Glossary – C

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Cinema 4D file format.


To download and store files the first time a web page is viewed, rather than each time, so the page can be displayed more quickly.


A harsh joining of sounds.

Call to action

An advertising and marketing concept in which the customer is requested/directed to do something—often, to take the next step toward the purchase of a product or service.


Descriptive text, often with a line that points to an area on a graphic.

Camera-ready copy

A hard copy or electronic document that is ready to be made into a negative for a printing plate.


Control account plan.

Cap height

In typography, the distance from the baseline to the top of the uppercase letters of a font.

Capability Maturity Model (CMM)

A model used to describe the relative maturity of an organization or subset of an organization, with respect to processes such as software engineering, product development, people development, systems integration, project management, and so on. See also project management methodologies.

Capability Maturity Model for Software (SW-CMM)

A model for judging the maturity of software processes within an organization and for identifying the key practices that are required to increase the maturity of these processes.

Capability Maturity Model phases

The five phases of capability maturity models are:

  • Initial – processes are ad hoc, chaotic, or undefined and poorly controlled
  • Repeatable – basic processes are defined and generally or reactively followed
  • Defined – processes are defined, standardized, documented, and consistently followed
  • Managed – processes are measured using metrics
  • Optimized – continuous process improvement is ongoing


Capacity building

Developing an organization’s core skills and capabilities to build the organization’s effectiveness and sustainability.

Capacity management

As applied to information systems, activities of planning, monitoring, and adjusting a configuration of equipment and software to process data at levels needed by users.

Capacity planning

The process of determining the resources that an organization will need at a specific future period.

Capital assets

Land, structures, equipment, intellectual property (for example, software), and information technology (including IT service contracts) that have an estimated useful life of two years or more.

Capital budget

The process by which a company selects alternative mid-range or long-range capital asset investments.

Capital expenditure

Money paid for improvements that will have a life of more than one year.

Capital planning and investment control (CPIC)

A decision-making process within US Government agencies for ensuring that information technology (IT) investments integrate strategic planning, budgeting, procurement, and the management of IT in support of agency missions and business needs. The term comes from the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 and generally is used in relationship to IT management issues. Also called capital programming.

Capital programming

An integrated process within US Government agencies for planning, budgeting, procurement, and management of the agency’s portfolio of capital assets to achieve agency strategic goals and objectives with the lowest life-cycle cost and least risk.

Capital project

The acquisition of a capital asset and the management of that asset through its life cycle after the initial acquisition. Capital projects may consist of several useful segments.


The treatment of expenditures as assets rather than current expenses.


A label for an illustration. Also called legend.

Capture/replay tool

A test tool that records test input as it is sent to the software being tested. The input cases that are stored can later be used to reproduce the test.

Career management

The active and ongoing process of competency and aspiration assessment, career planning, and career guidance as related to current and future personal and/or organizational needs.

Career planning

See career management.

Caret (^)

An editing mark used to designate where something is to be inserted in text.

Cascading style sheet (CSS)

A set of style rules that control the appearance of text and other elements in an electronic document.

Case binding

Signatures glued to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, leather, or plastic. See also bind, binding types.

Case study

A research study that contains qualitative data (such as observations and interview findings) about a subject. See also research methods.

Case-control study

A research study, typically used in the medical field, in which researchers compare the characteristics of individuals who have a particular condition to the characteristics of similar people who do not have the condition (control group).

Cash-flow analysis

Establishment of the source and application of funds by time period, and the accumulated total cash flow for the project to measure actual versus budget costs.


Computer-aided software testing.


Computer-assisted translation.


A harsh metaphor involving the use of a word beyond its strict definition. See also rhetorical strategies.

Categorical data

Responses with no numeric value; for example, hair color. See also data types.


A private meeting or series of meetings that gives the parties in a dispute the opportunity to gather information, clarify proposals and interests, create new alternatives and, if necessary, provide a cool-down period.

Causal research

Research that attempts to explain the relationship between two variables (if A causes B to occur). See also applied research, basic research, customer satisfaction research.

Cause-and-effect diagram

See Ishikawa diagram.


Cost-benefit analysis.


Computer-based training.


Configuration control.


Configuration Control Board.




Contract Discrepancy Report.


Cost-effectiveness analysis.


Text that is equidistant from both the left and right margins. See also alignment styles.


Common gateway interface.


A person who spearheads an idea or action and promotes it throughout the organization. Also, a person with significant influence who takes personal responsibility for the successful completion of a project for the organization.


An increase or decrease in any project characteristics, including time, cost, or technical requirements. Also, a deviation from agreed-upon specifications, definition, functionality, or plans.

Change control

The process by which changes to a project’s baselines are proposed, evaluated, and accepted or rejected. Lack of change control is one of the most common causes of scope creep.

Change control board

A formally constituted group of stakeholders responsible for reviewing and approving or rejecting proposed changes to the project baselines.

Change control process

A process for initiating changes to the project baseline configuration; analyzing the impact of changes to project cost, schedule, and scope; approving or disapproving changes; and updating project or product specifications and baselines.

Change management

The activity of controlling and tracking changes to artifacts.

Change Management Plan

A project document that outlines the objectives and strategy for assisting project stakeholders (for example, supervisors, managers, and end users) in their transition to the new system.

Change order

Unilateral written order issued to a contractor to modify contractual requirements within the general scope of the contract. Such modifications are limited to changes to the drawings, designs, specifications, the method of shipment or packing, or the place of delivery.

Change request

A request needed to obtain formal approval for changes to the scope, design, methods, costs, or planned aspects of a project. Change requests may arise through changes in the business or issues in the process, and typically include information on the origin and impact of the current problem, the proposed solution, and its cost.

Chaos theory

A technique used to study dynamic, complex systems to reveal patterns of order in apparent chaos.

Character spacing

In typography, manually adjusting the average space between characters in a text block. Also called letter spacing. See also kerning, word spacing.


See plot.


See project charter.


An internet application that allows users to use a browser to exchange text messages.


See galley proof.


A tool used to ensure that all important steps or actions in an operation have been taken. Checklists contain items important or relevant to an issue or situation. (American Society for Quality)


Two corresponding phrases arranged in inverted order (a-b-b-a), rather than in parallels (a-b-a-b). See also rhetorical strategies.

Chi-square test

A family of distributions commonly used to test for statistically significant relationships in a data set.


Microsoft compiled HTML help file format.


See transparency.


Grouping information into related small sets for readability and short-term retention.


Confidence level.


Configuration item.

Cinema 4D (Maxon)

A 3D design, modeling, and animation package.

Click rate

See click-through rate.

Clicks and mortar

A company that has both a physical location and a web site. See also bricks and mortar.

Click-through rate (CTR)

A percentage that represents the number of people that click on an ad versus the number of people that are exposed to the ad, providing an indication of the relative success of an online advertising campaign. Also called click rate.


The entity on whose behalf a technical communication product is created.


An arrangement in which two or more computers work together. The servers store and deliver data and programs, and the clients perform the processing.


The arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in a series, in order of ascending power. See also rhetorical strategies.

Clip art

Artwork that is pre-made and distributed or sold, then cut and pasted into a document.

Close of business (COB)

The last hour of a business day.

Close parenthesis

The character ) used at the end of a parenthetical expression. See also open parenthesis, parentheses.

Close quote

The character used to end a quotation. This character can be double (“) or single (‘), curved or straight. See also open quote, quotation marks, smart quotes.

Closed-ended question

A question that forces the respondent to choose a response.


The appropriate endpoint or transition to an alterative form of interaction.


A group of homes within a neighborhood that are assumed to have similar demographic, social, and economic characteristics.


Configuration management.


Capability Maturity Model.


Configuration Management Plan.


Content management system.


Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black)—the four process colors. A method for defining the combination of these colors that display as a single color on a printed document.


A team builder, mentor, and role model for personal or organizational improvement.


A method managers and supervisors use to provide positive or constructive feedback to employees to encourage continued excellent performance, to identify ways to improve performance, or to guide an individual to new knowledge and/or skills. See also counseling.

Coaching leadership

A leadership style in which the leader helps people recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and build their long-term capabilities. See also leadership styles.


Close of business.


Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology.

Code audit

A methodical examination of a project, either in whole or in part, to assess compliance with software requirements, specifications, and standards. See also audit.

Code coverage

An analysis method that determines which parts of the software have been executed (covered) by the test case suite, and which parts have not been executed and may require additional attention.

Code freeze

A software development milestone at which programming is stopped to allow for incremental or final testing.

Code inspection

A formal testing technique in which a group of programmers review source code to analyze program logic and compliance with coding standards and to look for common programming errors. See also inspection.

Code of ethics

A set of guidelines, standards, and rules that direct ethical behavior in a company, organization, or individual.

Code walkthrough

A formal testing technique in which a group traces source code with a small set of test cases while manually monitoring the state of program variables, to analyze the programmer’s logic and assumptions. See also walkthrough.

Cognitive dissonance

The feeling of anxiety or conflict that occurs when trying to hold two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

Cognitive domain

In Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives, an intellectual learning domain that references objectives and test items that require recall or recognition of knowledge and the development of intellectual abilities and skills. See also affective domain, Bloom’s taxonomy, psychomotor domain.

Cognitive model

An approach to qualitative market research in which pre-defined topics are explored through structured face-to-face interviews or group discussions.

Cognitive psychology

The study of mental processes, including how people think, perceive, remember, and learn.

Cognitive science

A science that investigates how people learn rather than what they learn.

Cognitive walkthrough

A testing methodology in which the developer walks through an interface in the context of the user’s tasks, compares actions and feedback to the user’s goals and knowledge, and notes discrepancies.

Cognitively guided instruction

An instructional strategy in which a teacher assesses what students already know about a subject and then builds on that prior knowledge.

Cohort studies

Research studies that collect information about the same individuals at regular intervals over a period of time, from months to decades.


The interaction among two or more individuals, which can encompass a variety of behaviors including communication, coordination, cooperation, information sharing, negotiation, and problem solving.

Collaboration software

A generic term used to describe any electronic and automated application that facilitates communication, trust, and teamwork among a group of people who work on common tasks or objectives and who are not physically co-located.

Collaboration Webware

Internet-based tools for business collaboration.

Collaborative authoring

Using multiple authors to produce a single document.

Collaborative learning

An instructional approach in which students of varying abilities and interests work together in small groups to solve a problem, complete a project, or achieve a common goal. Also called cooperative learning.

Collaborative problem solving

The process by which people work together to define a problem, generate options, and identify objective criteria to reach a decision.


To organize printed matter in a specific order.

Collective bargaining

A negotiation between representatives of an employer and a labor union to negotiate issues such as conditions of employment, wages, and hours of work.


Publication information, which usually appears at the back of a document. See also back matter.

Color process printing

See four-color process printing.

Color separation

The technique of using a camera, computer, or scanner to divide continuous-tone color images into four halftone negatives. Also called separation.

Color transparency

Film (transparent) used to perform color separations.

Comb binding

A type of document binding that uses a circular plastic comb to hold the pages together. See also binding types.


A mediation process in which two mediators jointly conduct the process, typically when mediators with different areas of expertise would be useful or when there are multiple parties involved.

Commanding leadership

A leadership style in which the leader mandates and closely monitors performance. See also leadership styles.

Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS)

Commercially available applications sold by vendors through public catalog listings, not intended to be customized or enhanced.

Common gateway interface (CGI)

A standard that allows a web page to request that its host server activate a script (for example, an email feedback form).

Communication design

A blending of design and information development that seeks to attract, inspire, and motivate people to respond to messages.

Communication requirements

Total information needs of project stakeholders, including project organization and stakeholder responsibility relationships; disciplines, departments, and specialties involved in the project; number of individuals involved in the project and their locations; and external information needs.

Communication skills

Methods, techniques, procedures, processes, and actions the sender employs to ensure that the information transmitted is clear, complete, and easily understood.

Communications Plan

A document that details the information and communication needs of the project stakeholders: who needs what information, when they need it, and how it will be provided to them.

Communications planning

The process used to identify the general and specific information needs of the project stakeholders, the frequency with which the information will be presented to them, and the form the communication will take.

Community of practice

Groups of people that assume roles based on abilities and skills, rather than titles and hierarchy.

Compatibility testing

Testing whether software is compatible with other elements of a system with which it should operate; for example, browsers, operating systems, or hardware.


A critical skill or personality characteristic required for an individual to complete an activity or project, or required for a certain position.


Adhering to all standards, procedures, or processes established as necessary for operational effectiveness. Also, meeting all technical, contractual, and price/cost requirements of a request for proposal.

Component testing

See unit testing.

Composite art

A mechanical on which all colors of copy appear on one surface, with a tissue overlay that contains instructions regarding color breaks.

Composite film

Film made by combining images from two or more pieces of working film.

Composite proof

A proof of color separations along with graphics and type.


See file compression.

Computational linguistics

Study related to enabling computers to understand the meaning of text written by humans.

Computer-aided software testing (CAST)

Automated testing performed during the software life cycle.

Computer-assisted translation (CAT)

Use of sophisticated translation memory to recall previously translated materials to enable consistency in terms and faster translation. See also translation.

Computer-based training (CBT)

Any instructional course delivered primarily on a computer. See also e-learning.

Conative model

Qualitative market research in which the primary objective is to understand a topic or issue in the respondents’ own terms.

Concept of Operations (CONOPS)

A high-level requirements document that describes, from the users’ perspective, the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of a proposed system and the operational environment in which it needs to function. The CONOPS is used as input to the development of formal testable system and software requirements specifications.

Concept Proposal

The first document to be completed in the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC), its purpose is to highlight where strategic goals are not being met or where mission performance needs to be improved.

Concept testing

Research that measures market responses to new ideas or their implementation.


Steps a third party takes to reduce adversity and tension between conflict groups, to create an environment where face-to-face negotiation is possible.

Concurrency testing

Testing geared toward determining the effects of multiple users accessing the same application code, module, or database records at the same time.


In typography, a font that is narrower than the standard version.

Confidence interval (CI)

A measure of the reliability of survey results; for example, the plus-or-minus figures reported in opinion poll results.

Confidence intervals

A statistical range with a specific probability (confidence level) that the true population parameter will be included in the survey results.

Confidence level

A probability that is used to determine, with confidence, that the true population value is represented in the statistical range.


An agreement that information shared during a dispute resolution process is private and not to be revealed to anyone outside the process.


The functional and/or physical characteristics of hardware and software as specified in the technical documentation and achieved in the product.

Configuration audit

In configuration management, the process of comparing the configuration item with its configuration identification (especially the requirements) to ensure that the configuration item satisfies its requirements, the documentation completely and accurately describes the configuration items, and all change requests have been resolved. Also, a system test, integration test, or regression test where the test procedures are based on the whole set of requirement elements.

Configuration control (CC)

An element of configuration management consisting of the evaluation, coordination, approval/disapproval, and implementation of changes to configuration items after formal establishment of their configuration identification.

Configuration Control Board (CCB)

A group of people responsible for evaluating and approving/disapproving proposed changes to configuration items, and for ensuring implementation of approved changes.

Configuration identification

An element of configuration management, consisting of selecting the configuration items for a system and recording their functional and physical characteristics in technical documentation.

Configuration item (CI)

A collection of hardware, software, or both, that is designated for configuration management and treated as a single entity in the configuration management process.

Configuration management (CM)

A discipline applying technical and administrative direction and surveillance to identify and document the functional and physical characteristics of a configuration item, control changes to those characteristics, record and report change processing and implementation status, and verify compliance with specified requirements.

Configuration Management Plan (CMP)

A project document that describes the configuration management methodology, tools, techniques, roles and responsibilities, and tasks that will be used to implement configuration management (CM) for the project.

Configuration review

The process of comparing a document with a predecessor document to determine whether all of the decomposed requirement elements have been addressed in the newer document.

Configuration status accounting (CSA)

An element of configuration management, consisting of the recording and reporting of information needed to manage a configuration effectively. This information includes a listing of the approved configuration identification, the status of proposed changes to the configuration, and the implementation status of approved changes.


An interaction between people with differing, seemingly incompatible interests.

Conflict management

A set of skills and an approach designed to help people better understand and deal with disagreements, both technical and personal, that develop among individuals.

Conflict resolution

The process of seeking resolution to a problem.

Conformance testing

Testing that ensures a system conforms to the specification on which it is based. Usually applied to testing a system’s conformance to a formal standard.

Confounding variable

An uncontrolled variable that can affect the outcome of a study. See also variable types.


Concept of Operations.


An agreement between two or more people to agree with and support a final decision.


The characteristics of a graphic element that enable people to differentiate that element from its surrounding environment.


A limitation outside the control of the project team that will affect the performance of the project or when an activity can be scheduled.

Constructive discharge

A type of employment termination in which the employee resigns due to intolerable working conditions.


The theory that students learn by building their own knowledge and experiences, and that the context in which an idea is presented affects learning.

Consumer surplus

The maximum sum of money a consumer would be willing to pay to consume a given amount of a good, less the amount actually paid.

Content analysis

The process of classifying material into themes or concepts. The analysis can be either quantitative (for example, the frequency in which a word or phrase occurs) or qualitative (for example, organizing data into categories).

Content analysis

The process of identifying the relevant knowledge, skills, and procedures required for a student to achieve an instructional goal.

Content management

The processes and technologies that support digital information throughout its life cycle.

Content management system (CMS)

Software used to publish and manage web sites.

Content management system

A computer application used to create, edit, manage, search, and publish electronic text and digital media.

Content mapping

Identifying and organizing information for ease of understanding, use, and recall.

Content repurposing

Modifying existing content to meet the needs of a different audience.

Content reuse

Using existing content to develop new documents.

Context analysis

An analysis of the environment in which an organization operates. See also SWOT analysis.

Context sensitive

Content or functionality based on the situation or task.

Context-driven testing

A type of agile testing that advocates continuous and creative evaluation of testing opportunities in light of the potential information revealed and the current value of that information to the organization.

Contextual inquiry

A semi-structured field interviewing method, generally used at the beginning of the design process, that has four principles: focus – planning based on a clear understanding of your purpose; context – watching customers perform in their own workplace; partnership – talking to customers about their work and uncovering undiscovered aspects; and interpretation – developing a shared understanding about the most important aspects of the work.

Contextual menu

A list of commands displayed as a result of where the user clicks on the screen.


See contingency planning, contingency reserve.

Contingency allowance

See contingency reserve.

Contingency Plan

A project document that identifies key assumptions that are beyond the project manager’s control, estimates their probability of occurrence, and identifies alternative strategies for achieving project success.

Contingency planning

The process of producing a contingency plan at the outset of a project and updating the plan throughout the project life cycle.

Contingency reserve

A quantity of money and/or time which is intended to reduce the impact of missed cost, schedule, or performance objectives, which can only be partly planned, and which is normally included in the project’s cost and/or schedule baseline.

Contingency/Disaster Recovery Plan

Documents the plan of actions to be taken to provide the capability to continue mission-essential processing and restore normal operations after a disaster.

Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)

A plan that identifies critical business processes and functions, and defines the processes to use if one or more of these business processes or functions fails, including stakeholder communications to manage potential concerns.

Continuous change

See continuous improvement.

Continuous improvement

Improvement in small, incremental, continuous steps.

Continuous improvement process

The process by which an organization continuously improves their processes and procedures to meet or exceed customer requirements.

Continuous variable

A variable that can represent infinite numbers within a given interval. See also variable types.

Continuous-tone copy

Photographs and illustrations that contain a range of shades that are not comprised of dots. Also called contone.


See continuous-tone copy.


A mutually binding agreement that obligates the vendor to provide the specified product or service and obligates the buyer to pay for it.

Contract administration

Managing the relationship with the vendor.

Contract award

Acceptance of a final offer by issuing a purchase order or signing a legally binding contract formalizing the terms under which the goods or services are to be supplied.

Contract closeout

Completion and settlement of the contract, including resolution of any open items.

Contract Discrepancy Report (CDR)

A form that the Quality Assurance Evaluator uses to document a discrepancy or problem in contractor performance. The Contracting Officer signs and forwards a copy of the CDR to the contractor, and files the original CDR as documentation for payment, nonpayment, or other necessary action.

Contract law

The branch of law concerned with the rights and responsibilities of the parties who have entered into a contract.

Contract modification

A written order authorizing the vendor to make changes according to the provisions of the contract documentation.

Contract quality requirements

The technical requirements in the contract relating to the quality of the supply or service, and those contract clauses prescribing inspection and other quality controls that are binding to the contractor, to assure that the supply or service conforms to the contractual requirements.

Contract requirements

In addition to specified performance requirements, contract requirements include those defined in the statement of work; specifications, standards, and related documents; management systems; and contract terms and conditions.

Contract work breakdown structure (CWBS)

A hierarchical diagram for a specific contract with non-routine, complex requirements. It identifies the requirements to be satisfied, leaving the contractor free to determine how to achieve the desired result. See also project work breakdown structure, work breakdown structure.


The degree of tones in an image.


The process of comparing actual performance to planned performance, analyzing variances, evaluating possible alternatives, and taking appropriate corrective action.

Control account plan (CAP)

A management control point where the integration of scope, budget, and schedule takes place, and where the measurement of performance occurs. CAPs are placed at selected management points in the work breakdown structure.

Control and test groups

Two study groups with members from a similar population; one study group (the test group) receives a stimulus, while the second study group (the control group) does not.

Control chart

A graphical representation of the results of a process over time and against established control limits. Used to determine whether a process is “in control” or needs adjustment. See also plot types.

Control gate

A specific point in time during the project life cycle at which key stakeholders convene to assess performance to date, validate key project assumptions, analyze current and future market conditions, and discuss other factors to determine whether the project should be terminated, proceed according to its original plan, or proceed based on a revised plan.

Control group

See control and test groups.

Controlled language

A defined subset of a natural language which restricts grammar and vocabulary to reduce ambiguity and complexity.

Controlled vocabulary

See taxonomy.

Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT)

An IT governance framework and supporting toolset that allows managers to bridge the gap between control requirements, technical issues, and business risks. COBIT enables clear policy development and good practice for IT control throughout organizations.


Bringing together parties with different interests to discuss and develop solutions to a conflict.

Conversion Plan

A document that clearly defines the system or project’s conversion procedures, outlines the installation of new and converted files/databases, coordinates the development of file-conversion programming, and plans the implementation of conversion procedures.

Conversion rate

The relationship between visitors to a web site and actions such as sales or requests to receive more information.

Conversion testing

Testing of programs or procedures used to convert data from existing systems for use in replacement systems.


Cost of ownership.


A small text file that a web site sends to a web user’s computer, which can be used to identify that user, store user preferences, and so on.


Continuity of Operations Plan.

Cooperative learning

See collaborative learning.

Copy writing

The process of developing textual content for advertising and marketing materials.


The legal right to control how a piece of intellectual property (book, song, video, lyric, etc.) is reproduced, attributed, and sold.

Copyright page

See rights page.

Core competency

An internal capability central to success.


A vector drawing application used to create line-art drawings, such as illustrations and logos.

Corporate amnesia

Loss of skills and valuable knowledge due to downsizing, layoffs, or employee attrition.

Corporate charter

A document, filed with a U.S. state by a corporation’s founders, that describes the purpose, place of business, and other details of a corporation. Also called articles of incorporation, charter.

Corporate culture

The beliefs, ceremonies, history, norms, rituals, stories, and values that are shared in an organization and that control the way people interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization.

Corporate identity

An organization’s distinctive characteristics, including corporate culture, philosophy, and values, as expressed through the organization’s name, symbols, and logos, and the design of the organization’s communication materials.

Corporate mission

A document that defines an organization’s core purpose and focus.

Corporate performance management

The documented, monitored, and measured processes and controls used to evaluate an organization’s performance, according to key performance indicators (KPIs) such as return on investment (ROI) and revenue.

Correction marks

See proofreader marks.

Corrective action

Changes made to bring expected future project performance in line with the project plan.


The cash value of project activity; that is, the value associated with materials and resources expended to accomplish project objectives. See also cost types.

Cost analysis

The review and evaluation of the separate cost elements and proposed profit of a contractor’s cost or pricing data. Cost analysis always includes price analysis.

Cost baseline

A time-phased budget used to measure and monitor project cost performance. See also baseline types.

Cost budgeting

Allocating overall cost estimates to individual work activities.

Cost center

A subdivision of an activity that allows identification and control of costs by one responsible manager.

Cost contract

A cost-reimbursement contract in which the contractor receives no fee or profit.

Cost control

Controlling changes to the project budget.

Cost estimating

Developing an approximation of the cost of the resources needed to complete project activities.

Cost management

A function required to maintain effective financial control of the project by evaluating, estimating, budgeting, monitoring, analyzing, forecasting, and reporting cost information.

Cost of capital

When evaluating a potential investment (for example, a major purchase), the return rate the company could earn if it used the money for an alternative investment with the ame risk; the opportunity cost of investing capital resources for a specific purpose. See also cost types.

Cost of ownership (COO)

The total cost of acquiring, installing, using, maintaining, changing, and getting rid of something across an extended period of time (most or all of its useful life). See also cost types.

Cost of quality

The costs incurred to ensure quality; includes quality planning, quality assurance, quality control, and rework. See also cost types.

Cost or pricing data

Factual and verifiable data that includes direct and indirect costs; profits or fees; vendor quotations; and information on changes in production methods, production or purchasing volume, and management decisions that could significantly affect costs. See also data types.

Cost overrun

The amount by which actual project costs exceed estimated costs.

Cost per clickthrough (CPC)

A payment model in which a web advertising network charges an advertiser based on the number of times a banner ad is clicked (usually during one month). See also cost-per-impression, cost types.

Cost per impression

A payment model in which a web advertising network charges an advertiser based on the number of times an advertisement is displayed, even if no one clicks on it. See also cost per clickthrough, cost types.

Cost performance index (CPI)

The ratio of the budgeted cost to actual cost of work performed. Calculated as BCWP / ACWP. A positive value (greater than 1) indicates that costs are running under budget. A negative value (less than 1) indicates that costs are running over budget.

Cost performance measurement baseline

Budget costs and measurable goals (particularly time and quantities) formulated for comparisons, analyses, and forecasts of future costs. See also baseline types.

Cost performance report (CPR)

A written account of cost and schedule progress and earned value.

Cost types

See actual cost, allowable cost, applied direct cost, budget costs, cost of capital, cost of ownership, cost of quality, cost per clickthrough, cost per impression, direct costs, direct project costs, general and administrative costs, indirect costs, life cycle cost, opportunity cost, other direct costs, overhead, reasonable cost, recurring costs, sales, general, and administrative costs, sunk cost, total cost.

Cost variance (CV)

The difference between planned cost and actual cost of work performed. Calculated as BCWP – ACWP.

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)

An evaluation of the costs and benefits of alternative approaches to a proposed activity to determine the best alternative.

Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA)

A systematic quantitative method for comparing the costs of alternative means of achieving the same stream of benefits or a given objective.

Cost-plus-award-fee contract (CPAF)

A cost-reimbursement contract that provides for a fee consisting of an award amount, based upon a judgmental evaluation, sufficient to provide motivation for excellence in contract performance.

Cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (CPFF)

A type of contract where the buyer reimburses the vendor for the vendor’s allowable costs, as defined in the contract, plus a fixed amount of profit (the fee).

Cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (CPIF)

A cost-reimbursement contract that provides for the initially negotiated fee to be adjusted later by a formula based on the relationship of total allowable costs to total target costs. The contract may include technical performance incentives when it is highly probable that the required development of a program is feasible and the customer has established its performance objectives.

Cost-plus-percentage-of-cost contract (CPPC)

A contract type that provides reimbursement of allowable cost of services performed plus an agreed-upon percentage of the estimated cost as profit.

Cost-reimbursement contracts

Contracts based on payment of allowable, reasonable, and allocable costs incurred in the contract performance to the extent prescribed in the contract. These contracts establish an estimate of total costs for the purpose of obligating funds and establishing a ceiling that the contractor may not exceed without approval of the contracting officer. In addition, these contracts may not require completion of the contract work, but rather the best efforts of the contractor. The types of cost reimbursement contracts include: cost, cost sharing, cost-plus-award fee (CPAF), cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF), cost-plus-incentive-fee (CPIF), and cost-plus-percentage-of-cost contract (CPPC).

Cost-sharing contract

An arrangement under which the contractor bears some of the burden of reasonable, allocable, and allowable contract cost.




Providing day-to-day feedback about areas in which employees can improve their work performance. See also coaching.

Course design

The process of developing learning objectives, choosing media applications, planning evaluation methods, and preparing instructional strategies.


Educational software that delivers course material on a computer.

Cover letter

A letter written to a potential employer that briefly states why he/she should consider the job applicant for a position.

Covert leadership

A leadership style in which the leader, through unobtrusive actions, inspires others to perform. See also leadership styles.


Critical path analysis.


Cost-plus-award-fee contract.


Cost per clickthrough.


Cost-plus-fixed-fee contract.


Cost performance index.


Capital planning and investment control.


Cost-plus-incentive-fee contract.


Critical path method.


Critical path network.


Cost-plus-percentage-of-cost contract.


Cost performance report.


The total concept of a procurement from inception through development, procurement, performance, and final disposition.


Taking action to decrease the total project duration by adding resources to the project schedule without altering the sequence of activities. See also duration compression.


See spider.


See score.

Criterion-referenced test

A test that compares a learner’s performance to the achievement of objectives.

Criterion variable

See dependent variable.

Critical activity

Any activity on a critical path, as most commonly determined using the critical path method.

Critical defect

A defect that judgment and experience indicate is likely to prevent performance of the tactical function of a major end item. See also defect, major defect, minor defect.

Critical design review

A series of control gates to approve the build-to and code-to documentation, associated draft verification procedures, and readiness and capability of coders to carry out the implementation.

Critical path

A series of tasks that must finish on time for the entire project to finish on schedule.

Critical path analysis (CPA)

A planning technique used to plan or analyze complex processes or projects by diagramming interrelationships in the sequence of activities to discover which are crucial to successful process/project completion.

Critical path method (CPM)

A technique used to predict project duration by analyzing which set of activities has the least amount of scheduling flexibility.

Critical path network (CPN)

A project plan consisting of activities and their logical relationships to one another, which is the output of the critical path method.

Critical risk

Risk that can jeopardize achievement of a project’s cost, time, or performance objectives.

Critical success factor (CSF)

An attribute that has direct impact on the user’s satisfaction and hence the success of the user documentation. Also known as a key performance indicator (KPI). (Xerox Corporation)

Critical task

A task that must finish on time for the entire project to finish on schedule. If a critical task is delayed, the project completion date is also delayed.

Critical thinking

Logical thinking that draws conclusions from facts and evidence.


Customer relationship management.

Crop marks

Horizontal and vertical lines that indicate the edge of a printed page.


Removing the extraneous parts of a photograph or other image.

Cross-cultural communication

The study of how people from differing cultural backgrounds attempt to communicate.

Cross-cultural research

Market research conducted across two or more cultural groups, ethnic groups, or countries.

Cross-functional management

A management method using the combined expertise of individuals from different functional areas within an organization.

Cross-functional team

A team composed of individuals from different functional areas within an organization.

Cross marks

See register marks.


Files that can be used with different operating systems.


A reference from one part of a book, catalog, file, or index to another part that contains related information.

Cross-sectional surveys

A representative sample of people surveyed at a point in time.


The process of analyzing data by comparing the answers of one question to the way each respondent answered one or more questions on the rest of the survey, to better understand the results of a survey.


Analysis of requirements, especially with respect to a Requirements Traceabillity Matrix.


Configuration status accounting.


Cascading style sheet file format.


Cascading style sheet.

Cultural adaptation

The process of adjusting a translation based on the cultural environment of the target language.

Cultural analysis

The analysis of cultural phenomena (for example, advertising and media products) to provide context for a client’s business or insight into a market.

Cultural assumptions

Beliefs about an organization which are taken for granted and provide the basis for group consensus about common events and circumstances.

Cultural competence

A set of values, behaviors, attitudes, and practices that enable people to work effectively across racial/ethnic and cultural lines.

Cultural diversity

Ethnic, gender, racial, and socioeconomic variety in a multicultural group, institution, or situation.

Cultural intelligence

The ability to adapt to national, organizational, and vocational norms (habits, body language, gestures, and so on) held by and particular to all members of culture.

Cultural sensitivity

Creativity, empathy, and flexibility informed by cultural knowledge.


The system of shared behaviors, beliefs, customs, habits, knowledge, language, norms, perspectives, practices, rituals, and values that set one group of people apart from others.

Culture levels

The three elements that comprise a culture: basic assumptions and values (unconscious beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, and feelings), espoused values (strategies, goals, and philosophies), and artifacts (visual organizational structures and processes).

Culture-sensitive translation

A translation that reflects cultural differences. See also translation.

Cumulative cost curve

A graphical display used to show planned and actual expenditures to monitor cost variances, where the difference in height between the curves for planned and actual expenditures represents the monetary value of the spending variance at any given time.

Current assets

Cash and other assets that are expected to be (or could be) converted into cash or used up in the near future, usually within a year; for example, accounts receivable and finished goods inventory. See also fixed assets.

Current finish date

The current estimate of the point in time at which an activity will be completed.

Current start date

The current estimate of the point in time at which an activity will be begin.

Current year

The fiscal year in progress. Also called execution year.


An instructional plan that details what students need to know, how they will learn it, what the instructor’s role is, and the context in which teaching and learning will occur.

Curriculum design

Definition of what is planned for the students, what will be delivered to the students, and what the students will experience.


Someone for whom a product is made or a service is rendered.

Customer acceptance

Documented signoff by the customer that all project deliverables satisfy requirements.

Customer acceptance criteria

The criteria the customer will use to determine if he/she is satisfied with the final deliverables.

Customer focus

Attention to the customer’s needs and priorities.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

An IT-enabled business strategy used to maximize revenue, profit, and customer satisfaction by implementing and following customer-focused processes and behaviors.

Customer satisfaction research

Research conducted to understand customers’ satisfaction with particular products or services and their attributes. See also applied research, basic research, causal research.


The process of moving from one system to another.


Cost variance.


Contract work breakdown structure.

Cycle time

The elapsed time from the beginning to the end of a process.

Cycle-time reduction

Any activity that reduces the time it takes an organization to produce a product or deliver a service by minimizing waiting time, eliminating activities that do not add value, increasing parallel processes, or speeding up the decision processes within an organization.

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