Glossary – A

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A priori segmentation

Segmenting markets on the basis of assumptions, customs, or hunches.


Author’s alteration.


Advanced Audio Coding file format. A proprietary audio file format that only Apple software and hardware can play.

AAU study

Attitude, awareness, and usage study.


As-built architecture.


Letters or a shortened word used instead of a full word or phrase. See also acronym, initialism.


Activity-based costing.

Above the fold

Content on a web page or blog that appears without scrolling.


A summary at the beginning of a report or proposal.


Actual cost.

Acceptable quality level (AQL)

The allowable deviation from the performance standard specified in the Quality Assurance Plan.


A risk response strategy that prepares for and deals with the consequences of a risk. See also avoidance, mitigation, transference.

Acceptance criteria

The set of functionality the product must implement to be accepted.

Acceptance process

The process used to verify that a new or modified product is fully operational and meets the customer’s requirements. Successful completion of the acceptance process results in the formal transfer of the product responsibilities from development to maintenance personnel.

Acceptance testing

Testing conducted to enable the customer to determine whether or not to accept the product or system. Normally performed to validate that the product or system meets a set of agreed upon acceptance criteria.


The ease with which people can access, use, and understand a product.

Accessibility testing

Testing conducted to verify that a product or system is accessible to people with disabilities (low vision, hearing impairment, and so on).


Easy for a person with a disability to approach, enter, operate, participate in, or use safely, independently, and with dignity.

Accountability matrix

See responsibility assignment matrix.


A transparent sheet placed over original documents or artwork to allow written instructions.

Achievement-oriented leadership

A leadership style in which the leader establishes high goals, removes obstacles to performance, and expects high-level performance from employees. See also leadership styles.


The portion of a document in which the author thanks others for any special assistance given. See also front matter.


Obtaining supplies or services by contract or purchase order, through purchase or lease, whether the supplies or services are already in existence or must be created, developed, demonstrated, and evaluated. An acquisition begins at the point when program personnel identify and establish needs and ends with the close out of the contract file.

Acquisition methods

Ways in which goods or services are acquired from vendors.

Acquisition Plan

A project document that shows how all human resources, hardware, software, and telecommunications capabilities, along with contractor support services, are acquired during the life of the project.

Acquisition planning

The process by which the efforts of all personnel responsible for a procurement are coordinated and integrated through a comprehensive plan for fulfilling an organization’s needs in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost. It includes developing an overall acquisition strategy for managing the acquisition plan.

Acquisition process

The process of acquiring goods or services, for new or existing work, from a vendor.

Acrobat (Adobe)

Software for creating and viewing PDF files. See also Acrobat Distiller, Acrobat Reader.

Acrobat Distiller (Adobe)

Software for converting PostScript (.ps) printer files to print-ready PDF files. See also Acrobat, Acrobat Reader.

Acrobat Reader (Adobe)

Free software used to read PDF files. See also Acrobat, Acrobat Distiller.


An abbreviation that has been made into a pronounced word. See also abbreviation, initialism.

Action learning

A learning process in which students apply new knowledge or skills to a real situation or case study.

Action Plan

A document that details the project tasks that need to be done to implement a strategic plan, when, and by whom.

Action research

An iterative study in which researchers interact with staff and users, feed back the results in stages, and change direction during the study based on their findings.

Action-centered leadership

A model that identifies three groups of interrelated activities a leader should perform to be effective: achieving tasks, building and maintaining the team, and developing the individual team members. See also leadership styles.

Active listening

Paying close attention to what is said, asking the other party to describe carefully and clearly what is meant, and requesting that ideas be repeated to clarify any ambiguity or uncertainty.

Active server page (ASP)

A web page that is dynamically generated when a browser or a search engine spider requests an ASP page from a server.

Active voice

The verb form used when the subject is the doer of the action. See also passive voice.


In achieving the objectives of a project, a major unit of work to be completed. An activity incorporates a set of tasks to be completed, consumes resources, takes time to complete, and results in work products. See also task.

Activity definition

Identifying the specific activities that must be performed to produce the various project deliverables.

Activity description (AD)

A short phrase or label used in a project network diagram to describe the scope of work of the activity.

Activity duration

A best estimate of the time needed to accomplish the work involved in an activity, considering the nature of the work and the resources required.

Activity duration estimating

Estimating the number of work periods needed to complete individual activities.

Activity flowchart

A flowchart that represents the individual activities of a process.

Activity list

A list of all activities to be performed on the project, organized as an extension to the work breakdown structure to ensure that it includes all activities (and only those activities) that are part of the project scope.

Activity sequencing

Identifying and documenting activity dependencies.

Activity-based costing (ABC)

A methodology that assigns costs to products or services based on the resources that they consume.

Activity-based management

A management approach based on maximizing shareholder value and improving corporate performance. See also management styles.

Actual cost (AC)

Total costs incurred, which must relate to whatever cost was budgeted within the planned value and earned value, to accomplish work during a given time period. See also cost types, earned value.

Actual cost of work performed (ACWP)

Total costs incurred (direct and indirect) to accomplish work during a given time period.

Actual finish date (AF)

The point in time that work actually ended on an activity.

Actual start date (AS)

The point in time that work actually started on an activity.


At-completion variance.


Actual cost of work performed.


Activity description.

Ad concept testing

A study that uses questionnaires, surveys, or interviews on a target market segment to evaluate advertising theme concepts, pricing, brand concepts, appeal, and positioning strategies.

Ad hoc testing

Testing conducted to try to “break” the system by randomly trying the system’s functionality. See also negative testing.

Ad infinitum

Latin for “to infinity.”

Ad positioning statement test

A study that measures audience response to a positioning statement—the brand vision or image.

Ad recall test

A study that measures respondents’ recall of an advertisement to gain insight into the most memorable attribute of the advertisement.

Ad tracking research

A study that tracks an advertisement over time.

Adaptive scripting

A tailored list of questions in which the respondent’s response dictates the next question that is asked.

Adaptive strategies

Techniques that people with disabilities use to navigate web pages, with or without assistive technologies.


Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate.

Address bar

The input field at the top of the browser window that displays the URL of the current web page.


Area of dominant influence.


A stage of team development in which task activities are completed and the team disbands. See also team development stages.


Arrow diagramming method.

Adopter categories

Five classifications that reflect how open individuals are to adopting new technologies: early adopters, early majority, innovators, laggards, and late majority.


Alternative dispute resolution.

Adult learning

The practice of teaching and educating adults. Also called training and development.


A paid announcement that attracts public attention to an idea, organization, or product. See also banner ad, jump page ad, out-of-home ad.


Actual finish date.

Affective domain

In Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives, an emotional/attitudinal learning domain that references objectives and test items demonstrating appreciation, attitudes, interest, psychological adjustment, and/or values. See also Bloom’s taxonomy, cognitive domain, psychomotor domain.

Affiliate marketing

A form of marketing in which one web site is compensated for displaying an advertisement that drives Internet traffic to another web site. See also marketing types.

Affiliative leadership

A leadership style in which the leader promotes harmony and boosts morale. See also leadership styles.

Affinity diagram

A tool used to organize and present large amounts of information (for example, ideas, issues, solutions, problems) in logical categories based on perceived relationships and conceptual frameworks.

Affinity marketing

A form of marketing that targets consumers based on their established buying patterns or trends. See also marketing types.


The properties of an object which indicate how to use it.

After Effects (Adobe)

Software for producing motion graphics and visual effects.

Against the grain

Perpendicular to the grain direction of the paper being used. See also grain direction, with the grain.


A formal list of items to be discussed or completed during a meeting or negotiation.

Agile development

Software design methodologies that emphasize customer involvement, teamwork, and the frequent creation of small, working pieces of the total system. See also project management methodologies.

Agile manufacturing

A focus on meeting customer demands by adopting flexible manufacturing practices without sacrificing quality or incurring additional costs.

Agile organization

An organization that is able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances.

Agile testing

Testing conducted for projects using agile methodologies, treating development as testing’s customer and emphasizing a test-first design paradigm.


A grammatical rule that states the subject and verb must both be singular or must both be plural.


Adobe Illustrator file format.


A pen-shaped tool that sprays a fine mist of ink or paint, used to create continuous-tone illustrations and retouch photographs.


Jagged edges on diagonal lines and curves in a bitmap image. Also called jaggies. See also anti-aliasing.


The position of text within the page margins.

Alignment styles

See centered, flush left, flush right, justified, ragged left, ragged right.

All caps

Text displayed completely in uppercase letters.


The space between columns within a page. See also gutter.


Repetition of the same sound beginning two or more words. See also rhetorical strategies.

Allocated baseline

A baseline that defines a subsystem’s functional and interface (performance and design) characteristics as they relate to the overall system requirements. See also baseline types.

Allowable cost

Cost that can be recovered for the performance of a contract. See also cost types.

ALT text

Descriptive alternative text for an image or embedded object on a web page, which can be displayed in addition to and/or in place of the image itself.

Alternative assessment

An assessment in which students originate a response to a task or question; for example, demonstrations, essays, exhibits, oral presentations, and portfolios. See also traditional assessment.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

All methods that resolve conflicts between parties by a means other than an adversarial or judicial process, and that are entered into voluntarily by all parties; for example, arbitration, conciliation, and mediation.


Different means available to attain objectives.

Alternatives analysis

The process of breaking down a complex situation to generate different solutions and approaches and to evaluate the impact of trade-offs to attain objectives.

Alternatives identification

A technique used to generate different approaches to completing the project.


American Management Association.


Contract language that can have more than one reasonable meaning.

American Management Association (AMA)

A professional association dedicated to advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

A non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity.

American Society for Quality (ASQC)

A professional association dedicated to advancing learning, quality improvement, and knowledge exchange to improve business results and to create better workplaces and communities worldwide

American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)

A professional association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals.

:American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII)

A character-coding standard, based on the order of the English alphabet, that is used for sharing information.

Ampersand (&)

The typographic symbol used to designate the word “and.”


A change in the grammatical construction within a sentence. See also rhetorical strategies.


Repetition of a word that ends one clause at the beginning of the next clause. See also rhetorical strategies.


First phase of ADDIE, an iterative application model for instructional systems design. The goal of this phase is to identify probable causes for the absence of performance and recommend a solution. See also Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate.

Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA)

A test to assess group differences on a single outcome variable while removing the effects of other variables.

Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate (ADDIE)

An iterative application model for instructional systems design. See also analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation.


Repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. See also rhetorical strategies.


Transposition of normal word order for effect. See also rhetorical strategies.


Analysis of covariance.

Anecdotal research

A form of a descriptive case study in which previously untested or undescribed concepts or technology implications lead to further, more controlled and systematic research.

Angle brackets

See brackets.

Animated GIF

A GIF graphic file that consists of two or more images shown in a timed sequence to give the effect of motion.


Creation of a timed sequence or series of graphic images or frames to give the appearance of continuous movement.


American National Standards Institute.


A research method that requires respondents to assign human characteristics to animals, forces of nature, or inanimate objects.


Font smoothing. See also aliasing.


A contrast of ideas or words using parallel construction. See also rhetorical strategies.


Application programming interface.


An expression of real or feigned doubt or uncertainty. See also rhetorical strategies.


An incomplete thought caused by an abrupt halt. See also rhetorical strategies.


Addressing a group, person, or thing, whether absent or present. See also rhetorical strategies.

Apparent low bidder

The prospective vendor who submitted the lowest compliant bid.


Supplemental information, usually at the back of a document. See also back matter.


A program that runs inside another application, such as as web browser, and is used to create features including news bars (tickers) and other sophisticated interfaces.

Application Programming Interface (API)

A formalized set of software calls and routines that an application program can reference to access supporting system or network services.

Applied direct cost

The amount of money that is incurred during a given time period and is associated with the consumption of labor, material, and other direct resources. See also cost types.

Applied linguistics

The scientific study of language that includes identifying, investigating, and offering solutions to language-related real-life problems.

Applied research

Research that is focused on answering practical questions to provide relatively immediate solutions. See also basic research, causal research, customer satisfaction research.

Approved bidders list

A list of vendors that have been pre-qualified for submitting competitive bids.


Acceptable quality level.


An alternative dispute resolution process in which an arbitrator acts as a neutral third party, hears arguments from disputants, then issues a decision. See also assessment, mediation, mediation-arbitration.


Use of an older or obsolete form of a word, phrase, or expression. See also rhetorical strategies.


See file compression.

Area of dominant influence (ADI)

A radio or television market region that receives the same programming.

Arrow diagramming method (ADM)

A network diagramming technique in which arrows represent activities. See also precedence diagramming method.

Articles of Incorporation

See corporate charter.


A piece of information that is used or produced by a software development process. An artifact can be a model, a description, or software.

Artifact analysis

The study of how people conceptualize and use objects.

Artificial intelligence

Anything related to making computers behave like humans.


Actual start date.

As-built architecture (ABA)

The documentation that describes the ultimate “as-built” configuration, allowing future replication. It includes design changes implemented for manufacturing improvements and integration and verification corrective actions. The “as-built” baseline becomes the “build-to” baseline for new builds.

As-built schedule

The final project schedule showing actual start, duration, and finish dates. Also called as-performed schedule.


In typography, the part of some lowercase letters that rises above the x-height of the font; for example, b, d, k, and t. See also descender.


American Standard Code for Information Interchange.

As-is flowchart

A flowchart that accurately represents the current state.

As-is process model

A model that portrays the current structure of a business process and is used to establish a baseline for measuring subsequent business improvement actions and progress.

As-of date

See data date.


Active server page.

Aspect ratio

Height-x-width proportions of graphics. Some programs allow you to maintain the aspect ratio when resizing a picture; that is, when you change the width, the height changes proportionally so that the resulting image does not look distorted.


See at sign.

As-performed schedule

See as-built schedule.


Automated software quality.


American Society for Quality.


An evaluation based on measuring pre- versus post- awareness, knowledge, or skills.


An impartial analysis conducted to determine possible options for parties to reach a resolution to a conflict situation. See also arbitration, mediation, mediation-arbitration.


An item of value owned or controlled by the entity, which was acquired at a measurable cost. See also capital assets, current assets, fixed assets, intangible assets, tangible assets, wasting assets.

Asset management

The systematic control of a physical resource throughout its useful life.

Assistive technology

Any item used to maintain or increase the functional capabilities of people with disabilities.


Repetition of vowel sound in words close to each other. See also rhetorical strategies.


Factors that, for planning purposes, are considered to be certain, real, or true, and generally involve a degree of risk.

Assumptions analysis

A technique that explores the assumptions’ accuracy and identifies risks to the project from inaccuracy, inconsistency, or incompleteness of assumptions.


American Society for Training & Development.

Asterisk (*)

The typographic symbol used as a reference mark.

Asynchronous learning

Learning in which people are not online at the same time and interaction does not occur without a time delay, allowing people to participate on their schedules; for example, email, discussion groups, and self-paced courses delivered via Internet or CD-ROM.


Lack of conjunctions between coordinate clauses, phrases, or words. See also rhetorical strategies.

At sign (@)

The typographic symbol that is an abbreviation of the word “at.” Also called asperand.

At-completion variance (ACV)

The difference between the budget at completion (BAC) and the estimate at completion (EAC).


A web feed format typically used for blog feeds. See also web feed formats.


An individual’s degree of like or dislike for something.

Attitude survey

A market research study used to discover people’s beliefs, feelings, and values, and their tendencies to act in certain ways in specific circumstances. See also evaluation survey, opinion survey, satisfaction survey.

Attitude, awareness, and usage study

A market research study that measures changes in consumers’ attitudes, awareness, and usage of a product or service.

Attitudinal scaling

A research technique in which each respondent identifies the two most important characteristics of a product.


A characteristic or property that is appraised in terms of whether it exists with respect to a given requirement.

At-will employment

An employment relationship in which either party can end the relationship at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all, without incurring a penalty.


The people for whom a communication is intended.

Audience analysis

See user analysis.

Audio conferencing

A voice-only connection among three or more locations.


A blog in which the posts consist of audio rather than text. See also blog types.


A methodical examination of a project, either in whole or in part, to assess overall performance progress. See also code audit.

Audit trail

A record of documentation describing actions taken, decisions made, and funds expended and earned on a project, which is used to reconstruct the project for lessons learned and other purposes.


The capability of a project or portion of a project to undergo formal investigation of records relating to financial status or progress performance.

Audition (Adobe)

A software tool for producing professional audio, including recording, music editing, sound mixing, and mastering.

Author’s alteration (AA)

Change an author makes on a set of proofs.


Power or influence, either granted to or developed by individuals, that leads to others doing what those individuals direct.


An animated form of podcasting. See also blog types.

Autocratic leadership

A leadership style in which the leader makes all decisions rather than delegating responsibility and authority. See also leadership styles.

Automated software quality (ASQ)

The use of software tools, such as automated testing tools, to improve software quality.

Automated testing

Testing that uses software tools to execute tests without manual intervention. Also, the use of software to control test execution, compare actual outcomes to predicted outcomes, set up test preconditions, and perform other test control and test reporting functions.

Automated translation

See machine translation.


An application, initiated upon receipt of a user-created email or a web-form, which provides an automated email response.


See mean.


Audio video interleave file format.


A risk response strategy that involves planning activities to avoid identified risks by using an alternative method. See also acceptance, mitigation, transference.


Notification by an organization that it will contract with another party, usually made by acceptance of an offer that a vendor has made.

Award fee

Payment that the vendor receives above the base fee in a cost-plus-award-fee (CPAF) contract.


The familiarity of a brand name, company, concept, product, or trademark.

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