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[business case] [contingency] [estimate] [plan] [pripiska] [problem] [programme] [project] [risk] [scope/scoping/scope-creep] [stakeholder]

Business Case

A business case is a management argument supporting an investment or procurement judgement. Specifically, it supports the adoption by a specific organization of a specific solution, and is centred around what people might actually do. 
Veryard Project Papers Making the Business Case (pdf)

Developing a Business Case
Infrastructure and its Cost-Justification


Project Management

A quantity added to a budget or schedule to allow for uncertainty.

Risk Management

A specified response to a specified event.

Systems Theory

A variation in style or tactics for different conditions.

Veryard Project Papers Three Notions of Contingency


A numerical claim about the costs, delivery schedule or other characteristics of a current or future project. Estimates are typically expected to satisfy several contradictory expectations.
To be an accurate prediction or forecast of the project.
To be a commitment on the part of project manager and project team.
To be a bargaining counter between the project and its customers. (Customers assume estimates are inflated and try to bargain them downwards; projects inflate estimates as a precaution against customers trying to bargain them downwards.)
Veryard Project Papers Project Estimation



Ja, mach nur einen Plan.
Sei nur ein grosses Licht!
Und mach dann noch 'nen zweiten Plan
Gehn tun sie beide nicht.

[Brecht, The Threepenny Opera]

Make a single plan - 
so everyone's enlightened. 

'Cos if you make a second plan
everyone'll be too frightened.

There are several common uses of the word 'plan'. In Lucy Suchman's excellent book, plans are contrasted with what she calls Situated Actions. 
Veryard Project Papers Planning

Organic Information Planning An alternative to top-down information strategies

Infrastructure and its Cost-Justification

see also Confucius on planning

Pripiska (Russian)

A report exaggerating the extent to which the plan has been fulfilled.
[source B. Kagarlitsky, The Dialectics of Change (Verso, 1990) p 255]

Pripiska is a key component of what John Gall calls the Potemkin Village Effect (PVE). "The PVE is especially pronounced in Five-Year Plans, which typically report sensational over-achievement during the first four-and-a-half years, followed by a rash of criminal trials of the top officials and the announcement of a new and more ambitious Five-Year Plan, starting from a baseline somewhat lower than that of the preceding Plan, but with higher goals.

[source John Gall, Systemantics]



issue, error, gap, inconsistency, hole, lack, opportunity
Literally, a problem is something that sticks out, demanding some kind of intervention or resolution.  Most solvable problems take the form of the actual falling short of the possible.

Usually, problems only trigger action when they are judged to be of sufficient size or value.

Within various discourses, there is an imperative to replace the word ‘problem’ with some other word or phrase.  For example, some managers adopt a no-nonsense practical manner, repeating such catch-phrases as: “We don’t have problems, we have opportunities”, or “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions”.  (This leads to the ironic use of substitute words as opportunity or challenge, as in “intractable opportunity”.)  At the other extreme, there is resistance to the notion that there might be anything so straightforward as a problem.  In this discourse, the word problem is replaced by such sociologically correct euphemisms as “problematic situation”.

If the former can be interpreted as a form of resistance to the latter, perhaps the converse is also true.  There can often be an interesting opposition between these two extreme attitudes towards problems.


Not just a mega-project, but an assembly of projects and other activities, often with political conflicts over values and intentions, as well as resources and technical matters.
Veryard Project Papers Programme Management


A project is a parcel of work. A project has an objective, a scope, and a set of participant/roles, although these terms of reference often change over the duration of the project. A project may be established by a contract, or other explicit agreement. A project usually has a sponsor and a project management process.
Veryard Project Papers Project Types

Project Ethics


A hypothetical future event that causes a change to some future outcome or scenario, thereby reducing the value of something. A lack of knowledge about the future.

Risk management addresses the extent to which individuals and groups within the organization face up to (or retreat from) the challenges and uncertainties of the task.

Veryard Project Papers Risk Management

Scope, Scoping, Scope-Creep

Scoping is the separation (cut) between what is included in and what is excluded from some entity.  The entity may be a project, system, document or other artefact.

Scoping includes both defining where the separation line is drawn (planning, design) and maintaining / enforcing the separation (management, governance, control).

Scope creep occurs when the line is moved - usually outwards.  Thus what was excluded is now included, making something (such as a project) larger. 

Veryard Project Papers In praise of Scope-Creep


A person or community that possesses intentions and attributes value to things.  A person or community that is regarded as having a legitimate interest or "stake" in something - for example a system or project.
Veryard Project Papers Stakeholders - Inclusion and Exclusion


usa uk
B. Kagarlitsky, The Dialectics of Change (Verso, 1990) usa details uk details
Lucy Suchman,  Plans and Situated Actions (Cambridge University Press, 1987) usa details uk details


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