[Free PMP Resources] 47 PMP Easily Confused Terms w/w In-depth Explanation
UPDATED for the new PMP® Exam in 2021. Happy learning!
To many Aspirants, the PMP® Exam is quite difficult. The fact that there are lots of “jargons” (terms with a special meaning in the context of the PMBOK® Guide/project management) only makes it harder. Even if you are a seasoned project manager, the terms found in the PMBOK® Guide may be Greek to you if you have never run projects based on the PMBOK® Guide framework.
During my study, I have identified a list of “similar but different” terms that I often get confused. I deliberately tried to explain the terms in my own language as well as adding some common, easy-to-understand examples as illustrations to further clarify the concepts. And I found this study notes very useful for me to understand and distinguish between the easily confused PMP® terms. Below is the list I have compiled and the links to the study notes I have created previously. I was asked by one of my readers to create this list as the individual articles are quite difficult to find on the website through browsing.
I was very grateful to all the PMP®s and project management specialist who have helped me to clear my PMP® Exam. So I share this exam prep resources to fellow Aspirants for free as my personal contribution to the project management field.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to validate the accuracy of the contents of these articles, the information contained herein is provided for reference and may be subject to errors, omissions, changes and deletions. Please let me know if I have mistaken something so that I will make amendments in no time. Thanks for your input!
47 Pairs of Easily Confused Terms
By understanding the differences and similarities between these pairs of terms, Aspirants will have a better grasp of the knowledge of the PMBOK® Guide and project management:
- Run Chart vs Control Chart
- ROM vs Definitive Estimates
- Analogous Estimating vs Parametric Estimating
- Project Risk Management: Avoid vs Mitigate
- Project Risk Management: Enhance vs Exploit
- Contingency Plan vs Fallback Plan
- Nominal Group Technique vs Brainstorming
- EEF vs OPA
- Project vs Operation
- Push vs Pull Communication
- Qualitative vs Quantitative Analysis
- Develop vs Manage Project Team
- Change Control vs Configuration Control
- Project Expeditor vs Project Coordinator
- Project Requirements vs Project Scope
- Project Statement of Work vs Project Charter
- Project Statement of Work vs Business Case
- Create WBS vs Decomposition
- RACI: Responsible vs Accountable
- RACI vs RAM
- Project Calendar vs Resource Calendar
- Resource Leveling vs Resource Smoothing
- Functional vs Projectized vs Matrix Organizations
- Project Life Cycle vs Product Life Cycle
- Discrete Effort vs Apportioned Effort vs Level of Effort
- Project Team vs Project Management Team
- Contract Types
- Project Quality vs Product Quality
- Free Float vs Total Float
- Fallback vs Workaround
- Cost Baseline vs Budget
- Control Limit vs Specification Limit
- Crashing vs Fast Tracking
- Common Cause vs Special Cause
- Residual Risk vs Secondary Risk
- Project Scope vs Product Scope
- Cost of Conformance vs Cost of Non-conformance
- Work Package vs Activity
- Critical Path Method vs Critical Chain Method
- Contingency Reserve vs Management Reserve
- Quality Control vs Quality Assurance
- Assumptions vs Constraints vs Requirements
- Corrective vs Preventive Actions
- Statement of Work (SOW) vs Project Scope Statement
- Quality vs Grade
- Accuracy vs Precision
- Accepted Deliverable vs Verified Deliverable
How to Make Best Use of the List
For every pair of easily confused terms above, there are some background information on where (the project management domains) the terms are located with brief definitions of each of them. Then a project example will be used to illustrate the concept more vividly (most of the time the project to be illustrated is the “preparation for the PMP® Exam” — a project that is very familiar to Aspirants :P). If applicable, differentiation and applicability of the terms in different scenarios will be further expounded in the subsequent sections.
During my exam preparation, after looking at the pair, I would think for a while the definitions of the terms through the sample project. I did not try to remember the definition word by word or learn them by heart as the PMP® Exam is not a test of your memorization capability — you will just need to understand the differences between them. This method helps me a lot by reducing the time and stress on these easily confused terms.
Even if you do not confuse between the project management terms, this list will also serve as a last minute study notes to test your understanding of the PMBOK® Guide / project management concepts. I sincerely hope that this will be useful to you!
Wish you PMP® success!