Our current client sent us several hundred pages of documentation about the context and goals of his company. In these documents (there are multiple files) they use a lot of acronyms and very specific terms (SICA, UNB, ...). The client also works with foreign governements, adding to the already long list.

Only one of the documents has a lexicon, the rest only uses the terms without explaination, sometimes there is a reminder, sometimes not.

I have never encountered that problem and I am looking for something that could help our team. It would be some kind of big lexicon where we could match the acronyms/terms with a small definition. It should be online and everyone could add to it when encountering a new one. So everyone in the (relatively small) team could refer to it when reading new documents or for future meetings with the client.

EDIT : I was unclear. There is always an explaination of the acronym, but not always on the document that uses it. Since there are a lot of documents I think they assume that every acronym written after the first mention is already known, but they did not provide any order to the documents.

1 Answer 1


Welcome to PM Stack exchange!

Your question isn't really specific to the PM domain, so I'm going to call this a risk management issue. There are many acronyms which mean different things depending on context, and making an assumption that turns out to be incorrect could be catastrophic.

Any document full of industry jargon should have a glossary in the appendix. Obviously your client isn't doing that, or at least has not provided it.

Before rolling your own solution, I think you need to communicate to the client that in order to be able to provide the best solution in the shortest period of time you both need to be on the same page, and they should provide you with what the terms mean.

If there is an expectation for some reason that your team already had this subject matter expertise (i.e. someone lied to get a contract) and you are a PMI member, you are ethically bound to declare that.

  • 1
    Thank you ! I admit I was not sure it was the right place to ask. Do you have an idea of where this "asking for a tool/language" would be relevant ? I added a clarification edit because we are always provided with the meaning, but not in the right order and not everywhere (inter and intra files). And you're right, we already should have that kind of documentation, but the client works with plain-text word files sometimes with pictures, their technology is very basic overall.
    – Dranna
    Sep 7, 2018 at 22:43
  • You are welcome. I'm thinking that perhaps the workplace stack exchange, or perhaps freelancing may be better suited, or at least they may have come across this type of scenario. Sep 11, 2018 at 15:14

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