GPM First


How do I avoid confusion through project terminology?


I am working with a large project team involving contractors and clients in the UK and the US. Some of them are familiar with PMBoK, some of them use Prince 2 and some of them use their own company jargon. How do we make sure everyone understands each other?


  • Andrew Gray
    By Andrew Gray

    This should be addressed in the first instance by your project management plan (or whatever doc you have that lays out the project fundamentals). It can be as simple as a 'look-up' table - list the areas that the same or similar, but especially highlight the 'false friends'. This has worked for me in the past, even when dealing with US/UK units, or UK/French/German translations of PM terms. The PMP should lay out the practices that should be followed by the team, be they PMBOK, PRINCE2 or whatever. Check out what BS11000 recommends for collaborative engagement (and clarity of communications).

  • Jennifer.Daly_9667
    By Jennifer.Daly_9667

    Personally I would stop using Prince 2 and PMBoK terminology and fit to the words and concepts already in use in the company. Otherwise you risk looking like you're reading from a text book rather than being in the real world.

  • Michael Upshall
    By Michael Upshall

    Sounds good, Andrew, but where can you find a list of these false friends? In my experience, the majority of project managers come from one or other of the various methodologies, and it is rare for them to have a good idea of the differences between the various major methodologies.

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