Projects often use terms that seem familiar but differ in the context of the project. “Mail” means something different when talking about your computer than the post box on the curb. What’s more, referring to the same thing using different words can cause confusion.

For this reason, glossaries are an essential tool for every project. A project glossary is a collection of definitions for:

  • context specific technical terms
  • abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms
  • everyday concepts that have a different meaning in the project context
  • synonyms: interchangeable terms (and the preferred term)
  • homonyms: identical terms that are not interchangeable

Rules for Project Glossaries

  1. Only one valid glossary per project domain with only one valid definition for each entry
  2. Only one individual must be responsible for managing the glossary
  3. Must be maintained over the course of the project
  4. Must be commonly accessible
  5. Use must be mandatory, and terms must be used consistently
  6. Must contain source of terms
  7. Stakeholders must agree on terms
  8. Entries must be consistently structured