Introduction:

After a business project has been completed or implemented, it is normal to undertake a review of its performance and results. This is called a Post Implementation Review (PIR) meeting. This type of review has three main purposes. Firstly, to see if the project has achieved what was originally planned. Secondly, see how the project can be improved both now and in the future. And lastly, to learn from the mistakes that happened to ensure they don't happen in future projects.

In this online exercise on projects, we will look at both the English vocabulary which is used in a business Post Implementation Review and some general project management vocabulary which can be used throughout a project's life-cycle/duration.

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Exercise: A project review meeting

Read the following Post Implementation Review (PIR) meeting for an IT project that has recently been completed. In the meeting, the project manager explains how the project went.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Project Manager:'Thanks for coming to this PIR for the recently completed project to incorporate the TB Management Application into the TB office application. Today, we have representatives of all of the stakeholders here. The project team, the users of the application and management. Unfortunately, the IT director who was responsible for creating and overseeing the project can't attend. I know it's normal to have the project sponsor at this meeting, but she has sent her assistant to be here in her place.

As is normal, we've updated the gap analysis, which will show us the difference between where we are with the aims of the project and where we should or could be. I can confirm that the project is delivering what it was intended to. The new report functionalities are working well and real-time statistics can now be generated from all applications and databases. The application is performing everything which was specified in the original project charter, which defined the purpose and objectives of the project.

As you know, the project was completed by the deadline. There were no major problems when the project was implemented in the live environment, it was a smooth transition between the old system and the new system. But some of the end users did report some minor response problems. These were ironed out by the end of the first day and there has been no further reports of this type of problem.

Sarah carried out a survey of the end users and overall it was favourable. The survey assessed their opinion about the new changes to the applications. Once they knew how to use the new database and report functions, it met both their demands and saved them a lot of time when generating statistics. They also praised the on-site support, they said that they were very helpful. One of the areas identified in the survey where we didn't do well, where in effect we dropped the ball, is with training and documentation. It appears that the training didn't cover the areas which most of the end users needed. They also commented that user documentation was very confusing and was of little benefit.

These issues are currently being addressed by Sally. She'll update me in a couple of days with her recommendations. You can find a copy of the end users survey's findings on the desk in front of you. I've already informed the project sponsor of these results and she seemed happy.

Although the project has been a great success, there are some lessons which we can learn from this, especially with the problems with the training and user documentation. I would like to hear you suggestions on how we can avoid making these mistakes in future projects.'



Quiz: Vocabulary for project review meetings

Below is a definition or description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now fill in the blanks with one of these words/phrases in bold. Only use one word/phrase once and write it as it is in the text. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. An expression that means somebody has been done something badly or made a big mistake, is    

         

Dropped the ball:
(phrase) This is an informal expression that is commonly used in business English. It means that somebody has made a big mistake or done something badly, e.g. 'I know I dropped the ball with the report and I'm really sorry.' It has a similar meaning to 'screwed up', which generally isn't used in business situations. In Spanish: "no hacer algo bien".

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Dropped the ball:

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2. The conclusions of a report or survey, are called    

         

Findings:
(noun) This is a commonly used word in professional English. It means the conclusions which are made after something has been examined or investigated (in a report, review, survey etc...). The findings normally confirm if there are any problems, and if there are, what are their causes. The findings also includes recommendations, e.g. 'our findings indicate that users are not happy with the new product because of... In Spanish: "conclusiones".

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Findings:

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3. A report that analyses the performance of a project or process, is called a    

         

Gap analysis:
(noun) This is the name of a method/tool of analysing/measuring the performance of something. It is normally used with projects, but can also be used to analyse the performance of a business etc... With projects, it is used to measure/identify the difference between the current situation in a project and what it should or could potentially being achieving. It is called a 'gap analysis', because it's aim is to show/identify the gaps between the actual and ideal/perfect performance of something. In Spanish: "análisis de las lagunas".

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Gap analysis:

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4. The people who use a product/service, are often called    

         

End users:
(noun) This is commonly used in business to refer to the customers who use/consume a product, process or service. This is used for both internal customers, i.e. 'the staff within the your company', and external customers, i.e. 'those who aren't in your company'. It is especially used with Information Technology (IT) products and services, e.g. 'the end users are complaining about the application'. In Spanish: "usuarios finales".

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End users:

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5. Things that are learnt from an experience or a situation, are called    

         

Lessons:
(noun) This is commonly used in business English when reviewing or assessing the performance of something. It basically means the mistakes that have been made. Normally in a review, they try to identify these 'mistakes' in order to avoid making them again in the future. So 'what can we learn from our mistakes' or 'what lessons can we learn' basically have the same meanin In Spanish: "lecciones".

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Lessons:

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6. The people who are either involved in a project or will be affected by its result/outcome, are called    

         

Stakeholders:
(noun) 'stakeholders' means all the people who have some interest or are involved in a project. This includes the people in the project team, management and the customers/end users who will be affected by the project. This word/term is always used in business projects. It is normal to have representatives of all the stakeholders involved in a project. In Spanish: "partes interesadas".

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Stakeholders:

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7. Another way to say 'deal with' or 'look into', is    

         

Addressed:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to address'. This can be used with different meanings . In this context it's a very professional sounding way to say 'to deal with' or 'to look into' an issue or problem. It doesn't mean to resolve, e.g. 'in this meeting we're going to be addressing questions about the future of the company'. In Spanish: "se está abordando".

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Addressed:

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8. Another way to say 'requirements', is    

         

Demands:
(noun) 'demands' has various different meanings. In this context it means 'needs' or 'requirements' (both of these words can replace it) that a customer/end-user has from a product or service. It is always used with this meaning with the verb 'to meet', e.g. 'the end users have said that the product doesn't meet their demands'. In Spanish: "necesidades".

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Demands:

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9. The document which states/sets out the purpose and objects of a project, is called a    

         

Project charter:
(noun) This is the name of a formal document that defines/confirms the size, scope, purpose, reasons for, objectives and constraints of a project. It also confirms the roles and responsibilities for the project and identifies the stakeholders (those affected by and involved in a project). It is always produced before a project begins. In Spanish: "carta del proyecto".

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Project charter:

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10. Another way to say 'evaluate', is    

         

Assessed:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to assess'. It is a more professional way to say 'evaluate'. It is very common to 'assess' performance, results, progress etc... in reviews, surveys, reports etc..., e.g. 'this report assessed the performance of the project team'. In Spanish: "evaluar".

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Assessed:

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11. An expression that means a minor issue or problem has been resolved, is    

         

Ironed out:
(phrasal verb) The infinitive is 'to iron out'. This is an informal way to say 'resolve' minor problems or difficulties, e.g. 'There was a small problem with the design, but that has now been ironed out'. In Spanish: "resolver/corregir".

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Ironed out:

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12. A noun that means the change from one state/situation to another, is    

         

Transition:
(noun) 'transition' or 'change' is often used with projects to mean the effects that are caused when a project is implemented/ introduced. If a project goes well with little or minor problems, the transition is described as 'smooth', e.g. 'It was a smooth transition between the old and new process'. If there are problems, then we use 'difficult' instead of 'smooth. In Spanish: "transición".

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Transition:

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13. The senior manager who is ultimately responsible for a project, is called the    

         

Project sponsor:
(noun) This is the name of the senior manager who created the project. Normally, they don't run the project (which is the responsibility of the project manager), but they are ultimately responsible for its success or failure. It is also possible that governments can be project sponsors, e.g. 'the project sponsor to redevelop down town Chicago is the US government'. In Spanish: "patrocinador del proyecto".

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Project sponsor:

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14. The people who are there to help customers with their questions or problems for products/service, are called    

         

Support:
(noun) This is the common name for people whose purpose is to help customers/end users, e.g. 'customer support' or 'IT support'. In Spanish: "apoyo".

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Support:

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15. The name of written information which is stored on computer files or on paper, is called    

         

Documentation:
(noun) This is the collective/group name for official documents/written material and documents of product specification and instruction (e.g. user guides). The project charter and the project plan are examples of documentation. In Spanish: "documentación".

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Documentation:

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Practice

Now that you understand the new vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.