Sp to Sz

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


From Span activity to Synergistic contingency evaluation and response technique

Span activity

See hammock.

Specialist product

PRINCE2 defines two types of product: specialist products and management products. Specialist products are those that are the deliverable components of the project’s end goal.

Specific analogy estimating

A form of comparative estimating where the project being estimated is compared to one other specific, but similar, project.


Specifications define outputs and are created by the solutions development procedure in Praxis. The structure and content of a specification is entirely dependent on the context. In construction a specification may comprise layouts, elevations, bills of quantities, structural details and so on. In IT, a specification could be functional or technical.


In agile development this is a piece of work that gathers information, does research or produces a prototype in order for a user story to be completed.

Spiral life cycle

A life cycle model, drawn in the form of a spiral, which incorporates elements of both iterative and waterfall development life cycles.

Split activity

A term used in computer based resource limited scheduling where an activity has been split in order to resolve a resource conflict.

Splittable activity

An activity that can be split into one or more sections for the purpose of resource limited scheduling.


If one person fulfils the role of sponsorship, they are usually referred to as the sponsor.

Sponsoring group

A group formed to fulfil the function of sponsorship.

In the SPgM this role is performed by the Governance Board.

In MSP 5th Ed. the sponsoring group is made up of senior managers who have authority delegated from a corporate governing body. It then delegates day to day management of the programme to the Programme board.



Sponsorship provides ownership of, and accountability for, the business case and ensures that the work is governed effectively. The goals of sponsorship are to:

  • provide ownership of the business case;
  • act as champion for the objectives of the project, programme or portfolio;
  • make go/no go decisions at relevant points in the life cycle;
  • address matters outside the scope of the manager’s authority;
  • oversee assurance;
  • give ad-hoc support to the management team.

There are various names given to the role that provides sponsorship, such as: executive, senior responsible owner or client. In Praxis the role is referred to as the sponsor.

The APM BoK also has a function for sponsorship. In PRINCE2 the function is performed by the project board through the Directing a Project (DP) process.

In the PMBoK® guide sponsorship is briefly explained in the section on project stakeholders and governance. ISO21500 makes many references to the sponsor throughout the guide. These collectively describe the function of sponsorship.

Sponsorship process


This process does not have an equivalent phase in the project or programme life cycle. It describes the activities that a sponsor must perform to exercise overall control and make key decisions during the life cycle. It also includes aspects of the relationship between the sponsor and the manager.

This process is designed to achieve the goals of the sponsorship function, i.e. to:

  • provide ownership of the business case;
  • act as champion for the objectives of the project or programme;
  • make go/no go decisions at relevant points in the life cycle;
  • address matters outside the scope of the manager’s authority;
  • oversee assurance;
  • give ad-hoc support to the management team.

The corresponding process in PRINCE2 is the Directing a Project (DP) process. Neither the PMBoK® guide nor ISO21500 have specific sponsorship processes.


A period ranging from two to five weeks that represents an iteration in the scrum form of agile development. See also timebox.

Sprint backlog

According to Scrum 2020 this includes the sprint goal, the set of product backlog items selected for the sprint and a plan for delivering the increment.

Sprint goal

The Scrum 2020 term for a single objective for a sprint. This is created during sprint planning and added to the sprint backlog, The description of the goal must allow flexibility in terms of how it will be achieved.

Sprint planning

This is a team collaborative effort and sets out what is to be performed in the sprint. Scrum 2020 highlights three questions that need to be addressed:

  • why is the sprint valuable?
  • what can be done in this sprint?
  • how will the chosen work be done?

Sprint retrospective

Post control as applied to a sprint. The primary focus is to increase quality and effectiveness that, if possible, could be implemented as soon as the next sprint.

Sprint review

According to Scrum 2020, this is a review of the outcome of a sprint. The scrum team presents the results of their work to key stakeholders and progress toward the product goal is discussed.

Sprint zero

In agile this is a sprint at the beginning of a segment of work that addresses upfront activities. For example, it may create a basic architecture for the project output so that future sprints can add incremental value in an efficient way. It may involve some spikes.

Staffing management plan

A PMBoK® guide plan that is a component of the human resource management plan. This describes when team members will be acquired, how they will be acquired and how long they will be needed.


The development phase of the project life cycle is often divided into stages. This is a management technique that introduces key go/no go points at which the continuing viability of the project can be assessed. Each stage must be authorised before it can proceed.

Stage boundary

The point in a project at which one stage comes to an end and another begins.

See also boundaries process.

Stage budget

The budget for a stage of a project.

Stage gate

See gates.

Stage plan

A delivery plan for a specific stage of a project.


Anyone who has an interest in the performance or outcome of the project.

Stakeholders are identified and a communications plan shows how they will be kept involved or informed.

Stakeholder (ISO21500 subject group)

An ISO21500 subject group that provides a set of processes for managing stakeholders. The processes comprise:

The equivalent in Praxis is the stakeholder management function and its component procedure.

In PRINCE2, stakeholders are covered in the organisation theme.

The PMBoK® guide and ISO21500 share a very similar structure and the equivalent knowledge area in the PMBoK® guide is project stakeholder management.

Stakeholder analysis

The systematic collection and collation of qualitative and quantitative information about stakeholders.

Stakeholder engagement

Sometimes used synonymously with the term stakeholder management. In Praxis this is a step within the stakeholder management procedure.

Stakeholder management


Stakeholder management ensures that stakeholders are appropriately involved in all aspects of the project, programme or portfolio. Its goals are to:

  • ensure that the views and attitudes of all stakeholders are understood;
  • influence stakeholders to be supportive of the work wherever possible;
  • maximise the impact of supportive stakeholders;
  • minimise the impact of unsupportive stakeholders.

The APM BoK also has a function for stakeholder management. In PRINCE2 this is covered in the organisation theme. ISO21500 has a subject group called stakeholder and the PMBoK® guide has a knowledge area called project stakeholder management.

Stakeholder management plan


A management plan that sets out the preferred procedures, tools and techniques to be used in managing stakeholders.

Stakeholder mapping


Stakeholder management requires the management team to have a thorough understanding of stakeholders and their interests. This is often achieved through stakeholder mapping.

Different things can be mapped but the first and most obvious is to map stakeholders against their interest in a project, programme or portfolio. This may result from, or be supplemented by, an influence diagram.

Stakeholder matrix

See stakeholder mapping.

Stakeholder profile

A document that contains information about a stakeholder. This will range from the administrative (e.g. contact details) to the assessment of their areas and levels of interest.

This profile is the basis of deciding how best to engage with individual stakeholders.

Stakeholder register

A register of information about individuals and groups who have an interest in the work being performed.

Standard portfolio

See portfolio.

Stand-up meeting

See daily stand-up.

Start activity

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

Start event

The event at the start of an activity in an activity on arrow diagram. Also known as an i-node.

Start float

Float normally indicates that the completion of an activity can be delayed without affecting the critical path. When start to start links are used, the finish of an activity may be on the critical path but its start is not. The activity is then said to have start float.

Start no earlier than (SNET)

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

If all previous activities can be completed with time to spare this could lead to a critical path that has float.

Start no later than (SNLT)

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

If all previous activities cannot be completed in time this would lead to a path with negative float.

Start to finish link

A type of dependency link in a precedence diagram which indicates that the finish of the successor may not occur until the predecessor has started. Hardly ever used.

Start to start link

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

Starting Up a Project (SU)

This is the first process in the PRINCE2 method and addresses the first phase of the project life cycle. Its main output is the project brief. This is used by the project board to assess whether approval should be given for the Initiating a Project (IP) stage.

The equivalent in Praxis is the identification process.

Although the approach in the PMBoK® guide and IS21500 is different, they both contain an integration process that is very similar in scope to Starting Up a Project. In the PMBoK® guide this is Develop Project Charter and in ISO21500 it is also Develop project charter.

Statement of work (SoW)

The PMBoK® guide and ISO21500 term for a document that defines the products or services that will be created by the project. It also explains the business need and how the project fits with organisational strategy.

There is no direct equivalent in Praxis and PRINCE2 but there are commonalities with the mandate, brief and outline business case.

The APM PSMC also uses the term but in this case it is equivalent to a high level specification.

APM BoK 7’s definition contains detail, timescales and management procedures and specifically makes this an annex to a contract.

Status date

The GAO SAG term for the progress date


The GAO SAG term for the process of updating the schedule with latest progress information and adjusting estimates for future activity durations and effort.


Steps are components of an activity that are used to measure the progress of the activity in an objective way.

In a large network diagram the use of steps enables the number of activities to be reduced.


The second stage of team building in the Tuckman model.

Story points

User stories in an agile project are not of equal difficulty. Therefore, scrum teams often use an arbitrary measure called story points. These are a qualitative measure of the effort required to complete a user story. The resulting estimated story points can then be used to measure velocity.

Strategic management

A function in the APM BoK that describes the strategic management that gives rise to projects, programmes and portfolios. This is considered to be out of scope by the other guides.

Strategic schedule

The APM PSMC refers to this as a high level schedule produced early in the project life cycle to help determine the relationship with other projects. This would therefore constitute a programme or portfolio level schedule.

Strong matrix


The best matrix organisation for a company that manages many projects, is the strong matrix. This takes the project managers out of the departmental structure and places them in a project management group reporting to a projects director or PMO head.

In this organisation, each project manager is able to concentrate on the needs of the project without being distracted by departmental loyalties. The creation of a role that heads P3 management provides someone at a level equal to the departmental managers who can address functional conflicts between projects in an impartial way.

Structure (MSP 5th Ed. theme)

This theme covers the establishment of an approach to the programme that will be achievable and effective. It discusses the most effective pace of work, formation of tranches, resource deployment, how the projects will interact with business as usual and how they will achieve the target operating model.

Structured portfolio

See portfolio.

Subject groups (ISO21500)

An ISO21500 subject group is a set of processes related to a particular area of project management, such as risk, cost or communication. The full list of subject groups is:

The same set of processes are used to manage the overall project and subdivisions within it, such as a phase, stage or sub-project.

The equivalents in Praxis are the knowledge functions with each Praxis procedure performing the same function as the set of ISO21500 processes.

The PMBoK® guide and ISO21500 share a very similar structure with the PMBoK’s knowledge areas being equivalent to the ISO21500 subject groups.

In PRINCE2 the closest equivalents are the PRINCE2 themes.

Subjective estimating


Estimating that is based purely on the expert judgement of the estimator.


The subset of a project network diagram relating to a sub-project.


Where project networks become very large, it is useful to adopt a layered approach. The top level network comprises large sections of work as single activities which are then broken down into more detailed networks. Critical path analysis must then work down through the levels and back up again to perform the overall calculation.

See also hierarchy of networks.


A programme managed as part of another programme.

Succeeding activity

See successor.

Success criteria

The measurable criteria that must be met by a project or programme. Most criteria relate to the time, cost and scope (including benefits) aspects, but levels of risk and customer satisfaction with the project or programme management could also be success criteria.

Success factors and maturity

An APM BoK function that deals with capability maturity.

The equivalent function in Praxis is called capability maturity which views the attributes of the capability maturity model as being the success factors.


An activity which logically succeeds another in a network diagram.

Summary activity

See hammock.

Summary schedule

A high level schedule containing milestones and summary activities.

Sunk costs

Costs that could not be avoided even if the project or programme were to be terminated i.e. these are the actual costs to date plus the committed costs at the point where termination is proposed.

If the sunk costs are a high proportion of the total cost of completing the project or programme it may be better to continue rather than terminate even if the full business case cannot be achieved.


If an imposed finish has been set, the critical path leading to that point may be too long to finish by that date. The critical path then becomes supercritical and possesses negative float. Also referred to as hypercritical.


The term used by Praxis, PRINCE2 and ISO21500 to represent a person or company that supplies goods or services to a project.

In the PMBoK® guide the supplier is referred to as a seller and in the APM BoK as a provider.

Supporting processes

The SPgM contains 36 processes in nine topic areas. This structure is very similar to the PMBoK, although the processes are grouped by life cycle phase rather than process groups.

The nine topic areas are:



Support is a set of specialist and administrative services carried out on behalf of project, programme or portfolio managers. A support infrastructure can be constituted in many different ways with many different roles within the realm of P3 management. A definitive set of goals for support is impractical but they are generally drawn from the broad list shown below:

  • provide administrative support to P3 managers;
  • support the governance of P3 management;
  • provide specialist technical support;
  • conduct assurance.

In the APM BoK, the support role is covered by the infrastructure function. PRINCE2 has a short section on support in the organisation theme. Neither the PMBoK® guide nor ISO21500 address support.

Synergistic contingency evaluation and response technique (SCERT)

A method for analysing networks based on probability distributions of duration and progress. This is a complex method which has developed from PERT and GERT and is used more for retrospective analysis of projects to improve future planning.



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