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Meaning / Definition of

Terms Of Reference

Categories: Business and Management,

A document which describes the objectives, scope and purpose of a project, committee, meeting, etc. See 'agree specification/terms of reference' in the project management section. Separately the acronym BOSCARDET provides a useful example structure for TOR headings/sections: Background, Objectives, Scope, Constraints, Assumptions, Reporting, Dependencies, Estimates, Timescales. Note that this particular structure has no specific heading for costs/budgets, and so care must be taken to include these considerations, logically within ''Constraints' or 'Estimates'. There is no standard universal structure for a Terms of reference document because the situations vary widely in which TOR are used. Responsibility lies with the project manager or leader to ensure all relevant and necessary issues are included in TOR. Local interpretation often produces TOR headings and document structure which may be unique to the particular situation. Where an organization oversees many projects/activities requiring Terms of reference documents it is likely that organizational 'standard' TOR formats are used. Obviously it makes sense to follow such standards where they apply, mindful of the risks of omission, over-complexity, or unnecessary work, which can arise from routinely applying a standard structure.

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