As with any project, program, methodology, or system the terminology you and your team use must be consistent in order to breed understanding and productivity. Have you ever gone to work for a new organization or taken on a project in a new industry and wished someone had published a glossary of terminology and acronyms? I know I have…I’ve even go so far as to create my own along the way and offered to share them with whoever was interested...and there was always interest because there were always those who didn’t know all the terminology but figured they should because they had been there so long and were afraid to admit it. But if the new guy is offering…they’re happy to take it! Glad I could help….
Back to the issue management and project management concept. Think in terms of solving issues. When referring to elements of an application, should they be stated in terms of “modules” or “components”? Do those two terms mean the same thing to you? Do they mean the same thing to everyone? In some organizations design and development are broken out while in others the term ‘development’ covers the entire process after requirements till user acceptance testing. And what about change management? Does that cover change orders only or configuration management only or both? Could these terms be confused leading to poor issue management and resolution that happens in a less than timely manner? Definitely. One misstep, one bad assumption on the meaning of a certain terminology can potentially end up causing a huge problem on any given project at any given time.
Consistency and understanding is key
The key is that when we’re managing issues and assigning issue management like tasks on a project – giving full oversight and ownership of the management, work, and resolution of the issues to individual team members, we have to be certain we’re speaking a common language. I’ve always said that efficient and effective communication is Job One for the project manager. Without it, too many things can be misinterpreted, too many things could fall through the cracks, team members can get off task and misaligned with the goals of the project and organization, and customers can lose confidence in the delivery teams ability to actually deliver. Common ground must be established in order to ensure that everyone is working on a level playing field and that issues are being effectively managed and resolved toward the proper successful end goal of the solution you are trying to deliver.
It is critical that an organization adopt readily understood and consistent terminology for their company and for the projects that happen in their organization. And it is also the project manager’s job to ensure that the consistent terminology is in place prior to the start of the project. Indeed, as part of any project risk management process, the concept of identifying potential terminology issues lies with the project manager and the entire project team (and customer) to sort out at the beginning of the engagement and to closely monitor throughout the lifecycle of the project.
For issue management and project tracking on your ongoing engagements, check out Gemini. Gemini uses understandable and consistent industry-specific terminology to facilitate the most collaborative situation possible for everyone involved on the project. Gemini can meet all of your task management needs for your organization.