Introduction:

In the modern world it is normal for companies to do projects in other countries. So it is essential to know project management vocabulary in English.

In this online exercise on projects, we will both look at and explain the basic vocabulary of business project management in English. We will look at how you refer to the parts of a business project, how to describe the progress of a project, and some other essential project management vocabulary.

Click here to see more online exercises on project management and project vocabulary


Exercise: Business project update meeting

Read the following business project update meeting between a finance director and an internal project manager about the current situation with a project.

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.

Finance Director:'Hi, Claire, I hope you had a good journey. The traffic is terrible around here.'

Project Manager:'No problems at all, I must have been lucky.'

Finance Director:'Anyway, where are we with the project? Will you finish the development stage by next month?'

Project Manager:'Well, we are ahead of schedule with some of the tasks in the development stage. For example, the customer reaction task went quicker than we expected. So we finished it before the planned date. But we have encountered some unexpected issues with government regulations. The culture department don't like some of the photos, so we are going to have to change them. So there is a bit of a delay.'

Finance Director:'So, you are behind schedule? You are late with that part?'

Project Manager:'Unfortunately, yes. You know that the government is always slow. So, it's taking longer than planned. And because of this, it has a knock on effect on the rest of the project. we can't start anything else until we have changed the photos!'

Finance Director:'So, what you're saying is that you won't finish the project in June as we agreed? You won't meet the project's final deadline?'

Project Manager:'Well, once we have changed the photos, which should be next week, we're going to work harder and longer. So, I'm sure that within a month we'll be on schedule with the project again. And we'll meet the final deadline in June.'



Quiz: Essential project management vocabulary

Below is a definition/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. A phrase which says that something is happening slower than expected, is taking    

         

Longer than planned:
(verbal phrase) The infinitive is 'to take longer than planned'. Normally in business, you would have to justify why this is the situation. In Spanish: "más de lo previsto".

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Longer than planned:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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2. The previously agreed date to finish something like a report or project, is the    

         

Deadline:
(noun) This is also known as the 'hand in date' or 'finish date', although 'deadline' is more commonly used. This noun is used with the verb 'to meet', e.g. 'we didn't meet the deadline'. In Spanish: "fecha de entrega".

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Deadline:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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3. A word very similar to 'problems', is    

         

Issues:
(noun) In this context 'issue' is basically the same as problem. But it sounds better, less serious. In Spanish: "problemas".

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Issues:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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4. When things are going as expected, you are    

         

On schedule:
(phrase) When everything is going or is progressing as planned and there are no delays. In Spanish: "al dia".

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On schedule:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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5. The large parts of a project, like development, implementation etc..., each is called a    

         

Stage:
(noun) A 'stage' is also called a 'step' or 'phase'. The title of these large parts of a project depends on the organisation/company. In Spanish: "fase".

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Stage:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6. A noun which has a similar meaning to behind schedule, is a    

         

Delay:
(noun) Although it is more common to use 'behind schedule' with projects, 'delay' can also be used. This normally happens when there are problems or a project has been badly planned. It is also a verb 'to delay'. In Spanish: "retraso".

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Delay:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7. When something influences or effects something else, we say it has a    

         

Knock on effect:
(phrase) It is normally used when talking about problems or delays, when it has consequences on another part of the project. This phrase is normally followed by the preposition 'on', e.g. 'the delay with the delivery has had a knock on effect on the construction of the building'. In Spanish: "efecto dominó".

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Knock on effect:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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8. When parts of a project are taking longer than expected or planned, you are    

         

Behind schedule:
(phrase) 'Behind schedule' is very commonly used in both business and projects to mean that something is progressing slower than planned. In Spanish: "llevar retraso".

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Behind schedule:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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9. The smaller parts in a project, which are parts of a stage, are called    

         

Tasks:
(noun) 'Tasks' are the parts to do within a stage/phase/step. For example, in the recruitment stage, you will have tasks like posting a job advert and interviewing the candidates etc... In Spanish: "tarea".

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Tasks:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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10. When things are going better (quicker) than expected, you are    

         

Ahead of schedule:
(phrase) 'Ahead of schedule' is very commonly used in both business and projects to mean that something is progressing quicker than planned. In Spanish: "va adelantado".

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Ahead of schedule:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

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