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From Co-ordination matrix to Cycle time


Co-ordination matrix

See weak matrix.

Co-ordination process


This Praxis process manages the co-ordination of project and programmes within a portfolio.

While the management process shapes and adjusts the portfolio, this process deals with the day-to-day co-ordination of its component projects and programmes. The two processes are closely aligned. While the management process sets parameters within which the co-ordination is performed, the information produced by the co-ordination will inform the on-going prioritisation and balancing.

The goals of this process are to:

  • consolidate information from the component projects and programmes to understand the portfolio as a whole;
  • monitor the performance of the portfolio against its objectives;
  • manage the inter-relationships between projects and programmes.

At any given point in time, the portfolio will contain inter-related projects and programmes at all stages of the life cycle. In reality, the co-ordination involves projects in definition, programmes in delivery, projects in closure and programmes in identification etc.

Corporate or programme management

The PRINCE2 organisation structure identifies the ultimate originator of a project as corporate or programme management. This reflects the fact that some projects are stand-alone (and therefore report directly to corporate management) whilst some are part of a programme (and therefore report into a programme organisation).

The term appears in many PRINCE2 processes to show the origination of documents such as a project mandate or where issues need to be escalated above the project board.

Corporate or programme standards

PRINCE2 often refers to these as the over-arching standards that the project must adhere to. They are typically the basis of project controls and the four PRINCE2 management strategies, i.e. the:

The PMBoK® guide refers to these corporate standards as organisational process assets.

Corporate portfolio

A term used in MSP to refer to the portfolio of the entire organisation as opposed to departmental or regional portfolios for example.

Corporate portfolio board

In MSP this is the body that has authority to make decisions about the composition and prioritisation of the corporate portfolio.

Corrective action

No project or programme will go exactly according to plan. As progress is monitored there will be deviations from plan and a frequent need to get the project back on track. Corrective action is a broad term covering a range of actions taken to get progress back on target whenever it strays off target.

In Praxis, corrective action is an activity within the delivery process. In the PMBoK® guide and ISO21500, it is an output and input of several processes involved in monitoring and controlling a project.

Cost (ISO21500 subject group)

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

The equivalent in Praxis are the financial management functions and their component procedures.

PRINCE2 doesn’t have a dedicated section on costs but addresses cost and budgeting issues in many different areas.

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

Cost aggregation

The process of aggregating activity cost estimates upwards through the work breakdown structure.

Cost baseline

The costs as authorised at the outset of the project or programme. These baseline costs will form the basis of progress reporting using techniques such as earned value management.

Often used synonymously with the term budget.

Cost breakdown structure

A hierarchical breakdown of costs into categories that allow cost reporting to be done by any category within the structure.

When used in conjunction with other breakdown structures, reports can be produced for any combination of elements in the project, programme or portfolio.

Cost centre

A person, department, location, activity or any combination of these used for the allocation and management of costs.

Cost code

A breakdown code for types of cost in a cost breakdown structure.

Cost curve

A graph plotted against a horizontal time scale and cumulative cost vertical scale. This is commonly produced when the project baseline is set to indicate planned expenditure. It can be used to track actual cost against planned cost and could be used to show the effect of income as well as expenditure.

Cost envelope

A cost envelope can be developed by combining a cost curve based upon the earliest start dates of activities with a cost curve based upon their latest start dates. The area between the curves is the cost envelope.

Cost estimating relationships

Correlations between the factors that drive costs and other parameters such as size, design or performance. Once established, these correlations can be used in parametric estimating.

Cost management plan

In both the PMBoK® guide and ISO21500 this is a component of the project management plan that describes how project costs will be planned, structured and controlled.

The nearest equivalent in Praxis is the finance management plan which deals with funding as well as expenditure.

PRINCE2 does not have a specific cost management plan but this information would be part of the project initiation documentation.

Cost performance index (CPI)


An earned value management term which indicates the financial performance of the project. It is the ratio of the value of work performed to the actual cost of work performed and is given by the formula

Cost performance index = budget cost of work performed ÷ actual cost of work performed

An index of less than 1 indicates that the project is performing worse than planned in financial terms. An index of more than 1 indicates that it is performing better. Indices have the advantage over variances of being independent of the overall size of the project.

Cost plus fee

A payment method where the customer pays the supplier’s costs plus a fee for performing the work. The fee structure can take a variety of forms including:

In any form of ‘cost plus’ contract the bulk of the risk lies with the customer. There is little or no incentive for the supplier to keep costs down since their costs are simply reimbursed and a fee added.

Once common in the defence sector, this type of pricing is increasingly rare. It may be applied to small projects or sub-projects where it is not possible, or impractical, to provide a detailed specification on which a better defined pricing arrangement can be based.

Cost plus fixed fee

A form of cost plus fee pricing where the supplier’s costs are reimbursed and an agreed fixed fee is paid on satisfactory completion of the project or milestones within the project.

Cost plus incentive fee

A form of cost plus fee pricing where the supplier’s costs are reimbursed. An agreed fixed fee is paid on satisfactory completion of the project or milestones within the project and in addition, an incentive is paid based upon achieving certain performance targets.

For example if the supplier is able to complete the work at a lower cost than originally estimated, they could share the cost savings with the customer.

Cost plus percentage fee

A form of cost plus fee pricing where the supplier’s costs are reimbursed and an agreed percentage of costs is paid as a fee for performing the work. This form of pricing carries the greatest cost risk for the customer as it provides no incentive for the supplier to control costs.

Cost tolerance

The variance in a budget that is allowed before an issue must be raised to the next level of management.

See also: tolerance.

Cost variance (CV)


An earned value management term that indicates how work is progressing in cost terms. It represents the value of the work done less the actual cost of the work done:

CV = BCWP – ACWP (budget cost of work performedactual cost of work performed)

A negative result shows that more money is being spent than value being created, i.e. the project is overspending. A positive number indicates that less money is being spent than had been expected in order to create the corresponding value.

Cost/benefit analysis

The analysis of the potential costs and benefits of a project or programme to allow comparison of the returns from alternative forms of investment. Usually expressed as a simple ratio of the costs to the value of benefits.

Sometimes referred to as benefit/cost analysis. The principle is exactly the same but the ratio is reversed.

Cost/Schedule Control Systems Criteria

In 1967 the US Department of Defence defined a standard for the reporting of progress on defence projects. The most common method that meets this standard is earned value management.

Crash cost

The cost of reducing an activity to its crash duration.

Crash duration

The reduced duration of an activity as a result of crashing.



If there is an urgent need to shorten the critical path of a network, critical activities may be ‘crashed’. This indicates drastic action to reduce the duration of an activity, probably by introducing additional resources at additional cost.

Alternatives should be considered to calculate the maximum duration compression for the least cost and maintaining risk at acceptable levels.

Create the project plan

An activity from the PRINCE2 Initiating a Project (IP) process that creates the project plan.

The equivalent in Praxis is the plan delivery activity in the definition process.

The ISO21500 equivalent is it is also a combination of Develop schedule and Develop budget. In the PMBoK® guide it is a combination of Develop Schedule and Determine Budget.

Create WBS (5.4)

A PMBoK® guide process that takes the project scope statement and project scope management plan and creates a work breakdown structure.

In Praxis this is part of the scope management procedure and is also very similar to the PRINCE2 product-based planning technique described in the plans theme.

The ISO21500 equivalent is Create work breakdown structure.

Create work breakdown structure (4.3.12)

An ISO21500 process that takes the project scope statement and project scope management plan and creates a work breakdown structure and work breakdown structure dictionary.

In Praxis this is part of the scope management procedure and is also very similar to the PRINCE2 product-based planning technique described in the plans theme.

The PMBoK® guide equivalent is Create WBS.

Critical activity

An activity on the critical path.

Critical chain


The critical chain technique was developed by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt in his 1997 business novel, Critical Chain1.

The method builds on the principles of critical path analysis and resource limited scheduling to identify chains of activities that are constrained by both dependencies and resource availability. Importantly, the technique then goes on to take aspects of human nature into account.


Goldratt, E. M., (1997), Critical Chain, North River Press, Great Barrington, MA.

Critical path

The end result of critical path analysis is the identification of the longest sequence of activities in a network. This sequence will have the lowest float of any sequence of activities - usually, but not always, zero.

Critical path analysis


Critical path analysis is a time scheduling technique for analysing a network diagram. It calculates dates when activities in the network should occur and identifies flexibility in the performance of some activities.

The two important limitations of critical path analysis are that:

  • only one estimated duration is used for each activity;
  • the technique makes no allowances for resource availability.

The calculation comprises three phases:

Critical sequence

Critical path analysis uses dependency links and durations to calculate an end date for a project; it does not take resource limits into account.

Most resource limited scheduling algorithms schedule activities according to resource availability but still quote float figures based on critical path analysis.

The sequence of activities that has no flexibility, either from the critical path calculation or because there is no flexibility in the resources they need, is called the critical sequence.

Critical success factors

The key environmental factors that are deemed critical to the success of a project, programme or portfolio.

For instance: it may be deemed critical to the success of the project that regular meetings take place between the client and prime contractor. Should this regular communication not be part of the project environment, the project is not likely to succeed.

Criticality index

A Monte Carlo analysis will perform many critical path analysis calculations using randomly selected activity durations. This can result in identification of many different critical paths.

The criticality index indicates the frequency with which an activity appears on the critical path, e.g. an activity with a criticality index of 0.75 appears on the critical path in 75% of the critical path analyses performed during the Monte Carlo simulation.

Cross-organizational programme

A term used by MSP to indicate a programme that needs commitment from multiple organisations to achieve the desired outcomes.

Current date

See progress date.

Current finish date

A term sometimes used to indicate the most recently calculated (and therefore current) estimate of the scheduled finish of an activity.

Current start date

A term sometimes used to indicate the most recently calculated (and therefore current) estimate of the scheduled start of an activity.


The individual, or group, who commission the project and will benefit from the final deliverables.

In a contractual relationship, the customer will purchase goods and services from a supplier. In this context, the PMBoK® guide refers to the customer as the buyer.

Customer’s quality expectations

A term used in PRINCE2 that refers to the quality expected from the project’s output as described in the project product description.

Cybernetic control


Cybernetic control is evident in all aspects of nature and technology. It occurs when a closed system regulates itself using a feedback loop. Examples range from a body cooling itself through perspiration to a safety valve on a steam engine.

Many control processes used in P3 Management are examples of cybernetic control.

Cycle time

In agile the cycle time represents the time taken between taking an item from the backlog and delivering a product. In traditional planning terms this is not dissimilar to an activity duration but arises from the similarities between agile and a production environment. An alternative term is lead time.



14.Feb.2017Updated to version 1.3 including the PMI's standard for program management

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