Pm to Prob

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


From PMBoK® guide to Probability-impact table


PMBoK® guide

Often referred to simply as the PMBoK® guide the full title of this ANSI standard produced by the Project Management Institute is A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

The significance of this title is often missed. The PMBoK® guide is not the complete body of knowledge, it is a guide to the body of knowledge.



The acronym PMO can stand for Project Management Office, Programme Management Office or even Portfolio Management Office.

In order for an organisation to achieve the higher levels of capability maturity it needs to have a central focus for the discipline and profession of P3 management.

Somewhere in the organisation there should be a body that has overall responsibility for developing and maintaining standards, development of P3 managers and staff and continuous improvement of project, programme and portfolio delivery.

Typically, this is called a PMO.


A principle or course of action adopted by an organisation that sets the tone for the culture of the organisation.

Praxis uses the existence of policies as an indicator of level 2 capability maturity in accordance with the CMMI® approach.

The UK Government Functional Standard for project delivery is a good example of a wide ranging policy statement encompassing projects, programmes and portfolios.

MSP 5th Ed. describes policy as “formally documented management expectations and intentions, used to direct decisions and activities”.

Pool resource

Depending upon the computer package being used, this could be equivalent to a skill group or a consumable resource.



Praxis defines two types of portfolio.

A ‘standard portfolio’ comprises a set of independent projects and/or programmes. The main objective of co-ordinating a standard portfolio is to ensure that the component projects and programmes are managed in a consistently effective way.  An example of a standard portfolio would be a construction firm’s portfolio of separate building contracts for separate clients.

A ‘structured portfolio’ comprises a set of projects and/or programmes that are united by a set of common strategic objectives. Structured portfolios have many more inter-relationships between the component projects and programmes and governance must be more rigorous. An example of a structured portfolio would be an organisation that repeatedly implemented the objectives of its strategic planning cycle through a rolling portfolio life cycle.

Portfolio Management Office

See PMO.

Portfolio process model


A series of processes aimed at managing both standard and structured portfolios. The model includes four processes:

Portfolio strategy

The UK GovS 002 describes this as the top-level strategic information that provides complete clarity to stakeholders regarding the content and long-term objectives of a portfolio.


Period where a project needs to take over a business as usual environment and stop normal operational activity. This could be a road, production line or computer system.

Post control

A form of control that reviews what has occurred with the intention of learning lessons for the future. In the project and programme context, this is performed as parts of reviews such as a post project review or post programme review.

Post control also occurs at various points within the life cycle where reviews such as an end stage assessment conducted.

Where development is being performed in short sprints, a correspondingly short sprint retrospective is done at the end of each sprint to improve the effectiveness of subsequent sprints.

Post implementation review

A review 6-12 months after a product has become operational to see that the project (or programme) has met its objectives and the outputs continue to meet user requirements.

Post programme review

A review of the management of a programme for the purposes of improving future processes.

Post project appraisal

See post project review.

Post project review

A post project review is a structured audit and review of how the project went. Its output is a report that provides learning points for the future including recommendations for process improvement and training.

Post-project review plan

Since post-project reviews are conducted after the project management team has been disbanded, there is a risk that the review will never happen because people are committed to new projects. The post-project review plan reduces this risk by nominating those who will perform the review, specifying when it will be held and defining its scope.

Praxis delivery model


The delivery model is fundamental to the Praxis approach. It defines two axes: Extent of scope and Uncertainty of scope. Common concepts such as project, programme and portfolio lie on the Extent of scope axis with agile and waterfall on the Uncertainty of scope axis.

The area bounded by the two axes can be used to position all tools, techniques and models against extent and uncertainty of scope.

Praxis Framework


A P3 management framework that covers all four elements of knowledge, method, competency and capability maturity.

Praxis is free to access and covered by a Creative Commons licence.

Praxis principles


Most project delivery guides incorporate fundamental principles that all functions and processes support. The Praxis principles are:

  • Establish why each initiative exists.
  • Understand the context.
  • Ensure that objectives continue to be worthwhile.
  • Adopt the right approach and tools for the job.
  • Build and lead a team that can deliver effectively.
  • Make good practice a habit.
  • Learn, both individually and collectively.
  • Behave ethically.

Precedence diagram


In precedence diagrams the basic building block that represents an activity is a box (or node). Activity boxes are linked to show the sequence in which the activities will be performed.

Precedence diagram method

See precedence diagram.

Precedence network

See precedence diagram.

Precedence relationships

See dependencies.

Preceding activity

See predecessor.

Preceding float

See start float.


An activity which logically precedes another.

Preliminary estimate

A high level estimate of time and/or costs made early in the project life cycle. Preliminary estimates are usually parametric or comparative.


A contraction of the word ‘preliminaries’ used predominantly in the UK construction industry to indicate overhead costs. Generally referred to as site overheads in the US.

Premature closure

A project or programme should be terminated if it can no longer meet the terms of its business case. This is referred to as premature closure because the natural conclusion of the project or programme has not been reached.

Prepare planned closure  

In PRINCE2 it is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure that the expected objectives have been achieved and delivered. Only then can a recommendation be made to the project board that the project be closed. This activity from the Closing a Project (CP) process covers the preparation for the recommend project closure activity.

Prepare premature closure

In PRINCE2 the project board may instruct the project manager to close a project before it has achieved its objectives. This is usually because the business case is no longer viable.

In such circumstances the project manager should salvage any value possible from the work completed to date and ensure the project board understand the consequences of the premature closure. Only then can the closure recommendation be issued.

Prepare the communication management strategy

The activity in the PRINCE2 Initiating a Project (IP) process that ensures a document is prepared that plans how communications will be implemented.

Since communications are primarily with stakeholders, Praxis covers this as part of the stakeholder management plan with the administrative aspects covered in the information management plan.

PMBoK® guide refers to this document as the communications management plan and ISO21500 refers to it as the communications plan.

Praxis prepares this guidance in the planning step of stakeholder management and information management procedures, the PMBoK® guide in the Plan Communications Management process and ISO21500 in the Plan communications process.

Prepare the configuration management strategy

The activity in the PRINCE2 Initiating a Project (IP) process that ensures a document is prepared that plans how the configuration will be managed.

Praxis covers this in the planning step of configuration management that prepares a configuration management plan.

Both PMBoK® guide and ISO21500 mention a configuration management plan but do not have a specific process to create it. It would normally be prepared as part of Develop Project Management Plan in the PMBoK® guide and Develop project plans in ISO21500.

Prepare the outline business case

An activity from the PRINCE2 Starting up a Project (SU) process which develops a high level business case sufficient to justify investment in the Initiating a Project (IP) process.

This is subsequently refined in the refine the business case activity which takes the outline version and updates and extends it to form a full business case.

In Praxis this expansion of the business case is covered by the consolidate definition documentation activity in the definition process.

The PMBoK® guide and ISO21500 do not have a similar two stage process for the development of the business case.

Prepare the quality management strategy

The activity in the PRINCE2 Initiating a Project (IP) process that ensures a document is prepared that plans how quality will be managed.

Praxis doesn’t specify a dedicated quality management plan. It takes the approach (first promoted by ISO10500) that quality planning is implicit in all planning activity.

The PMBoK® guide develops the quality management plan in the Plan Quality Management process and ISO21500 mentions it as part of the project management plan produced by Develop project plans.

Prepare the risk management strategy

The activity in the PRINCE2 Initiating a Project (IP) process that ensures a document is prepared that plans how risk will be managed.

Praxis covers this in the planning step of risk management that prepares a risk management plan.

The PMBoK® guide develops the risk management plan in the Plan Risk Management process and ISO21500 mentions it as part of the project management plan produced by Develop project plans.

Present value

An investment appraisal techniques that calculates the value of future income at today’s date.

Future income is discounted using discount rates that take account of the effect of inflation. The result enables the comparison of alternative investments with different periods of return.

Preventive action

A deliberate action taken in advance to ensure performance stays in line with agreed baselines. Preventive action is proactive whereas corrective action is reactive.

Prime contractor

A contractor who is responsible for most or all of the work on a project and manages sub-contractors on behalf of the client.


PRojects IN Controlled Environments is a project management methodology published by Axelos Ltd. a joint venture company between the UK Government’s Cabinet Office and Capita plc.

PRINCE2 is not designed to cover the detailed tools and techniques used in managing projects. What it is designed to do is provide a consistent and well-structured methodology based on the project life cycle.


A guide published by Axelos Ltd. that shows in detail how PRINCE2 can be used in conjunction with agile development methods.

PRINCE2 principles

PRINCE2 defines seven principles, which all aspects of the method are designed to achieve. These are:

  • Continued business justification.
  • Learn from experience.
  • Defined roles and responsibilities.
  • Manage by stages.
  • Manage by exception.
  • Focus on products.
  • Tailor to suit the project environment.

PRINCE2 is often criticised for being prescriptive and bureaucratic. This is usually because people don’t read the chapter relating to the seventh principle.

PRINCE2 processes

PRINCE2 addresses the management of the project life cycle using seven processes:

PRINCE2 themes

PRINCE2 themes are aspects of project management that must be managed throughout the project life cycle.

These support the PRINCE2 processes which provide a structure to implement the themes.

In Praxis and the APM BoK the equivalent type of material is contained in the knowledge functions, albeit that these guides are much more comprehensive.

The equivalents in the PMBoK® guide are the knowledge areas and in ISO21500 the subject groups.


Principles are guiding obligations that need to be continually applied in order to achieve effectiveness in project and programme management.

The detailed content of Praxis, PRINCE2 and MSP 5th Ed. are guided by stated principles.

The important point for users of these guides is to recognise that the detailed content is only one way to achieve the principles. Processes and procedures can, and should, be tailored according to context in order to stay true to the principles.


The phase of a portfolio life cycle where priorities are set for the objectives of the portfolio.

In Praxis, this phase is managed as part of the portfolio management process.

Probabilistic branching

Using this term, the GAO SAG briefly explains techniques that achieve some of the objectives of probabilistic networks using conventional scheduling software.

This enables some probabilistic analysis to be performed even when the software being used doesn’t support probabilistic dependencies.

Probabilistic dependencies

Dependency links between activities in a network diagram that model alternative sequences of logic. These include:

Probabilistic networks


Normal precedence and activity on arrow networks are known as deterministic networks. This is because the sequences of activities are determined by the person constructing the network. No allowance is made for alternative courses of action as the project progresses.

Multiple dependencies in deterministic networks only have one combined effect, known as an AND relationship. This simple assumption is not always sufficient to accurately model the true situation. Probabilistic dependencies provide the means of modelling much more complex relationships between activities.


Usually used in the context of risk as a measure of the chance that a risk event may occur.

Probability chart

A chart showing the probability of an instance occurring. For example, following Monte Carlo analysis, a probability chart would show the probability of multiple project completion dates.

Probability-impact assessment


Every risk event, whether it is a threat or an opportunity, has two characteristics: the probability that it might happen and the impact it would have if it did happen.

Even on the simplest of projects, risk events should be assessed for their probability and impact using a scale such as high, medium and low. As the complexity of the work increases, the sophistication of the assessment should increase.

A thorough assessment of risk events for projects of higher complexity and for programmes would have a five point scale with guidelines and numerical values for each point on the scale.

Probability-impact grid

See probability-impact table.

Probability-impact scores

The probability and impact of a risk event can be given values that are relative (e.g. high, medium, low) or numeric scores (e.g. 0.05 to 0.95) 

Using numeric scoring has a number of advantages:

Probability-impact table

A tool used for qualitative risk analysis which comprises a matrix of risks with estimated probabilities on one axis and impacts on the other.

References to individual risk events are placed in the matrix and the resulting distribution provides a visual representation of where the bulk of risk lies on both the probability and the impact axes.



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