If you have ever been charged with managing a complex project or multiple projects simultaneously, you know that many challenges can arise from:
- Ensuring that you and the team have the data you need to make good decisions
- Balancing scarce resources effectively
- Meeting project milestones
- Managing project interdependencies
- Keeping all stakeholders informed
- Among many others…
Today’s business climate is complex and managing projects in resource scarce environments is often the norm. There is typically very little room for misstep, which can add additional stress to the project team. Having the right data to make good decisions is absolutely essential.
Enter Project Management Information Systems (PMIS).
PMIS is the coherent organization of the information required for a company to execute projects successfully. A PMIS is typically one or more software applications and a specific process for collecting and using project information, according to Wikipedia.
A better definition of PMIS that we found states that PMIS “is a framework or an initiative that measures the success rate of a project and provides necessary information for monitoring and controlling the project.”
Elements of PMIS
PMIS includes three parts:
- Inputs: The raw data that is needed for the project and its implementation. This information should be as specific and encompassing as possible.
- Processes: Analyses of data to compare actual performance with projected performance. This step allows for accurate information to be available for project monitoring and decision-making throughout the project.
- Outputs: Reporting that shows results ensures that the project is on track in terms of timeline, budget and goals. Reports also allow key information about the project to be easily conveyed to project stakeholders.
What PMIS Supports
At the heart of PMIS is software, which can be as simple as a Microsoft Excel file system to an enterprise PMIS comprised of one or more software systems. The PMIS should support all aspects of project management including:
- Integration management
- Scope management
- Time management
- Cost management
- Risk management
- Procurement management
- Stakeholder management
PMIS in Action
At Fuller, we implement PMIS holding true to the fundamentals of project management by looking at time, budget, scope and work packages as well as business development. Below is a list of the items in each respective area:
- Percent Complete: The total percent complete for the project, based on duration.
- Percent Work Complete: The total amount of work (hours) that has been completed.
Note: We contrast these along with budget to ensure we will deliver on time, and on budget.
- Billed to Date: Looked at by the week. We catch a lot of issues here.
- Budget Remaining: Provides a good talking point when discussing the remaining work vs. remaining effort needed.
- Fiscal Complete: This should align with the Percent Work Complete. If it’s not, we know we have a problem.
- Risks: Rolling totals to be reviewed and discussed weekly.
- Issues: Rolling totals to be reviewed and discussed weekly.
- Decisions: Rolling totals to be reviewed and discussed weekly.
- Change Requests: Rolling totals to be reviewed and discussed weekly.
- Backlog Items: The work remaining to be completed.
- Well Defined Backlog Items: These keep everyone on their toes for ensuring we have a clear understanding of what is needed, when and by whom.
- Bug: Used as an overlap with development resources.
- Active Opportunities: Used as an overlap with sales resources.
For more of our work in this area, please visit our Insight case study here.
Oftentimes projects don’t fail because they are bad ideas or the people managing them lack the skills to oversee them. They often fail because the quality of data available throughout the project allows for quality decisions to be made that will keep a project on track, on time and on budget as well as meet the overall business objectives.
This is where PMIS really comes into play and why it is so essential in managing any complex project or multi-project environments.