The terms and definitions in this glossary have been carefully thought out by PlanTech Professionals. We've included some PlanTech insider helpful tips and gems that we feel help to best explain each term.


The closeness of agreement between an observed value and the accepted reference value.
Analysis of Variance
A statistical method (ANOVA) often used in designed experiments (DOE), to analyze variable data from multiple groups in order to compare means and analyze sources of variation.
Application Area
A category of projects that have common elements not present in all projects - Application areas are usually defined in terms of either the product (i.e., by similar technologies or industry sectors) or the type of customer (e.g., internal vs external, government vs commercial, etc.). Application areas often overlap.
Referred to in APQP as a part of Reliability Engineering - Synonymous with the term Reliability Apportionment, which is the assignment of reliability goals from system to subsystem in such a way that the whole system will have the required reliability.
Attribute Data
Qualitative data that can be counted for recording and analysis. Examples include the presence or absence of a required label, the installation of all required fasteners.
Average (Mean)
The sum of values divided by the number (sample size) of values; designated by a bar over the symbol for the values being averaged: e.g., 5T (X bar) is the average of the X values within a subgroup; 3T (X double bar) is the average of subgroup averages; IT (X tilde-bar) is the average of subgroup medians; K is the average of subgroup ranges.


The original plan (for a project, a work package, or an activity), plus or minus approved changes - Usually used with a modifier (e.g., cost baseline, schedule baseline, performance measurement baseline, etc.).
Benchmark Data
The results of an investigation to determine how competitors and/or best-in-class companies achieve their level of performance.
Bill of Material
Total list of all components/materials required to manufacture the product.
Bulk Material
Substance such as adhesives, sealants, chemicals, coatings, fabrics, lubricants, etc. A bulk material may become production material if issued a customer production part number.


An applicant for a job who has been pre-qualified for a specific position or a general category of jobs. Also used to distinguish an individual from a pool of unqualified applicants.
Cause and Effect Diagram
A simple tool for individual or group problem-solving that uses a graphic description of the various process elements to analyze potential sources of process variation. Also called fishbone diagram (after its appearance) or Ishikawa diagram (after its developer).
Characteristics Matrix
An analytical technique for displaying the relationship between process parameters and manufacturing stations.
Contingency Planning
The development of a management plan that identifies alternative strategies to be used to ensure project success if specified risk events occur.
Contingency Recruiting (Search)
Refers to Senior Management recruitment or executive level searches, with payment of all or most of the fee contingent on the hiring of a referred candidate.
A mutually binding agreement which obligates the seller to provide the specified product and obligates the buyer to pay for it - Contracts generally fall into one of three broad categories:
  • Fixed price or lump sum contracts
  • Cost reimbursement contracts
  • Unit price contracts
Contract Services
The provision of supervised services under contract, for a specific project or period of time. "Contract Services" implies a fee-for-service pay structure that can be at a fixed rate or at an hourly rate. (See also: Contract Staffing.)
Contract Staffing
A diffuse term in general use which usually implies a "co-employment" relationship where a labor contractor supplies staff to a third party for a specific function and time period, at a specified hourly rate. (See also: Contract Services.)
Contract Technical Employee
A temporary employee with technical skills who is employed for an extended period by a contract technical firm but works at, and is supervised on a day-to-day basis by that firm's client. Typical contract technical jobs are engineer, draftsperson, designer, technical writer and editor, illustrator, programmer, and systems analyst. Job length typically is 3-12 months but may extend to two years or longer. (See also: Technical Services Firm.)
The process of comparing actual performance with planned performance, analyzing variances, evaluating possible alternatives, and taking appropriate corrective action as needed.
Control Charts
A graphical display of the results, over time, of a process - They are used to determine if the process is "in control" or in need of adjustment.
Control Limit
A line (or lines) on a control chart used as a basis for judging the stability of a process. Variation beyond a control limit is evidence that special causes are affecting the process. Control limits are calculated from process data and are not to be confused with engineering specifications.
Written descriptions of the systems for controlling production parts or bulk material and processes. They are written by organizations to address the important characteristics and engineering requirements of a product. Each part must have a control plan, but in many cases, "family" control plans can apply to a number of parts produced using a common process.

The control plan provides the process monitoring and control methods that will be used to control product and process characteristics.
Corrective Action
Changes made to bring expected future performance of the project into line with the plan.
  1. Any difference between the estimated cost of an activity and the actual cost of that activity
  2. In earned value, BCWP less ACWP
Cost Variance (CV)
The costs incurred to ensure quality - The cost of quality includes quality planning, quality control, quality assurance and rework.
Taking action to decrease the total project duration by analyzing a number of alternatives to determine how to get the maximum duration compression for the least cost.
Critical Activity
Any activity on a critical path - Most commonly determined by using the Critical Path Method. (Note: although some activities are "critical" in the dictionary sense without being on the critical path, this distinction is seldom made in the project environment.)
Critical Path
In a project network diagram, the critical path is the one with the longest duration. The critical path may change from time to time as activities are completed ahead of or behind schedule.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
A network analysis technique used to predict project duration by analyzing which sequence of activities (which path) has the least amount of scheduling flexibility (the least amount of float) - Early dates are calculated by means of a forward pass using a specified start date. Late dates are calculated by means of a backward pass starting from a specified completion date (usually the forward pass' calculated project early finish date).
Customized Services
Staffing services that are customized to meet a particular client's needs. Examples are pre-training on a client's specific applications or software, or the production of orientation materials such as videos and manuals that are client specific.


Design Review Based on Failure Modes is a tool developed on the philosophy that problems are likely to occur when changes are made to proven, stable engineering designs. If engineers want to ensure changes are made responsibly, proposed changes must be closely scrutinized. To do this the designer must make the changes visible. DRBFM is the means engineers use to ensure proposed changes are properly reviewed.
Any measurable, tangible, verifiable item that must be produced to complete the 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.
An analytical technique used by a design responsible engineer/team as a means to assure, to the extent possible, that potential failure modes and their associated causes/mechanisms have been considered and addressed.
Design for Manufacturability and Assembly
A simultaneous engineering process designed to optimize the relationship between design function, manufacturability and ease of assembly.
Design Information Checklist
A mistake-proofing checklist designed to assure that all important items were considered in establishing design requirements.
Design Intent
List of what a given component/subsystem/system is expected to do or not do.
Design Life
The time period (e.g., cycles, time, mileage) for which the design is intended to perform its requirements.
Methods that identify factors that affect the mean and variation with minimum testing/experimentation.
Design Reviews
A proactive process to prevent problems and misunderstandings.
Design Validation
Testing to ensure that the product conforms to defined user needs and/or requirements - Design validation follows successful design.
Design Verification
Testing to ensure that all design outputs meet design input requirements - Design verification may include activities such as:
  • design review
  • performing alternate calculations
  • understanding tests and demonstrations
  • review of design stage documents before release
A past-oriented strategy that attempts to identify unacceptable output after it has been produced and then separate it from the good output. (See also Prevention).
Direct Employment
A two-way direct employment relationship between a worker and an employer, with no third party, employment agency, broker or co-employer involved.
Direct Placement
The bringing together of a job seeker and a prospective employer for the purpose of effecting a "direct" employment relationship, for a fee. Also refers to the process of arranging such a relationship. (See also: Placement.)
Alias smallest readable unit, discrimination is the measurement resolution, scale limit, or smallest detectable unit of the measurement device and standard. It is an inherent property of gage design and reported as a unit of measurement or classification. The number of data categories is often referred to as the discrimination ratio since it describes how many classifications can be reliably distinguished given the observed process variation.
The probability that an item will continue to function at customer expectation levels at the useful life without requiring overhaul or rebuild due to wear out.
Duration (DU)
  1. The number of work units (not including holidays or other nonworking periods) required to complete an activity or other project element - Usually expressed as work days or work weeks.
  2. Elapsed time
Duration Compression
Shortening the project schedule without reducing the project scope - Duration compression is not always possible and often requires an increase in project cost.


Employer Paid Fee to an employment agency for a permanent job placement.
The number of labor units required to complete an activity or other project elements - Usually expressed as staff hours, staff days, or staff weeks.
Employment Agency (Private)
A for-profit, private entity that brings together a job seeker and a prospective employer, for a fee, for the purpose of effecting a permanent employment relationship. In a vast majority of cases the new employer pays the fee.
Employment Services
Employee or employment-finding, employment-enhancing, or employment-related services (such as training, screening, testing, interviewing, sourcing, career counseling, résumé preparation) provided to an employer, or former employee (in the case of outplacement).
Error Proofing / Mistake Proofing Eliminating the possibility of errors from occurring or detecting mistakes should they occur.
An assessment of the likely quantitative result - Usually applied to project costs and durations and should always include some indication of accuracy (e.g., + or -15%). Usually used with a modifier (e.g., preliminary, conceptual, feasibility). Some application areas have specific modifiers that imply pre-set accuracy ranges (e.g., order of magnitude estimate, budget estimate, and definitive estimate in construction).
Exception Report
Document that includes only major variations from the plan (rather than all variations).
Executive Search
Refers to the process of recruiting for Senior Management Executives, managers or professionals, usually in a "retained" capacity.


Full Time Employee
A systematic group of activities intended to:
  • Recognize and evaluate the potential failure of a product or process and the effect of that failure
  • Identify actions that can eliminate or reduce the chance of the potential failure occurring, and
  • Document the entire process
Facilities Management
The ongoing management of an entire facility, function, or department at a customer site, usually including responsibility for hiring, training, and management of staff, as well as the provision of equipment and supplies necessary to perform the contracted function, by an outside vendor. Assigned staffs are usually permanent employees of the service provider, though temporaries may also be used in a routine or supplemental way.
Facilities Staffing
The provision of temporary workers to handle a particular facility, department, or function for a customer. Although first line supervision of these workers is sometimes managed through the temporary employer, ultimate supervision and management responsibility for the product or service of the department, or the outsourced function, is retained by the customer. Typically, these are considered to be "temporary help" arrangements, even though they may be for an indefinite period. "Facilities staffing" is often sold as a way to maintain high productivity in high-turnover, high-burnout positions such as telephone work, data entry operations, or repetitive assembly work.
Fast Tracking
Compressing the project schedule by performing some or all of certain activities in parallel that would normally be done in sequence (such as design and construction).
A determination that a process, design, procedure, or plan can be successfully accomplished in the required time frame.
A measurable product characteristic (e.g., radius, hardness) or a measurable process characteristic (e.g., insertion force, temperature).
Finish Date
A calendar date associated with an activity's completion - Usually qualified by one of the following: actual, planned, estimated, scheduled, early, late, target, or current.
Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
A technique for modeling a complex structure - When the mathematical model is subjected to known loads, the displacement of the structure may be determined.
Flexible Staffing
A generic term used to convey the use of various nontraditional work approaches, such as contract employment arrangements.
The amount of time that an activity may be delayed from its early start date without delaying the project finish date - Float is a mathematical calculation and can change as the project progresses and changes are made to the project plan. Also called slack, total float, and path float.
Freeway (Job) Shopper/Subway Shopper
A contract technical employee who accepts technical job assignments only within a limited geographic area, usually without relocation or per diem compensation. (See also: Road (Job) Shopper)
Full Service
The provision of both temporary help and permanent placement by a single staffing service. Today, as staffing services provide an ever-broader array of human resource consulting and strategic staffing options, full service also has a much broader connotation, implying a complete set of staffing solutions which may also include executive search, career consulting, PEO (Professional Employee Organization) arrangements, vendor management, on-premise responsibilities, contract employee management, and HR consulting.
Functional Manager
A manager responsible for activities in a specialized department or function (e.g., engineering, manufacturing, marketing).
Functional Organization
An organizational structure in which staff are grouped hierarchically by specialty (e.g., production, marketing, engineering and accounting at the top level; engineering, further divided into mechanical and electrical).
Function Model
A function model is a diagram that shows the relationship between the goal of performing a function and the means by which it is satisfied in a design. It defines a function as a task which a design is intended to perform. It then describes how the various sub-elements of a design are responsible for satisfying the function.


Gage R & R
An estimate of the combined variation of repeatability and reproducibility for a measurement system. The GRR variance is equal to the sum of within-system and between-system variances.
Gantt Chart
A graphic display of schedule related information - In the typical Gantt chart, activities are listed down the left side of the chart, dates are shown across the top, and planned activity durations are shown as date-placed horizontal bars. Also called bar chart.


A term used to describe Retained Executive Search services.


In-house Work
"In-house work" depends on who is saying it. For a technical services firm it describes a situation in which a technical services firm conducts projects for customers at its own facility. If a customer is saying it, "in-house" refers to work done at their facility.


Just-In-Time Staffing (JIT Staffing)
A loosely used term that equates "flexible staffing" arrangements with the concept of "just-in-time" inventory control or delivery of parts for a manufacturing process. Rather than carrying inventory (or permanent employees), arrangements are made with a supplier to deliver parts (or help supply workers) just at the time when they are needed in the work process.


Taken from the Japanese words kai and zen where kai means change and zen means good - The popular meaning is continual improvement of all areas of a company, not just quality.


Labor Contracting (Labor Leasing)
The provision of labor to a third party, usually providing limited or no benefits to the workers and for a limited time. Most commonly used to describe agricultural and construction contract labor arrangements. Sometimes used more broadly to include employee or staff leasing, temporary help, and other business services such as cleaning and security.
A modification of logical relationship which allows an acceleration of the successor activity - For example, in a finish-to-start dependency with a 10 day lead, the successor activity can start 10 days before the predecessor activity has finished.
Learning Management System (LMS)
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a set of software tools designed to manage user learning interventions. An LMS can be used to track learners, track courses, generate reports, register participants, provide learning stats, etc. Many Learning Management Systems are web-based so as to make available anytime/anywhere e-learning.
Life Cycle Costing
The concept of including acquisition, operating, and disposal costs when evaluating various alternatives.
The difference in bias errors over the expected operating range of the measurement system. In other terms, linearity expresses the correlation of multiple and independent bias errors over the operating range.
Logical Relationship
A dependency between two project activities, or between a project activity and a milestone (see also precedence relationship) - The four possible types of logical relationships are:
  • finish-to-start: the "from" activity must finish before the "to" activity can start
  • finish-to-finish: the "from" activity must finish before the "to" activity can finish
  • start-to-start: the "from" activity must start before the "to" activity can start
  • start-to-finish: the "from" activity must start before the "to" activity can finish.
Usually refers to employment of more than a year, but in some cases assignments more than six months are considered to be "long-term." There is no legal guideline of what actually constitutes "long-term" in relationship to jobs or employment. (See also: Short-Term.)
Long-term Staffing
Sometimes described as "facilities staffing" when workers from a staffing service are conducting a specific function for a customer on an ongoing, indefinite basis, it also refers to long-term assignments. Workers are most commonly recruited by the staffing services, although the customer, because of specific skills requirements of the positions, may be in the best position to locate the worker or workers.


Machinery Failure mode and effects analysis (MFMEA) applies conventional FMEA methodology to equipment and machinery design.
Managed Services/Managed Staffing
Term used to describe facilities support management and outsourcing services. Refers to the on-site supervision or management of a function or department at a client (customer) site on an ongoing, indefinite basis; often the staffing service has output responsibilities and accountability. (See also: Facilities Staffing.)
The probability that a failed system can be made operable in a specified interval or downtime.
Master Schedule
A summary level schedule which identifies the major activities and key milestones.
Matrix Organization
Any organizational structure where the project manager shares responsibility with functional managers for assigning priorities and for directing the work of individuals assigned to the project.
A Measurement System Analysis (MSA) is a specially designed experiment that seeks to identify the components of variation in the measurement. Obtaining measurements and data on a specific process may have variation and produce defects just as the process that produces the products. A Measurement Systems Analysis evaluates the test method and the entire process of obtaining measurements to ensure the integrity of data used for analysis and to understand the effects of measurement error in order to make decisions about the product or process.
The middle value in a group of measurements, when arranged from lowest to highest; if the number of values is even, by convention the average of the middle two values is used as the median. Subgroup medians form the basis for a simple control chart for process location. Medians are designated by a tilde (~) over the symbol for the individual values: X is the median of a subgroup.
Significant event in the project, usually completion of a major deliverable.
Milestone Schedule
A summary level schedule which identifies the major milestones.
Mistake Proofing
In the event the process allows the defect to occur, controls are in place that prevents the error from PASSING to the next operation or controls are in place that prevent the next operation from ACCEPTING the defect.
Modern Project Management (MPM)
A term used to distinguish the current broad range of project management (scope, cost, time, quality, risk, etc.) from narrower, traditional use that focused on cost and time.
The capturing, analysis, and reporting of project progress, usually as compared to the plan.


Network Analysis
The process of identifying early and late start and finish dates for the uncompleted portions of project activities.
Network Logic
The collection of activity dependencies that make up & project network diagram.
Network Path
Any continuous series of connected activities in a project network diagram.


Business services provided for a client (customer) at the service provider's location, not at the client premises.
Vendored or outsourced services provided to the client (customer) at the client site.
On-Site Management
On-site management of a department or function by the supplier. (See also: Facilities Management, Managed Staffing.)
On-Site Supervision
On-site supervision by the supplier. (See also: Facilities Staffing.)
Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS)
A depiction of the project organization arranged so as to relate work packages to organizational units.
Use of an outside business services vendor (and its supervised personnel), either on the customer's premises or off-site at the vendor's location, to perform a function or run a department that was previously staffed and supervised by the customer directly. (Sometimes, but not necessarily, limited to situations where some or all of the customer's previous staff performing that function are hired by the outsourcing vendor.)


Process FMEA examines the potential failures of a process and their effects. It also identifies actions that will eliminate or reduce the probability of failures occurring.
Production Part Approval Process is the automotive world's legal documentation, for OEMs and suppliers, demonstrating production parts meet engineering (product) drawing specifications, customer specific requirements, and all test requirements specified in applicable Engineering Technical Data.
A unit that provides protection and containment of items plus ease of handling by manual or mechanical means.
Parameter Diagram
A P-Diagram (Parameter Diagram) is a tool used to identify inputs and outputs for a design under analysis. Once specific inputs and outputs have been identified, error states are identified. Noise factors, outside the control of the design engineer that could lead to error states are then listed.
Parametric Estimating
An estimating technique that uses a statistical relationship between historical data and other variables (e.g., square footage in construction, lines of code in software development) to calculate an estimate.
Pareto Diagram
A histogram, ordered by frequency of occurrence, that shows how many results were generated by each identified cause.
Long-term commitments focusing on "win-win" relationships between customers and suppliers (or among suppliers) that add value to both parties through increased sales, reduced expenses, and/or greater productivity.
Part Submission Warrant (PSW)
An industry standard document required for all newly-tooled or revised products in which the organization confirms that inspections and tests on production parts show conformance to customer requirements.
A set of sequentially connected activities in a project network diagram.
Payroll Service
A business service that provides payroll processing, paycheck writing, and payroll tax administration, for a fee. No co-employer or joint employer relationship exists; it is plainly an administrative function.
Percent Complete (PC)
An estimate, expressed as a percent, of the amount of work which has been completed on an activity or group of activities.
Personnel Supply Services
The industry segment that provides employment services, and temporary employees to organizations, for a fee.
The act of placing a job applicant in a job. This can be used when referring to temporary workers or "permanent" workers.
"Placement" generally implies the marketing of applicants to employers, or the recruitment of applicants for a specific employer position.
Placement Services
Services provided by a staffing service to a client company to locate a properly skilled employee with the ultimate goal of a permanent, full-time employer-employee relationship with the client; may include "temp-to-perm" services (See also: Temporary to Permanent.)
Precedence Diagraming Method (PDM)
A network diagraming technique in which activities are represented by boxes (or nodes) - Activities are linked by precedence relationships to show the sequence in which the activities are to be performed.
Precedence Relationship
The term used in the Precedence Diagraming Method for a logical relationship - In current usage, however, precedence relationship, logical relationship, and dependency are widely used interchangeably regardless of the diagraming method employed.
Predecessor Activity
  1. In the arrow diagraming method, the activity which enters a node
  2. In the Precedence Diagraming Method, the "from" activity
Preliminary Bill of Material
An initial bill of material completed prior to design and print release.
Preliminary Process Flow Chart
An early depiction of the anticipated manufacturing process for a product Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA). An analytical technique used by a manufacturing responsible engineer/team as a means to assure that, to the extent possible, potential failure modes and their associated causes/mechanisms have been considered and addressed.
The combination of people, machines and equipment, raw materials, methods, and environment that produces a given product or service.
Process Change
A change in processing concept that could alter the capability of the process to meet the design requirements or the durability of the product.
Process Characteristic
A special process characteristic (e.g., critical, key, major, significant) is a process characteristic for which variation must be controlled to some target value to ensure that variation in a process or a special product characteristic is maintained to its target value during manufacturing and assembly.
Process Control Plans provide a summary description of the methods used to minimize product and process variation.
Process Flow Diagram
A schematic representation of the process flow.
For PPAP, the process flow diagram should focus on the manufacturing process including rework and repair.
Process flow diagrams can apply to any aspect of the business
Process Flow Diagram
A schematic representation of the process flow.
For PPAP, the process flow diagram should focus on the manufacturing process including rework and repair.
Process flow diagrams can apply to any aspect of the business
Product Assurance Plan
A part of the Product Quality Plan - It is a prevention-oriented management tool that addresses product design, process design, and when applicable software design.
Product Trial Run
Product made using all production tools, processes, equipment, environment, facility, and cycle time.
A group of related projects that are managed together - Programs usually include an element of ongoing activity.
Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
An event-oriented network analysis technique used to estimate project duration when there is a high degree of uncertainty with the individual activity duration estimates - PERT applies the Critical Path Method to a weighted average duration estimate.
A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service.
Project Charter
A document issued by senior management that provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.
Project Life Cycle
A collection of project phases whose name and number are determined by the control needs of the organization or organizations involved in the project.
The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities in order to meet or exceed stakeholder needs and expectations.
Project Management Software
A class of computer applications specifically designed to aid with planning and controlling project costs and schedules.
Project Management Team
The members of the project team who are directly involved in project management activities. On some smaller projects, the project management team may include virtually all of the project team members.
Project Manager
The individual responsible for managing a project.
Project Network Diagram
Any schematic display of the logical relationships of project activities - Always drawn from left to right to reflect project chronology. Often incorrectly referred to as a "PERT chart."
Project Phase
A collection of logically related project activities, usually culminating in the completion of a major deliverable.
Project Plan
A formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control - The primary uses of the project plan are to document planning assumptions and decisions, to facilitate communication among stakeholders, and to document approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines.
Project Planning
The development and maintenance of the project plan.
Project Schedule
The planned dates for performing activities and the planned dates for meeting milestones.
Project Team Members
The people who report either directly or indirectly to the project manager.
Projectized Organization
Any organizational structure in which the project manager has full authority to assign priorities and to direct the work of individuals assigned to the project.


Quality Assurance (QA)
  1. The process of evaluating overall project performance on a regular basis to provide confidence that the project will satisfy the relevant quality standards
  2. The organizational unit that is assigned responsibility for quality assurance
Quality Control
  1. The process of monitoring specific project results to determine if they comply with relevant quality standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory performance
  2. The organizational unit that is assigned responsibility for quality control
Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
A structured method in which customer requirements are translated into appropriate technical requirements for each stage of product development and production.
Quality Management System
(QMS) can be defined as a set of policies, processes and procedures required for planning and execution (production / development / service) in the core business area of an organization. QMS integrates the various internal processes within the organization and intends to provide a process approach for project execution.
Quality Planning Sign Off
d for planning and execution (production / dev A review and commitment by the Product Quality Planning Team that all planned controls and processes are being followed.


The process of locating and screening a candidate or candidates for an employer as part of a search assignment. Also used to describe overall general efforts to bring in temporary employees. "Recruitment" generally implies the search for candidates who meet specific client specifications rather than the marketing of available applicants to employers.
Refer, Referral
The act of sending a specific applicant or candidate from an agency to a client for consideration for employment. Also can refer to one search professional's sending a candidate to another search professional who may have an open order that fits that candidate.
The probability that an item will continue to function at customer expectation levels at a measurement point, under specified environmental and duty cycle conditions.
The common cause, random variation resulting from successive trials under defined conditions of measurement. Often referred to as equipment variation (Ef), although this is misleading. The best term for repeatability is wi/ftin-system variation when the conditions of measurement are fixed and defined - fixed part, instrument, standard, method, operator, environment, and assumptions. In addition to within-equipment variation, repeatability will include all within variation from the conditions in the measurement error model.
The variation in the average of measurements caused by abnormal conditions or change in the measurement process. Typically, it has been defined as the variation in average measurements of the same part (measurand) between different appraisers (operators) using the same measuring instrument and method in a stable environment. This is often true for manual instruments influenced by the skill of the operator. It is not true, however, for measurement processes (i.e., automated systems) where the operator is not a major source of variation. For this reason, reproducibility is referred to as the average variation between systems or between conditions of measurement.
A provision in the project plan to mitigate cost and/or schedule risk - Often used with a modifier (e.g., management reserve, contingency reserve) to provide further detail on what types of risk are meant to be mitigated. Unfortunately, the specific meaning of the modified terms varies by application area.
Resource Leveling
Any form of network analysis in which scheduling decisions are driven by resource management concerns (e.g., limited resource availability or difficult to manage changes in resource levels).
Resource-Limited Schedule
A project schedule whose start and finish dates reflect expected resource availability - The final project schedule should always be resource-limited.
Responsibility / Accountability Matrix (RAM)
A structure which relates the project organizational structure to the work breakdown structure to help ensure that each element of the project's scope of work is assigned to a responsible individual.
Retained Search
Pre-paid or contracted Service provided by an executive search firm to locate a candidate for a specific position at a client company. Fee is payable whether or not hire is made.
Road (Job) Shopper
Refers to a "job shopper" who takes long-term assignments requiring relocation and is usually paid Per diem in addition to an hourly wage.
Root Cause
The root cause is the reason for the primary non-conformance and is the item that requires change to achieve permanent preventive/corrective action.


Graphical display of cumulative costs, labor hours, or other quantities, plotted against time - The name derives from the S-like shape of the curve (flatter at the beginning and end, steeper in the middle) produced on a project that starts deliberately, accelerates, and then tails off.
The sum of products and services to be provided as a project.
Scope Change
Any change to the project scope - A scope change almost always requires an adjustment to the project cost or schedule.
Search/Search Assignment
The process of recruiting a candidate for a specific position with an employer. A search may be contracted for on a retained or contingency basis. (See also: Contingency Recruiting, Retained Search.)
Refers to a work assignment of limited duration. The duration implied here is open to some debate. Most would agree that "short-term" means employment of a year or less. Some companies use six months as a cut-off for all temporary assignments; others use 1,000 or 1,500 hours to ensure compliance with federal legislation regarding mandated coverage. The U.S. Federal Government in its use of temporary employees provided by private-sector staffing companies allows a maximum of 240 workdays in a 24-month period.
The practice of mimicking some or all of the behavior of one system with a different, dissimilar system.
Simultaneous Engineering
A way of simultaneously designing products, and the processes for manufacturing those products, through the use of cross functional teams to assure manufacturability and to reduce cycle time.
Single Source Supplier
The provision of staffing services employees through a single supplier source.
Six Sigma is a rigorous statistical methodology that focuses on consistently developing and delivering virtually perfect products and services. Six Sigma is also a management strategy in which statistical tools are used to achieve greater profitability and breakthrough gains in quality. Six Sigma has been referred to as Total Quality Management (TQM) on steroids.
Term used in PERT for float.
Special Characteristics
Product and process characteristics designated by the customer, including governmental regulatory and safety agendas, and/or selected by the supplier through knowledge of the product and process.
Stable Process
Processes that are in statistical control.
Staffing (Services) Industry
A broad grouping of staffing and employment related services where a supplier, broker, agent, or consultant provides employment or employees to a client customer.
Statement of Work
A narrative description of products or services to be supplied under contract.
Statistical Control
A condition of a process from which all special causes of variation have been eliminated and only common causes remain.
The use of statistical techniques such as control charts to analyze a process or its outputs so as to take appropriate actions to achieve and maintain a state of statistical control and to improve the process capability.
Strategic Staffing
The pre-planned use of alternative or flexible staffing strategies by the customer. May include the use of temp-to-perm hiring, or planned temporary staffing for work cycle peaks or projects, for example.
Structured Problem Solving is a formal and meticulous approach to solving complex problems. The process uses a combination of effective techniques and tools to focus a cross functional team through a very detailed analysis of the problem that has brought them together. When followed diligently, the process will lead to the discovery of the root causes and possible solutions with consideration of cost, timing, effect on customers, and the impact on the organization.
The subdivision of a project network diagram into segments, usually representing some form of subproject.
A major part of a system which has the characteristics of a system, usually consisting of several components.
Successor activity
  1. In the Arrow Diagraming Method, the activity which departs a node
  2. In the Precedence Diagraming Method, the "to" activity
Supplemental Staffing
The provision of temporary workers to a client company to supplement the current workforce for peak loads, special projects, or planned and unplanned worker absences.
A combination of several components or pieces of equipment integrated to perform a specific function.


Target Completion Date (TC)
An imposed date which constrains or otherwise modifies the network analysis.
A subdivision of an activity or used interchangeably with activity.
Team Feasibility Commitment
A commitment by the Product Quality Planning Team that the design can be manufactured, assembled, tested, packaged, and shipped in sufficient quantity at an acceptable cost, and on schedule.
Technical Services
A segment of the temporary help market that includes computer programmers, systems analysts, designers, drafters, writers, editors, engineers, and illustrators.
Technical Services Firm
A firm that locates, recruits, and hires technical and/or engineering skilled personnel and then contracts with another company to assign its workers at the customer's location for a specified duration and/or project. (See also: Contract Technical Employee.)
Technical Temporaries
See also Contract Technical Employee.
Common abbreviation or colloquial expression for "temporary worker."
Temporary Agency
A misnomer but used often to describe a temporary help service. A temporary help service is not an agency, because it is the actual employer of the temporary rather than its "agent." However, it appears that "temporary agency" has become forever embedded in the vocabulary of customers, the media, and just about everybody else.
Temporary Employee ("Temporary")
An employee who works for a staffing service fulfilling client assignments.
Temporary Help
The furnishing of employees to meet the short-term and/or project needs of another employer. Originally used primarily as replacements for office or light industrial workers, temporary help has come to be used across a broad range of skills and occupations to substitute for employees on leave, on vacation, or in emergencies, or to provide supplemental support where there are temporary skills shortages or specific projects or peak load needs.
Temporary Help Company
An organization engaged in the business service of furnishing its own employees ("temporaries") to handle customers' temporary staffing needs and special projects. A temporary help company recruits, trains, and tests these employees, then assigns them to clients for a finite (albeit sometimes very extended) time period.
Temporary Help Industry
A segment of the staffing industry that provides temporary help and related staffing services to businesses and other clients. The temporary staff provided are recruited, screened, possibly trained, and employed by the temporary help provider, then assigned to the customer at a markup. Although the customer typically assumes supervisory responsibility for these workers, in certain service arrangements the supplier may provide coordination or supervisory functions.
Temporary Placement
Another misnomer that is often used to distinguish between the temporary help services of a "full service" firm and its "permanent placement" activities.
(Abbr. Temp-to-perm.) An employment service concept where a client company plans to make a permanent placement hiring decision during or after a temporary help assignment. In a "temp-to-perm" situation, only temporary workers who are also seeking a similar type of permanent work would be sent on the assignment. Where a temporary assignment "just happens" to "go permanent," it may be called a "temp-to-perm" hire after the fact, but it is generally not considered to have been a permanent placement. (Other terms used to describe this process are temp-to-direct, temp-to-hire, try before hire, try before buy.)
Timing Plan
A plan that lists tasks, assignments, events, and timing required to provide a product that meets customer needs and expectations.
Time-Scaled Network Diagram
Any project network diagram drawn in such a way that the positioning of the activity represents its expected start and finish date - Essentially, it is a Gantt chart that includes network logic.
Total Quality Management (TQM)
A common approach to implementing a quality improvement program within an organization.
Type I Error
Rejecting an assumption that is true; e.g., taking action appropriate for a special cause when in fact the process has not changed; over-control.
Type II Error
Failing to reject an assumption that is false; e.g., not taking appropriate action when in fact the process is affected by special causes; under-control.



A planned, clean sheet approach to problem solving, focusing on specific product design and process characteristics - Is employed to improve value after production has begun.
A planned, clean sheet approach to problem solving, focusing on specific product design and process characteristics - Is employed to maximize value prior to expenditures of facilities and tooling money.
Variable Data
Quantitative data, where measurements are used for analysis. Examples include the diameter of a bearing journal in millimeters, the closing effort of a door hi newtons, the concentration of electrolyte hi per-cent, or the torque of a fastener in newton-meters. X andR, ST ands, median and individuals and moving range control charts are used for variables data. (See also Attributes Data.)
The provision of business services by an outside supplier (vendor), where the vendor brings its own employees on-site to perform a specific function, such as running a cafeteria or providing security services, or uses its own employees off-site to perform a specific function that was formerly done by the customer.
Vendor On Premises (VOP)
On-site coordination of a customer's temporary help services through an exclusive, long-term general contractor relationship with a temporary help company. The designated Vendor On Premises may enter into subcontracting relationships with other temporary help suppliers, or the customer may specify such relationships.
Voice of the Customer
Customer feedback both positive and negative including likes, dislikes, problems and suggestions.
Voice of the Process
Statistical data that is feedback to the people in the process to make decisions about the process stability and/or capability as a tool for continual improvement.


Warranty tracking and analysis consists of tracking applicable data that is supplied by OEM automotive firms, and reviewing trends of such, along with reviews of returns, and ascertaining root causes / preventive actions in order to reduce and prevent future recurrences.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
A product-oriented "family tree" of project components which organizes and defines the total scope of the project - Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of a project component. Project components may be products or services.
Work Order
Refers to a request from a customer for a specific type of service to be provided by one or more temporary employees for a specific period of time.
Work Package
The lowest level of the work breakdown structure.




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