Terms of reference

Terms of reference, abbreviated as TOR, describe the purpose and structure of a project, committee, meeting, negotiation, etc. When used with regards to a project, they can also be known as a project charter.

Terms of reference should document how the scope will be defined, developed, and verified. They should also provide a documented basis for making future decisions and for confirming or developing a common understanding of the scope among stakeholders. In order to meet this criteria, success factors/risks and restraints should be key and fundamental.

Creating detailed terms of reference are critical, as they define the:

* Vision, objectives, scope and deliverables (i.e. what has to be achieved)
* Stakeholders, roles and responsibilities (i.e. who will take part in it)
* Resource, financial and quality plans (i.e. how it will be achieved)
* Work breakdown structure and schedule (i.e. when it will be achieved)
* Should include success factors/risks and restraints.

The terms of reference set out a road map. They give a clear path for the progression, by stating what needs to be achieved, by whom and when. There must then be suite of deliverables which conform to the requirements, scope and constraints set out in this document.

Terms of references in a project life cycle

The "terms of reference" are created during the earlier stages of project management, immediately after the approval of a project business case. They are documented by the project manager and presented to project sponsor or sponsors for approval. Once approved, the project team have a clear definition of the scope of the project. They will then be ready to progress with the creation of the remaining project deliverables.

ee also

*Project charter
*Project governance
*Project management
*Project manager
*Risk management
*Quality management


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • terms of reference — 1. A guiding statement defining the scope of an investigation or similar piece of work 2. The scope itself • • • Main Entry: ↑refer terms of reference see under ↑refer • • • Main Entry: ↑term * * * terms of reference UK US …   Useful english dictionary

  • terms of reference — Ⅰ. terms of reference ► the subjects or questions which a study or report is intended to include: »The inquiry s terms of reference included the consideration of pay and conditions in the fire service. Main Entry: ↑reference Ⅱ. terms of reference …   Financial and business terms

  • terms of reference — Ⅰ. ► terms of reference Brit. the scope of an inquiry or discussion. Main Entry: ↑term Ⅱ. ► terms of reference the scope and limitations of an activity or area of knowledge. Main Entry: ↑reference …   English terms dictionary

  • terms of reference — allude to a mutual agreement under which a command, element, or unit exercises authority or undertakes specific missions or tasks relative to another command, element, or unit. Also called TORs …   Military dictionary

  • terms of reference — noun plural MAINLY BRITISH the instructions that someone must follow when they study or examine something …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • terms of reference — N PLURAL Terms of reference are the instructions given to someone when they are asked to consider or investigate a particular subject, telling them what they must deal with and what they can ignore. [FORMAL] The government has announced the terms …   English dictionary

  • terms of reference — /ˌtɜ:mz əv ref(ə)rəns / plural noun areas which a committee or an inspector can deal with ● Under the terms of reference of the committee, it cannot investigate complaints from the public. ● The committee’s terms of reference do not cover exports …   Dictionary of banking and finance

  • terms of reference — plural noun See reference (def. 14) …   Australian English dictionary

  • terms of reference — acte de mission (франц.) = Schiedsauftrag (нем.) документ, принимаемый составом арбитража после консультаций со сторонами в начале арбитражного разбирательства. В арбитраже МТП (ICC Rules) акт о полномочиях арбитров, документ, излагающий вопросы …   Glossary of international commercial arbitration

  • terms of reference — area of authorization, field of jurisdiction (of a committee) …   English contemporary dictionary

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