Project Management Methodology


Acceptance Criteria

A prioritised list of criteria that the project product must meet before the customer will accept it, ie measurable definitions of the attributes that must apply to the set of products to be acceptable to key stakeholders.


An activity is a process, function or task that occurs over time, has recognisable results and is managed. They are usually defined as part of processes or plans.


A statement that is taken as being true for the purposes of planning, but which could change later. An assumption is made where some facts are not yet known or decided, and is usually reserved for matters of such significance that if they change, or turn out not to be true, then there will need to be considerable re-planning.


All the systematic actions necessary to provide confidence that the target (system, process, organisation, program, project, outcome, benefit, capability, product output, deliverable) is appropriate. Appropriateness might be defined subjectively or objectively in different circumstances. The implication is that assurance will have a level of independence from that which is being assured.


Reference levels against which an entity is monitored and controlled.


The measurable improvement resulting from an outcome perceived as an advantage by one or more stakeholders.

Benefits Realisation

The process of identifying, executing and measuring benefits. The benefits realisation process enables the project to be defined and implemented which in turn leads to the delivery of outputs.

Benefits Tolerance

The permissible deviation in the expected benefit that is allowed before the deviation needs to be escalated to the next level of management. Benefits tolerance is documented in the Business Case. See 'tolerance'.

Business Case

The justification for an organisational activity (project) which typically contains costs, benefits, risks and timescales, and against which continuing viability is tested.

Change Authority

A person or group to which the Project Steering Committee may delegate responsibility for the consideration of requests for change or off-specifications. The Change Authority may be given a change budget and can approve changes within that budget.

Change Control

The procedure that ensures that all changes that may affect the project's agreed objectives are identified, assessed and either approved, rejected or deferred.

Change Management Plan

The Change Management Plan documents and tracks the necessary information required to effectively manage project change from project inception to delivery.

Communication Management Strategy

A description of the means and frequency of communication between the project, the project's stakeholders.

Communication Plan

The Communication Plan is created as part of the Project Initiation Document (PID) and is a record of all interested project parties, such as stakeholders, quality assurance etc. It details the means and frequency of communication agreed between them and the Project Team.

Complex Project

A complex project requires the full implementation of the methodology due to a significant increase in the areas of risk, resources, cost, visibility and time.

Configuration Item

An entity that is subject to configuration management. The entity may be a component of a product, a product, or a set of products in a release.

Configuration Item Record

A record that describes the status, version and variant of a configuration item, and any details of important relationships between them.

Configuration Management

Technical and administrative activities concerned with the creation, maintenance, and controlled change of configuration throughout the life of a product.

Configuration Management Plan

This forms part of the Quality Plan and how the Project's Products will be managed and protected. It outlines any configuration management tools that will be used and who will facilitate the process. The Configuration Management Plan is derived from the customer's quality expectations.

Configuration Management Strategy

A description of how and by whom the project's products will be controlled and protected.

Configuration Management System

The set of processes, tools and databases that are used to manage configuration data. Typically, a project will use the configuration management system of either the customer or supplier organisation.


The restrictions or limitations that the project is bound by.


Something held in reserve typically to handle time and cost variances, or risks. PRINCE2 does not advocate the use of contingency as: Estimating variances are managed by setting tolerances Risks are managed through appropriate risk responses (including the fallback response which is contingent on the risk occurring).

Contingency Budget

This is a portion of the project budget allocated to a contingency plan should the Project exceed tolerance.

Corrective Action

A set of actions to resolve a threat to a plan's tolerances or a defect in a product.

Cost Tolerance

The permissible deviation in a plan's cost that is allowed before the deviation needs to be escalated to the next level of management. Cost tolerance is documented in the respective plan. See 'tolerance'.


The person or group who commissioned the work and will benefit from the end results.

Customer Acceptance

At the end of each stage, it is expected that the customer will complete the Customer Acceptance Form. This states their acceptance of the delivered product confirming it has met their expectations. It is a form of sign-off.

Customer's Quality Expectations

A statement about the quality expected from the project product, captured in the Project Product Description.

Daily Log

Used to record problems/concerns that can be handled by the Project Manager informally.

Dependencies (plan)

The relationship between products or activities. For example, Product C cannot start to be developed until Products A and B have been completed. Dependencies can be internal or external. Internal dependencies are those under the control of the Project Manager. External dependencies are those outside the control of the Project Manager – for example, the delivery of a product required by this project from another project.

End Project Report

A report given by the Project Manager to the Project Board, that confirms the handover of all products and provides an updated Business Case and an assessment of how well the project has done against the original Project Initiation Documentation.

End Stage Assessment

The review by the Project Board and Project Manager of the End Stage Report to decide whether to approve the next Stage Plan. According to the size and criticality of the project, the review may be formal or informal. The authority to proceed should be documented as a formal record.

End Stage Report

A report given by the Project Manager to the Project Board at the end of each management stage of the project. This provides information about the project performance during the stage and the project status at stage end.


A situation where it can be forecast that there will be a deviation beyond the tolerance levels agreed between Project Manager and Project Board (or between Project Board and corporate or program management).


The single individual with overall responsibility for ensuring that a project meets its objectives and delivers the projected benefits. This individual should ensure that the project maintains its business focus, that it has clear authority and that the work, including risks, is actively managed. The Executive is the chair of the Steering Committee, representing the customer and is responsible for the Business Case.

Feasibility Study

This is run as an independent project to test the legitimacy of the proposed product(s).

Functional Specification

The specific project deliverables agreed upon by the customers. Approval to deviate from these must be in line with the project responsibilities and defined in the project plan.

Governance (Corporate)The ongoing activity of maintaining a sound system of internal control by which the directors and officers of an organisation ensure that effective management systems, including financial monitoring and control systems, have been put in place to protect assets, earning capacity and the reputation of the organisation.
Governance (Project)

Those areas of corporate governance that are specifically related to project activities. Effective governance of project management ensures that an organisation's project portfolio is aligned to the organisation's objectives, is delivered efficiently and is sustainable.


The transfer of ownership of a set of products to the respective user(s). The set of products is known as a release. There may be more than one handover in the life of a project (phased delivery). The final handover takes place in the Closing a Project processes.

Highlight Report

A time-driven report from the Project Manager to the Project Steering Committee on stage progress.

Initiation Stage

The period from when the Project Steering Committee authorises initiation to when they authorise the project (or decide not to go ahead with the project). The detailed planning and establishment of the project management infrastructure is covered by the Initiating a Project process


Anything happening during the project which, unless resolved, will result in a change to a baselined product, plan or objective (time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits).

Issue Register

Used to capture and maintain information on all of the issues that are being managed formally. The Issue Register should be monitored by the Project Manager on a regular basis.

Issue Report

A report containing the description, impact assessment and recommendations for a request for change, off-specification or a problem/concern. It is only created for those issues that need to be handled formally.

Lessons Learned

An informal repository for lessons that apply to this project or future projects.


Informal repositories managed by the Project Manager that do not require any agreement by the Project Steering Committee on their format and composition. PRINCE2 has two logs: the Daily Log and the Lessons Log.

Managing a Project

This process is where the core effort of the project manager is focused. It involves the allocation of work, and assurance that the goals of the stage are on track and within tolerance. This is achieved through communication with the Project Steering Committee via Highlight Reports, regular progress reports from Team Managers, updates to the Stage Plan and relevant logs and if required, Exception Reports.


A significant event in the plan's schedule such as completion of key Work Packages, a technical stage, or a management stage.


Something that should be provided by the project, but currently is not (or is forecast not to be) provided and that the Project Manager is unable to resolve within agreed tolerances. This might be a missing product or a product not meeting its specifications. It is one type of issue.

Operational and Maintenance Acceptance

A specific type of acceptance by the person or group who will support the product once it is handed over into the operational environment.


The result of change, normally affecting real-world behaviour and/or circumstances. Outcomes are desired when a change is conceived. They are achieved as a result of the activities undertaken to effect the change.


A specialist product that is handed over to a user(s). Note that management products are not outputs but created solely for the purpose of managing the project.

Performance Targets

A plan's goals for time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risk.

Post Implementation Review (PIR)

The PIR establishes whether a project and its related products have reached or produced expected benefits. The PIR records lessons learned, which could be applied to enhance subsequent projects. The PIR is presented to the Project Sponsor or Project Steering Committee at the end of the project. A supplementary review of benefits realisation may be requested by the Steering Committee depending on the timing of benefits from the project.


A project is conducted within a managed environment that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more products, services or results according to a specified business case. A project will deliver capital assets, information technology assets or other changes to processes or structures and will have a defined scope, deliverables, start and end date, cost and be conducted in an appropriate quality controlled manner.

Project Management Methodology (PMM)

Appropriate management and controls through the four phases of Initiation, Governance and Planning, Execution and Control and Project Closure and Review.

Project ManagerPerson responsible for accomplishing the stated project objectives.

The totality of features and inherent or assigned characteristics of a product, person, process, service and/or system that bear on its ability to show that it meets expectations or satisfies stated needs, requirements or specification.

Quality Criteria

A description of the quality specification that the product must meet, and the quality measurements that will be applied by those inspecting the finished product.

Quality Inspection

A systematic, structured assessment of a product carried out by two or more carefully selected people (the review team), in a planned, documented and organised fashion.

Quality Management

The coordinated activities to direct and control an organisation with regard to quality.


Formal repositories managed by the Project Manager that require agreement by the Project Steering Committee on their format, composition and use. PRINCE2 has three registers: Issue Register, Risk Register and Quality Register.


Management products providing a snapshot of the status of certain aspects of the project.


These are specified by the customer prior to project commencement. In order for the project to be successful these have to be fulfilled to the customer's satisfaction. Also known as specifications.

Responsible Authority

The person or group commissioning the project (typically corporate or program management) that has the authority to commit resources and funds on behalf of the commissioning organisation.


A person or group independent of the producer who assesses whether a product meets its requirements as defined in its Product Description.


An uncertain event or set of events that, should it occur, will have an effect on the achievement of objectives. A risk is measured by a combination of the probability of a perceived threat or opportunity occurring, and the magnitude of its impact on objectives.

Risk Management

The systematic application of principles, approaches and processes to the tasks of identifying and assessing risks, and then planning and implementing risk responses.

Risk Owner

A named individual who is responsible for the management, monitoring and control of all aspects of a particular risk assigned to them, including the implementation of the selected responses to address the threats or to maximize the opportunities.


Graphical representation of a plan (for example in a Gantt chart), typically describing a sequence of tasks, together with resource allocations, which collectively deliver the plan. In PRINCE2, project activities should only be documented in the schedules associated with a Project Plan, Stage Plan or Team Plan. Actions that are allocated from day-to-day management may be documented in the relevant project log (ie Risk Register, Daily Log, Issue Register, Quality Register) if they do not require significant activity.


The scope of a plan is the sum total of its products and the extent of their requirements. It is described by the product breakdown structure for the plan and associated Product Descriptions.

Scope Change

The permissible deviation in a plan's scope that is allowed before the deviation needs to be escalated to the next level of management. Scope tolerance is documented in the respective plan in the form of a note or reference to the product breakdown structure for that plan. See 'tolerance'.

Senior Client Representative

The Steering Committee role accountable for ensuring that user needs are specified correctly and that the solution meets those needs.

Senior Supplier Representative

The Steering Committee role that provides knowledge and experience of the main discipline(s) involved in the production of the project's deliverable(s). The Senior Supplier represents the supplier interests within the project and provides supplier resources.

Sizing Tool

An instrument developed by the Project Office to help determine how a project will be sized – either Small, Standard or Complex.

Small Project

Small projects can be recognised by a number of factors. Low budgets, limited visibility, low risks, short time frames and a single stage are all indicative of small projects.

Specialist Product

Specialist products are those products whose development is the subject of the plan. The specialist products are specific to an individual project (for example, an advertising campaign, a car park ticketing system, foundations for a building, a new business process etc). Also known as a deliverable or output.


The main driving force behind a program or project. PRINCE2 does not define a role for the sponsor, but the sponsor is most likely to be the Executive on the Project Steering Committee, or the person who has appointed the Executive.


Any individual, group or organisation that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by, an initiative (program, project, activity, risk).

Standard Project

Standard projects have more allocation of budget, staff, and time.   There are typically several stages and the project will require multiple review points.   Multiple functional areas are affected and visibility is markedly higher.


An approach or line to take, designed to achieve a long term aim. Strategies can exist at different levels – at the corporate, program and project level. At the project level, PRINCE2 defines four strategies: Communication Management Strategy, Configuration Management Strategy, Quality Management Strategy and Risk Management Strategy.


The person, group or groups responsible for the supply of the project's specialist products.

Time Tolerance

The permissible deviation in a plan's time that is allowed before the deviation needs to be escalated to the next level of management. Time tolerance is documented in the respective plan. See 'tolerance'.

Time-driven Control

Controls that are periodic to enable the next higher authority to monitor progress, e.g. a control that takes place every two weeks. PRINCE2 offers two key time-driven progress reports: Checkpoint Report and Highlight Report.


The permissible deviation above and below a plan's target for time and cost without escalating the deviation to the next level of management. There may also be tolerance levels for quality, scope, benefit and risk. Tolerance is applied at project, stage and team levels.

User Acceptance

A specific type of acceptance by the person or group who will use the product once it is handed over into the operational environment.


The person or group who will use one or more of the project's products.


A specific baseline of a product. Versions typically use naming conventions that enable the sequence or date of the baseline to be identified. For example Project Plan version 2 is the baseline after Project Plan version 1.