The Concept Phase of Terminology Projects

concept phase picAs promised, this year I’ll resume the Terminology Project Management series. In a previous post I talked about the importance of managing stakeholders in terminology projects. This and other components are part of the Concept or Initiating Phase of PM.

Recapping from that previous post, projects are divided in process groups, like steps you use in recipes: Concept, Development, Execution, and Finishing (C+D+E+F) [this is the easiest-to remember-classification].

Each process has inputs and outputs. (Think of a cake recipe in which your ingredients are your inputs and the cake is your output), and sometimes the output of one process becomes the input of another.

So, the Concept Phase is where the concept is conceived, investigated for its feasibility, formally proposed and a decision made to develop it, signed off on by the Sponsor and major stakeholders. It may include some or all of the following, depending on project complexity:

  • Identifying and justifying your project goals (SMART analysis)
  • Performing a feasibility study.
  • Preparing a business case (I already covered this subject specific to terminology)
  • Preparing a project charter: It is a brief document that authorizes you to do the work, tells you who is in charge and what resources are available. It includes the following important components: assumptions, constraints, risks, roles and responsibilities.
  • Appointing the team and kicking off the project.

I will cover goals and project charter components in the next posts, as they are common topics in terminology training. Remember to visit and revisit my section (and subsections) “PM 101”.

Always keep in mind that these short posts are just an introduction to the subject of PM and my intention is to give you a general idea of what might be at stake in terminology projects (or any project) and to urge you to read more or get some type of training, whether it’s formal or through a MOOC to become a better Terminology Project Manager.

As Gabriele Sauberer says, “PM skills are mandatory for terminology projects” and “Project Management Training is KEY in the terminology businesses and shall be included in BA curricula for communication professionals and terminologists.” So, what better reason to keep on reading and learning!

Sources and further reading:

  1. Project Connections templates by phase: Concept and Selection: lists and provides access to a series of templates that may be used to assist in the Concept Phase of a project.
  2. Project Connections: End of Concept Phase Checklist (with template): provides a checklist for the end of concept phase stage of a project, with detailed explanations.
  3. Factsheets and templates for initiating projects, including feasibility and business case templates. (Tasmanian e-government).
  4. Head First PMP, by Jennifer Green and Andrew Stellman. Not available online but may be purchased on Amazon. (easy to read with lots of illustrations)
  5. Sauberer, Gabriele. Project Management for Translators & Terminologists, TermNet – International Network for Terminology, TSS 2009 – Cologne
  6. Principles Project Management free online course. (Highly recommended).


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