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Project Management Information System

Project Management Information System

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CHAPTER 12
PROJECT MANAGEMENTINFORMATION SYSTEM
“Knowledge is of two kinds: We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information about it.”
SAMUELJOHNSON
, 1709–1784
12.1INTRODUCTIO
Accurate and timely information is essential for the management of a project.Project planning, organizational design, motivation of project stakeholders, andmeaningful project reviews simply cannot be carried out without information onthe project—and how it relates to the larger organizational context in which the pro- ject is found. An accurate and complete project management information systemmust exist to provide the basis for how the project is doing. The project manager—or any other manager for that part—simply cannot make and execute meaningfuldecisions without relevant and timely information.In this chapter, a project management information system (PMIS) is presented.Project failures attributed to lack of information are offered. The value of thePMIS, a description of a PMIS, and the uses to which a PMIS can be put areoffered. How to use the PMIS in the management of a project is described, alongwith how project information can be shared. The role of technology vis-à-vis thePMIS is provided. A summary description of PMIS hardware and software is sug-gested, along with descriptions on how to plan for the PMIS. A description of theessential elements of a PMIS closes the chapter.
12.2THE PROJECT MANAGEMENINFORMATION SYSTEM 
In Chap. 4, the project management system and its subsystems are described. Figure12.1 shows the project management system and its subsystems. The project man-agement information system (PMIS) is intended to store information essential to the
349
Source: PROJECT MANAGEMENTDownloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.
 
effective planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of the project, as well as pro-vide a repository of information to be used to keep stakeholders informed about theproject’s status. The essential elements of a PMIS are covered in this chapter.All too often projects are characterized by too much data and not enough relevantinformation on where the project stands relative to its schedule, cost, and technicalperformance objectives as well as the project’s strategic fit and function in theparent organization’s strategies. The 80-20 rule tells us that typically there will be
the vital few and trivial many,
or 20 percent will be relevant and the remaining 80percent will be of significantly less importance.Information is essential to the design and execution of management decisionsallocating resources in a project. Decisions coming from project planning, orga-nizing, direction, motivation, and control must be based on timely and relevantinformation. Motivation of the project team and discharge of leadership responsi-bilities by all managers associated with the project require information by whichinformed decisions can be made and executed.
350
PROJECT OPERATIONS
ControlsubsystemInformationsubsystemFacilitativeorganizationalsubsystemCulturalsubsystemHumansubsystemPlanningsubsystem
ProjectManagementSystem
FIGURE 12.1
Project management system—information subsystem.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMDownloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.
 
Information is required for the operation of any enterprise. In organizations,making and implementing decisions depend on the character of the informationavailable to the decision makers. Information availability and flow are critical con-siderations in the speed and eloquence with which the efficient and effective useof resources is carried out in meeting the purposes of the enterprise.Organizations of all sizes need information to design, produce, market, and pro-vide after-sales support to the products and services that are offered to customers. Inlarge organizations the flow of information can be incomplete and sequential, oftennot getting to the people who need the information for their work in time to make thebest decisions. Information may be found lying around in organizations waiting forsomeone who has the authority to make a decision. The best information loses itsvalue if it is not available to people who need it to make decisions and direct actions.A system for collecting, formatting, and distributing information is needed forthe organization and each project. The organization’s management informationsystem will contain some information that is needed for the projects, but there is aneed for additional project-related information as well as that information generatedas a result of the project’s activities.An important part of the management of any project is a well-developed strategyfor understanding and managing the set of procedures and documents that establishinformation used in the management of the project. One author has suggested astrategy for the development of such documentation.
1
Sometimes the initiation of a project for the development of an informationsystem for one element of the enterprise results in the broadening of informa-tion usage. For example, at 3M during the development of a computer-integratedmanufacturing (CIM) approach for the company, a total integration of all the infor-mation technology for one of the company’s plants was initiated. The name givento this effort became
integrated manufacturing system
(IMS). Tying the adminis-trative systems into their CIM structures provided for further broadening thenotion of concurrency in the management systems of the organization.
2
In addition to the immediate participants to a project, there is a need to considerall stakeholders. A project manager might characterize the PMIS as being able toprovide information that he or she needs to do the job and information that thebosses need. Typically, stakeholders have various information needs that can oftenbe satisfied through the information stored in the PMIS. Table 12.1 describes someof the stakeholders’ information needs on a routine basis.Those individuals with real or perceived information needs about the project soonbecome disenchanted when inadequate or inaccurate information is provided. Nostakeholder likes surprises that reflect a change to the project plan or anticipatedprogress. Surprises quickly erode confidence in the project manager’s capability tomanage the work and keep key stakeholders fully informed on progress. One cor-porate vice president in Rochester, N.Y., stated to her managers, “Surprises onprojects are not career-enhancing moves.”
PROJECT MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM
351
1
Henry J. McCabe, “Assuring Excellence in Execution in Construction Project Management,”
PM Network,
October 1995, pp. 18–21
2
Tom Waldoch, “From CIM to IMS Spelled Success at 3M,”
 Industrial Engineering,
February 1990, pp. 31–35.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMDownloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.

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