The Alphabet Leek Soup of Productization Acronyms

Old Zeb has been bellyaching again over on his blog,, about the proliferation of what he calls alphabet leek soup—acronym—that we use in the productization business.  So as a courtesy to Zeb and everyone else, I thought I would take a shot at listing a few of the acronyms we use around the shop regularly.

In return maybe Zeb can tell me what the #&$%$ acknowledge the corn means.


Product Development

DFE or DfE    Design for Environment

Environmental conscious design and design for environmental regulations such as WEEE and RoHS

DFM               Design for Manufacturing

DFT                 Design for Test

DFx                 Design For x  

Design review of everything: manufacturing, assembly, cost, test, molding, fabrication, supply chain, environment etc

DVT                Design Validation Test

FMEA             Failure Mode Effect Analysis

DFMEA          Design Failure Mode Effect Analysis

PFMEA           Process Failure Mode Effect Analysis

FEA                Finite Element Analysis

GD&T             Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing

HW                 Hardware

SW                  Software

FW                  Firmware

Embedded software

R&D               Research and Development

BOM               Bill of Materials

CR                   Cost Reduction

RF                   Radio Frequency

RFID               Radio Frequency Identification

LED                Light Emitting Diode

SLA                Stereolithograpically produced plastic prototypes

SLS                 Selective Laser Sintering prototypes

PCB                Printed Circuit Board

The raw board or fab

PCBA             Printed Circuit Board Assembly

The assembled PCB


CE                   Conformité Européenne,

“European conformity” in French.  The European Union’s mark of product conformity.

RoHS              Regulation of Hazardous Substances

Government regulations, originally in Europe, pertaining to what hazardous materials may not be included in electrical and electronics products

WEEE             Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive

Government regulations, originally in Europe, pertaining recycling and disposal of electrical and electronics products

UL                   Underwriters Laboratory

FCC                Federal Communications Commission

Program Management

PM                  Project Manager or Program Manager

A program is larger in scope than a project and typically includes multiple projects

PGM               Program Manager

PJM                 Project Manager

PMO               Program Management Office or Project Management Office

PPMO             Program and Project Management Office

P3MO             Portfolio, Program and Project Management Office

PMI                 Project Management Institute

EOL                End of Life

PLC                 Product Life Cycle


ROI                 Return on Investment

IRR                 Internal Rate of Return

NPV and IRR are inverse functions

NPV                Net Present Value

NPV and IRR are inverse functions

P&L                Profit and Loss

B/S                  Balance Sheet

OP                   Operating Profit

EBITDA         Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization

VC                  Venture Capitalist


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