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A visual display of business metrics that provides an executive (high-level) summary of business performance. See also balanced scorecard, scorecard.

Dash leader

See leader.

Data date

The point in time that separates actual (historical) data from future (scheduled) data. Also called as-of date.

Data dictionary

A database that contains definitions of all data items defined during analysis.

Data flow diagram

A graphical modeling notation that represents a functional decomposition of a system.

Data integrity

The quality of data that exists as long as accidental or malicious destruction, modification, or loss of data is prevented.

Data management (DM)

The management of all information in an organization.

Data mining

A technique for analyzing data in very large databases to reveal trends and patterns.

Data owner

An individual who provides data content, accuracy, and currency requirements.

Data saturation

Qualitative data collection that continues until no new themes or ideas emerge.

Data security

The protection of data against unauthorized disclosure, transfer, modification, or destruction, whether accidental or intentional.

Data types

See categorical data, cost or pricing data, discrete data, input data, legacy data, metadata, output data, qualitative data, quantitative data.

Data warehouse

A large database containing data summarized from one or more transactional systems, optimized to support the analysis needs of the enterprise. An ideal data warehouse contains all the data necessary to make business decisions.


A collection of interrelated data stored together with controlled redundancy to serve one or more systems or applications.

Database management system (DBMS)

A system that facilitates data storage, control, management, manipulation, and reporting.

Data-driven testing

Testing in which externally defined data values, maintained as a file or spreadsheet, provide boundaries for the action of a test case; for example, automated testing.


Database management system.


Discounted cash flow.


Due date.


To press an image into paper so it is below the surface. Also called tool.


The process of finding and removing the causes of software failures.

Decision tree

A diagram that describes a decision under consideration, its interactions with chance occurrences, external events, and possible future decisions and results, and the implications of choosing from among the available alternatives. It incorporates probabilities or risks, and the costs or rewards of each logical path of events and future decisions.


Subdivision of major project deliverables into smaller, more manageable components until the deliverables are defined in sufficient detail to support future project activities.


A false oral or written statement that reflects negatively on a person’s character. Written defamation is called libel; spoken defamation is called slander.


Nonconformance with requirements or functional/program specifications. See also critical defect, major defect, minor defect.

Defect tracking

The process used to log defects, along with their status and resolution.


Conditions or characteristics in hardware or software which are not in compliance with the specified configuration identification. Or, inadequate (or erroneous) configuration identification which has resulted, or may result, in configuration items that do not fulfill approved operational requirements.

Definitive estimate

See estimate.


A social bookmarking site where users can collectively tag favorite links.


A measurable, tangible, verifiable outcome, result, or item that must be produced to complete all or part of a program, project, or task or to meet contractual requirements.

Delphi technique

A form of participative expert judgment that is an interactive, anonymous, interactive technique that uses survey methods to derive consensus on work estimates, approaches, and issues.

Democratic leadership

A leadership style in which the leader appreciates input and gets commitment through participation. See also leadership styles.


The physical, social, and economic characteristics of populations and population segments, especially when used to identify consumer markets. See also market analysis, psychographics.


See logical relationship.

Dependency testing

Testing that examines an application’s requirements for pre-existing software, initial states, and configuration in order to maintain proper functionality.

Dependent variable

A variable whose value changes based on changes in the independent variable. Also called criterion variable. See also variable types.

Depreciable life

The estimated period of time over which a capital asset is or can lawfully be depreciated. See also economic life.


A tax benefit over a period of years for the purchase of a long-lasting capital asset (its useful life).

Depth testing

Testing that exercises a feature of a product in full detail.


In typography, the part of some uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and punctuation that extends below the baseline. See also ascender.

Descriptive statistics

Numbers that describe a sample; for example, the mean, median, and mode.


The second phase of ADDIE, an iterative application model for instructional systems design. The goal of this phase is to complete learning objectives, assessment instruments, exercises, content, subject-matter analysis, lesson plans, and media selection. See also ADDIE.

Design review

A formal, documented, comprehensive, and systematic examination of a design to evaluate its capability to meet specified requirements, identify problems, and propose solutions.

Design specification

Precise measurements, tolerances, materials, in-process and finished-product tests, quality control measures, inspection requirements, and other specific information that precisely describe how the work is to be done.

Desktop publishing (DTP)

Using a personal computer to design and assemble images and pages, then output the assembled pages onto film, paper, or a printing plate.

Destructive testing

Testing that is intentionally performed until product failure to uncover design flaws.

Detailed design

The process of refining and expanding the preliminary design of a system or component to the extent that the design is sufficiently complete to be implemented.

Detailed schedule

A schedule used to communicate daily activities to people working on the project.


The third phase of ADDIE, an iterative application model for instructional systems design. The purpose of this phase is to generate and validate the training materials. See also ADDIE.

Development models

Structures imposed on software development projects. See joint application development, rapid application development, Systems Development Life Cycle, waterfall model.


A written authorization, granted before production of a product or performance of a service, to depart from a specific performance or design requirement for a specified period of time or number of units. See also .


Dynamic hypertext mark-up language.


Device-independent bitmap file format. See also bitmap graphics file formats.


A device used to cut, score, stamp, emboss, and deboss.

Die cut

To use a die to cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard.

Digital asset management

The systematic control of digital assets (digital animations, music, photographs, and videos) throughout their useful life.

Digital proofs

Samples of printed output that are produced on computer paper before they are printed on a commercial press.


The process of converting information to a digital format.


A collaborative research and knowledge-sharing web site that allows you to save and categorize bookmarks online.


A special character, such as the smiley face.

Direct costs

Any costs specifically identified as a final cost objective for a particular contract action. Includes cost factors such as direct labor and materials. See also cost types.

Direct digital color proof

A color proof made by a computer-controlled device without first making separation films.

Direct labor

Labor required to complete a product or service, including fabrication, assembly, inspection, and test for constructing an end product. Also, labor expended by contractor personnel in performing contractual requirements.

Direct marketing

A form of marketing in which advertisers contact buyers directly; for example, telephone sales and catalogs. See also marketing types.

Direct materials

Includes raw materials, purchased parts, and subcontracted items required to manufacture and assemble completed products.

Direct overhead

A portion of overhead costs, such as rent and heating, which can be directly attributable to a project.

Direct project costs

Costs that are directly attributable to a project, including all personnel, goods, or services and their associated costs, but not including indirect project costs (such as overhead and general office costs) incurred in support of a project. See also cost types.

Directive leadership

A leadership style in which the leader provides specific guidance on performance, clarifying paths toward established goals. See also leadership styles.

Director (Macromedia)

An application for assembling elements (for example, animation, text, and video graphics) and producing multimedia presentations.


The inability to perform some or all job duties because of an accident or illness, whether or not the job caused the accident or illness.

Discount factor

The factor that translates expected benefits or costs in any given future year into present value terms.

Discount rate

The interest rate used in calculating the present value of expected yearly benefits and costs.

Discounted cash flow (DCF)

A cash flow summary adjusted to reflect the time value of money, which allows evaluation or comparison of investments or purchases.

Discounted net

See net present value.

Discrete data

See qualitative data.

Discrete variable

A quantitative variable that has a finite number of possible values; for example, the number of quarts in a gallon. See also variable types.

Display font

A font designed to look good at large point sizes.

Disposition Plan

A project document that describes how the various components of the system will be handled at the completion of operations, including software, data, hardware, communications, and documentation. The plan also notes any future access to the system. TEMPLATE


A conflict that has a definable number of parties.

Dispute resolution

Processes—like facilitation, mediation, and arbitration—that parties in conflict can use in working toward a resolution.

Distance education

Education delivered when students and instructors are not in the same physical location. See also distance learning, distributed learning.

Distance learning

The outcome of distance education.

Distributed learning

The outcome of a blend of online and traditional education.


A computer’s simulation of colors it cannot display by combining pixels into patterns that approximate other colors.


Dynamic link library.


Data management.


Disk image file format. A Macintosh OS X file format used to archive and compress files for transportation, particularly using the internet.


Domain name system.


Microsoft Word document file format.

Document management

Computer-based management of electronic and paper documents.

Document review

The process of reading a document and providing comments and suggestions to the authors.

Document types

See Action Plan, advertisement, agenda, bid, bidder’s list, Bill of Lading, Bill of Materials, Business Case, Business Continuity Plan, Change Management Plan, Communications Plan, Concept of Operations, Concept Proposal, Configuration Management Plan, Contingency Plan, Contingency/Disaster Recovery Plan, Contract Work Breakdown Structure, Conversion Plan, Corporate Charter, Cost Performance Report, Schedule, Disposal Plan, Documentation Plan, Embedded Help, Exception Report, Executive Summary, Final Report, Functional Design Specification, Functional Requirements Document, Functional Test Plan, Implementation Plan, Integration Plan, Interface Control Document, Maintenance Plan, manuscript, Master Project Schedule, Mission Statement, Operations Manual, Organizational Breakdown Structure, Performance Improvement Plan, Performance Plan, Performance Requirements Summary, Performance-based Work Statement, policies, procedures, Post-termination Review Report, press release, Project Charter, Project Plan, Project Schedule, Project Surveillance Plan, Project Test Plan, Project Work Breakdown Structure, proposal, Quality Assurance Plan, questionnaire, Request for Information, Request for Proposal, Request for Quotation, Requirements Specification, Requirements Traceability Matrix, Risk Management Plan, Risk Response Plan, Security Plan, Sign-off Worksheet, Software Configuration Management Plan, Software Project Management Plan, Software Requirements Specification, splash page, Standard Operating Procedure, Statement of Work, status report, storyboard, Strategic Plan, System Design Document, Team Charter, Technical Specification, Test Analysis Report, Test Matrix, Test Plan, Test Procedure, Test Scenario, Test Script, Test Specification, Traceability Matrix, Training Plan, tutorial, Usability Plan, User Documentation Plan, Users Manual, Values Statement, Version Description Document, Vision Statement, web-based Help, white paper, Work Breakdown Structure.

Documentation Plan

A project document that explains how technical documentation will be prepared, delivered, and distributed. For each document, the plan typically details the content, format, page count, size, costs, timeline, needed resources (for example, writers, editors, illustrators, software tools), and so on.

Domain name

The name to the right of the prefix (typically “www.”) in an Internet address. For example, is the domain name for the Society for Technical Communication’s web site.

Domain name system (DNS)

A system that translates a URL (like into a numeric Internet address (like 123.456.78.9).


Microsoft Word template file format.

Dot leader

See leader.

Dot plot

A graphical display of related information that uses one dot to represent each observation in a set of data. See also plot types.

Dot pitch

See dots per inch.

Dots per inch (DPI)

The resolution at which an output device can display text and graphics. Also called dot pitch.


Dots per inch.


The act of moving from the general to the specific.


Applications that manage computer hardware.

Drop cap

A style in which the first letter of a paragraph appears in a larger point size and aligns with the top of the first line. See also raised cap.

Drop-out blue

See non-repro blue.

Drop shadow

An image depth created using a shading offset behind the image.

Dry proof

See pre-press proof.


Desktop publishing.



Due date (DD)

The date on which a deliverable must be completed.

Due diligence

The process by which an individual or group investigates, analyzes, and evaluates an intended action (for example, merger, investment, purchase) prior to committing capital to the action.


A simulation of a final product. Also called mockup.

Dummy activity

In the arrow diagramming method, an activity with a duration of zero that is used to show a logical relationship. Shown graphically as a dashed line headed by an arrow, a dummy activity is used when logical relationships cannot be completely or correctly described with regular activity arrows.

Dummy text

Latin text (Lorem Ipsum) used instead of readable text to show the intended layout of a page. Also called Greeking.


The use of two colors to provide rich tones in an image.


The ability to print on both sides of a sheet of paper.

Duration (DU)

The number of work periods, excluding holidays or other nonworking periods, which are required to complete an activity or other project element. Expressed as work days or work weeks. See also effort.

Duration compression

Shortening the project schedule without reducing the project scope.

Dynamic hypertext markup language (DHTML)

A set of technologies (cascading style sheets, HTML, Javascript, layers) used to provide richer, more interactive content and allow web pages to act based on the end user; for example, to display a specific web page for a specific browser.

Dynamic information

Information that has continuous activity, change, or progress.

Dynamic link library (DLL)

Code that is loaded and linked when a program executes, then unloaded when program execution is complete.

Dynamic testing

Testing software by running the software. See also static testing.


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