique function point analysis.

Functional manager

A manager who is responsible for a specialised technical department in an organisation, e.g. Marketing, Accounting, Engineering etc. When combined with cross functional projects these managers form one side of a matrix organisation.

Functional organisation

An organisation that has clear boundaries between the different hierarchical groupings in the company e.g. Finance, Marketing, Engineering etc. In the context of a matrix organisation the term is used to represent a traditional organisation that has little or no cross functional co-ordination of projects.

Functional specification

A specification of requirements for a product, based on the functions that the product is intended to perform. A lower level of specification detail than a performance specification.

A user story is a form of functional specification.



Funding is the means by which the finance required to undertake a project, programme or portfolio is secured and made available to perform the work. Its goals are to:

  • determine the best way to fund the work;
  • secure commitment from the fund holders;
  • manage the release of funds throughout the life cycle.

Funding is also a function in the APM BoK but the different types of funding and their acquisition is not covered in PRINCE2, ISO21500 or the PMBoK® guide.

Funding mechanism

The MSP 5th Ed. term for the way(s) that the investing organisation uses to provide programme finances over time.

Funding profile

An estimate of a project's funding requirements against time.



Gary Furlong provides a comprehensive model for conflict resolution in his book ‘The Conflict Resolution Toolbox’1 at the heart of which is the circle of conflict.

The circle has six elements, which Furlong identifies as the main drivers for conflict.


  1. Furlong, G., (2005), The Conflict Resolution Toolbox, Wiley and Sons, Ontario.

Future state

The future state of the organisation as it will appear on the completion of the programme, including roles, responsibilities, culture, processes, technology, infrastructure, information and data.

In Praxis and MSP 4th Ed. this is documented in the blueprint. In MSP 5th Ed. it is documented in the target operating model.



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