Like many occupations, project management has its own lexicon of terminology and jargon. Words and phrases that apply specifically to the management of a project might sound like Double Dutch to the layman, but to the project manager they arte tools of the trade. To familiarise yourself with some of these terms, try this fun quiz on the language of the project manager.

1) A Baseline is:

A: The budgeting of a project at the lowest possible cost
B: A point of reference in a project
C: A piece of music played on a four stringed guitar

2) PERT stands for:

A: Probable End Result Test
B: Program Evaluation and Review Technique
C: Poached Eggs Ruin Toast

3) A Critical Path is:

A: Achieving a result through a series of yes and no answers
B: The path in a project's schedule that has the longest duration
C: A route you MUST take in a computer game

4) A Deliverable is:

A: An insistence that the project will be completed to schedule
B: Any item produced as the outcome of a project or any part of a project.
C: A jiffy bag that will go through a letterbox

5) A Milestone is:

A: The number of days between a project finishing early and the scheduled date
B: A point in time when a deliverable or set of deliverables is available
C: A birthday ending in a zero

1: (B) A Baseline is a point of reference in a project. If you were to start a project without a baseline, then you would have no way of knowing whether or not it was on schedule. A baseline allows the project manager to measure the progress of a project against a predicted schedule at any point.

I recently went on a fairly long drive and I printed off a route to help me find my way to my destination. The route told me which roads to take, how many miles the total journey was, approximately how long the journey would take, and even how much it would cost me in petrol. This was effectively my baseline and I could compare any aspect of my actual trip, time taken, distance covered etc, against the figures projected on my printed route. A baseline is used in the same way to monitor the progress of a project against its expected course.

2: (B) PERT stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. It is a statistical tool used to analyse the tasks involved in the completion of a project. The origins of PERT lie in the tense climate of the Cold War, where it was developed as part of the US Navy's burgeoning Polaris project.

3: (B) The critical path is the path in a project's schedule that has the longest duration. Activities on the critical path cannot begin until their predecessors have been completed, and if any activity that lies on the critical path is delayed, the entire project will be delayed.

4: (B) Deliverables is a general term that refers to the requirements of a project. The goods or services of a project that are delivered on completion. For example, your project may be to fulfil an order for teapots. You have the teapots and you have the boxes. When the teapots are inside the boxes, you have a deliverable.

5 (B) A milestone is a point in time when a deliverable or set of deliverables is available. A project reaches a milestone when a prominent phase is completed. For example, in the renovation of a shop, when those involved in the alteration phase of the project, decorators, floor layers and joiners, have completed their tasks, the next phase, stocking the shelves, can begin. The end of the alteration stage is the milestone.

This is a rather simplified explanation, and the term milestone is not only used to describe the ending of a phase as above, it can refer to any factor that affects the progress of a project.

If your answers were all B, then you are well on your way to becoming fluent in the language of the project manager (if you answered all C, oh dear). This is only a brief snippet of the rich pool of terminology that is used in project management. So if you want to learn how to put a straw man into place, or how to avoid a dose of scope creep, then a project management training course could be just what you need.