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Glossary

Our glossary is provided as a service to the facilitation community.

The facilitator's vocabulary is a critical tool in communicating the purpose, means, and results of a facilitation effort. We have built this vocabulary over many years. Many of the terms have been thrashed about again and again. We believe this lexicon provides a solid foundation for facilitators and participants.

Instructions for linking to our glossary are at the bottom of this page. We invite you to link to this page and help establish a common vocabulary among facilitators.

INDEX

A  |   B  |   C  |   D  |   E  |   F  |   G  |   H  |   I  |   J  |   K  |   L  |   M

N  |   O  |   P  |   Q  |   R  |   S  |   T  |   U  |   V  |   W  |   X  |   Y  |   Z

 

TERMS


A
Accessibility
The attributes and characteristics of a system that allow people with limited vision, hearing, dexterity, cognition or physical mobility to interact effectively. Accessibility aids, such as screen readers, may be added to a system to allow people with disabilities to use those systems.

Activity
A series of steps carried out in response to a business event such as receiving an invoice. Activities have definite starts and stops. Activities describe WHAT needs to happen rather than HOW they may happen. Paying bills or accelerating are examples of WHAT, while writing cheques or pushing the gas pedal with your foot are an example of HOW. WHAT items are abstract and hard to visualize while HOW items are concrete and more easily visualized.

Actor Map
A requirements model that defines the relationships among the actors in the actor table in terms of how their roles are shared and disparate. The map shows both human and nonhuman actors arranged in hierarchies.

Actor Table
A requirements model that defines the roles played by people and things that will interact directly with the system. The contents typically include names, brief descriptions, physical locations, and necessary job aids.

Adminisphere
The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

Advocate
Someone who speaks up for her/himself and members of his/her identity group; eg, a person who lobbies for less overtime for his/her field crew.

Agenda
List of items to be covered in a workshop session. The agenda governs the process, not the subject matter.

Agility
Perpetual state of innovation, moving quickly yet thoroughly through product and process development that creates competitive advantage and increases stakeholder value.

Alignment
The forming of relationships between activities and objectives to note any inconsistencies or gaps that may require a modification or addition to a plan. Mutual agreement and consensus among the project team and key stakeholders on the direction of a project, the options, and other factors. Without alignment, the change process often stalls or fails.

Ally
A person of one business subgroup or social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; e.g., a person in sales supporting the position of another in customer service.

Alternative
Strictly speaking, an ‘alternative’ is one of two—not one of three, four, five, or more (that are called ‘options’).

Analyze
To examine critically and in detail.

ANOVA
Analysis of variance

ANSI
The American National Standards Institute is a non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide.

Antilaser
A light absorber, capable of extinguishing a laser beam by converting it to heat or electricity. The first prototypes trap photons inside a silicon wafer, suggesting the potential for future use as optical switches in computers.

Approach
Method or way of dealing with or accomplishing something, i.e., a way of analyzing a problem.

Argument
A group of statements, one or more of which—the premises—are claimed to provide support for one of the others—the conclusion.

Artifact
An artifact is the result of any human endeavor. An artifact in software development includes but is not limited to: requirements, specifications, architectures, designs, code, test plans and procedures, and other work product..

Assmosis
The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

Attribute
The smallest piece of information kept about something, e.g., invoice number is an attribute about an invoice. Synonyms are "fact" and "characteristic."

Autocracy
One person makes the decisions for everyone.


B
Balanced Scorecard
A technique that measures the four performance areas including customers, financial, growth, and learning; but does not measure balance.

Basic Design Agenda
A series of steps that are repeated throughout a detailed design workshop.

Bit
Short for "binary digit", after the binary code (1 or 0) computers use to store and process data.

Blamestorming
A group activity in which all members of a group spontaneously contribute names and reasons of persons and reasons for a failure or mistake. A meeting intended to determine whom is the cause of project failure, error in a report, or missing a deadline. This activity is typically not a facilitated activity, although it is usually led by a person most likely to be guilty of blame, and for whom the need to place blame on another is greatest. A multi-step activity that: (1) places blame on the innocent, (2) absolves the guilty, (3) and heaps praise on the uninvolved.

Bokodes
Tiny barcodes that could hold a million times more data than today’s scannable stripes. Bokodes represent data using a blur technique based on a Japanese photographic concept called bokeh.

Brainstorming
A three-step method in which all members of a group spontaneously contribute ideas. The first step consists of listing subject items without challenging. The second step provides analysis based on relevance and impact. The third step converges the ideas by codifying them and making them fully articulate and understood by outsiders.

Broker
What my broker has made me.

Bug
An error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in software that prevents it from working correctly or produces an incorrect result. Bugs arise from mistakes and errors, made by people, in either a program's source code or its design. “Defect” is a broader term than “bug,” in that “defects” may exist in specifications, requirements, documentation, tests, and plans, as well as in code..

Business Area
An area of the enterprise made up of a collection of processes all in support of a common business purpose. This is not an organization, but a process view such as Payables Management.

Business Function
A group of logically connected tasks performed together, in some logical sequence, to accomplish an objective or deliver a business product. Functions define who performs a process.

Business Intelligence
Learnings based on business information, past actions, and strategies for the future (ie, aligning intelligence with strategies to generate value).

Business Process Management
The systematic study and optimization of business processes. With a history rooted in the rise of manufacturing during the industrial age, the focus of most recent work is the definition and optimization of processes using computer software to handle some or all parts of a life-cycle such as design, modeling, execution, monitoring, and improvement.

Business Rules
The encoded knowledge of your business practice. An atomic piece of reusable business logic.

Business System
A method or procedure for executing a business process or processes.

Business Systems Design
The description of the underlying technology necessary to support a defined business system. The specification for programs, databases, communications, and architecture.

Byte
Eight bits, or enough information to create an English letter or number in computer code. It is the basic unit of computing.


C
Catalyst℠
A methodology for managing ideas including creation of ideas, gathering ideas, managing and improving ideas, and a means of selecting ideas; developed by Morgan Madison & Company specifically for new product development.

Center of Excellence
A support center for groups organized by technical, business, or some special competency that makes it easier to locate best practices and lessons learned.

Certification
Formal acknowledgement that someone has mastered a body of knowledge on a subject. FAST alumni who successfully complete the ~60 hour curriculum including Case Study assignment and demonstration are awarded a CFF or Certified FAST Facilitator status..

Champion
Someone who takes a passionate interest in promoting a particular solution such as a new process or product.

Change
To transform or give a different course of action.

Charette
A design session by one or a group of individuals; typically used to describe the event of group design of a building, device, or plan. Characterized by group (including sub-groups) collaboratively creating a design or plan rapidly, iteratively, with intensity, continuously (or near continuously). The process of iteration are also known as "design loops," which are intended to achieve design optimization.

Charettes are often used in architecture for building design, and by extension, in community planning. Charettes are also used in a variety of settings for any group decision-making activity.

A charette can be synonymous with an effectively facilitated group decison-making activity.

Charter
Document that specifies the scope, context, objectives, members, and plans of a project including business case, problem and goal statements, constraints and assumptions, and action plan.

Chili Grenade
A small explosive containing crushed bhut jolokia, the world's hottest chili. It was developed by the Indian army as a nontoxic way to immobilize combatants. India's military is also considering using a power made from the peppers as a repellent against stampeding elephants.

Class
A high level template for organizing objects or entities – items about which we keep information. A vendor is a class while a consulting group may be an object or entity within that class.

Cloud Computing
Computing power that has been dislocated from where it is consumed and when it is needed, allowing digital technology to penetrate every nook and cranny of the economy and society.

Cn
The proposed chemical symbol for Copernicium, named for Nicolaus Copernicus. One of the heaviest known elements, 277 times the weight of hydrogen, it’s also one of the rarest, only 34 atoms have ever been detected.

C O E
A center of excellence, typically organized by unit or function.

Coffee Pot
The Coffee Pot (or elevator) speech is helpful when you only have just a few minutes to explain your project, or you want to make sure every project team member delivers the same message. When developing your coffee pot, create some key thoughts regarding the project. Your listener will remember and take away a few choice topics, which they can cascade down to different levels of the organization.

Collaboration
A continuous feedback loop that enhances both the quality and the speed of communication and thereby the products created in requirements workshops.

Collaborative Learning
Collaborative learning is a process to enhance decision-making through shared understanding. Collaborative Learning uses ideas from soft systems methodology (a theory of learning) and alternative dispute resolution. Participants work together to learn more about the interrelation of their respective systems. The goal is not solving a particular problem, but improving a situation, which is framed as a set of interrelated systems. The shared knowledge (of individuals, systems, and processes) results in improved communication and thus improved negotiations. These improvements increase the learning capacity of the individuals and thus their collective organization.

Colophon
An inscription placed at the end of a book or document with facts relative to its production; writing this glossary for example; MacPro (hardware), DoubleSight (monitor), iWork's Pages (software), Radio Paradise (background music), Caribou (coffee), and Advil (drugs).

Committee
A group that spends hours to take minutes.

Communication Plan
Usually far more extensive than emails, the Communication Plan uses several channels to update, inform, and request feedback from stakeholders. The communication plan identifies the messages about the change that need to be spread through the organization. These include both the business messages (why the organization is undertaking the change, risks of not making the change, etc.) and the personal messages (how the project impact's a person's day-to-day work). The channels may include: ePostcards, eMagazines, updates, surveys, posters, and websites.

Community of Best Practices (aka CoP)
Also known as Community of Practice (CoP) or Center of Excellence (CoE). A team of people established to promote collaboration and the application (and replication) of best practices. Informal or formal collegial network of past and present co-workers, customers, instructors, and vendors to use as a ready source of job-related information, guidance, and assistance.

Complexipacity
Refers to the capacity to assimilate complex ideas, systems, problems, situations, interactions, or relationships.

Computer Program
A sequence of instructions suitable for processing by a computer. Processing may include the use of an assembler, a compiler, an interpreter, or a translator to prepare the program for execution. A computer program may be stored on magnetic media and referred to as “software,” or it may be stored permanently on computer chips, referred to as “firmware.” Computer programs suitable for a Peer Review Investigation include those used for design analysis, data acquisition, data reduction, data storage (databases), and operation or control..

Conflict Mapping
The activity of documenting, most often by diagram, a conceptual model of a conflict. The purpose of mapping is to express a person's or group's concept of a conflict, to communicate same to others, and to have a shared reference for diagnosis of the cause, nature of, and possible solutions to the conflict. The activity of conflict mapping is facilitator-led by a through a series of steps to include: stating the issue, identifying the involved/affected parties, identifying the major relevant interests (concerns) of the involved/affected parties, and identification of possible resolution sets. One of the important roles of the facilitator is to assure a neutrality through the process, recognize dysfunction within the group, ease the group through an often unfamiliar process, apply sensitivity to participants' often discordant interests, and structure a solution.

Consensus
A position reach by a group when everyone in the group can say, "I can live with it." That means that all participants may not find the outcome as their ideal solution, but it is not worth arguing about – they can live with it and can support it, they can sleep at night. DOES mean agreement about a reasonable approach that reflects the engaged thinking and reasonable concerns of stakeholders who agree to support it. DOES NOT mean unanimity, majority rule, or necessarily personal preference.

Consideration
An important management issue, constraint, or concern that will affect reaching the objectives.

Content
The substance offered up by participants or subject matter experts as a response to a question. Content could be based on fact, evidence, or even opinion.

Context
The form, method, shape, and tone of an answer or content but not the content itself. Context is like a blank template while content fills-in the blanks.

Context Diagram
This is a picture that represents the business and all those other businesses, systems, or people outside of this business who provide information or work and receive information or work relative to this business. This deliverable describes the scope of a business.

Continuous Improvement
The review, analysis, and rework meant to incrementally improve activities and processes. Also called Kaizen.

Converge
The final step in the brainstorming process. To move from a state of having many concepts to a state of having a focus on, and understanding of, fewer concepts worthy of further attention. The goal of convergence is for a group to reduce their cognitive load by reducing the number of concepts they must address.

Cookbook Agenda
A partially pre-built annotated agenda found in the FAST Reference Manual or online. Typically for a three day workshop, the cookbook agendas come as plain vanilla and require tuning to fit your personal tastes and cultural situation.

Corrective Action
Any measures taken to rectify conditions adverse to quality and, where possible, to preclude their recurrence; often in the form of a temporary correction or a permanent correction.

Countermeasure
Refers to the way proposed actions are directly addressed to existing conditions; recognizing that even apparent solutions inevitably create new problems.

Critical Success Factors
Issues, components, or considerations that are necessary for the success of a program, project, product, or process.

Cube Farm
An office space consisting of cubicle work spaces, or cubicles. Where prairie dogging is observed.
Wikipedia article defining Cubicle

Customer
May include users, consumers, demanders, commanders, and requestors. Any person or entity who interacts directly or indirectly with any business system, thus it can be a client within internal departments, a supplier from the procurement process, an employee, or someone who is ringing up the cash register.


D
Dashboard
Graphical representation of the status of a program, project, product, or process that typically uses green to indicate all is well, yellow to indicate caution, and red to indicate problems.

Data
Stuff generated by business events that is raw and without context like consumer data, product data, and transactional data: both structured and unstructured, quantitative and qualitative.

Database
Information organized, typically electronically, to provide access to decision-makers who need the information to meet their objectives.

Data Flow Diagram (DFD)
This picture represents the functions, stores of information, and their relationship for a given business. This is what goes on inside the business depicted in the context diagram. This deliverable describes functions of a business.

Data Model
See "Entity Relationship Diagram.".

Defect
An instance that is: A requirement, standard, or convention is not satisfied, or A requirement fails to represent the intended (client’s) purpose. A test fails to reveal that a requirement, standard, or convention is not satisfied.

Delphi Process
A virtual and anonymous method of gathering information from experts, usually through a series of iterations to increase the resolution or precision of the information, usually a prediction of future states or conditions.

Decision Support
A tool or mechanism that assists in analyzing information and arriving at a conclusion.

Deliverable
A realistic outcome that can be documented and explained to others.

Demand Planning
Method to predict, meet, and influence customer demand to improve the bottom line through more efficient manufacturing, smarter pricing and promotions, and fewer lost sales and reduced inventory. Might include historical sales analysis, scenario evaluation, baseline confirmation, twelve month projections, project planning, detailed design, and infrastructure changes.

Design Documentation (or Design Specification)
This deliverable is often called "specifications." This contains the descriptions of screens, reports, procedures, etc., which are required to describe exactly how a job is going to be done.

Detailed Design
A description of a business function at its most precise level. This includes a step-by-step description of tasks and their procedure.

Devil’s Advocate
A role established by the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century to criticize canonization decisions; i.e., to formalize the advocacy of and alternative decision.

Digital Ants
Virtual insects programmed to crawl through computer networks searching for worms and viruses. These busy little agents lay down digital "Pheromones" when they detect potential malware, attracting fellow ants. The threat can then be monitored by observing their swarming behavior.

DITA
DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is a technique for creating documentation incrementally and making it more reusable, allowing technical writers to spread out their work more evenly over a development cycle.

Diverge
The first step in the brainstorming process. To move from a state of having fewer concepts to a state of having more concepts. The goal of divergence is for a group to create concepts that have not yet been considered. Divergence can start with no concepts in place (i.e., from scratch) or with a number of concepts as starting points for inspiration, analysis, or elaboration.

DUMB
Not SMART, as in Dull, Ubiquitous, Myopic, and Broad

Document
Any written or pictorial information describing, defining, specifying, reporting, or certifying activities, requirements, procedures, or results.


E
English Shellcode
Malware embedded in ordinary English sentences by making the code resemble email and Wikipedia entries. John Hopkins researchers have revealed a new way that hackers might dodge antivirus software and hijack computers.

Enterprise Model
This is a picture of the business or enterprise at a high level. This depicts the primary business areas, processes, and classes of information required for a business to carry out its mission. This deliverable describes the scope of an enterprise.

Entity
This is any person, place, thing, event, or concept about which a business keeps information. Some methods use "entity" and "object" as synonyms.

Entity Relationship
A relation is the policy of how one entity relates to another entity. Example – "Each invoice is submitted by just one vendor." The relationship is "submitted by just one." That defines a business rule between vendors and invoices.

Entity Relationship Diagram
This deliverable documents all of the entity relations or business Diagram rules of a given business area. This is used to clarify business rules and, ultimately, aids in data base design and policy writing. Also "entity relationship model" (ERM). ERDs can be useful for any data or entity relationship system. An "entity" is considered a "thing," that is, a noun. The "relationship" is descriptive of how two entities relate, and may be thought of a verb. An entity and a relationship have one or more "attributes".

Entity Relationship Model
See "entity relationship diagram" and "Information Model."

Environment
The circumstances and conditions that surround a process, function, or activity.

Envisioning
Articulating a compelling vision, mission, and strategy that build on a multi-cultural and diverse perspective that connects employees, shareholders, suppliers, and customers on a global scale.

Essence
The essence of a system is a description of the processes that occur in even a perfect environment. The essence is a "logical" depiction of a system – that is, one without influence of technology, people (for errors), or other constraints not related to a perfectly run business. The essence is important in understanding what any business is really all about.

Exabyte
1,000 petabytes, equivalent to 10 billion copies of The Economist magazine.

External Business System Design
A description of the business process and tasks from a physical and logical point of view – not of the underlying technology that may be necessary to support the defined system.

External Interfaces
People, organizations, computer systems, etc. that communicate with the business process being discussed, but are not a part of the specific business process.


F
Facilitate
(Verb) The act of assisting or making easier an action, activity, event, process, or phenomenon; in our context, to Facilitate is to impartially control all tasks needed to conduct optimal meetings and workshops. To Facilitate is to serve the group by encouraging, aiding, and leading group decision-making.

Facilitative Leadership
The behaviors that enhance the collective ability of a group to adapt, solve problems, and improve performance. The key word here is collective; the facilitative leader's role is to foster the involvement of employees at all levels. According to David Conley and Paul Gold-man (1994) several key strategies are used by facilitative leaders: overcoming resource constraints; building teams; providing feedback, coordination, and conflict management; creating communication networks; practicing collaborative politics; and modeling an organization's vision.

Facilitation
(Noun) The condition of having something made easier. (Like a catalyst in that facilitation makes easy a previously difficult activity with little or no extra energy expended on the part of the group participants.)

In our context, Facilitation (n.) is the set of all tasks needed to impartially run a meeting. Facilitation serves the group to encourage, aid, and lead group decision-making. Facilitation does not "manage" nor entertain the group but does control the process.

Facilitation integrates the art of language, meaning, and people with the science of process and structure.

Facilitator
A neutral leader who makes a process easier, e.g., a Session Leader. The term Facilitator is derived partially from the Old French faculte via Latin facultås, or parallel form of facilitås. Both were derived from Latin faciilis or easy, an adjective formed from the verb facere, or to do. Retains a connotation of easiness whereas derivation meant closer to capability or power---combines the dimensions of both enable and empower that align well with Tuckman and similar models of group behavior.

Facipulation
A hybrid view of a facilitator who disburses content that may or may not be perceived as manipulating the group.

Familiarization
The process of gathering information about a subject or business without the objective of becoming an expert, i.e., Preparation.

FAST
Originally an acronym for "Facilitated Application Specification Technique." Since its origin in 1983, FAST has continuously evolved to become a highly structured, formal (but flexible) technique for guiding and directing the work of people in workshops and meetings. You may also think of it as the opposite of slow.

FAST was originally an improvement over JAD (a technique pioneered at IBM). FAST now embraces JAD, JAR, and numerous other methodologies (that have specific usefulness but are limited and lack the breadth and flexibility of FAST).

FAST has been effectively used to: improve the productivity of teams; reduce specification and design errors; shorten project duration; improve budget performance; develop implementable strategies; build cohesive support for plans; mediate disputes between individuals, departments, and organizations; and to manage the many types personalities that appear in every meeting and workshop.

FAST includes - and does not displace - analytical methodologies. FAST helps teams employ their favorite and most effective analytical methods - more efficiently and with more "ownership."

Fist of Five
Simple dispute resolution technique (used in a non-threatening environment) under which members of a group raise fist (to indicate a value of 0, or disagreement) or one or more fingers (to indicate values from 1 to 5) to express their level of agreement with a proposed solution, or understanding of a problem.

FIT
FIT (Framework for Integrated Tests) is an Open Source tool that creates annotated, human-readable specifications that also serve for the acceptance test. FIT as a tool to help teams communicate with each other by creating concrete examples of what the code should do. The examples are in table format. When text is added between the tables, the result is a readable specification. When FIT runs, it produces reports that are the input tables marked with green for tests that passed and red for tests that failed. This output can be kept on file for regulatory purposes or simply measured to determine how close to "done" the code is.

Five Whys
A tool of questioning that intends to break down a problem from the direct cause to subordinate causes and eventually the root cause. See Gemba.

Failure Mode Effects Analysis—FMEA
An extensive technique (also a FAST cookbook agenda) to determine the modes of failure and evaluating the consequence and options for each failure mode.

Frame
Think of a picture frame that the project team uses to look at a project's opportunities. The frame serves as the context for project planning and execution. A frame that is too small ignores larger issues that could present more difficulties or opportunities. One that is too large incorporates too much information and overwhelms the opportunity with too much information that is out of scope.

Function
A business activity that has no start or stop – an ongoing activity of a business area, such as Vendor Maintenance, that is tied to an organization, i.e., an implemented process tied to an organization.

Functional Specification
During software development, the functional specification details how the software product or application is supposed to achieve the tasks laid out in the Design Specification, which describes the Detailed Design.

Fuzzy
Lacking in specificity and objective measurement. Others recall Fuzzy as a bear without hair.


G
GAMEY
E-commerce giants including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, eBay, and Yahoo.

GANTT Chart
Visual representation of who does what and when that typically includes the start date, end date, and duration of tasks within the project.

Gemba
Also spelled "genba" with an "n", is the Japanese term for "actual place" describing the place where value creating work takes place. Also reflects a philosophy of empiricism—go to the gumbo to discover the truth.

Generica
Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, subdivisions.

Gigabyte
1,000 megabytes, from the word "giant" in Greek. A two-hour film can be compressed into one to two GB.

Goal
A directional statement that may remain fuzzy or subjectively measurable.

Governance
Oversight or support activities including:
  • Establish business intelligence priorities and align projects with corporate priorities and objectives,
  • Provide sign-off on business rules and business policy changes,
  • Communicate business rules and business policy changes to organizations,
  • Arbitrate conflicts across business units,
  • Provide guidance on future business directions and initiatives,
  • Obtain funding and resources for business intelligence efforts, and
  • Facilitate compliance with standards, policies, and process changes.

Graphene Electronics
Graphene is a one-atom-thick planar sheet of carbon atoms tightly packed into a two-dimensional (2D) honeycomb lattice that is a basic building block for graphitic materials. Graphene is essentially an isolated atomic plane of graphite. It can be wrapped up into 0D fullerenes, rolled into 1D nanotubes or stacked into 3D graphite.

Ground Rules
Guidelines for shaping the behavior of group participation during planning, analysis, and design workshops.

Group
A group leaves responsibility to someone else and does not commit to accomplishing the project goal. You may have, for example, a group of inmates.

Group Dynamics
The psychological aspect or conduct of an interpersonal relationship. This is the study of the interaction between people with a common objective in a closed environment.

Group Think
The situation in which participants' desire to be "as one" is viewed as more important than their individual points of view.

Guardian
Caring and protecting the value of what has been agreed upon or assigned.

Guiding Principle
See "Values."

Gulfo
A proposed pan-Arab currency modeled on the euro. Intended to replace the US dollar as the basis for oil pricing, the gulfo would be regulated by a new Gulf Monetary Council headquartered in Saudi Arabia.


H
Hansei
Japanese term for self-reflection—typically some form of look back or retrospect meeting to promote enduring learning and continuous improvement.

Hella
A proposed metric prefix for 1027, useful for describing megameasurements like Earth's mass (six hellagrams). The International Committee for Weights and Measures agreed to consider it after a Facebook petition garnered 30,000 signatures.

High-level
Discussion pertaining to broad business functions, areas, or problems. Not delving into detailed descriptions of business areas, processes, or components of functions.

Hoshin Kanri
Japanese terms translated as strategy/ policy alignment and deployment. Refers to the method of creating alignment around objectives and actions from the top of the company down to the work-group level, while at the same time bubbling ideas and initiatives from the bottom up or middle out.


I
Idea
Etymologically, an idea is the 'look' of something and is related to 'idol.' Can also be the embryonic view of a new product or process. In a complex sense, may be defined as a matched problem-solution statement supported with an opportunity assessment.

Ideation
The first of three steps in the brainstorming process, akin to diverge. Encouraging the free flow of ideas and options in a fast-paced, high-energy environment without discussion or judgment.

Indicator
Performance measures that track or predict results. Each objective can have several indicators and each indicator can have several attributes including:
  • Statement of Indicator - Break down the overall benefit into what you are measuring, why you care about this measure, and how the organization will use the measure;
  • Unique Identifier - Many reports and other functionality trace to measures;
  • Priority - Decision criteria based on the relative benefit of this indicator to the business objective, compared to other indicators;
  • Measure -Scale used to assess the delivery of value;
  • Timeline - When the organization will measure value delivered. Related to the timeline for delivery of the objective, but may not be the same; and,
  • Indicator Type -Key Performance Indicators (KPI) give the target range for success; Leading Indicators have a predictive quality. Lagging Indicators provide affirmation of results, displaced by time.

Inflection Point
The point on a curve that shifts from positive to negative or visa versa.

In differential calculus, an inflection point, or point of inflection (or inflexion) is a point on a curve at which the curvature changes sign. The curve changes from being concave upwards (positive curvature) to concave downwards (negative curvature), or vice versa.

Information
Data with context and meaning; for example, information about product purchases made by specific consumers (eg, facts and metrics). Could be the knowledge and insight gained by examining data.

Information Model
An information model is a graphical representation of how information or data entities relate to each other (a logical Data Model). This is a conceptual view of a business – conceptual in that it is completely devoid of physical attributes. An example is "Customers pay invoices." This defines the relationship between customers and invoices. See "Entity Relationship Diagram" or "Entity Relationship Model"; also referred to as "ERD" or ERM, respectively.

Innograd
The new name proposed for Skolkovo, a town near Moscow that the Russian government is trying to reinvent as a Slavic Silicon Valley. But because its architecture resembles Soviet science cities like Sverdiovsk-45, skeptics have dubbed it Cupertino-2.

Innovation
Doing something new or different that increases value-add for the organization, typically something that increases the top line or mitigates the middle line so that the bottom line is positively impacted.

Input
Information or work that comes into a business process.

Inspection
The examination or measurement of an item or activity to verify conformance to specific requirements. For example, “software inspections” are a disciplined approach to detect and correct defects in software artifacts, and to prevent defects from surviving into operations. Software inspections are common practice in organizations committed to certain quality approaches, such as ISO 9000, Six Sigma® (Motorola), Capability Maturity Model® (Carnegie-Mellon University).

Integrated
Holistic perspective that encourages the integration rather than exclusion of plurality or multiple perspectives.

Intellectual Property—IP
Information, including proprietary knowledge, technical competencies, and design information, that provides commercially exploitable competitive benefit to an organization.

Intelligence
Actionable information and insight used by information analysts (mostly internal) to achieve business objectives (e.g., trends, correlations, discovery, decision enablers). An operating network that has a way of controlling the flow of information and manipulating it -- in other words, problem-solving (ie, information plus action).

Interface
Another term for engagement; interface is the connecting of team members and stakeholders during a project.

Internal Rate of Return—IRR
The discount rate at which the present value of the future cash flows of an investment equals the cost of the investment. The discount rate with a net present value of zero.

Issues
Discussion points to which there exists disagreement amongst the group discussing, e.g., Open Items.


J
JAD - Joint Application Design
JAD is an acronym for "Joint Application Design." Chuck Morris and Tony Crawford of IBM developed JAD during the period 1977 through 1980. JAD was originally used to design computer systems - screens, reports, etc. Later, Tony Crawford added a process called "JAD Plan" to help develop the scope of work. JAD was an alternative to the typical approach of serial interviews of users by system analysts.

JAD is commonly thought of as an approach to systems analysis and design that emphasizes teamwork between user and technical expert (designer); today, this relationship is often between business systems analyst and architect or designer, or "the business people" and "the IT people." The defining characteristic of JAD is that small groups meet to determine system objectives and the business transactions that will be supported, using practical language, in a structured but natural and highly guided process. The workshops are run by a neutral facilitator who can move the group toward well-defined goals. Although not technically correct, JAD is also referred to as "joint application development" rather than "design".

JAR - Joint Application Requirements
JAR is an acronym for "Joint Application Requirements."


K
Kaizen
A Japanese term describing a process or philosophy of continuous, incremental improvement.

Kano Analysis
A quality management tool used to determine the most important requirements. Since all identified requirements may not be of equal importance to all customers, Kano Analysis helps rank requirements for different customers to determine which have the highest priority. Results can be used to prioritize efforts to satisfy different customers.

Kano (a Japanese researcher) claimed four types of customer needs or reactions to product characteristics or attributes:
  • The ‘Surprise & Delight’ factors: Make the product stand out from others; e.g., a passenger jet aeroplane that takes off vertically.
  • The ‘More is Better’: For example, a jet aeroplane that uses less fuel than competitive options.
  • The “Must Be’ items: Without these, the product is undesirable; e.g., a jet aeroplane that cannot meet airport noise regulations.
  • ‘Dissatisfiers’: Things that cause your customers not to like your product; e.g., a jet aeroplane that is uncomfortable to ride in.

Key
Of paramount or crucial importance.

KPI - Key Performance Indicator
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a critical measurement of the performance of essential tasks, operations, or processes. A KPI will usually unambiguously reveal conditions or performance that is outside the norm and that signals a need for managerial intervention. A KPI is particular to a specific operation; a KPI for one subordinate operation may not be "key" to a superior operation. A KPI can be quantitative or qualitative, objective or subjective, although preferably quantitative, unambiguous, and reliable.

Kilobyte
1,000 bytes, from "thousand" in Greek. One page of typed text is 2KB.


L
Legacy
Software elements (architecture, code, requirements) written specifically for one project and, without intent during its initial development, used on other projects. Most often the software that exists before a projects starts that is the context for the newly developed/installed software.

LEGO
A registered trademark and also an abbreviation of the two Danish words "leg godt", meaning to "play well."

Life Cycle
A series of defined phases in the process of designing, building, maintaining, and retiring a business system. See "SDLC."

Life Cycle Cost
The total cost of acquiring, owning, and operating over useful life. Associated costs may include: acquisition cost, training expenses, maintenance expenses, warranty costs, support, disposal, and opportunity costs due to downtime.

Linguistics
The nature, structure, and variation of language; including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics.

Logical
Logical refers to the graphical representation of a system or business that is devoid of technology. See "Essence.’


M
Management Perspective
The document that defines a workshop. It defines the workshop purpose, scope, and deliverables.

Manifesto
A public declaration of intentions, objectives, opinions, or motives.

Measure
How success in achieving the strategy will be measured. A standard unit used to express the size, amount, or degree of something. Important for a facilitator to challenge the underlying measurements for adjectives and adverbs such as quality and quickly.

Meeting
Three or more people that come together face-to-face or virtually (e.g., telepresence), to share information, solve problems, criticize or praise, make new decisions, or find out what went wrong with old ones. There are five common purposes for holding meetings:
  • Problem solving meetings
  • Decision-making meetings
  • Planning, analysis, or design meetings
  • Reporting and presenting (ie, ‘feedforward’)
  • Reacting and evaluating (ie, ‘lookback’)

Megabyte
1,000 kilobytes, from "large" in Greek. The complete works of Shakespeare total 5MB. A typical pop song is about 4MB.

Memristor
Resistor with memory meaning that the resistance changes with fluctuations in electrical charge. When the charge is turned off, the element remembers the last resistance. Hypothesized in 1971 as the fourth basic circuit element in addition to resistor, inductor, and capacitor, memristors could make brain like computing possible at a nano scale.

Metaphor
A thing (symbol, image, or figure of speech) regarded as representative or symbolic of something else. From Greek metaphora meaning to transfer

Meter
Standardized in 1983 to the length equal to the distance traveled by light in a vacuum in (1 / 299,792,458) second.

Method
A systematic way of completing tasks required for the development of a system or a complex solution. Each method should produce a deliverable and have one function (e.g., perform risk assessment).

Methodology
A body of methods, rules, and postulates used by a discipline. A process provides the framework to implement a methodology.

Meeting Wrangler
(orig. Texas) Facilitator (probably from the association with horse-wrangler, a ranch hand who takes care of the saddle horses); in organizations, the corporate hand who takes care of the meeting attendees. (We're kidding. Thanks for the submission, Art W.)

Mind Map
An unstructured diagram that shows groupings of ideas and concepts associated with a central theme or topic. A mind map starts with a central image or idea, which forms a focus for both eye and brain. It then branches out in an organic manner, with each branch representing a grouping or category.

Mission
This statement about a group defines their reason for existence, their product or service, and their customer or market.

Morpheme
The smallest linguistic unit that has semantic meaning.

Mouse Potato
The on-line equivalent to a couch potato.


N
Natural Language Processing
A convention for attempts to use computers to process natural language.

Nemawashi
(Japanese) Term based on "ne" or root and "mawashi" or twist—refers to the consensus building process of aligning the organization around goals or objectives. A technique of soliciting feedback and support informally, through serial one-on-one reviews of a proposal, idea, or initiative. Sometimes known as a "walk around," as in walking around a project idea or business case with various subject matter experts, department heads, or executives.

Useful when the organizational structure allows a person to vote "no" to kill an idea but no (or few) individuals are charged with responsibility for a deciding "yes." The absence of a "no" in a formal review or presentation often connotes a decision to proceed, thus the "walk around" to air all worthy objections prior to a formal review or presentation.

Netiquette
In any social interaction, certain rules of etiquette are expected and contribute to more enjoyable and productive communication. The following are tips for interacting online via e-mail or discussion board messages, adapted from guidelines originally compiled by Chuq Von Rospach and Gene Spafford:
  • Remember that the person receiving your message is someone like you, deserving and appreciating courtesy and respect.
  • Be brief; succinct, thoughtful messages have the greatest effect.
  • Your messages reflect on you personally; take time to make sure that you are proud of their form and content.
  • Use descriptive subject headings in your e-mails.
  • Be careful when you use humor and sarcasm; absent the voice inflections and body language that aid face-to-face communication, Internet messages are easy to misinterpret.
  • When making follow-up comments, summarize the parts of the message to which you are responding.
  • Avoid repeating what has already been said; needless repetition is ineffective communication.
  • Cite appropriate references whenever using someone else’s ideas, thoughts, or words.

Net Present Value—NPV
Method to evaluate comparable investments in very dissimilar projects by discounting the current and projected future cash inflows and outflows back to the present value based on the discount rate, or cost of capital, of the organization.

Nominal Group Technique (NGT)
Nominal group technique is an approach to group activity. NGT can be applied to ideation, analysis, and decision-making, as examples. It involves two major steps: first, individual (private) ideation, and second, a group discussion of the individually created ideas (or analysis, or decision). Thus, members' contributions are made in "parallel" and "cooperatively," with an intent to maximize the performance of the group to suit the individual styles of the members.

The benefits of NGT are that undercontributing members (of the group) have an opportunity to contribute through individual activity (such as ideation), and that overactive members will have their dominance reduced. This approach balances the level of contribution from all group members.

NGT may be applied where the facilitator feels that group activities may inhibit individual creativity and participation. NGT can balance and increase participation; improve representativeness of individuals or subgroups; stimulate reluctant participants; and to avoid/reduce errors in gathering individual input into group decisions.

In NGT, the facilitator guides participants in individual structured activity, such as voting (as in decision-making), or more commonly in writing ideas silently (rather than offering ideas vocally and possibly competitively or in a round-robin broadcast). NGT can be employed to control the level of intensity and interaction (or lack thereof) in a workshop/meeting.


O
Object
This is an entity along with all of the incorporated methods or procedures for operating on the information about that entity.

Objective
A desired position reached or achieved by some activity by some time. Objectives provide measurable performance.

Object Model
This is a deliverable that documents the objects of a given business along with the messages they send to each other to cause some action to occur and the types of operations permitted for each object.

Objective
Objectives are measurable restatements of goals. "Objectives" must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based targets for a group. Each objective (for a project or organization) can have several indicators and each indicator can have several attributes including:
  • Statement of Organizational Need - A description of a capability the organization will have when the objective is fulfilled. Use it to set project focus and direction;
  • Unique Identifier - Unambiguous naming for a human-useful chunk of information. This is the foundation for analysis and review of requirements;
  • Benefits - Define the value the business will gain by meeting this objective—the return on investment in the business case. Benefits are quantified in detail using Indicators;
  • Alignment - Directly and explicitly trace the benefits to the organizational vision, mission, goals, strategy, etc. to build organizational support for the project;
  • Priority - Relative importance of this objective to the business case. Use as a decision criteria for Go/No Go decisions, prioritization by value and sequencing of work activities;
  • Timeline - Establish earliest and latest dates or conditions when the business case is still valid and delivery of benefits will be maximized; and
  • Owner - Person or group with authority to make decisions about the validity of the objective.

Ohnosecond
The split second when a person realizes he/she has just made a BIG mistake (e.g. you've hit 'reply all').

Oligarchy
A few people make the decisions for everyone.

Organization
This is an arbitrarily defined group of people in a business. Accounts Payable is an organization. Organizations occur at all levels (e.g., Accounts Payable is an organization within the Accounting Department).

Organizational Chart
This deliverable describes or documents how organizational units are related – i.e., who reports to whom. This can be hierarchical, matrix, or any other form appropriate to a group.

Organization Development (OD)
A body of knowledge and field of professional expertise whose goal is the improvement of organizational performance through focus on individual (human) and team performance and interaction. Practically applied, OD may impact strategic planning (process for, and individual inclusion in), leadership development (practices, skills, and values), organization design (structure, succession, performance measurement), and training (skills, experiences, coaching, work/family balance).
 
Structured facilitation supports organizational development through its significant contribution to team work performance and team/individual commitment to goals. As a skill, structured facilitation enhances an individual's performance through a superior understanding of group behavior, values, dysfunctions, commitment, and performance.

One Page Project Manager —OPPM
Method to communicate and manage any project with a single sheet of paper. See author Clark Campbell for original source.

Output
Work or information that goes out of a process.


P
Parking Lot
A device for dealing with topics that are relevant to the project but not to the current scope of activities. Can also be referred to as “Open Issues” or “Refrigerator.”

Participatory Dialogue
As defined by the United Nations, Participatory Dialogue is defined as a process that provides people with safe space and opportunity to engage in communication and action based on rights and responsibilities.
 
The UN Charter articulates a determination to "practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours." The goal "to build a safe, stable and just society for all, and achieve sustainable development and peace" is enabled by efforts "to facilitate people’s full participation, and foster mutual understanding and accommodation through participatory dialogue."    United Nations link

 
PDCA - PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT
PDCA/PDSA (PDSA = Plan-Do-STUDY-Act) refers to a continuous quality improve model made popular by Edward Deming's work in quality management. Also known as the "Deming Cycle" and the "Deming wheel of continuous improvement." The concept originated from the 1920s (a statistics expert, Walter Shewhart) as PLAN-DO-SEE.
  • PLAN: plan the change; analyze and predict results
  • DO: execute the plan in incremental changes; control the environment
  • CHECK/STUDY: check your progress/study the results
  • ACT: act to standardize work and/or refine the process

Peer Review
A workshop activity where persons other than the author of a work product examine the work product to identify defects and opportunities for improvement.

P/E Ratio
The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

Perceptual Mapping
A quantitative tool used to help groups prioritize. Perceptual maps are visual representations of the positions that sets of options hold relative to the decision criteria..

Percussive Maintenance
The fine art of whacking an electronic device to get it to work again. Persistent and vigorous use of this technique can render an electronic device permanently non-functional. Becoming non-functional can occur to the person performing this technique to another person's gadget. Not to be confused with preventative maintenance.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique—PERT
PERT stands for a Program Evaluation and Review Technique. The origin is attributed to the Polaris project in 1959. An event-oriented network analysis technique used to estimate project duration when there is a high degree of uncertainty in estimates of duration times for individual activities.

Petabyte
1,000 terabytes, all the letters delivered by America's postal service this year that will amount to around 5PB. Google processes around 1PB every hour.

Physical
Physical refers to a graphical representation of a business or system that includes all the necessary technical and physical attributes needed to build the system.

Plan
An orderly arrangement of the parts of an overall design; a detailed program. In the context of a workshop, a Plan captures the actions and next steps delivered consensually during a meeting or workshop; largely equivalent to "who does what different tomorrow."

Policy
Permissible Objects of Postability (ie, mailable objects without envelopes or boxes).

POOP
This is a business rule – how a business wishes to manage its process and or information.

Power Asymmetry
An imbalance in power within a group. One or more people hold a power, real or perceived, over others in the group.

Prairie Dogging
When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.

Procedure
This is the step-by-step process for carrying out a specific activity. This defines how a job is to be done.

Process
A set of interrelated resources and activities that transforms inputs into outputs.

A business process or business method is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific service or product (serve a particular goal) for a particular customer or customers. It often can be visualized with a flowchart as a sequence of activities.

Examples of processes include analysis, design, data collection, operation, fabrication, and calculation. The essential actions in a business – what must be done irrespective of who or how. This covers all levels – from "Customer Maintenance" down to "Set up customer." A process is the underlying "what" of a procedure’s "how."

Process Decomposition Diagram
This deliverable documents how the processes of a given business area are organized. For example, Payable Management includes Vendor Maintenance, which has an activity of Set Up Vendor. This illustrates a process view – not an organizational view.

Program
This is synonymous with "Project." This is a specific set of tasks, with defined start and stop dates, in support of a business strategy.

Program Manager
The organizational leader charged with responsibility of executing a portfolio of projects.

Project Management
The set of people, tools, techniques, and processes used to define the project’s objectives, plan the necessary, lead the project and support teams, monitor progress, and ensure that the project is completed satisfactorily.

Project Plan
A formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and control. The plan includes assumptions and decisions,approved scope, cost, and schedule deadlines, and facilitates communication among stakeholders.

Project Size
The estimated or actual number of corporate effort hours (data processing and business personnel) required to deliver a system from requirements through installation. For convention: Small projects are those under 2000 effort hours. Medium projects are those between 2001 and 10,000 effort hours. Large projects are those over 10,000 effort hours. Very large projects are those over 20,000 effort hours.

Project Sponsor
The authorization and funding source of the project. The person who defines the project objectives and to whom the final results are presented. Typically a senior manager.

Project Team
A multifunctional group of individuals chartered to plan and execute a project.

Psychomythology
The collected body of misinformation about human nature.

Purpose
The intended reason for an enterprise, business unit, portfolio, project, workshop, activity, or question. The primary reason that each exists.


Q
Quality Function Deployment—QFD
A structured method that uses a matrix analysis for linking requirement to proposed accomplishments. This method is most frequently used during the stage of development when a multifunctional team agrees on how customer needs relate to specifications and the features of the product or process that deliver those needs. By explicitly linking these aspects of design, QFD minimizes the possibility of omitting important characteristics or interactions across design characteristics. QFD is also an important mechanism in promoting multifunctional teamwork. Developed and introduced by Japanese auto manufacturers.

Quantum Film
A hypersensitive light sensor designed to replace conventional CMOS and CCD units in digital cameras. Embedded with quantum dots that convert photons into excitons the sensor can capture nearly 100 percent of available light.

Quantum Computing
Bits of information (qubits) that can convey a value of one, zero, or both because certain subatomic particles can exist in more than one state (known as superposition).

Quality
The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to meet the stated or implied needs and expectations of the client/customer.

Quantum Trampoline
An instrument that measures gravity by using laser pulses to repeatedly bounce chilled atoms. Once it's out of the lab, the new device could aid in oil prospecting.


R
RAD
This is a process that short cuts the standard life cycle to enable delivery of systems faster. Its basis is to analyze data and design process.

RASI
RASI is an acronym for the result of a workgroup activity that identifies the roles, responsibilities, and timing during change processes. It can be applied to initiatives, platform projects, activities, or tasks. Specifically it identifies who is:
  • Responsible (ie, owns the action),
  • Accountable (ie, must sign off or approve),
  • Supports (ie, can provide resources or can play a supporting role in implementation), and
  • Informed (ie, must be notified of results)

Derivations include: ALRIC, LACTI, RACI, RASCI, RASIC, and PARIS (all are explained more fully in class).

RDM
Robust Decision making is a framework for making decisions with a large number of highly imperfect forecasts of the future. The four basic steps are:
  • Consider ensembles of large numbers of scenarios;
  • Seek robust rather than optimal strategies that do well across a broad range of plausible futures;
  • Employ adaptive strategies; ie, evolving over time in response to new information; and
  • Use tools designed for interactively exploring multiple plausible futures (eg; AI, savant workshops, etc).

Re-Engineering
This is a term for doing analysis and design for optimal performance – analyze business and design procedures and systems.

Representative Democracy
A few people are elected to make the decisions for everyone—in a majority rule democracy, the majority makes the decisions for everyone.

Requirement
A formal statement of a need and the expected manner that the need is to be met.

Resource
This is something of substance for a business – such as funds, human resources, or customers. A resource can be equated to a subject area in a business.

Resource Life Cycle
This deliverable describes all of the resources for a given business, their life cycle (birth to death value-added functions), and the precedence between resources. This deliverable is used to define an enterprise architecture and series of subject areas.

Responsibility Matrix
This deliverable documents who is responsible for each task or activity. Can be used to document responsibilities at all levels of detail – from an organization’s responsibility for projects down to a person’s responsibility for a task (RASI).

Result
A result is an outcome, product, intentions met, or objectives accomplished; the effect arising from a cause.

Return on Investment—ROI
A standard measure of project profitability, this is the discounted gains or profits over the life of the project expressed as a percentage of initial investment.

Rhetoric
The process of adjusting ideas to people and people to ideas.

Risk
An event or condition that may or may not occur, but if it does occur will impact the ability to achieve a project’s objectives.

Risk Management
An organized, systematic decision-making process that efficiently identifies, analyzes, plans, tracks, controls, communicates, and documents risk to increase the likelihood of achieving program/project goals.

ROS
Robot Operating System. Open source software intended to do for robots what DOS did for home computers, providing a common platform so developers can smoothly swap apps between, say, the Mars Rover and a Roomba.

ROWE
Results-oriented work environment.

RUP
RUP (Rational Unified Process) is an approach for software design created by Rational Software Corporation. (Rational is now owned by IBM.) RUP is characterized by iterative design (a macro model of development) derived from an understanding of common modes of software development failures (such as too much complexity, inadequate testing, and ad hoc/unstructured requirements gathering). It is a framework (that is, "basic conceptional structure") and is distinguished as not being a specific method or methodology.


S
Salmon Day
The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

Scope
The areas, functions, etc, covered by the effort. Scope defines boundary and may be defined separately for a business, portfolio, project, workshop, and question. A broad definition of the who, what, when, why, where, and how associated with project goals and objectives.

Scoville Heat Unit
The Scoville heat unit is the closest thing to a standard for measuring the heat in a pepper. It is a measurement that involves adding sugar to a solution until one can no longer taste the pepper. The more sugar, the higher the spice, the greater the measurement in Scoville units. By this measurement, a habanero pepper at 250,000shu is about six times hotter than a tabasco pepper at 40,000shu.

Scrum
Scrum is an iterative development methodology, typically for product or software development, based on Lean Principles. Though not an acronym, some companies implementing the technique have been known to adhere to an all capital letter expression of the word. Although Scrum was intended for management of software development projects, it can be used to run software maintenance teams, or as a general project/program management approach.

Seagull Manager
A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

Second
Standardized in 1967 to the time it takes for a cesium-133 atom to cycle 9,192,631,770 times between two specific quantum states.

Secret
Something you tell to everyone, one person at a time.

Semantic Data Model
While semantics is the study of meaning in communications, ontologies are formal models of domains of interest used to build inorganic intelligence and knowledge management for computer reasoning, data classification, and normalization of linguistics and text analysis such as being used to support the semantic Web.

Semantic Gap
Misunderstanding due to language or jargon differences.

Semi-structured Data
A form of structured data that does not conform to the formal structure of tables and data models associated with databases but contains nonetheless tags or other markers to separate semantic elements and hierarchies of records and fields within the data.

Session Leader
A prepared facilitator. Someone who gets meetings to start and end on time, designs a practical agenda, keeps the meeting on track, deals with people who talk too much or criticize too much, increases groups participation, helps groups generate more creative solutions, and helps nail down accountability and consensus.

Shake
Ten nanoseconds.

Shaping
The process of planning and executing specific actions to inform, change behavior, and build awareness from the current state to the desired state.

Should Be Map
A version of a process map depicting how a process will work in the future. A revised "as-is" process map. The intent or result of a team’s re-engineering work.

Shusa
Japanese term for rank, typically an individual with broad responsibility for setting the vision and assuring the successful delivery of a product or project. Sometimes referred to as a mini-shusa or a functional manager responsible for a smaller area of responsibility or a smaller project.

SIPOC
A use case tool that captures the following items in order of the term: S=Source, I = Input, P=Process (or activity), O=Output, and C=Client (or customer of the output).

Six Sigma
Six Sigma at many organizations is a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven philosophy and methodology for eliminating defects (driving towards six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process. A level of process performance that produces only 3.4 defects for every one million operations.
 
The statistical representation of Six Sigma describes quantitatively how a process is performing. To achieve Six Sigma, a process must not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. A Six Sigma defect is defined as anything outside of customer specifications. A Six Sigma opportunity is then the total quantity of chances for a defect.

SMART
SMART is an MG Rush-created acronym for Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Reliable, and Time-based. This acronym is used to as mnemonic to qualify goals, as in "Our goals must be 'SMART' - specific, measurable, adjustable, reliable, and time-based."

Software
Computer programs, procedures, rules, and associated documentation and data pertaining to the development and operation of a computer system. Software includes programs and operational data. This also includes commercial off-the-shelf, modified off-the-shelf, reuse, auto code generated, firmware, and open source software components.

Sparkline
A term coined by Dr Edward R Tufte to capture a one-inch line that displays multiple dimensions. In sports for example, one colored line could show four variables: wins/ losses, sequence, home/ away, shutouts, etc.

Spaser
The first nano-scale laser, so called because light is produced using surface plasmons instead of photons. Small enough to fit no computer chip, spacers could pave the way for optical computers with processing speeds of up to 100 teraHertz.

Specifications
A detailed and exact statement of functions, procedures, screens, reports, materials, etc., required to build a given system.

Sponsorship
How to secure the right sponsor (or sponsors) and what they must do throughout the change process to achieve successful implementation. The sponsor has change management responsibilities; including active and visible participation, coalition building, and communication of business messages about the change.

Stage
A set of concurrently accomplished tasks, with specified outcomes and deliverables, of the overall process development.

Stage Gate Process
A method that divides project effort into distinct time-sequenced stages separated by management decision gates. Multifunctional teams must successfully complete a prescribed set of related cross-functional tasks in each stage prior to obtaining management approval to proceed to the next stage of development.

Stakeholder
All those who have a vested interest in a project or are impacted in some way are stakeholders. Key stakeholders have influence on project decisions, but are not formally on the project team. Stakeholders, such as clerical staff, if overlooked, can cause redoes or serious misalignment in project rollouts.

Strategic Plan
This is a plan (a detailed method or sequence of activities and resources) that defines the means by which a person or organization intends to achieve their primary goal. Each goal should have a "strategy" designed to achieve the goal. Typically, a strategy will require multiple courses of action, goals for each (that complement the primary goal), and thus substrategies (tactics) to achieve the primary strategy. A strategic plan often consists of a hierarchy of goal-strategy-subgoals-substrategies- (and so on) . . .

A plan is "strategic" in that is describes the direction, resources, contingencies, and steps within to achieve a goal.

A strategic plan usually differs from a tactical plan by (a) novelty of vision, (b) primacy of goal, (c) complexity, (d) duration/horizon, and (e) quantity or value of resources to be applied.

A strategic plan provides many benefits, including: (a) normalization of goals, values, and principles, (b) clarification of primary goal(s), (c) alignment and prioritization of interests, (d) clear allocation of resources, (e) consideration of alternatives, and (f) a tool to communicate same for internal and external stakeholders.

A "strategic" plan has many characteristics, and among them: (a) definition of the organization, (b) the organization's vision and mission, (c) primary direction and alternatives, (d) key interim milestones, and (e) resources necessary to enable the strategy.

Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning is the process of answering the questions: "Where are we going? What should we be doing? and How will we do it?" In organizations, it is the planning that embraces the entire enterprise (cross function) and intended for various horizons, and considers significant future events that have the potential to radically alter the organization; "far, wide, and high-level."

Strategy
A strategy is a statement of what an organization should be doing to achieve its objectives. Strategies have no start or end dates. Strategies contain many programs or projects.

Status Meeting
A place where everybody lies.

Structured Data
Any data kept in an electronic record, where each piece of information has an assigned format and meaning.

Sub-Process
See "Process"

System
A set of relationships that form an identity as a whole. The combination of elements that function together to produce the capability required to meet a need. In information technology, the "system" elements include all hardware, software, equipment, facilities, personnel, processes, and procedures needed for a purpose.

System Development Life Cycle or SDLC
A system development life cycle (SDLC) is a way of separating a Life Cycle (SDLC) system development project into distinct groups of activities and providing management checkpoints. Each grouping of activities is commonly called a "Phase." Typically, the SDLC includes these phases: conception of the product (or application), design, development, testing, and finally shipping the tested product (or application). Referred to by some as Software Development Life Cycle


T
Target
The level of performance or improvement needed.

Task
The smallest describable unit of accomplishment in completing a deliverable.

Taxonomy
Data governance classifications such as document type, document file format, owner, sensitivity, access control, criticality, access frequency, and retention length.

Team
Two or more draft animals harnessed together. Just kidding. The team represents the participants in attendance and may include those with an excused absence. A team is focused on figuring out how to reach the goal they have jointly agreed to meet; e.g., a project team. People who work side by side are not necessarily a team, even when they sum up their individual efforts into a collective result. A work group becomes a team when the members hold themselves mutually accountable to produce a "collective work product." See The Wisdom of Teams, by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, Harvard Business School Press, 1992.

Technical Review
A documented critical review of work that has been performed within the state-of-the-art. The review is accomplished by qualified reviewers who are independent of those who performed the work but are collectively equivalent in technical expertise to those who performed the original work. The review is an in-depth analysis and evaluation of documents, activities, material, data, or items that require technical verification or validation for applicability, correctness, adequacy, completeness, and assurance that established requirements have been satisfied.

Technique
Describes how to conduct methods (ie, approaches that have proven effective in accomplishing methods).

Technology Road Map
A graphic representation of technology evolution or technology plans mapped against time. It is used to guide business development for or technology selection in developing new products or processes.

Terabyte
1,000 gigabytes, from "giant" in Greek. All the catalogued books in America's Library of Congress total 15TB.

Text Rage
Physical assault provoked by uncouth texting. The first documented case of the phenomenon left a teenage girl in a coma. Her 15yr old assailant was charged with attempted murder.

The
Definite article to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent; e.g., gerund, has been previously specified by context or by circumstance.

Thing
See "Entity"

Thingette
See "Attribute"

Tools
Devices that are used to execute/complete a method.

Total Quality Management
An improvement philosophy that comprehensively and continuously involves all of an organization’s resources and functions in improvement activities.

TRIZ
A collection of methods and philosophies centered on the notion that invention can be a structured and prescribed process (rather than divine or spontaneous event). Ascribed to Genrich Altshuller as the developer, and dated to 1946. TRIZ is built on the opportunity to resolve contradictions between concurrent (and generally conflicting) goals (as in engineering design). Resolving the conflicts may result in invention. The promise of TRIZ is to create a "science of invention."

Transaction
The act of carrying out a business function. The defined procedures and associated computer and manual steps needed to accomplish the process.

Twip
One-twentieth of a typesetting point.

U
Unstructured Data
Any data stored outside a formatted database. This can include e-mail messages, complicated reports, presentations, voice mail, still images, and video.


V
Validation
Proof that the product accomplishes the intended purpose; may be determined by a combination of test, analysis, and demonstration. Software validation also includes software peer review and inspection. "Are we building the right product?" The software should do what the user really requires.

Values
These are what an organization believes in such as "the Customer is always right." They are used to guide everyday decision-making and resolve conflict.

Verification
Proof of compliance with specifications by objective evidence through test or examination; may be determined by a combination of test, analysis, demonstration, and inspection. In design and development, verification is the process of examining a result of a given activity to determine conformance to the stated requirements for that activity. "Are we building the product right?" The software should conform to its specification.

Virtual Team
Dispersed teams that communicate and work primarily electronically.

Vision
This is a clear and compelling image of the desired end results in sufficient detail that it can be recognized it as complete once accomplished. This sets the overall direction for a business. Objectives support the vision. A Vision is intended for planning and communication, thus a Vision should be purposefully articulated to bridge the present and future; it should serve as a critical impetus for change; it should be brief, memorable, and sufficiently complete to direct effort.

Voice of the Customer
A technique that categorizes customer needs as expectors (customers take these needs for granted, and they'd be disappointed if they weren't addressed), unspokens (customers don't state these needs, but they'd be upset if the needs weren't addressed), spokens (the needs that the customers tell you about), or delighters (the needs that are exciting to customers but whose absence would result in few adverse effects).

Vook
An ebook with embedded video content. Designed to be read on a computer or iPhone, the first four vooks included a fitness manual with exercise clips and a romance with atmospheric footage.

Vulcan Nerve Pinch
The taxing hand position required to reach all the appropriate keys for some computer commands.


W
Walkthrough
A less intensive form of review (than an “inspection”). Walkthroughs do not provide measured results, do not have the formality of an inspection, or documented output. As a result, walkthroughs are not consistent with the implementation of statistical process control for software design, development, or maintenance.

WBS
Work breakdown structure.

Web 1.0
Brochureware, consumer driven communications.

Web 2.0
Interaction, search, provider driven—key words are used to organize data into digestible nuggets for search engines.

Web 3.0
Semantic web where all information is categorized and stored in such a way that both a computer and human can fathom what it empirically represents. Taxonomies---standardized and self-describing classifications with codified semantics that are related to one another via highly normalized and descriptive metadata. Personalized search that predicts future behavior and consumption patters.

Whiteboard
Similar in purpose to a chalkboard, a whiteboard is a laminate board with a white glossy finish designed to receive non-permanent marker ink. Whiteboards are typically used for instruction, collaboration, and visual management. They are known as "dry erase" or "dry wipe" boards. A digital whiteboard captures markings on the whiteboard digitally for recording and/or transmission. An electronic whiteboard is analogous to the whiteboard. It simulates a whiteboard on a computer screen. Electronic whiteboards permit multiple simultaneous users to communicate and collaborate locally and remotely.

Word of Finger
Marketing communicated via the keystrokes of social media. It attracts advertisers because unlike traditional word of mouth, it can be monitored through Twitter and Facebook.

Workout
Workshop with highly cross-functional participants that meet to fix workflow or process problems and take unnecessary work out of work. Requires a sponsor to ensure that recommendations are embraced. Agenda follows an issue, symptoms, root causes, cost-benefit analysis format.

Workshop
A meeting focused on one topic using steps in the agenda that require a specified sequence, relying upon a qualified and content-neutral facilitator to manage the conflict and get done on time.


X
 
Y
YAGNI
YAGNI stands for "You Aren't Going to Need It," capturing the sentiment of "no extra features" or "write less code."

Yawn
An honest opinion openly expressed.

Yottabyte
1,000 zettabytes, currently too large to imagine. Zetta and Yotta were set in 1991 by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.


 
Z
Zettabyte
1,000 exabytes, the total amount of information in existence 2010 is forecast to be around 1.2ZB. Zetta and Yotta were set in 1991 by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.


LINK INSTRUCTIONS

We welcome links to the facilitators' glossary. You can link can point to this page or to a particular group (by letter) of terms, or to a particular word.

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  • Link to a specific word (anchors are in lower case) using:
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