Return to Glossary home

N+1 testing

A variation of regression testing with multiple cycles in which errors found in test cycle N are resolved and the solution is retested in test cycle N+1. The cycles are typically repeated until the solution reaches a steady state and there are no errors. See also regression testing.

Natural language

The language humans use, as opposed to the language machines use.


Links within Web pages that help a user move through the site’s content.


Non-disclosure agreement.

Near-critical activity

An activity that has a low total float.

Needs analysis

Requirements related to the users’ aspirations, goals, and needs.

Needs assessment

The process of using questionnaires, surveys, interviews, observation, and other tools to identify the gap between what is known and what needs to learned.

Negative space

The blank areas on a display screen. See also white space.

Negative testing

Testing focused on showing that software does not work. Also called test to fail. See also positive testing.


A process where disputing parties directly exchange ideas, problems, promises, and views to develop mutually acceptable solutions.

Net cash flow

Net cash flow is the heart of the financial business case, and the basis for deriving other financial metrics. Cash flow, like income, focuses on the difference between money coming in and money going out over a time period.

Net present value (NPV)

The difference between the discounted present value of benefits and the discounted present value of costs. Also referred to as the discounted net.

Net sales revenue

Total (gross) sales revenues, less cash discounts, returns, and allowances.


Etiquette on the Internet.

Network analysis

The process of identifying early and late start and finish dates for the uncompleted portions of project activities. See also critical path method, graphical evaluation and review technique, program evaluation and review technique.

Network diagram

A schematic display of the logical relationships of project activities, usually drawn from left to right to reflect project chronology.

Network path

In a project network diagram, any continuous series of connected activities.


Establishing, maintaining, and utilizing a web of contacts for mutually beneficial purposes, such as business referrals and information sharing.


A technique that maps the brain to record conscious and subconscious responses to advertising, brands, or products. See also marketing types.

New project

A project that has had formal cost/benefit, alternative, or requirements analysis completed, but has not been awarded.

Nice-to-have requirement

A requirement that is not needed to meet the organization’s business objectives, but that is requested by the end users.

Niche marketing

Marketing a product to a small, well-defined segment. See also marketing types.


One of the defining points of a network; a junction point that is joined to some or all of the other dependency lines. See also arrow diagramming method, precedence diagramming method.

Nominal group technique

A specific structured process of team brainstorming and creative problem solving that draws on individual and group strengths but prevents domination by any one individual.

Nominal interest rate

An interest rate that is not adjusted to remove the effects of actual or expected inflation.

Nominal scale

A non-numeric measurement scale used to classify objects; for example, married/single, employed/unemployed. See also interval scale, ordinal scale, ratio scale.

Nominal values

Economic units measured in terms of purchasing power of the date in question. A nominal value reflects the effects of general price inflation.

Noncompete (noncompetition) agreement

A contractual promise not to work for a competitor or establish a competing business during, or for a specified length of time after, the employee’s current employment.


The failure of a unit of product to conform to specified requirements for any quality characteristic.

Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)

A legal agreement that allows a company to share its intellectual property with others without jeopardizing that information.

Nonexempt employee

An employee who receives compensation for all hours worked over 40 per week.

Non-functional requirements

Requirements that describe the required overall attributes of the system, including efficiency, human engineering, modifiability, portability, reliability, testability, and understandability.

Non-participant observation

Research in which the observer may be present but does not take part in the situation being studied.

Non-repro blue

Light blue that does not appear on graphic arts film, so is used to write instructions on mechanicals. Also called blue pencil, drop-out blue, fade-out blue, nonreproducing blue.

Nonreproducing blue

See non-repro blue.

Non-serial comma

In a running list of items, the omission of a comma preceding “and” or “or”.

Non-technical requirements

Constraints like schedule and cost, along with quality, performance, and so on.

Normal curve

A bell-shaped curve, with a peak at the mean, which describes data that clusters around the mean. Also called bell curve.

Normal distribution

A bell-shaped distribution that is bisymmetric to and clusters around the mean.


A stage of team development in which effectiveness increases as the team adopts ideas, roles, responsibilities, goals, and expectations. See also team development stages.


Net present value.

Null hypothesis

The statistical hypothesis which states that the differences observed in a study are due to chance.

Numbered list

A vertical list of sequentially numbered items. See also bulleted list.

Return to Glossary home