A project management information system (PMIS) can be a framework to guide the progress of a project and help to increase its success rate. It brings accurate and relevant information to management within the required time frame, and helps to speed up the decision-making process and any action necessary to ensure that the project is on track in terms of time, budget and objectives.
The Right Approach
A PMIS must basically identify the information that is needed and its relevance to the project and its implementation. It must be able to compare the present state of affairs on a project to the aims laid down and analyze the differences so that corrective or remedial action can be taken. A PMIS should not lead to any loss of control because of the analysis of the information that has been gathered. There has to be some method of integrating the scope of the project, its quality objectives, and the time and cost that it requires. There should be no duplication of information as this only leads to a waste of scarce resources in terms of time and manpower.
Planning the Information
The information that is gathered has to help the project management team to plan, organize, and control the project. It must have sufficient information which can be of interest to all the people who have a stake in the project. If there is any linkage to other projects within the same organization or out of it, it must have information on the connected milestones so that it provides the right interlinking. It must have a system where any slippages in time or money are highlighted and analyzed so that corrective action can be taken. The information available must not be data alone and must have a relevance to any decision-making that is required for project implementation or monitoring. Unnecessary detailing must be avoided so that any decision-making is not bowed down by the sheer weight of the information given.
Benefits and Expectations
The PMIS should enable a project team to pinpoint the variances in terms of time, money and resources and see if they can find the reason why these have occurred. It should enable the team to track the status of each part of the project and assess the work that is completed and the work that remains to be done. When this information is available the project team will be able to reallocate the necessary resources to see that each part of the project contributes to the success of the project. It should be able to help the project leaders to assess the impact on the project from any future risks caused by time and cost overruns, and also to ensure that the quality of the project does not suffer. It should help the team to understand which of the parts of the project require revised guidelines and how they are to be implemented.
For an effective PMIS, it is necessary that the preliminary estimates and technical specifications are very precise and all encompassing. Cost control and feedback systems have to be always up to date. Project milestones need to be very clearly identified and linked to the resources that are required to reach them. Vendor selection, materials management, human resources have to be individually looked into to ensure that each of these areas fits within the parameters for the project. Document control including its coding and movement is another vital area of PMIS.