In our last month's introduction to What's New in Glossary v6.1 we introduced version 6.1 of our Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms. However, we did so on a different basis compared to previously. Instead, we announced different selections of terms suited to different audiences, that is, relevant to different interests. Why did we do this?
In that previous Introduction we made the point that it is essential to have successful communication between a project's clients, or sponsor, and the people who will do the work. That is, if the result of the project is to be successful in delivering an acceptable and satisfactory outcome. But successful communication requires a common language especially suited to the occasion. Failure at this level inevitably leads to miscommunications, resulting in incorrect work that then has to be corrected, consuming unwanted time and cost.
Why has this need come about? It is probably because project management has developed in different directions, more specifically into different disciplines at different hierarchical levels. At the same time, project management is being recognized and hence being expanded into many different product sectors (Areas of Application). In so doing, it has become clear that not only are many terms unsuited to some areas of application, but for those that are, the corresponding definitions are not necessarily appropriate or ideal for the occasion.
One of the big benefits of the Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms has been the presentation of different definitions for the same term, according to different sources. That does not mean that only one of the definitions is correct and all the others are wrong, but rather that different meanings may be ascribed to a given term under different project circumstances. Given these circumstances, we have tentatively concluded that Glossary users should prefer to have a Glossary relevant to their environment without it being bogged down with a lot of content of little or no interest.
We may all think that we speak the same language. But at a slight exaggeration, consider a visit to your doctor calling for some examination or other. When you get back the report of the examination and the doctor's prescription, both documents are filled with arcane language known only to the medical professionals. How frustrating is that? Fortunately, another professional, the pharmacist, comes to the rescue and checks your prescriptions and provides you with what you need. We like to think that our glossaries will do the same.
With over 7,000 entries representing around 5,000 terms, the challenge is: Which term and its respective definition belongs where?
3. See maxwideman.com/papers/glossary6_1/intro.htm
4. In this case English.