Project Management Buzzwords

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Top Five Project Management Buzzwords
Article by mistyfaucheux (17,116 pts )
Edited & published by Ronda Levine (26,602 pts ) on Apr 15, 2010
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Share Leave a comment Flag this article Buzzwords – we hear them every day. But, oftentimes, we have NO idea what the project manager is referring to. So, to help you navigate industry buzzwords, here’s our list of the top five project management buzzwords that you may encounter.

Paradigm Shift
Depending on your view of buzzwords, hearing project management buzzwords can do two things to most people: inspire them or cause them to get really angry. Buzzwords often come to be used as short cuts for something or another. But, sometimes it can be hard to understand to what a person is referring, especially if you’re new to the project management business. So, here are the explanations of the top five most popular project management buzzwords.

Paradigm Shift: This term was originally created by Thomas Kuhn in his The Structure of Scientific Revolution, and he only meant it to be applied to the hard sciences. He argued that scientific advancement comes from a “series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”, where one view is replaces by another.

The modern take of paradigm shift is basically to replace one way of thinking with another. Paradigm shifts in project management are more often seen in change management, where one method is replaced by another.

Mission Critical and Jumping the Shark
Mission Critical: The mission critical refers to any part of a project that cannot be eliminated. Oftentimes, certain tasks need to be completed on time for the project to keep moving forward. Some other tasks, however, can be put off until a later date. This type of scenario can be seen in critical chain management.

Basically, if something is mission critical, it’s one of those tasks that cannot be skipped or put off. It must be completed, or the project won’t be completed on time.

Jumping the Shark: This term was originally used in the television industry to mark a point where a show became very unrealistic. Jumping the shark today, however, means any point where a once successful project has taken a turn for the worst.

Anything can be considered jumping the shark if it’s no longer successful, including a task, the project as a whole or even certain members of the team, especially the project manager.

Synergy and Zero Sum Game
Synergy: Synergy comes from a Greek word. It means that two different things can work together to produce a successful outcome. Perhaps, synergy can best be seen in scrum teams.

Basically, teams are working on different parts of the project in perhaps different parts of the world. But, these incongruous and often disconnected parts come together to create a working product. Scrum meetings assist with different teams being one the same page (another project management favorite buzzword).

Zero Sum Game: Zero sum game comes from game and economic theory. This means that a person’s gains and losses are matched by his/her opponents gains are losses. Basically, there are no gains or losses.

Game theory is often used in project management. The goals are keep the project moving forward and the team players motivated. Using game theory allows project managers to negotiate. Some tasks may be ahead of schedule and some behind. But, the goal is to take these two conflicting issues and to negotiate and arrange all the tasks so that eventually the product is done on time.

So, what’s your favorite or most dreaded project management buzzwords?

Related Links
•Agile Project Management Certification Programs
•Typical Examples of Control Charts
•CMMI Versus Agile: Which Is Best?
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•What Is the Agile Definition of Done

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