Conojo Project Glossary

7 plus or minus 2

The number of items that can be held in short-term memory or that can be the focus of attention, as stated by George A. Miller in his 1956 paper. The number applies only to retention and recall of information, and not to recognition. “The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information” (The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp. 81-97).

Affinity Diagramming

Affinity diagramming is a participatory method where concepts written on cards are sorted into related groups and sub-groups. The original intent of affinity diagramming was to help diagnose complicated problems by organizing qualitative data to reveal themes associated with the problems.


The translation of plans into measurable costs and expected returns over a period of time.


Any task that on the critical path of the project causes work feeding it to pile up.


The translation of plans into measurable costs and expected returns over a period of time.


Braindrawing is a type of visual brainstorming in which a group of participants sketch ideas for designs, icons, screen layouts, or other visual concepts.


A method for generating ideas, intended to inspire the free-flowing sharing of thoughts of an individual or a group of people, typically while withholding criticism in order to promote uninhibited thinking.


Brainwriting is a method for quickly generating ideas by asking participants to write their ideas on paper (or online) rather than announcing them in traditional group brainstorming sessions.

Case Study

A way of learning about a complex instance through extensive description and analysis. The case study articulates why the instance occurred as it did by exploring the factors contributing to its success or failure, and what one might consider in similar situations.


 A written description that concisely describes the projects intended work. Elements of a charter usually contain: the name of the sponsor, a timetable, benefits of the project to the company, a budget and a description of outcomes or deliverable.

Contingency Plan

A course of action that is prepared in advance of potential problems. In common language, this is often called, a “plan B.”


 The environment influencing the project. This may include: industry trends, economic indicators, organizational culture, team member history, competitive issues and previous project experience.


 The specific data, expertise and information related to the project.

Critical Path Method

 A planning method used for complex projects to show relationships to critical activities to keep the project on course. The activities that must be completed before others can move forward are called critical, as they are necessary to complete the project on time.

Competitor Analysis

A method for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of competing products or services before starting work on prototypes.

Card Sorting

A method for organizing information that involves sorting a series of cards into groups that make sense to the participants. Each card represents a single term, function or object. Card sorting helps to reveal users’ mental models, or patterns that the end users would expect to find.


The human ability to group information into related small sets, which can then be stored in short-term memory. By keeping information in smaller pieces, the functional storage capacity of the brain is increased.

Easy to Learn

The aspect of usability that focuses on facilitating the users learning of an interface, with minimum time and effort spent in the learning phase.


The attribute of usability that focuses on task completion, guiding the user through all parts of the task and ensuring that the task is properly completed.


The attribute of usability that focuses on being able to accomplish a task in minimum time with a minimum of effort.


The attribute of usability that focuses on capturing and holding the user’s attention and interest.


A person who guides the process of conversation and helps team members work together in the most effective way possible. Often a facilitator is an outside consultant or non-project team member to ensure objectivity and continued focus on process instead of content.

Finish To Start

 The relationships between tasks in which one task must finish before another can start.

Metaphor Brainstorming

Metaphor brainstorming is a method for generating metaphors and extracting aspects of those metaphors that can be applied to the design of hardware, software, processes, and services.


A person that works with a group to regulate, but not lead, a discussion. Whereas a facilitator might take charge of a discussion to shepherd it in a specific direction, a moderator remains passive, without explicitly leading the process or driving a desired outcome. 


Network Diagram

Usually this means a PERT chart. This is a scheduling diagram that shows the critical path and dependent relationships between tasks.

Organizational Skill

The ability of an individual to communicate with other departments, have knowledge of the political environment of the company and have a network of contacts.

Paper Prototyping

A study conducted on a paper version of a design to get feedback early on in the design process.

Pareto Principle

William Pareto discovered that 80% of the wealth of Italy was owned by 20% of the people. This same principle points to that 20% of the business processes are responsible for 80% of the defects or problems. Keep the project goal visible by concentrating on the top 20 % of the problems that account for 80% of the solution.


This chart shows all important task relationships and milestones. PERT stands for Performance, Evaluation, and Review Technique. Every task is shown with all other tasks that are required to complete the project. Many simultaneous, parallel and connecting networks may occur during a complex project.


A lightweight initial design of an interface or product, used to capture initial concepts and layouts to gather feedback from users, as well as project participants and stakeholders.

Project Steering Committee

A group of people who approves the charter, gets the money, and makes decisions to change project elements such as budget, deliverable, and timeframe.

Project Manager

The person who is planning and scheduling project tasks. This is the person who is responsible for managing project execution.

Project Management Cycle

A project overview that includes repeatable phases. These include: scoping the project, planning the project, implementing the plan and evaluating the project.


A set of activities that aims to produce a deliverable and is bound by time and budget with a clear beginning and end.

Project Team

A team organized for a limited duration around a non-routine task.

Problem Solving Skill

The ability to analyze obstacles, difficult situations and to develop options and alternative actions.

Rapid Prototyping

The creation of low-cost representations of the user interface to a system as a method of brainstorming, creating, testing and communicating ideas about the system being developed.


A story which has the key elements of a realistic situation when the user would interact with the system being designed or evaluated. The scenario includes consideration of the user’s goals, tasks and interaction. Scenarios can be created for user groups, workflows or tasks to explore, understand and test the different types of needs and goals.

Site Map

A representation of the information that can be found on a Website or of a system. When presented as content on a Website it is typically organized in a hierarchical listing. Alternatively, the same information can be represented with boxes and arrows that visually show the hierarchy of the interface.


A technique for illustrating an interaction between a person and a product (or multiple people and multiple products) in narrative format, which includes a series of drawings, sketches, or pictures and sometimes words that tell a story. Read more about the Storyboard method.


The individuals who have a vested interest in the project outcome and who will determine if the project is a failure or success. This may include other departments, executives, end-users and customers.

Team Room

A physical room dedicated to project team work. The room is used for formal and informal meetings. The walls are used to display and store work-products such as wall charts, storyboards, documents and prototypes related to the team’s mission and output.

Task Oriented Approach

This approach focuses on the needs of the projects before those of the people. It is usually adopted under tight deadlines to manage crisis. It can make it difficult to stimulate loyalty and commitment on the team.

Team Development

Project management teams undergo changes in performance as they work together. The four stages of team development include: forming, storming, norming and performing.

Team Room

A physical room dedicated to project team work. The room is used for formal and informal meetings. The walls are used to display and store work-products such as wall charts, storyboards, documents and prototypes related to the team’s mission and output.


Usability is the degree to which something – software, hardware or anything else – is easy to use and a good fit for the people who use it.


How people orient themselves and navigate in a built environment, both physical and virtual.


Rough outline of navigation and content elements that make up a user interface. Typically visual design and precise layout are not addressed.

Wizard of Oz

A user-based evaluation of unimplemented technology where, generally unknown to the user, a human or team is simulating some or all the responses of the system.

Work Break Down Structure

A planning process that breaks down a project’s goal into the tasks required to achieve completion. Estimates of time and money required are then estimated based on the task analysis.

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