Our Facilitator’s Glossary is provided as a service to the facilitation community.

shutterstock_70337050The 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.


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

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





The attributes and characteristics of a system that allows 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.



A verb. A physical motion that uses tool(s) to complete a task, explaining HOW something is performed. For example, the activity of paying a bill may rely on using a credit card for payment. The payment activity requires one task that depends on the actions of removing the credit card from a secure place, presenting it to the card reader, and returning it to a secure place of rest. WHAT activity was being performed? Paying a bill. HOW was it performed? With the task of using a credit card that relies on actions (remove, present, return) and tools (card, card reader, etc.). One could have been tasked differently by writing a cheque, paying cash, etc., that rely on different actions. All supporting the same activity, of paying a bill.



A group of tasks sequenced 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.



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.



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.



Set of arbitrary steps to demonstrate how a group will get from the meeting introduction to the meeting review and wrap having consensually built a meeting deliverable.



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



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.



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.



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



To examine critically and in detail.



The new standard year—31,556,925,445 seconds —based on the exact length of the year 2000.  Set by a commission of geologists and chemists to tabulate the half-lives of radioisotopes, the anus is getting no love from astronomers who prefer the ancient approximation of 365.25 days.



Analysis of variance



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.



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.



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



Viewed consensually as supportive, practical, and tenable.



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



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.



To appoint an individual role for responsibility or support of an action or strategy.



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



The unstated beliefs about how and why the process is designed, governs who does what in the process.



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



Independent and neutral test of the efficiency and effectiveness of a stated process.


Audit team

Group of persons responsible for conducting the audit. May be internal or external to the process.



One person makes the decisions for everyone.

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.



Comparative ranking of the process and its outputs, measurements, and outcome to similar processes in other organizations.



An activity performed to build ‘capabilities’.  If over done or done inappropriately, leads to companies looking too much like each other.  Overuse of benchmarking leads to wars of attrition and is mutually destructive.



Those who will benefit from the activities and programs of your organization.



Big, hairy, audacious goal



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



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.



Blockchain is currently the provider of the world’s most popular Bitcoin wallet, the most widely used Bitcoin APIs, the most popular block explorer, and search engine.



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.



A bonnet comprised of hundreds or thousands of virtual computers leased from a cloud computing provider like Amazon.com for nefarious purposes.  It allows hackers to avoid the risk and hassle of commandeering PCs to spread a virus.



Any point in the process where activities are slowed.


Bottom Up estimating

Using this approach, each component is estimated individually and then the estimates are summed to find the total effort.


BPI plan

Document presented to the executive team to get approval for the BPI (ie, business process improvement) project. Includes the reason for the selected process and how the team intends to improve the process.



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.



What my broker has made me.



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.



To create, start, advance, and complete an effort.



A publicly displayed chart counting the number of features/requirements remaining for the current increment or time box.


Burn-up chart

A publicly displayed chart showing features/requirements that have been completed and the value earned so far.


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 Partner

A partial definition includes a team member or sponsor who helps project managers use change management principles.


Business Process Improvement

The simplification and clarification of the way that people interact with (other) processes, people, and technology to achieve an organization’s vision.


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.



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



The ability to perform actions.  As it applies to human capital, capability is the sum of expertise and capacity.



A methodology for managing ideas including creation of ideas, gathering ideas, managing and improving ideas, and a means of selecting ideas; developed byMorgan 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.



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.



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



To transform or give a different course of action.


Change management

The recognition that the unknown changes to the selected process will generate different levels of unease among stakeholders and the conscious implementation of mitigation strategies to resolve the issues that may evolve from their discomfort.

Change management is a planned process, with a set of tools and key questions for managing the people side of change so that project goals are achieved on time, on budget, safely implemented and accepted by stakeholders.


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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).



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.


Competitive Advantage

This is a position a firm occupies against its competitors, allowing it to earn revenues higher than costs, including cost of capital.



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.


Concurrent activities

Activities in the timetable that can occur at the same time as other activities without compromising the outcome of each other.


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.



A position reached 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.



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



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.



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.



To advance, beginning with prior effort and output.



Recognition that the project budget may be inadequate to cover unexpected or unseen circumstances. Expressed as a percentage of the budget.


Continuous Improvement

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



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.


Core Competency

This is something that a firm can do well and that meets the following three conditions:

  1. It provides customer benefits
  2. It is not easy for competitors to imitate
  3. It can be leveraged widely across many products and markets.


Core process

Process that greatly contributes to the generation of income, consumption of resources, or the amplification of goodwill. Without a core process, an organization cannot achieve its vision.


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.


Cortical Modem

A direct computer input to the visual cortex, could augment reality by superimposing a layer of data over the eyes.



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



Certified Structured Professional Facilitator



Critical to Quality (performance features) — Six Sigma tool.


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 workspaces, or cubicles. Where prairie dogging is observed.
Wikipedia article defining Cubicle



A shared set of habits, customs, knowledge, beliefs, language, and behaviors. Culture may be invisible to people who are part of it poorly understood to people who it. Culture is a deep source of unstated assumptions that need to be identified and stated explicitly to fortify consensus building. Could also be the outcome of how people relate one to another.


At present and within a realm of control for the participants present at the meeting.



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.


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.



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.



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.”.



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.



Any point in the process where waiting and non value-add occurs.


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.



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.


Dependent activities

Activities on the timetable that can only be completed when other activities have occurred.


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.


Design Thinking

A structured method that helps innovators break free of counterproductive tendencies that thwart innovation.  Like TQM, it is a social technology that blends practical tools with insights into human nature.


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.



Design for Six Sigma: The only way to get from Five Sigma to Six Sigma: Applying resources to find out what customers really want and devoting project resources to meet the needs and desires of customers.

  • Business transactions
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Engineered products including materials, hardware, and software

Design for Six Sigma has broad applications to all aspects of running a business, including internal business processes such as finance, human resources, legal, marketing, sales, service, manufacturing, and distribution, and even simple everyday concerns such as running a meeting and answering the telephone — not to mention, of course, engineering. Design for Six Sigma is simply a means of raising an organization to a new level of performance, and that applies to everything companies do.


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.


Direct implementation

The improved process immediately replaces the previous process.



Indicating the direction in which something is situated, moving, or developing.



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.



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.



Six Sigma methodology life cycle — Starts by identifying the project to be undertaken, then proceeds to rigorously define (customer) requirements to capture the Voice of the Customer and translate the language of the customer into the language of the company. Next develop the concept for a process that can be optimized to become insensitive to sources of variation (thereby making it robust) under actual, real-life conditions. The optimized concept is then verified through trials and pilot runs, then implemented with appropriate controls to sustain the gains.



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


Document controller

Team member who is the custodian (maintains, distributes and stores) all project documentation.


Documentation plan

Identifies the document controller and how documents will be stored, retrieved, issued, transmitted, numbered, and revised during and after the life of the project.



Design of Experiments; i.e., function before forms, Robust Engineering, Ideal Function — choose DOE for reducing variations in transactional processes and other appropriate circumstances. Use Robust Design for optimizing performance of engineered products.



Effort and activities engaged by someone or a group.



A top-level domain consisting of a company name, like .pepsi or .ibm.  Companies and organizations can apply for one for $185,000, a promotional opportunity that some interest groups—compelled to pay to protect their trademarks—consider extortionary.



Work in progress, subject to change.



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



Any activity that is repeated during the process with the same result.


Effectiveness Measurements

Measure of how effective the process is at converting inputs to outputs, the amount of activity conducted within the process, the amount of output produced, and the number of customers served.


Efficiency Measurements

Identifies the minimum possible level of resources to be consumed during the process. Actual consumption is assessed against set standards as a variation or variance.



Energy and time expended to accomplish an objective and usually a stipulated output.


80:20 rule

A rule of thumb stating that 80% of consequences stem from 20% of causes. Also known as the Pareto Principle. The value of the Pareto Principle stresses to focus on the 20% that matters.



Commitment and constructive interaction among stakeholders and the project team defines engagement.


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.



Attempt to make certain.


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.



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.”



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



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.



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.



Roughly calculate the value, quantity, or extent of something.



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


Executive sponsor

Executive manager responsible for ensuring that the project achieves the stated objective.


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.


(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.

“To facilitate” represents an English transitive verb for the action to “make easy or render less difficult”. Derived from both the English term ‘facile’ and the French term ‘faciliter’, earlier origin derives from the Italian ‘facilitare” or ‘facile’ and the Latin ‘ facilis’ (“easy to do”).

The word “difficult” represents its opposite, derived from the terms dis– plus facilis, which equals “not easy” (to make or do). Common uses of its English noun derivatives include the words “facilitator” and “facilitation”. The operational definitions for these words, are far more challenging and their uses are quite widespread, ranging from social and business situations (common) to illicit activities (rare).


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.



(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.

Alternatively, The process of helping a project team accomplish its goals by encouraging and coaching discussions, tracking ideas, alternatives, progress, synthesizing ideas, and keeping the group on course by balancing preplanned goals with spontaneously occurring ideas.



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.



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



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



An acronym for “Facilitated Application Specification Technique. Originated in 1985, it was designed an improvement over JAD (a technique pioneered at IBM). FAST embraces JAD, JAR, and numerous other facilitation methodologies.


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.



When a firm’s activities complement and reinforce each other in a way to create a sustainable competitive advantage. This is the notion of the whole being more important than each part by itself.  Achieving a ‘fit’ is not easy and is hard to imitate, hence leading to a competitive advantage. The types of ‘fit’ are:

  • Simple consistency between activities and functions in an organization and the overall strategy. This improves execution by having a ‘single minded’ approach.
  • Reinforcement between activities performed to execute strategy.
  • Optimization of effort by coordination among activities and eliminating duplicate effort, eliminating downstream activities by changing an upstream process (eg, eliminate service via product design).



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 MG RUSH cookbook agenda) to determine the modes of failure and evaluating the consequence and options for each failure mode.



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.


4-D Printing

Using a 3-D printer to output objects that self-assemble over time.  By combining materials that expand at different rates in water, a printed structure can be made to fold itself up like origami—a feature that could be used for construction in remote places like the deep ocean.



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. Two other valid definitions include:

  1. A function relates an input to an output; or, our favorite . . .
  2.  . . . A function is a mathematical relationship in which the values of a single dependent variable are determined by the values of one or more independent variables. Function means the dependent variable is determined by the independent variable(s).


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.



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


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



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


Gap Analysis

Identifies how the organization can acquire the skills, competencies, and resources that are not present in the organization. May be used to set objectives.



Team member who ensures that the meetings are kept to time and deadlines maintained.



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.



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



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



An end toward which effort is directed, although not measurable and frequently subjective.



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.



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.



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


Guiding Principle

See “Values.”



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.



The acronym H-A-L-T stands for “hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.”



When a document or object is given to another person in the process, electronically or manually.



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


Heart Speak

The longest journey you will make is the eighteen inches between your head and heart.



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.



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



Virtual teleporting.  By combining 3-D video-cams and full reality headsets, shoot a full-body image of every move and send to the boardroom.


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.



Concrete and easily visualized details that support WHAT is being sought or completed.



A cluster of superclusters (agglomerations of galaxies, previously deemed the largest structures in the universe).  Stretching across billions of light-years, hyperclusters defy all known physics, leading some cosmologists to question whether whether the laws of gravity need fixing.


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.



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.



Establish or indicate “WHAT” something is.



When the outcome is not affected by a change in the parameters.


Implementation Plan

Schedule of who, what, and when will implement the improved process.



Of great significance or value, likely to have a profound effect on success.



Result from the action of making something better.



Technique for generating pictures where image-recognition software amplifies aspects of a a photograph to look like other images.  As a science, a method used by Google to visualize how neural networks process data.  As an art, resembles surrealism.



Progress points towards milestones


Independent Activities

Activities that do not depend on the completion or the outcome of other activities to be completed.



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.



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.



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.



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.



  1. Information or work that comes into a business process.
  2. Tangible object or intangible element that goes into the process to be converted or transformed into an output.



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).



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.



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).



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.



An important topic, problem, or difficulty.



Launch or kick-off to ensure consensus around the context of a problem.

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 todesign 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.”


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.



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.



One thousand authors—a measure of the number of contributors listed on a scientific paper.  Increasingly common in scientific circles, some white papers allot more space to bylines than research findings.



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


Knowledge Management (KM)

The process of identifying and using knowledge to gain competitive advantage. According to the American Productivity and Quality Center (AQPC), in the earliest phases of KM implementation companies rarely take formal measurements of progress and effectiveness. Later, as KM becomes more structured and pervasive, they increasingly need to measure the value of knowledge management in order to sell the concept across the organization. Eventually, when KM takes hold and becomes a way of doing business, the importance of KM-specific measures declines, replaced by the need to measure the effectiveness of knowledge-intensive business processes. AQPC outlines the following stages of measurement in managing knowledge:

  1. Enter and Advocate
  2. Explore and Experiment
  3. Conduct Pilots
  4. Expand and Support
  5. Institutionalize Knowledge Management

A leader who wants a KM effort to succeed can help by sending a clear message:

  1. Be seen using the tools.
  2. Make it clear why the tools are important to the company’s mission, what results you hope to achieve, and how they will be measured.
  3. Integrate the KM tools into day-to-day work practices. Allow time for people to become familiar with the tools, to take necessary training and to talk amongst themselves. Make these activities part of the job description so people feel they’re not taking time away from their “real” job when they’re learning and collaborating.
  4. Structure rewards and incentives appropriately.



To initiate and show the way by going ahead of others.



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.



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


Lessons Learned

Experiential based learnings documented by the project team that may add to the organizational intelligence.


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.



Finite and precious, typically a resource.



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



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


Long Term Objective

An objective that will be achieved in a period taking at least two years or more.



Caught between a rock (executive demands) and a hard place (voice of the market).


Management Perspective

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


Measurement System

The collection and analysis of data that provides a continuous assessment of the performance of the process.



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



The extent to which an outcome is affected by a change in parameters.



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.


Measures (Metrics)

Means of measuring progress toward an end state.


Medium Term Objective

An objective that will be achieved in less than two years but more than one year.



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’)



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



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.



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



The intellectual equivalent to a gene—an idea that perpetuates itself.



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



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).



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.)


MG RUSH Professional Facilitation Technique

In 2004, Morgan Madison and Company acquired the rights to the FAST Facilitation technique, as well as the exclusive use of the MG RUSH identity. Building on JAD, FAST, and other facilitation and leadership approaches we created an enhanced, holistic, robust, and structured facilitation technique that continues to evolve, reflecting today’s organizations: agile, distributed, electronic, and multicultural inclusiveness.

The MG RUSH Professional Facilitation technique fills gaps left by other facilitation techniques, placing a strong emphasis on consensus building, decision quality, requirements gathering, and project management excellence. In short, MG RUSH makes structured facilitation highly effective for business and organizational meetings and workshops.


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.



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



The smallest linguistic unit that has semantic meaning.



An prioritization technique, mainly used on requirements although also useful in other areas (such as Testing). M stands for Must Have, S stands for Should Have, C stands for Could Have and W stands for Wont Have This Time.


Mouse Potato

The on-line equivalent to a couch potato.



Liquid metal drug carriers.  Tiny, Silvery droplets of gallium-indium alloy slurp into cancer cells like the shape-shifting T-1000 bot, then coalesce to fight tumors from the insider.


Natural Language Processing

A convention for attempts to use computers to process natural language.



Not in education, employment, or training; describing more than 25 percent of unemployed youth.



(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.



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 under-contributing 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.


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



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.


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.



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.


Oh No Second

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



A few people make the decisions for everyone.


Operational Planning and Control

Effective and efficient use of existing facilities and resources to carry out activities within budget and regulatory constraints.



A chance that may be exploited, as yet without a plan.



Trend or condition external to the organization or process that can guide effort to help achieving vision, goals, or objectives.



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.



Adjective referring to the people in the workshop and the perspectives they represent.


Outcome Measurements

Measures the ability of the process to meet the customers’ needs.



The tangible object or intangible element that the customer receives at the end of the process.


Outreach Member

Team member responsible for communication with the process stakeholders.


Pareto Principle / 80:20 rule

A rule of thumb stating that 80% of consequences stem from 20% of causes. Also known as the Pareto Principle. The value of the Pareto Principle stresses to focus on the 20% that matters.


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/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.



Typically the results of some effort as measured against pre-existing metrics.


For our purposes, typically the “meeting participant” or related stakeholder.



Analysis considering Political, Environmental, Social, Technological, Economic, and Legal perspectives.



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



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.”


Political Correctness

Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end.



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



Permissible Objects of Postability (i.e., mailable objects without envelopes or boxes).



Positioning can be based on customer needs, customer accessibility, or the variety of products and services offered.  Considered too static for today’s dynamic markets.  Provides clarity in the ‘Competitive objectives’ lane.


Power Asymmetry

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



Power over Wi-Fi.  A method of charing electronic devices through the air by harnessing Wi-Fi signals.  While it son’t work for phones, it’s optimal for low-powered sensors envisioned in the Internet of Everything, eliminating the need to wire them in place.


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.



Getting tasks done ahead of schedule with extra effort.  Precrastinating might be as detrimental to productivity as procrastinating, especially when people procrastinate on trivialities like email, mentally exhausting themselves before turning to greater challenges.



Started previously, as in Meeting One or Workshop One.



Documentation of the systemic activities that take the user from the beginning to the end of a process. Reveals the WHAT, WHEN and WHO of the 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.


Process Owner

The person in the organization who has a vested interest in the process. (S)he loses most when the process fails and gains most when the process succeeds.



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 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.


Program Manager

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



Action Items never inspired anybody to do anything. Only when a dry, lifeless action item is transformed into a Project, complete with resources, objectives, and plans to achieve them does any substantive task get accomplished.


Estimate or forecast based on existing knowledge.


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. A list is just a list, but a Project plan is a call to action. Six elements include:

  1. Project name and problem statement
  2. Definition of scope
  3. Identification of team members
  4. Objectives
  5. Schedules
  6. Target for financial benefits


Project Scope

Boundaries. What we will address and what we won’t address.


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

Groups of persons who have accepted responsibility for the determination of the project scope, the execution, and completion of the project and the implementation of the results. At different phases, the team members change to reflect the needs of the particular phase of the project.


Project Timetable

A list of the activities needed to complete the project, matched to the time they are expected to occur.



A piece of work that demonstrates how a given objective can be or has been achieved.



“Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.”



The collected body of misinformation about human nature.



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

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).



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.


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 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).



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).



A radical redesign of an organization’s processes, especially its business processes.  Rather than organizing a firm into functional specialties (like production, accounting, marketing, etc.) and looking at the tasks that each function performs, according to re-engineering theory, look at complete processes from materials acquisition, to production, to marketing and distribution.  The firm should be re-engineered into a series of processes.



Changing a company’s position. This is an expensive and time consuming exercise, therefore it is to be done after a lot of careful thought and very infrequently.



Strive for, reach, and expend energy for attaining the desired objective or output.


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.



Deemed as necessary or appropriate by the group.



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



The level of non-acceptance the stakeholder evidences for the proposed change. The more pain or the less power that the change brings, the greater the stakeholder resistance.



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).



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



A facilitated workshop to look back on a recent event and to assess what went well and what could be improved.


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.



A retrospective look at what has been done to confirm that everything is understood, identify any major gaps, and answer final questions.



Something provided in recognition of achievement.



Activity that ensues when work is returned to an earlier point of the process to be corrected or otherwise.



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



Risks are events or conditions that may occur, and whose occurrence, if it does take place, has a harmful or negative effect.


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.



Four areas to be assigned to participants including:

R = Responsible—is held responsible for the success and completion of a given task

A = Authorizes—approves or signs off on the method or results of a given task

S = Supports—provides assistance, information, etc, in the completion of a task—if requested

I = Informed—is kept informed of the progress or results of a given task.



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.



Results-oriented work environment.



Mandatory beliefs about what must be done in the process. Usually undocumented, they are accepted by everyone in the process as the way things must be done and by whom during the process.



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 aframework (that is, “basic conceptional structure”) and is distinguished as not being a specific method or methodology.

Salmon Day

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



A small quantity of the population that is thought to represent the whole.


Sampling risk

The risk that the sample may not be representative of the whole population.



Areas, time, and functions covered by the effort.  Scope defines boundary and may be defined separately for a business enterprise, business unit, initiative, program, project, operation, process, workshop, activity, task, and question.


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.



Team member who records the findings during project meetings.



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.



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.



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.


Sequential activities

Activities that can only happen after other activities are completed. They may need the outputs of other activities to begin.



The action of helping, assisting, or providing advice that helps others.


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.



Ten nanoseconds.



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


Short-Term Objective

An objective that will be achieved in less that one year.


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.



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.



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 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.”



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.



The person, system, or process that feeds the inputs into the selected process.



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.



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.



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



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.



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.



All those who have a vested interest in a project or are impacted in some way are stakeholders. Key stakeholders have an 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.


Status Meeting

A place where everybody lies.



An electrode array that can be inserted into a cranial blood vessel via a catheter.  By transmitting brain signals it could allow quadriplegics to operate an exoskeleton, or let you change TV channels with your thoughts.



Seeking more than one positioning statement.  This is generally to be avoided as it results in confusion during strategy execution.


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 at least one strategy designed to achieve the goal. Typically, a strategy will require multiple courses of action, goals for each (that complement the primary goal), and 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 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. 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.


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 (ies)

A series of steps carried out in response to a business event that have definite starting and stopping times.  Actions, like 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” is an example of HOW.  WHAT items are abstract and hard to visualize while HOW items are concrete and more easily visualized.


Strategy Execution

This refers to all the processes, activities, and tasks required to convert business strategy into reality.  We can define ‘reality’ as the physical manifestation of the decisions taken when defining business strategy.  This ‘reality’ and ‘physical manifestation’ is seen in the operations of a company.



Condition internal to the organization that can accelerate the achievement of vision, goals, and objectives.


Structured Data

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



See “Process”



Gaining or having gained the desired results or outcome.



To promote and assist with the interests or causes.



Sustainability is a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely


SWOT Analysis

Current situation or situation analysis that contrasts the internal, controllable aspects of the organization (ie, Strengths and Weaknesses) with external, uncontrollable situational factors (ie, Opportunities and Threats) to create consensus around potential actions an organization might take to reach its goals and objectives., made quantitative my MG Rush. See comprehensive SW-OT article.



Describes a situation where the final outcome of a system is greater than the sum of its parts.



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


Tactic (Tactical Control)

A maneuver or action calculated to achieve some end. (Acquisition of resources, tactics . . . establishment and monitoring of budgets.)



The level of performance or improvement needed.



The smallest describable unit of accomplishment in completing a deliverable.



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



Total Cost of Ownership. The cost of the whole life of a project, including support (rather than just considering the development cost).



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.

Alternatively, a functioning unit of people who meet the following criteria of “teamness,” paraphrased from Jones and Reilly (1974)

  • The team as a “charter,’ or an official mandate from the organization
  • The members have work tasks that are interdependent
  • The members are committed to collaboration and coordination
  • The team is held accountable (and rewarded) by the organization as a single unit


Team member

Participant with the project team.


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.



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.



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.



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



See “Entity”



See “Attribute”



Trend or conditions external to the organization that that may hamper or limit the achievement of its vision, goals, or objectives.



A fixed period of time, at the end of which an objective has been met. The objective would typically be a deliverable of some sort. Typically Timeboxes operative at development level, but timeboxing can also be applied at project and increment level. A timebox is managed by adding or removing content in order to meet the timebox objective and the deadline.



Devices that are used to execute/complete a method.


Top-Down estimating

A technique for estimating using approximate sizings and groupings. For example, 10 small components at typically one day each, 20 medium components at typically three days each, three complex components at typically five days each. These groups are summed to give an approximate estimate for a solution where the low-level detail is probably still unknown.


Total Quality Management

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



A situation requiring a company to pick one option or the other, but not both.  Trade-offs are necessary to:

  • Achieve consistency in image and reputation (eg, a luxury car manufacturer cannot offer a car with cloth seats. This will confuse its customers and undermine the company’s credibility).
  • Ensure that capabilities are utilized efficiently. Capabilities include product configuration, equipment, employee skill set, and management systems.  Capabilities are usually inflexible; therefore an explicit choice is necessary.  Capabilities must not be over- or under-engineered; otherwise cost inefficiencies will undermine the strategy.
  • Unless an option is clearly selected and other options clearly excluded, unclear priorities will result in confusion. Day-to-day operating decisions can be very confusing if companies try to be all things to all people.



A biological transistor, the basic building block for making a living cell programmable like a computer.  Engineered from DNA, transcript ors switch genes on and off.  Eventually, specific combinations could prompt cells to produce drugs in response to diseases.



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.”



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



One-twentieth of a typesetting point.

Unstructured Data

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



Consuming or leveraging a resource for the purpose of reaching a goal or objective.



To corroborate (ie, establish or recognize) on sound basis.



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.


Value-added Activities

Activities that directly contribute to the conversion of inputs to the desired outputs. These activities must be present to guarantee a quality output.



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.



The sum of points completed in a time box is the team’s velocity.



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.



A cotton-based fabric that is blacker than black.  Using a trick from the light-sucking scales of gaboon vipers, it is 40 percent darker than ordinary black clothing.


Virtual Team

Dispersed teams that communicate and work primarily electronically.



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).



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.


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.



Work breakdown structure.



Condition internal to the organization that may limit or prevent the achievement or vision, goals, or objectives.


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.



An action or activity to take, without necessarily detailing in concrete detail, HOW.



Time estimated in enough detail to give participants comfort.



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.



In this context, people in the meting or workshop.


Decision and thought made with respect to availability and limitations of resources.


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.



The diagrammatic representation of a process.


Workflow Diagram

A diagram that represents the process workflow.



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.



A meeting focused on one topic using steps in an agenda that require a specified sequence, typically using a neutral facilitator, to generate an objective or deliverable.



Review of open issues, evaluation of the facilitator and workshop, and dismissal.



YAGNI stands for “You Aren’t Going to Need It,” capturing the sentiment of “no extra features” or “write less code.”



An honest opinion openly expressed.



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


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.


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

Link to this page using this URL: http://mgrush.com/facilitators-glossary/

Link to a letter group on this page using: http://mgrush.com/facilitators-glossary/#A, where #A denotes the letter group for words beginning with “A” (anchors are all upper case)