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Book review: Dictionary of Project Management Terms

Amazingly, this dictionary retails at nearly £90.  It is about 500 pages, and each page is packed with project management definitions, but even so.  ESI can’t have been selling very many, which is maybe why they decided to put it online.

You do have to register to access the online version, which is free.  But I doubt you get the pleasure of browsing the dictionary and happening across definitions of ‘Close, but No Cigar’* and ‘Management by Crisis’** nestled amongst the 3,400 project management and business analysis terms.

It is the most comprehensive dictionary of project management terms I have seen, and LeRoy Ward has done a good job in this 3rd edition of pulling together general management terminology as well.  I looked up ‘peopleware’ after a colleague and I had a debate about what it actually means, and it wasn’t there.  ‘Software’ and ‘groupware’ are both there but not ‘hardware’.  One of the advantages of having an online version is that it can be updated more easily when new terms are made up and our profession seems to make things up on a regular basis.

The dictionary is a useful desk reference: it’s small enough to carry around if you are studying or reading project management texts for the first time, but if you are using it truly for definitions and not for browsing, the online version will be more up to date and it’s free.  Use that – don’t spend £90 on a .

*To fall short of a successful outcome, getting nothing for the effort
** Management style that focuses on solving critical or urgent problems when and if they occur but doesn’t do anything to prevent or minimise them before they occur.

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About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.


  1. Lindsay Scott says

    29 July, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Hi Elizabeth
    I picked up something similar from TPG Academy from an exhibition a while ago (free!), a Encyclopaedia of Project and Programme Management and I think they have something similar online too. Can’t help thinking something like this would be much better as a Wiki site


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