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A glossary of collaborative terms

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Speaking the same language is the first step for effective communication. Many of terms used when discussing collaboration have poorly understood definitions. That is why we are providing a short glossary below.


  • Blueprints

    Blueprints are documents that describe how something works and/or how it is supposed to come together.
  • Authority

    Authority is the power to determine or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.
  • Criteria

    Criteria are the rules or principles against which something is evaluated or tested.
  • Decision-making process

    Decision-making process is the cognitive process of reaching a decision.
  • Functions

    Functions are groupings of activities or processes to accomplish one or more tasks.
  • Groups

    Groups are multiple people that come together to serve a purpose within a larger context. Planosaurus uses this term to mean organizations, committees and teams.
  • Guiding principles

    Guiding principles are the beliefs that guide how work is approached.
  • Management functions

    Management functions are those which ensure other functions are performed efficiently, within the budget, on schedule and with the desired outcomes.
  • Membership

    Membership is the state of being a member or a group.
  • Organizational hierarchy

    Organizational hierarchy is an organizational structure where every entity in the group, except one, is subordinate to a single other entity.
  • Planning

    Planning is the process of imagining an ideal (yet realistic) situation, and then working backwards to lead you there.
  • Purpose

    Purpose is the reason something exists.
  • Sanction

    Sanctions are ways groups penalize individuals for undesirable behavior.
  • Scope

    Scope is the work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.
  • Scope creep

    Scope creep is when uncontrolled changes or continuous growth occur.
  • Values

    Values are the institutionalized beliefs that define how we should treat each other.

About Megan Wilmoth

Megan Wilmoth is the president of Planosaurus, a women-owned consulting firm that helps organizations eliminate the common threats to collaboration they affectionately call Organizational Monsters so that projects, programs, boards, committees, and teams can consistently achieve collaborative productivity. With twenty years of experience, she has provided a wide range of planning and management services to organizations ranging from Fortune 500, large and medium-sized companies, trade associations, non-profits, and government agencies. She is fueled by quality coffee and the opportunity to make the thankless job of managing collaborative managers easier.

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  • Megan Wilmoth,
  • August 1, 2014

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