The following terms are used when discussing project and service management. Some definitions have been paraphrased from their noted source. If you have questions or suggestions regarding a term, please contact

Acceptance Testing: Testing by the client or sponsor to confirm that the system meets all requirements and is ready for operational use.

Benchmark: A standard by which something can be measured or judged; to measure a product according to specified standards in order to compare it with and improve one’s own product. For example, we can use other higher education institutions’ business processes as benchmarks to evaluate our own.

Change Management: The process of developing a planned approach to change in an organization. Typically the objective is to maximize the collective efforts of all people involved in the change. (Wikipedia)

Chief Sponsor (project role): The chief sponsor has the ultimate authority, accountability, and responsibility for the project (which is to say, “the buck stops here”). Normally a senior staff member (director level or higher) responsible for an operational area that will be affected by the outcome of the project and/or has specific knowledge or skills that will aid in the success of the project. Involved in project definition; develops the project scope in conjunction with the project manager, including specifying desired deliverables and results. Ensures the provision of financial and other resources, mitigates roadblocks, and provides guidance and feedback to the project manager during the life of the project.

Communications Plan: Method to communicate important messages to key stakeholders of an organization in the most effective way possible. (Wikipedia)

Deliverable: Any unique and verifiable product, result, or capability to perform a service that must be produced to complete a process, phase, or project. (Often used more narrowly in reference to an external deliverable, which is a deliverable that is subject to approval by the project sponsor or customer.) (PMI)

End of Life: A euphemism used with respect to a product, indicating that a provider will not be marketing, selling, promoting or supporting a particular product. (Wikipedia)

Functional Testing: Tests conducted to ensure a system behaves according to defined functional requirements; should not be performed by developers/engineergs who built the system.

Load Testing: Tests that put an application under heavy traffic loads, such as testing a web site to determine at what point the system’s response time degrades or fails. Automated testing tools are used to conduct this type of test.

Objective: An outcome toward which work is directed; a strategic position to be attained; a purpose to be achieved; a result to be obtained, a product to be produced, or a service to be performed. (PMI)

OLA (Operational or Operating Level Agreement): An internal agreement among departments that supports requirements of an SLA (service level agreement) with a customer. (PMI)

PMI: Project Management International, the professional organization for project managers.

Process Management: The planning and monitoring activities associated with the performance of a process, especially in the sense of business process, often confused with reengineering. The application of knowledge, skills, tools, techniques and systems to define, visualize, measure, control, report and improve processes with the goal to meet customer requirements profitably. (Wikipedia)

Product Manager (operational role): Supports the service owner by managing the functional analysis of a service and supporting the management of the entire service lifecycle. Works with stakeholders to document the future strategy and objectives for the service (including features, functions, and timelines for delivery of the service) and lays out current and future plans for service evolution, including plans for implementation of a new service, maintenance of the service, changes to the service, and replacement or retirement of the service). Works closely with the service owner on all functional aspects of the service, including budget planning and resource requirements.

Project: A temporary undertaking with a beginning and end date that uses resources to produce a specific result.

Project Life Cycle: A collection of generally sequential project phases whose name and number are determined by the needs of the organization(s) involved in the project. (PMI)

Project Manager (project role): Responsible for planning and executing an assigned project in order to achieve the project objectives. Throughout the lifetime of the project, s/he ensures the success of the project by minimizing risks.

Project Management Office (PMO): Office that maintains and tracks official projects, serves as a source of best practices for project management, and provides project management resources/services. Project and Consulting Services (PCS) is OIT’s PMO.

Project Proposal Template: A document format for formally describing a project concept to potential sponsors.

Quality Assurance/Quality Control: Activities from design, development, production, installation, servicing and documentation. QA/QC includes the regulation of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components; services related to production; and management, production, and inspection processes. (Wikipedia)

RFI (Request for Information): A procurement document whereby the buyer requests a potential seller to provide various pieces of information related to a product or service or seller capability. (PMI)

RFP (Request for Proposal): A procurement document used to request proposals from prospective sellers of products or services. (PMI)

Resource: Skilled human resources, equipment, services, supplies, commodities, materiel, budgets, or funds. (PMI)

Responsibility Matrix: Illustrates who is responsible for creating and approving deliverables; helps set expectations and ensures people know what what they’re responsible for. For instance, the matrix will illustrate whether the members of the Steering Committee need to approve the Business Requirements document. On the matrix, the different people (or roles) appear as columns, with the specific deliverables listed as rows. Use the intersecting points to describe each person’s responsibility for each deliverable. (TenStep)

Risk: An uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on a project’s objectives. (PMI)

Scope: The sum of the products, services, and results to be provided by a project. (PMI)

Scope Creep: Adding features and functionality without addressing the effects on time, costs, and resources, or without customer approval.

Service Manager (operational role): Supports the service manager by managing the technical delivery of a service, including maintaining related technical infrastructure and applications, adjusting infrastructure to meet service needs, and managing resources needed to maintain the service. Also responsible for ensuring that security and regulatory requirements are met from a hardware and software perspective; advises the service owner/product manager on hardware and software developments and how they may impact the service; on technical challenges in implementing the service, and on technical feasibility costs, industry trends, and standards.

Service Owner (operational role): Responsible for end-to-end management of a service throughout its lifecycle; responsible for the functional aspects of the service, including understanding customer needs, ensuring security and regulatory requirements are met, and understanding the costs associated with the delivery of the service. Maintains a customer-visible, transparent cost model.  Works with the product manager on all functional aspects of a service and with the service manager to ensure that decisions are technically feasible and are within expected budgets. For less complex services, the service owner may act as product manager.

Service Readiness Board (SRB; OIT-only): The SRB maintains broadly shared, transparent guidelines for services that can be used by service owners and project managers to ensure that solutions selected, architected and implemented by OIT have the greatest opportunity for success in production. As new and significantly changed services and infrastructure approach key milestones, the SRB reviews project progress against these guidelines; it informs service owners/product managers and, where necessary, OIT leadership of risks or potential problems.

SLA (Service Level Agreement): A written agreement documenting the required levels of service by external customers, or a written statement of provided levels of service. (PMI)

Sponsor (project role): The sponsor(s) is normally a part of the management team (director or higher), who can exert influence on the outcome of the project. The sponsor is also responsible for facilitating acquisition of human resources and for providing insight and feedback to the project manager throughout the duration of the project. See also Chief Sponsor.

Stakeholder: Persons and organizations such as customers, sponsors, and the public, that are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by execution or completion of the project. They may also exert influence over the project and its deliverables. (PMI)

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): A military term used to describe a procedure or set of procedures to perform a given operation in reaction to a given event.

Statement of Work: A narrative description of products, services, or results to be supplied. (PMI)

Stress Testing: Stress tests subject a system to a high volume of data in order to determine how many transactions it can support. Automated testing tools are used to conduct stress testing.

Subject Matter Expert (SME): SMEs are individuals who contribute in-depth knowledge and input on project teams and support organizations; they are often primary contributors to the knowledge management (KM) process. At OIT, SMEs review and respond to service interruptions (incidents) reported by users. They also write, edit, and review assigned knowledge base (KB) documents to ensure that article content is accurate and complete.

Unit Testing: Unit tests are basic tests at the module level to ensure that a given function works. Unit testing is generally performed by the programmer or developer while building a system.

Usability Testing: Tests the ease with which users can use a system.

Use Case: A technique in software engineering for capturing the potential requirements of a new system or software change. Each use case provides one or more scenarios that convey how the system should interact with the end user or another system to achieve a specific business goal. Use cases typically avoid technical jargon, preferring instead the language of the end user. (Wikipedia)

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