For Project Success, Say and Write What You Mean

The Project Management Institute’s report The Essential Role of Communication revealed that ineffective communication has a negative impact on project success >50% of the time.

So, why make it difficult for others to understand what you mean?

Related: Successful Projects Need Effective Communication.

For example, these phrases are used to describe the concept of the development or evolution of an item over its lifetime:

  • Cradle to grave;
  • Field to fork; and,
  • Womb to tomb.

These phrases are jargon. Jargon is abbreviations, expressions, and specific words used by a group or profession, which are difficult for others outside the group or profession to understand.

These phrases describe same concept more clearly, without using jargon:

  • Beginning to end;
  • Creation to disposal;
  • Every step of the food chain;
  • Every step of the supply chain;
  • Start to finish;
  • Throughout the lifecycle;
  • Well to wall; and.
  • Well to wheels.

The preferred phrase is throughout the life cycle because it communicates the concept of lifecycle clearly and effectively.

A lifecycle is a series of stages through which an item will pass during its usable existence. For example, a lifecycle spans from the time an item is designed, constructed, and installed, extends throughout its service life, and ends when the item is no longer a useful or working asset.

For project success, use clear and effective communication, not jargon.

About the Author

Roy O. Christensen is a Welding Engineering Technologist who has over 35 years’ experience with oil and gas, pipelines, and other projects. He has authored countless instructions, manuals, plans, proposals, reports, specifications, and other documents that continue to drive success for many projects. He is the founder of the KT Project, which saves organizations significant money and time, by providing key resources to leverage expert knowledge transfer for successful project execution.



  1. Noun Project, Angelo Troiano, Cradle to Grave,


  1. Project Management Institute, The Essential Role of Communication,