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

 

From Demobilsation to Dynamic systems development method

 

Demobilisation

The controlled disposal of assets and dispersal of resources that are no longer needed by the project, programme or portfolio.

See also mobilisation.

Dependency

Often used as an abbreviation for a dependency link but PRINCE2 also uses this term to refer to relationships between products in a product flow diagram.

Dependencies may be internal (under the control of the project manager) or external (outside the control of the project manager).

Dependency link

In precedence diagrams, relationships between activities can be defined in four different ways. The simplest and most common dependency link is the finish to start link.

Others include:

In critical path analysis, dependency links may be given a time value that is included in the forward pass and backward pass calculations. These values are variously known as lead time or lag time. Some authorities maintain that lead time is a time value on a start to start link and lag time is the corresponding value on a finish to finish link. This differentiation is of use when applied to ladder networks.

In a probabilistic network, these dependencies can indicate alternative ways in which a sequence of activities may be done.

In activity on arrow networks, dependencies are defined by the way that activities and dummies interconnect with events.

Dependency network

A generic term for all forms of network that show the dependencies between the activities that have to be done to complete a project.

This encompasses deterministic networks such as activity on arrow and precedence as well as probabilistic networks.

MSP uses the term for a diagram that shows the dependencies between the key milestones within projects. This type of programme level dependency network would not be used for scheduling calculations.

Design and appoint the project management team

An activity from the PRINCE2 Starting Up a Project (SU) process that is concerned with designing the structure of the project management team and appointing suitable individuals. This is performed by the project manager with help from the executive, both of whom have been appointed earlier in the process.

This approach broadly assumes that this team will take the project through its entire life cycle. Praxis allows for the identification team to be different from the definition team (particularly relevant for larger, more complex projects and programmes). Therefore the equivalents in Praxis are the appoint identification team and appoint definition team activities in the identification and definition processes respectively.

The equivalents in ISO21500 are the Define project organization and Establish project team processes. The corresponding PMBoK® guide processes are Plan Human Resource Management and Acquire Project Team.

In both ISO21500 and the PMBoK® guide these processes cover the delivery team as well as the management team.

Design and build

A project delivery approach where the design and construction are contracted to a single entity.

Design authority

Construction and engineering projects are populated with technical specialists such as structural engineers and mechanical engineers who ensure the overall consistency and coherence of a project or programme.

Business change projects, and particularly programmes, do not have the same obvious roles to ensure that all aspects of a diverse set of deliverables are consistent and integrated. In some circumstances, the role of the design authority is created to fulfil this need. The term is most often used in environments that are more focused on business change than engineering.

Detail activity

Activities at the lowest level of the work breakdown structure that represent discrete pieces of work.

Detail schedule

The lowest level of schedule that shows the detail activities.

Determine Budget (7.3)

This PMBoK® guide process develops a detailed budget or the project using bottom-up estimating. The primary output is the cost baseline (budget) but this process is also used to determine funding requirements.

In Praxis the equivalent for a non-complex project is the estimate costs step in the financial management procedure. For more complex projects the equivalent is the refine base estimates and estimate reserves step in the more detailed budgeting and cost control procedure.

The corresponding process in ISO21500 is Develop budget, although this addresses costs only and not funding.

PRINCE2 does not define specific cost related activities and this is covered as part of the prepare estimates step in the plans theme.

Deterministic critical path

The GAO SAG defines this as “The critical path as defined by the initial or current set of inputs in the schedule model.”

This is simply a definition of the critical path and does not seem to be an attempt to make a distinction between the critical path from a deterministic network and the critical path from a probabilistic network.

Deterministic network

Both the activity on arrow and precedence forms of network are said to be deterministic since they have no facilities to accommodate probabilistic dependencies.

In simple terms this means that deterministic networks are not able to include relationships which represent alternative sequences of activities or probabilities of alternative sequences.

Develop budget (4.3.26)

This ISO21500 process develops a detailed budget for the project using bottom-up estimating.

In Praxis the equivalent for a non-complex project is the estimate costs step in the financial management procedure. For more complex projects the equivalent is the refine base estimates step in the more detailed budgeting and cost control procedure.

The corresponding process in the PMBoK® guide is Determine Budget, although this addresses funding as well as costs.

PRINCE2 does not define specific cost related activities and this is covered as part of the prepare estimates step in the plans theme.

Develop Project Charter (4.1)

The first process in a PMBoK® guide project is to develop the project charter.

The project charter is very similar in content to the project brief in both Praxis and PRINCE2 and therefore this process corresponds to the identification process in Praxis and the Starting Up a Project (SU) process in PRINCE2.

However, the key difference is that documents such as a business case and a statement of work are inputs to the process whereas these are developed within the corresponding processes in Praxis and PRINCE2.

In ISO21500 the equivalent is Develop project charter.

Develop project charter (4.3.2)

The first process in an ISO21500 project is to develop the project charter.

The project charter is very similar in content to the project brief in both Praxis and PRINCE2 and therefore this process corresponds to the identification process in Praxis and the Starting Up a Project (SU) process in PRINCE2.

However, the key difference is that documents such as a business case and a statement of work are inputs to the process whereas these are developed within the corresponding processes in Praxis and PRINCE2.

In the PMBoK® guide, the equivalent is Develop Project Charter.

Develop Project Management Plan (4.2)

This PMBoK® guide process has one purpose – to develop the project management plan.

The project management plan is primarily a set of management plans and other governance documents. The equivalent in Praxis is therefore the prepare governance documents activity in the definition process.

PRINCE2 includes this set of documents in the project initiation documentation and brings it together in the Assemble the project initiation documentation activity of the Initiating a Project (IP) process.

In ISO21500 the equivalent is Develop project plans.

Develop project plans (4.3.3)

This ISO21500 process produces two plans – the project plan (a delivery plan) and a set of management plans.

These two documents are very similar in content to the definition documentation in Praxis. The equivalent in Praxis is the consolidate definition documentation activity in the definition process.

PRINCE2 calls this set of documents the project initiation documentation and brings it together in the assemble the project initiation documentation activity of the Initiating a Project (IP) process.

In the PMBoK® guide the corresponding process is Develop Project Management Plan, although this focuses on the management plans rather than the delivery plans.

Develop project team (4.3.18)

This ISO21500 process is concerned with getting the best out of the individuals in a project team. It spans many aspects of human resource management, many of which will be out of the span of control of the project manager on smaller projects. The larger the project the more relevant this process becomes.

In Praxis these subjects are dealt with in knowledge functions rather than as specific project processes. The most relevant functions are teamwork and learning and development, although all the interpersonal skills are relevant.

In the PMBoK® guide the equivalent process is Develop Project Team.

PRINCE2 does not address human resource management in any detail.

Develop Project Team (9.3)

This PMBoK® guide process is concerned with getting the best out of the individuals in a project team. It spans many aspects of human resource management, many of which will be out of the span of control of the project manager on smaller projects.

The larger the project the more relevant this process becomes.

In Praxis these subjects are dealt with in knowledge functions rather than as specific project processes. The most relevant functions are teamwork and learning and development, although all the interpersonal skills are relevant.

In ISO21500 the equivalent process is Develop project team.

PRINCE2 does not address human resource management in any detail.

Develop schedule (4.3.23)

This ISO21500 process covers the development and analysis of network diagrams to produce activity schedules and resource requirement schedules.

Praxis covers these areas in schedule management and its component topics: time scheduling and resource scheduling.

PRINCE2 addresses these areas in the plans theme.

The equivalent process in the PMBoK® guide is Develop Schedule.

Develop Schedule (6.6)

This PMBoK® guide process covers the development and analysis of network diagrams to produce activity schedules and resource requirement schedules.

Praxis covers these areas in schedule management and its component topics: time scheduling and resource scheduling.

PRINCE2 addresses these areas in the plans theme.

The equivalent process in ISO21500 is Develop schedule.

Development life cycles

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The most common development life cycle is the ‘waterfall’. This is generally regarded as being the ‘traditional’ development life cycle. Its name relates to the fact that it looks like a cascade where water falls from one level to the next.

Another way of representing this is to draw it in a ‘V’ shape. This highlights the top-down approach to defining requirements, the bottom-up approach to developing products and the verification and validation of what has been produced against what was required.

Development process

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This is the process where things actually get produced. It is very simple but very context sensitive. The principles of the development process can be applied to any scope of work and in essence it is simply a process for delegation from one level in the organisation structure to another.

In some contexts this may be replaced with a specialised approach, e.g. in agile projects, it may be replaced with a scrum development process.

The goals of the process are to:

  • transfer responsibility for a package of work;
  • execute the package of work;
  • transfer ownership of the finished products.

The equivalent process in PRINCE2 is Managing Product Delivery (MP).

The PMBoK® guide and ISO21500 do not have separate processes for delegated work. Instead, they take the view that the processes they define can be applied at different levels, e.g. at project level and at work package level. It is up to the project manager to decide how the application of the same processes at different levels should interface.

Direct and Manage Project Work (4.3)

This is the top level PMBoK® guide process that co-ordinates more detailed execution processes. It is the process of leading and performing the work defined in the project management plan.

The equivalent in ISO21500 is Direct project work. In Praxis it is the delivery process and in PRINCE2 Controlling a Stage (CS).

Direct costs

Costs that are directly attributable to an activity e.g. the effort, material or equipment costs, as opposed to indirect costs.

Direct project work (4.3.4)

This is the top level ISO21500 process that co-ordinates more detailed implementing processes. It is the process managing the performance of the work defined in the project plans.

The equivalent the PMBoK® guide is Direct and Manage Project Work. In Praxis it is the delivery process and in PRINCE2 Controlling a Stage (CS).

Directing a Project (DP)

The PRINCE2 process that describes the involvement and responsibilities of the project board. It comprises five sub-processes covering authorisation of project stages and guidance as required on a management by exception basis.

The equivalent in Praxis is the sponsorship process.

Neither the PMBoK® guide nor ISO21500 have processes dedicated to the sponsorship of a project.

Dis-benefit

A term used to describe an unfavourable outcome of a project or programme.
This does not necessarily mean that something has gone wrong. It may be that in transforming an organisation there are some expected dis-benefits. The work is still worthwhile because these dis-benefits are outweighed by the benefits.

Dis-benefits should be documented and quantified in the same way as benefits.

Discount factor

See discount rate.

Discount rate

Discount factors indicate how much money reduces in value due to inflation. They are used in discounted cash flow calculations to compare cash flows over a period of years taking inflation into account.

Discounted cash flow

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Discounted cash flow (DCF) is an investment appraisal technique that, unlike payback or accounting rate of return, takes the value of money over time into account.

The basic principle is that £1,000 today doesn’t have the same value (in terms of what it can buy) as it does next year.

This is important to projects and programmes because they spend cash and create benefits that have a cash value, but over a period of time.

Discovery phase

See sprint zero.

Discrete distribution

A distribution used in Monte Carlo analysis to indicate that only specific durations between the optimistic and pessimistic estimates can occur.

Discrete effort

An activity that can be measured as part of earned value management and produces a specific output or product.

Discretionary dependencies

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Dependency links that are not an absolute requirement of the work being done. They indicate a chosen sequence of work as distinct from the constraints indicated by mandatory dependencies.

Distribute information (4.3.39)

An ISO21500 implementing process concerned with keeping stakeholders informed throughout the project.

In Praxis this area is covered by the information management and stakeholder management procedures.

There is not a single equivalent in PMBoK® guide. It would be more accurate to say that the Manage Communications and Control Communications processes collectively cover the same ground as the ISO21500 Distribute information and Manage communications processes. (Note: when drawing comparisons it is somewhat confusing that Manage Communications is an executing process in the PMBoK® guide  and the process of the same name in ISO21500 is a controlling process).

PRINCE2 doesn’t have a specific theme for communication and addresses this area primarily through the description of stakeholder engagement in the organisation theme.

Distributions

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Techniques such as programme evaluation and review technique (PERT) and Monte Carlo analysis, use statistical estimates for the duration or cost of an activity.
In both cases a distribution must be specified. With PERT this is normally a beta distribution from which a mean duration or mean cost is calculated.

In Monte Carlo, random durations are generated between the upper and lower estimates. These are calculated according to the distribution specified. Typical distributions used are beta, uniform, triangular or discrete distributions.

Do nothing option

The consequence or result of not performing a project or programme. A business case should outline this as part of an investment appraisal.

Drawdown

The movement of funds from the funding body to the project, programme or portfolio. Normally done in accordance to the funding profile.

Drop line method

A way of illustrating progress on a Gantt Chart. A vertical line is drawn at the progress date. The line is stepped to the left or right to cross activities and indicate the percentage complete of the activities.

This clearly illustrates where activities are ahead or behind schedule.

Dummy

An arrow in an activity on arrow network that represents a link between two events but which is not an activity. Its purpose is purely to show logical connections between events and is normally drawn as a dotted line to distinguish it from activities.

The APM PSMC also refers to dummy activities in the context of precedence networks. These are used instead of leads and lags so that they are visible on a computer generated Gantt chart. It alternatively refers to these as schedule visibility tasks.

Duration

The time an activity is estimated to take. Usually measured as working time but sometimes estimated in elapsed time.

Dynamic systems development method (DSDM)

An agile project delivery framework developed and owned by the DSDM consortium.

 

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

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