Navigating the Project Management Acronym Minefield

Navigating the Project Management Acronym Minefield

Insights | 15 March 2013

Ever notice what a minefield of acronyms we are expected to negotiate our way through on a daily basis?

Take a conversation I recently overheard in a project management workshop:

“Yes I had to decide whether to do PRINCE2®or PMP® or even CAPM®! I know PMI® publishes the PMBOK® guide, and APMG is involved in accreditations. Oh, and did you know OGC have changed their name? Then I realised I need to consider that PMI requires PDUs and that I need to understand EVM and EMV. 

I’m not sure if my next step should be MSP® or P3O® or even MoP®. And on that matter, do you know I’ve heard PPM been used in 2 different ways! Where’s the consistency in all this? Our PMO is also looking into P3M3® or even OPM3®…

By the way are you here just for foundation or practitioner as well?”

Am I dreaming; imaging this? Is this a nightmare? Is your brain hurting as well as mine by this verbosity of letters?

Is the sender trying to:

  • (a) enlighten
  • (b) empower
  • (c) bedazzle
  • (d) bamboozle

the poor receiver by this entanglement of characters?

In the interests of not wanting to leave you in acronym wilderness here’s a little cheat sheet to wind your way through the convoluted maze:

APMG APM Group – Examination institute which accredits training and consulting organizations, and manages certification schemes for products like PRINCE2, MSP, P3O, MoP etc
CAPM Certified Associate in Project Management is an entry-level certification for project practitioners from the PMI
EMV Expected Monetary Value is a statistical technique that calculates the average outcome when the future includes scenarios that may or may not happen (referenced in the PMBOK guide)
EVM Earned Value Management is a project management technique for measuring project performance and progress
MoP Management of Portfolios approaches the management of change projects and programmes from a strategic viewpoint
MSP Managing Successful Programmes represents proven programme management good practice in successfully delivering transformational change across a wide range of public and private sector organisations
OGC Office of Government Commerce is the former owner of ‘Best Management Practice’ including PRINCE2, MSP etc. Now known as the Cabinet Office
OPM3 PMI’s Organizational Project Management Maturity Model – a globally recognized best-practice standard for assessing and developing capabilities in Portfolio Management, Program Management, and Project Management
PDUs Professional development units – PMP credential holders are required to participate in professional development activities to maintain the credential.
PMP Project Management Professional is industry-recognized certification for project managers from the PMI. Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP demonstrates that you have the experience, education and competency to lead and direct projects.
PPM (1) Abbreviation for project and programme management (2) Abbreviation for portfolio project management
PMI Project Management Institute
PMO Abbreviation commonly used for Project/Programme Management Office
PMBOK Project Management Body of Knowledge
PRINCE2 A project management method. The acronym stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments
P3M3 Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model that provides a framework with which organisations can assess their current performance and put in place improvement plans.
P3O Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices provides guidance on how to define, establish and operate a portfolio, programme or project office.

PRINCE2® , P3O®, MSP®, MoP®, P3M3® are Registered Trade Marks of the Cabinet Office

Managing Benefits™ is a trade mark of the APM Group Limited

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