Discover all KAIZEN™ relevant terms and definitions.


The smallest unit of work necessary to complete a project work package (which includes multiple activities). Time, resources, and finances are required to complete each activity.

Actual duration

The length of time taken to complete an activity.

Actual effort

The amount of labor performed to complete an activity. It is expressed in person-hours or similar units of work.

Actual expenditure

The sum of costs paid from a budget.

Actual progress

This measures the amount of work completed on a project. It is used to assess the comparison between project progress and project baselines and is usually stated as a percentage.


The assigning of resources for scheduled activities in the most efficient way possible. (See also resource allocation)


A visual management tool, originating from the Japanese word for ‘lamp’. Most commonly, andons are lights placed on machines or on production lines to indicate operation status, notifying management, maintenance and other workers. Andons are commonly color-coded green (normal operations), yellow (changeover or planned maintenance), and red (quality or process issue, machine down) often combined with an audible signal such as music or alarms. The andon concept can also be used to show project status with the colors green, yellow, or red meaning "on track, slipping, late" or to indicate general business performance as in "on target, behind target, target missed".


Factors deemed to be true during the project planning process, though proof of their validity is not available. A project’s assumptions can affect its risks and outcomes, so you must consider.

Authorized work

Work that management or others in authority approve.


This term represent the costs and schedules approved at the start of the project. They use baselines as a basis for monitoring and evaluating performance.


The sum of money allocated for a project. The term may also refer to a comprehensive list of revenues and expenses.

Business case

A documentation of the potential outcomes of a new project, including benefits, cost, and effects. It shows the reasoning for starting the project.


CAPEX, or capital expenditure, is the money a company spends to acquire new fixed physical assets or upgrade old ones, typically for long-term use.


A project champion makes project success a personal responsibility. This person pushes the project team to work hard, liaise with stakeholders on behalf of the project, and support the project manager. Project champion is an informal role.

Change control

Change control is the process of identifying, evaluating, approving, and implementing changes to a project. It ensures that changes are introduced in a controlled and effective manner and that any adjustments necessitated by changes are also addressed.

Change control system/process

The process by which changes to the project are evaluated before approval, implemented, and documented.

Change freeze

The point at which scope changes to a project are no longer permissible.

Change management plan

A Change Management Plan details the change control process. It is created to ensure all changes are managed according to procedure. Change management plans can be created for individual projects or for organizations undergoing transitions.

Closing phase

The final phase of the project management life cycle, in which all aspects of the project are officially completed and closed. This includes making sure that all deliverables have been given to the client, that the team notifies suppliers of completion, and that the team updates stakeholders regarding the end of the project and overall project performance.

Communications log

This document is used to track all project-related communications. It is organized and edited by the project manager and details who communicated, when and where the communication took place, what information was shared, and the results of the communication.

Communications management plan

This plan states who will send and receive information on aspects of the project, what details are communicated, and when communications are sent. It is part of the project management plan.

Common Causes

In quality control, inherent source of variation that is 1. random, 2. always present, and 3. affects every outcome of the process. Common cause is usually traced to an element of the system that can be corrected only by the management. Also called assignable cause.

Company Culture

The values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization.

Concurrent engineering

A product development approach where design and development are carried out at the same time. It is used to shorten the development life cycle and to release products more quickly. The simultaneous execution of design and development can help to improve design practicality.


A limitation on a project. Among other things, constraints may be financial or based on time or resource availability.


Constructability is a concept used in complex hard projects to assess and examine the entire construction process before beginning construction. It reduces the number of errors, setbacks, and delays once construction work actually begins.


The process by which a team builds infrastructure. Construction projects are complex. Engineers and architects supervise them, while a project manager manages the project work.

Consumable resource

A nonrenewable resource that cannot be used once consumed.

Contingency plan

An alternative or additional course of action planned in anticipation of the occurrence of specific risks.

Contract administration

The process by which a team manages a relationship with a contracting party. It establishes protocols for dealings between contracting parties.

Contract closeout

The process of determining whether the terms of a contract were completed successfully and of settling any remaining terms.

Control Chart

A chart with upper and lower control limits within which a machine or process is "in control". Frequently a centerline, midway between the two limits, helps detect trends toward one or the other. Plotting critical measurements on the chart shows when a machine or process has gone "out of control" and must be adjusted. It is one of the Basic Seven Tools of Quality.

Cost baseline

The sum of work package estimates, contingency reserve, and other associated costs by which project performance is assessed. A formal change control process is necessary to change the cost baseline.

Cost benefit analysis

A Cost Benefit Analysis is used to weigh project costs against anticipated tangible project benefits.

Cost management plan

This plan details how project costs will be planned, funded, and controlled. It is a part of the project management plan.

Cost of quality

The cost associated with ensuring project quality. This cost may mean the difference between unacceptable and acceptable project results.

Cost overrun

A cost overrun occurs when unexpected costs cause a project’s actual cost to go beyond budget.

Cost reimbursable contract

A cost reimbursable contract is a contract under which a seller is reimbursed for costs incurred and paid an additional sum as per a predetermined agreement as profit. They are typically negotiated for projects with costs that are not fully known or not well defined.

Cost variance

The Cost Variance of a project is its earned value minus its actual cost. A negative cost variance indicates that a project is running over budget. A positive cost variance indicates that a project is running below budget.

Core Process

Key activity or cluster of activities which must be performed in an exemplary manner to ensure a firm's continued competitiveness because it adds primary value to an output.


A schedule compression technique used to speed up project work by increasing the rate at which critical path activities are completed by adding more resources — usually more personnel or more equipment. Crashing increases project costs, so it is used first on activities that can be sped up at the least additional cost.

Critical path activity

A scheduled activity that is part of a project’s critical path.

Critical path method

The Critical Path Method is used to estimate the shortest length of time needed to complete a project and to determine the amount of float for activities that are not part of the critical path.

Critical success factor

A critical success factor is an aspect of a project that is crucial to the success of the project.

Cross Functional Management

The inter-departmental coordination required to realize strategic and policy goals of KAIZEN™ and Total Quality Management. Its critical importance lies in the follow-through to achieve goals and measures.

Customer, external

An end-user who purchases a company’s products or services but is not an employee or part of the organization. The goal of world-class companies is to "continually delight" this customer, thus creating "an increasing affection" for its products and services.

Customer, internal

Any member of an organization who relies on assistance from another to fulfill the job duties, such as a sales representative who needs assistance from a customer service representative to place an order.

Lead Time

The total time elapsed from the point when a customer request is made until the finished product is ready for shipment to the customer. In service industries, the total time elapsed from when a customer expresses a need to when that need is satisfied.

Decision tree analysis

A diagrammatic technique used to illustrate a chain of decisions and to examine the implications of multiple decision-making or situational outcomes.


The hierarchical breaking down of project deliverables into smaller components that are easier to plan and manage.


The phase in the portfolio life cycle in which projects, programs, and any organizational changes needed to realize strategic objectives are identified and examined.


The transferring of risk to another party, generally via a contract.


A final product or product component that must be provided to a client or stakeholder according to contractual stipulations.

Deming Cycle

The Deming Cycle, or PDCA Cycle (also known as PDSA Cycle), is a continuous quality improvement model consisting out of a logical sequence of four repetitive steps for Continuous Improvement and learning: Plan, Do, Study (Check) and Act.


A logical relationship between project activities in a network diagram that determines when a dependent activity may begin.


The amount of time taken to complete an activity or task from start to finish.

Early finish date

The earliest time by which a scheduled project activity can logically finish.

Early start date

The earliest time by which a scheduled project activity can logically start.

Earned value

A concept used to gauge project schedule and cost performance. Portions of the project budget are assigned to components of the work breakdown structure, and successful completion of a work breakdown structure component is understood as value earned through work.

Earned value management

A method of measuring project performance and progress with regard to scope, time, and costs. It is based on the use of planned value (where portions of the budget are allotted to all project tasks), and earned value (where progress is measured in terms of the planned value that is earned upon completion of tasks).


The amount of labor needed to complete a task. It is measured in person-hours or similar units.

Eighty-twenty Rule

Refers to the Pareto principle stating that for many events roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes


The use of estimating techniques to reach approximations of unknown values.


The adjective describes an action that is prompted by the occurrence of an event.

Execution phase

The execution phase begins after activity approval and is the phase in which the team executes the project plan. Execution is typically the longest and most expensive phase in the project management life cycle.

Executive sponsor

Typically a member of the organization’s board who is ultimately responsible for the success of the project. They provide high-level direction to project managers and are accountable to the board for project success.

Feasibility study

An evaluation of how likely a project is to be completed effectively, or how practical it is, taking resources and requirements into consideration.


In a finish-to-start relationship, a successor activity cannot start until a predecessor activity has finished.


In a finish-to-finish relationship, a successor activity cannot finish until a predecessor activity has finished.

Five S (5S)

5S is a simple tool for organizing your workplace in a clean, efficient and safe manner to enhance your productivity, visual management and to ensure the introduction of standardized working.

  • 5S Seiri; Sort, Clearing, Classify
  • 5S Seiton; Straighten, Simplify, Set in Order, Configure
  • 5S Seiso; Sweep, Shine, Scrub, Clean and Check
  • 5S Seiketsu; Standardize, Stabilize, Conformity
  • 5S Shitsuke; Sustain, Self Discipline, Standardization

Fixed duration

A task in which the time required for completion is fixed.

Fixed price contract (FPC)

A fixed price contract pays an agreed-upon fee and does not incorporate other variables, such as time and cost.

Fixed units

A task in which the number of resources used is fixed.

Fixed work

A task in which the amount of effort required is fixed.

Flexible Manning (Shojinka)

Shojinka means "flexible manpower line" and the ability to adjust the line to meet production requirements with any number of workers and demand changes. It is sometimes called "labor linearity" in English to refer to the capability of an assembly line to be balanced even when production volume fluctuates up or down.


A measure of the schedule flexibility involving a particular task.


A prediction or estimation of future project status based on available information.

Foundation of KAIZEN™

The three principles and seven concepts of KAIZEN™ which serve as a foundation for the systems and tools required for implementation of Continuous Improvement and Total Quality Management, and which shape the culture and thinking of an organization's leadership.

Functional requirements

The working characteristics of a product. These are based on how end users will use the product.

Gantt chart

A Gantt Chart is a type of bar chart that shows all the tasks constituting a project. Tasks are listed vertically, with the horizontal axis marking time. The lengths of task bars are to scale with tasks’ durations. (See also bar chart)


An end-of-phase checkpoint at which decisions are made regarding whether and how to continue with the project. (See also phase gate)

Gemba (or GENBA)

A Japanese word that literally means the real place. Used in the context of KAIZEN™, Gemba usually refers to refer to the place where value is added, such as the shop floor. In a broader sense, Gemba refers to any place in a company where work is being performed; thus one may have an engineering Gemba, a sales Gemba, an accounting Gemba, etc.

Go/No go

A point in a project at which it is decided whether to continue with the work.


An objective set by an individual or an organization. It is a desired endpoint reached by setting and working towards targets.

Gold plating

The practice of incorporating features and improvements that go beyond a product’s agreed-upon characteristics. This is generally done to boost customer satisfaction.


The structure by which roles and relationships between project team members and an organization’s high-level decision makers are defined.

Group-wide Quality Control (GWQC)

A system of continuing interaction amongst all elements, including suppliers, responsible for achieving the continuously improving quality of products and services that satisfy customer demand.


In the project life cycle, a handover is the point at which deliverables are given to users.


Automatic parts ejection. Parts may be manually inserted into a machine, but when the cycle is complete the processed part is automatically ejected so the operator can simply insert the new work and move the ejected part on to the next process, thus reducing his/her cycle time.

Human resource management plan

A human resource management plan details the roles of and relationships between personnel working on a project, as well as how personnel will be managed. It is part of the project management plan.

Initiation phase

The formal start of a new project. It involves receiving proper authorization and creating a clear definition for the project.


The information required to start the project management process.

Invitation for bid

An invitation for expressions of interest that a procuring organization extends. (See also request for proposal)

Issue log

Project issues and the persons responsible for resolving them. It may also include issue status, plans for resolution, and resolution deadlines.

Just-in-Time (JIT)

Just in time is a system which pulls parts through production based on customer demand instead of pushing parts through production based on projected demand.This technique can be implemented with the help of different Lean tools, such as Continuous Flow, Heijunka, KANBAN, Standardized Work and Takt Time. Just in Time results include in line- balancing, one-piece flow, little or no excess material inventory.


A Japanese term meaning change for the better. KAIZEN™ is a gradual and long-term approach to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality. KAIZEN™ was popularized by Masaaki Imai in his book 'Kaizen: The Key To Japan's competitive Success.'

KAIZEN™ Culture

An organizational culture based on the three principles - Process and Results, Systemic Thinking and Non-judgmental/Non-Blaming.

KAIZEN™ Suggestion System

The KAIZEN™ Suggestion System is an essential part of individual-oriented KAIZEN™. Its design is carefully plotted, implemented and communicated. Scrupulous attention is paid to top management responsiveness and to developing a system of feedback, recognition, and rewards.


A materials requirement planning tool in the Just-in-Time production and inventory control system developed by Toyota. KANBAN is often seen as a central element of Lean manufacturing and is probably the most widely used type of Pull signaling system. KANBAN stands for a visual sign (Kan- card, Ban- signal). On the basis of automatic replenishment (through signal cards that indicate when more goods are needed) the flow of goods with outside suppliers and within the factory and the customers, is regulated, this system is called "KANBAN".

Kickoff meeting

The first meeting between a project team and stakeholders. It serves to review project expectations and to build enthusiasm for a project.

Key performance indicator (KPI)

A Key Performance Indicator is a metric for measuring project success. Key performance indicators are established before project execution begins.

Lag/Lag time

A necessary break or delay between activities.

Lessons learned

The sum of knowledge gained from project work, which can be used as references and points of interest for future projects.

Logic network

A chronologically arranged diagram that shows relationships between project activities.

Master project

A master project file comprises a number of smaller projects, called subprojects, arranged hierarchically.


A complex, large-scale, and high-investment project. Only hard projects may be termed megaprojects.


Milestones indicate specific progress points or events in project timelines. They mark progress needed to complete projects successfully.

Milestone schedule

A milestone schedule details the time relationships associated with project milestones.


Japanese word for Waste and a key concept in the TPS as one of the three types (Muda, Mura [Irregularity or Unevenness] and Muri [Strain]) of deviation from optimal allocation of resources.


A walk through the Gemba to observe evidence of what may be various types of Muda. The object of this walk is to show that the Gemba is full of data and opportunities for improvement for those whose eyes are trained to see them. Muda walks are not intended to provide opportunities for blaming and finding fault. Contrasted to the traditional tendency to find who is to blame for problems and mistakes, this approach looks at the problem with others to seek a solution. Also implicit in this principle is an approach of childlike curiosity about how things work and how they can be improved, instead of judging whether things already done are good or bad, right or wrong. The principle does not imply that managers must never exercise judgment, since good judgment is always required in decision-making.

Near-critical activity

A near-critical activity has only a small amount of total float, or slack time. Near-critical activities have a high chance of becoming critical since their float is easily exhausted.

Near-critical path

A series of activities with only small amounts of total float, called near-critical activities. A near-critical path may become a critical path if its float is exhausted.

Negative variance

The amount by which actual project performance is worse than planned project performance. Negative variances in time and budget show the project is taking longer and is more expensive than planned, respectively.

Net present value (NPV)

Net present value is a concept that compares the present value of a unit of currency to its inflation-adjusted possible value in the future. It allows organizations to determine the financial benefits, or lack thereof, of long-term projects.

Non-statistical Quality Control

Most of quality control is non-statistical, particularly that portion which has to do with human resources. Elements are self-discipline, morale, communications, human relations, and standardization. Statistics are only one tool in Quality Control and are of limited use with regard to human beings and methods.


A clear, concise statement about what an activity is meant to accomplish. Objectives are written to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. A successful project meets all its stated objectives.

One Piece Flow

One-piece flow production is when parts are made one at a time and passed on to the next process. Among the benefits of one-piece flow are 1) the quick detection of defects to prevent a large batch of defects, 2) short lead-times of production, 3) reduced material and inventory costs, and 4) design of equipment and workstations of minimal size.

Operations management

The duty of ensuring that an organization's operations are functioning optimally. Operations managers maintain and improve the efficacy and efficiency of business processes. They seek to develop operations which deliver high-quality outputs while keeping costs low.


In project management, an opportunity is a possibility that can contribute to project objectives. Opportunities in project management are classified as a type of risk.

Opportunity cost

The opportunity cost of a particular course of action is the loss of potential gains from all alternative courses of action.

Order of magnitude estimate

An order of magnitude estimate provides an early, imprecise idea of the time and money required to complete a project. It uses historical data from completed projects to form adjusted estimates for similar new projects, usually presenting these estimates as ranging from -25 percent to +75 percent of the actual budget to indicate the levels of uncertainty involved.


In project management, an output is the (usually physical) end product of a process.

Overall change control

The evaluation, coordination, and management of project-related changes. It concerns both the effective integration of changes to benefit the project and the management of adverse changes or emergencies, so that project activities are not disrupted.

Pareto chart

A Pareto chart is a combination bar chart and line graph where the bars represent category frequencies in descending order from left to right, and the line tracks the cumulative total as a percentage.


The Deming Cycle, or PDCA Cycle (also known as PDSA Cycle), is a continuous quality improvement model consisting out of a logical sequence of four repetitive steps for Continuous Improvement and learning: Plan, Do, Study (Check) and Act.

Percent complete

The percent complete indicates the amount of work completed on an activity as a percentage of the total amount of work required.


A distinct stage in a project life cycle.

Phase gate

A phase gate is an end-of-phase checkpoint where the project leadership reviews progress and decides whether to continue to the next phase, revisits work done in the phase, or ends the project.

Planned value (PV)

The budget assigned to the work it is meant to accomplish. (See also budgeted cost for work scheduled)


The development of a course of action to pursue goals or objectives.

Planning phase

In project management, planning refers specifically to a phase of the life cycle that involves creating plans for management, control, and execution, as well as for what a project is meant to accomplish.


In Japan, this term is used to describe long - and medium-range - management priorities, as well as annual goals or targets. Policy is composed of both goals and measures (ends and means). Goals (control points) are usually quantitative figures established by top management, such as sales, profit, and market share. Measures (Check Points) are the specific action programs designed to achieve these goals.

Policy Deployment

The process of implementing the policies of an organization's leadership directly through line managers and indirectly through cross-functional integration and cooperation.

Positive variance

The amount by which actual project performance is better than planned project performance. Positive variances in time and budget show the project is proceeding faster and is less expensive than planned, respectively.

Procurement management plan

A procurement management plan explains how an organization will obtain any external resources needed for a project.


A collectively managed set of projects.

Program charter

An approved document that authorizes the use of resources for a program and connects its management with organizational objectives.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

PERT is a statistical method used to analyze activity and project durations. PERT networks are typically illustrated with activity-on-arrow diagrams. The method makes use of optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely durations to estimate expected durations for project activities and to determine float times, early and late start dates, and critical paths. (See also three-point estimating)

Program management

The collective management of programs and their components in line with concepts of organizational project management.

Program manager

A program manager has formal authority to manage a program and is responsible for meeting its objectives as part of organizational project management methods. They oversee, at a high level, all projects within a program.


A temporary, goal-driven effort to create a unique output. A project has clearly defined phases, and its success is measured by whether it meets its stated objectives.

Project baseline

A project baseline comprises the budget and schedule allocations set during the initiation and planning phases of a project. Assuming the scope of the project remains unchanged, it may be used to determine variance from budget or schedule.

Project calendar

A project calendar indicates periods of time for scheduled project work.

Project charter

A Project Charter is a document that details the scope, organization, and objectives of a project. It is typically created by a project manager and formally approved by the sponsor. A project charter authorizes the project manager’s use of organizational resources for the project and is understood to be an agreement between the sponsor, stakeholders, and project manager.

Project definition

A project definition or project charter is a document created by a project manager and approved by a project sponsor that details the scope, organization, and objectives of a project. It authorizes a project manager’s use of resources for a project and constitutes an agreement between the sponsor, stakeholders, and project manager.

Project management body of knowledge (PMBOK)

The PMBOK is a collection of project management-related knowledge maintained by the Project Management Institute.

Project management office

An organizational unit that oversees project management-related activities within an organization. It seeks to facilitate and expedite project work through the use of standard procedures. A project management office also functions as a repository of general, project-related knowledge and resources.

Project management professional (PMP)

A Project management professional (PMP) is a person certified by the Project Management Institute upon completion of a course of formal education, an examination, and a certain number of hours managing projects. The certification is considered the gold standard in project management.

Project management triangle

A visual metaphor that illustrates relationships between scope, cost, and schedule. It expresses the idea that none of the three aspects can be amended without affecting the others.

Project manager

The person tasked with initiating, planning, executing, and closing a project, and with managing all aspects of project performance through these phases. The term is typically used for a project management professional. Project managers are able to use organizational resources for projects. They serve as contact points for sponsors, program managers, and other stakeholders.

Project plan

A document formally approved by the project manager, sponsor, and other stakeholders which states the approved cost, schedule, and scope baselines. It guides project execution, control, and quality and performance assessment. The project plan also forms the basis for communication between parties involved in a project. Project plans can vary in their levels of detail.

Project schedule network diagram

A diagram is a visual representation of how scheduled project activities are ordered and related. Depending on the type of network diagram, boxes represent activities or events, and arrows indicate activities or dependencies, typically with expected durations.

Project scope statement

A project scope statement details what a project is meant to achieve and describes the deliverables expected. It forms the basis of measurable objectives by which the success of a project will be assessed. Project scope statements are typically part of project plans.

Project stakeholders

Broadly, a Stakeholder is any party which may be affected by a project. In project management, the term usually refers to parties with an interest in the successful completion of a project.

Project team

A project team is responsible for leading and collectively managing a project and its related activities through the project’s life cycle. Project teams may contain members from several different functional groups within an organization. Depending on the nature of the project, a project team may be disbanded upon completion of a project.

Proof of concept

A proof of concept is derived from a pilot project or experiment that examines whether an activity can be completed, or a concept can be realized. It shows the feasibility of an idea.


The concept of QCD (Quality, Cost, Delivery) mainly emphasis on providing products and services to the customers at better quality, affordable prices and in time.

Qualitative risk analysis

A project management technique that subjectively analyzes risk probability and impact. The risks are categorized on a probability and impact matrix, and those deemed significant may undergo a quantitative risk analysis.


In project management, quality is a measure of a deliverable’s degree of excellence. Quality may also refer to a clearly defined set of stakeholder requirements by which results are assessed.

Quality assurance

A set of practices designed to monitor processes and provide confidence that result in deliverables meeting quality expectations. It may involve quality audits and the stipulated use of best practices.

Quality control

The use of standardized practices to ensure that deliverables meet stakeholder expectations. It involves not only the definition and identification of unacceptable results but also the management of processes to optimize results.

Quality Function Deployment

A system whereby customer requirements, known as true quality characteristics are translated into designing characteristics, known as counterpart characteristics, and then deployed into such sub-systems as components, parts and production processes to develop new products precisely designed to meet customer needs. QFD is one of the seven KAIZEN™ Systems.

Quality management plan

A quality management plan identifies stakeholders’ quality expectations and details quality assurance and quality control policies to monitor results and meet these expectations. It is part of a project management plan.

Quality planning

Quality planning involves identifying expected quality standards and creating mechanisms to ensure these standards are met. It may also recommend corrective action if quality standards are not being met.

Quantitative risk analysis

The mathematical analysis of risk probability and impact. In project management, it is not a substitute for qualitative risk analysis. Instead, quantitative analysis is conducted after qualitative analysis and assesses risks that qualitative analysis has identified as significant.

Radar Chart

A circular chart with ten rays and spokes, one for each of the three principles and seven concepts of KAIZEN™. It is used as a diagnostic tool to measure on a scale of zero (at the hub) to ten (at the rim) the degree of consistency with KAIZEN™ principles and concepts exhibited by an organization.


A RASCI chart is created during project initiation to identify those who are: responsible for project activities, accountable for ensuring that work is done, signing off on the work, consulted in relation to work activities, and informed about the status of the work. The acronym may be simplified as RACI. (See also responsibility assignment matrix)

Request for proposal

A formal invitation for expressions of interest that is extended by an organization looking to procure goods or services. (See also invitation for bid)

Request for quotation

Upon receipt of proposals after issuing a request for proposal, an organization will issue a request for quotations to shortlisted proposers, asking for detailed cost estimations for specific goods or services.

Requirements management plan

A requirements management plan explains how project requirements will be defined, managed, and delivered. It is part of a project management plan and is used to guide project execution and control to adequately deliver requirements.

Requirements traceability matrix

A table that tracks requirements through the project life cycle and product testing. It is used to ensure that a project is able to deliver the stipulated requirements during the verification process.


A set of stipulations regarding project deliverables. They are a key element of the project scope and explain in detail the stakeholders’ expectations for a project.

Resource allocation

The assigning and scheduling of resources for project-related activities, ideally in the most efficient manner possible. Resource allocation is typically handled by a project manager, though they may be overridden by a program manager if resources are to be shared between multiple projects. (See also allocation)

Resource availability

Resource availability indicates whether a specific resource is available for use at a given time.

Resource calendar

A resource calendar indicates resource availability, usually by shift, over a period of time.

Resource leveling

A technique that involves amending the project schedule to keep resource use below a set limit. It is used when it is important to impose limits on resource use. Resource leveling can affect a project’s critical path.

Resource smoothing

A technique that makes use of float when allocating resources so as not to affect total project duration. It is used when project time constraints are important. Resource leveling does not affect a project’s critical path.


The elements needed for a project to successfully meet its objectives. Examples of resources include equipment, staff, locations, facilities, and money.

Results-Oriented Management

A management style usually associated with controls, performance, product or bottom line considerations, rewards and/or punishments.

Responsibility assignment matrix

A responsibility assignment matrix identifies those who are: responsible for project activities, accountable for ensuring that work is done, consulted about work activities, and informed about the work status. (See also RASCI/RACI chart)

Return on investment (ROI)

The expected financial gain of a project expressed as a percentage of total project investment. It is used to assess the overall profitability of a project.


The probability of occurrence of a specific event that affects the pursuit of objectives. Risks are not negative by definition. In project management, opportunities are also considered risks.

Risk acceptance

Risk acceptance involves acknowledging a risk and not taking preemptive action against it.

Risk appetite

The amount and type of risk an organization is willing to accept in anticipation of gains. It is not the same as risk tolerance, which is the amount of variation in performance measures that an organization is willing to accept.

Risk assessment

An activity that involves identifying possible risks to a project and examining how these risks, if they occur, would affect objectives.

Risk avoidance

Risk avoidance focuses on avoiding threats that can harm an organization, its projects, or assets. Unlike risk management, which is geared toward mitigating the impact of a negative event, risk avoidance seeks to address vulnerabilities and make sure those events do not occur.

Risk identification

The process of identifying and examining risks and their effects on project objectives.

Risk management

A subset of management strategies that deals with identifying and assessing risks and acting to reduce the likelihood or impact of negative risks. Risk managers seek to ensure that negative risks do not affect organizational or project objectives.

Risk mitigation

Risk mitigation involves decreasing the probability of a negative risk occurring, as well as protecting project objectives from a negative risk’s impact.

Risk monitoring and control

The risk monitoring and control process uses a risk management plan to identify risks and implement appropriate risk responses.

Risk register

A risk register, or risk log, is a tool used to chronicle risky situations and risk responses as they arise.

Risk tolerance

The level of variation in performance measures that an organization is willing to accept. It is not the same as risk appetite, which is the level and type of risk an organization is prepared to accept in anticipation of gains.

S-Curve analysis

An s-curve tracks cumulative financial or labor costs. S-Curve analysis is used to compare a project’s cumulative costs at any given point with a cumulative cost baseline created during the planning phase. It allows project managers and sponsors to assess performance and progress.


A comprehensive list of project activities and milestones in logical order, with start and finish dates for each component.

Schedule baseline

A schedule baseline is the original project schedule — approved by the project team, sponsor, and stakeholders — by which performance is assessed. Schedule baselines are generally inflexible, though alteration of a schedule baseline via a formal change control process may be allowed.

Schedule compression technique

A schedule compression technique speeds up projects without affecting scope by decreasing the duration of a project’s critical path. There are two main schedule compression techniques: crashing and fast tracking.

Schedule variance

Schedule variance is the difference between earned value and planned value at a given point in time.


The scope of a project constitutes everything it is supposed to accomplish in order to be deemed successful.

Scope baseline

The set of requirements, expectations, and work packages approved as project deliverables. It is used to guide and assess project performance.

Scope change management

Scope change management deals with amendments to the scope as set in the scope baseline and project management plan. Since scope amendments typically affect cost and schedule estimates, scope change management involves revising estimates and adequately communicating these to stakeholders, as well as obtaining the resources necessary to fulfill new scope requirements.

Scope creep

Scope creep refers to gradual changes in project scope that occur without a formal scope change procedure. Scope creep is considered negative since unapproved changes in scope affect cost and schedule but do not allow complementary revisions to cost and schedule estimates.

SDCA Cycle (Standardize, Do, Check, Act)

A refinement of the PDCA cycle aimed at stabilization of production processes prior to making attempts to improve.


A way of managing person-power on the line such that when demand decreases, workers can be re-deployed to areas where needed, or when demand increases, they can be deployed to areas requiring additional support. Preferred to the system of maximizing machine efficiency, which pays no attention to customer demand and TAKT time.

Slack time

The length of time an activity's early start can be delayed without affecting project duration.


The negative variance between planned and actual activity completion dates. Slippage may also refer to the general tendency of a project to be delayed beyond planned completion dates.


A sponsor has ultimate authority over a project. They provide high-level direction, approve project funding as well as deviations from cost and budget, and determine project scope. Sponsors are typically members of the senior management and are expected to provide high-level support for a project.


In project management, a Stakeholder is any party with an interest in the successful completion of a project. More generally, the term refers to anyone who is affected by a project. (See also project stakeholder)


A standard prescribes a collection of standardized rules, guidelines, and characteristics requirements for processes or products that are approved by a recognized body. Standards are not by definition mandatory. They are adopted by consensus, although they may be enforced as a requirement for participation in certain markets.


In a start-to-finish relationship, a successor activity cannot finish until a predecessor activity has started.


In a start-to-start relationship, a successor activity cannot start until a predecessor activity has started.

Statement of work (SoW)

A Statement of work is a comprehensive and detailed list of deliverables expected under a contract, with expected dates for each deliverable.

Statistical Quality Control (SQC)

The use of statistical tools (Pareto Charts, Histograms, Check Cause-and-Effect Diagrams, etc.) to ensure that machines are within acceptable tolerances, or to solve quality problems through the use of tools.

Steering committee

A steering committee provides high-level strategic guidance on a project. It typically comprises individuals from a number of stakeholder organizations and serves to provide consensus-based direction on projects with a large number or a diversity of stakeholders.

Sunk cost

A cost that cannot be recovered once spent.


A vital element in balancing single piece production flows, TAKT Time is calculated by dividing the total daily customer demand in completed units (television sets, automobiles, can openers, and the like), by the total number of production minutes or seconds worked in a twenty-four hour period.


In project management, a task is a unit of work or activity needed for progress towards project goals. Typically, a task must be completed by a set deadline. Tasks may be further broken down into assignments or subtasks.

Theory of constraints

The theory of constraints explains that any process is limited from optimum performance by its weakest link or links, called constraints. The theory of constraints methodology involves identifying these weak links via a strategy called focusing and improving them until they no longer limit performance.

Total cost of ownership (TCO)

The total cost of ownership estimates the sum total of direct and indirect costs incurred in the purchase, operation, and maintenance of an asset through its life.

Total float

The length of time an activity can be delayed from its early start date without affecting the project end date.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

TPM is a holistic approach to maintenance that focuses on proactive and preventative maintenance to maximize the operational time of equipment. TPM blurs the distinction between maintenance and production by placing a strong emphasis on empowering operators to help maintain their equipment.

Total Quality Control or Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management or TQM is an integrative philosophy of management for continuously improving the quality of products and processes. TQM is based on the premise that the quality of products and processes is the responsibility of everyone involved with the creation or consumption of the products or services offered by an organization, requiring the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and customers, to meet or exceed customer expectations

Toyota Production System (TPS)

A methodology that resulted from over 50 years of KAIZEN™ at Toyota. TPS is built on a foundation of Leveling, with the supporting pillars of Just-in-Time and Jidoka.

Upstream Management

A KAIZEN™ concept and process whereby, through continuous improvement, defects are eliminated farther and farther upstream in the production process, first in inspection, then in the line, then in development.

Value Stream Mapping

Creating a visual picture of the current state or how material and information flows from suppliers through manufacturing and to the customer. Total lead-time, process cycle times and value-added times are measured. The future state is created based on goals desired, on market conditions and strategic planning for the business.

Variability Control and Recurrence Prevention

A KAIZEN™ concept which is often called Ask why five times because it seeks through curious questioning to arrive at the root cause of a problem so that the problem can be eliminated once and for all.

Variance analysis

The practice of investigating deviations between planned and actual performance.

Visible Management

The presentation of a wide variety of information in the workplace. Such information may pertain to jobs themselves, to the business as a whole, to how work teams are progressing on a project. Examples of Visible Managment are KANBAN cards, tool shadow boards, storyboards, etc.

Visual Management

Visual Management is a set of techniques for creating a workplace embracing visual communication and control throughout the work environment. The VM philosophy is underpinned by the view that "what gets measured and displayed, gets done." Simple visual tools are used to identify the target state, and any deviance is met with corrective action. It also makes it easy to understand the processes which have been put into place.


A term in TQC that refers to things that are not yet problems, but are still not quite right. They are often the starting point of improvement activities because if left untended they may develop into serious problems. In Gemba, it is usually the operators who first notice Warusa-Kagen, and who therefore are on the front line of improvement.

Water-Spider (Mizusumashi)

A person who manages all the logistical work of bringing components, raw materials, etc. in small quantities to work stations to minimize work-in- process inventories. This allows machines to be placed closer together, and spares the operator from having to interrupt his/her cycle time, thus minimizing transportation muda. Water spiders usually are experienced workers. They know where needed parts or raw materials are stored, and serve several workstations.

Weighted milestone method

The weighted milestone method allows project managers to estimate earned value by splitting work packages into weighted segments. Each segment represents a portion of the budget value for the work package and ends with a milestone. When a segment milestone is classified as complete, a portion of the total work package value has been earned.

What-If scenario analysis

A simulation technique that allows project managers to determine and compare specific conditions’ effects on project schedules and objectives.


In project management, work is the amount of effort needed to complete a task.

Work breakdown structure (WBS)

A Work breakdown structure is a comprehensive, hierarchical model of the deliverables constituting the scope of a project. It details everything a project team is supposed to deliver and achieve. A work breakdown structure categorizes all project elements, or work packages, into a set of groups and may be used to form cost estimates.

Work breakdown structure dictionary

A document that details, describes, and provides scheduling information for every element of a work breakdown structure. It may be thought of as a dictionary-cum-schedule of work packages.

Work package

The work packages of a project are its lowest-level deliverables. They are detailed in a work breakdown structure dictionary.


Yokoten is a Japanese word meaning "horizontal deployment" and refers to the practice of applying good results of KAIZEN™ in one area to other areas. Yokoten can also refer to "copying" product design ideas, business processes or better machine settings, materials or methods in general. Yokoten requires a culture of "go see" information sharing between departments, both for successes and failures.Within the 8 step practical problem solving process known as TBP (Toyota Business Practice), the yokoten activity happens in step 8:

  • Clarify the problem
  • Break down the problem
  • Set a target
  • Analyze the root cause
  • Develop countermeasures
  • See countermeasures through
  • Evaluate both results and process
  • Standardize successes, learn from failures

Yokoten is a essential part of long-term success in a Lean culture, but can also have a big impact on short-term results. Yokoten is a success multiplier - Perform good KAIZEN™ and then adopt the results, learn from it and apply it wherever applicable, and you immediately duplicate or multiply the impact.There is no guarantee that it will continue on its own into the future. We need to exploit Yokoten to assure that we continue to be Lean into the future. This applies to Lean in general.

arrow up