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PM4DEV | 1
Project Management Information Systems For Development Organizations
2 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations
recording or otherwise. without the prior written permission of the publishers.com WEB: www. stored in a retrieval system. No part of this publication may be reproduced.PM4DEV | 3 Published by: PM4DEV. or transmitted in any form or by any means.com © PM4DEV 2009 All rights reserved. mechanical. electronic. . photocopying.pm4dev. Project Management for Development Organizations Email: info@pm4dev.
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PM4DEV | 5 PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS A methodology to manage development projects for international assistance and humanitarian relief organizations .
6 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations .
to define the methods to collect and organize the information. and an organization’s ability to learn. It is a process the project uses for identifying all the information it needs. collecting. share and use information. collect. Managing this process should be a critical project objective. organizing. This book introduces the concept that project information is a strategic resource and must be managed with the same rigor projects manage financial and physical resources. Development projects need to improve the way they manage their information. PMIS is not only about technology but the processes and procedures that are required to ensure the project is able to get the right information and make it available to the right people at the right time. but to treat information from all its dimensions and avoid “tunnel vision” solutions. organizations will be measured by how they are able to tap this vast resource. identifying. This books deals with the critical elements needed to design.PM4DEV | 7 PREFACE A Project Management Information System (PMIS) is the systematic process of creating. sharing. and change will become a core competency. a careful analysis is required on how the elements of the information environment need to be treated. It is not enough to see information as a product. In the knowledge era. For projects to be successful in information management. by bringing the right information to the right people at the right time. learn and create new knowledge. implement and manage an information management system. The quality of a PMIS is measured by how the project uses information to guide and improve its actions. Information management places people and processes at the center and technology as an enabler. At the core of any PMIS is the information management process that treats information as a key resource. store. a resource that needs to be available to the organization to know if the projects has meet its objectives. It is through information management that they can improve their decision making process. analyze. information should be managed within the context where it matters the most. With the right PMIS projects will be able to improve processes for how they define. and use the best methods for its distribution and use. The management of a project’s information assets is essential to the long-term survival of development organization. where value is created to help achieve the goals of the project. locate. . adapt. It has to do more with managing human behaviors than managing technology. adapting and using project information.
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INTRODUCTION TO PMIS • CHAPTER 2 .THE INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT • CHAPTER 5 .DEFINING PMIS • CHAPTER 3 .PM4DEV | 9 PROJECT MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS • CHAPTER 1 .MANAGING PMIS .THE INFORMATION CYCLE • CHAPTER 6 .COMPONENTS OF A PMIS • CHAPTER 4 .
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PM4DEV | 11 Table of Contents CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION OBJECTIVE THE CURRENT PROBLEM WITH PMIS SYSTEMATIZE BEFORE AUTOMATIZE 13 13 15 16 CHAPTER 2 DEFINING PMIS LEVELS OF TECHNOLOGY FOR A PMIS IDENTIFYING A PROJECT’S MIS TECHNOLOGY NEEDS LOG FRAME AND PMIS 19 21 24 29 CHAPTER 3 MODULES OF A PMIS MODULES OF A PMIS THE PROJECT SCOPE THE PROJECT SCHEDULE THE PROJECT BUDGET THE PROJECT TEAM PROJECT BENEFICIARIES 35 35 37 41 44 46 51 CHAPTER 4 THE INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT THE PROJECT INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT INFORMATION DIMENSIONS INFORMATION LOGISTICS INFORMATION STANDARDS INFORMATION STRATEGY INFORMATION POLITICS INFORMATION CULTURE INFORMATION GOVERNANCE INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE 59 59 60 63 64 67 69 70 71 72 .
12 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations CHAPTER 5 THE INFORMATION CYCLE THE CORE PROCESSES OF PMIS THE PROJECT INFORMATION CYCLE DEFINING INFORMATION NEEDS LOCATING INFORMATION SOURCES SELECTING INFORMATION TO COLLECT COLLECTING THE INFORMATION ORGANIZING AND STORING INFORMATION REPORTING AND SHARING INFORMATION USING THE INFORMATION EVALUATING THE PROCESS IMPROVING THE INFORMATION PROCESS 85 85 86 88 94 98 101 108 114 118 121 125 CHAPTER 6 MANAGING PMIS MANAGING THE INFORMATION SYSTEM INFORMATION MANAGEMENT PLAN DEFINING THE INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS THE INFORMATION COLLECTION PROCESS INFORMATION ANALYSIS INFORMATION REPORTING HISTORICAL INFORMATION AND RECORD KEEPING ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION RESPONSIBILITIES TO MANAGE THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT INFORMATION MANAGEMENT INTERNAL CONTROLS AND QUALITY EVALUATING AND IMPROVING PMIS 129 129 133 134 135 142 143 144 145 146 149 151 156 INDEX 161 .
”1 OBJECTIVE The management of project information is a critical element and a key responsibility of the project manager. Information technology. change and guide the project to improve its outcomes. 2. Humanitarian Community Information Centre . This can lead to organizations investing heavily in systems that go beyond their needs and then failing to make use of them effectively. Organizational cultures need to be changed so that the wider processes of information management become a priority. guides and builds support for the project. 3. will not create better information systems that enable organizations to function more effectively. 1 Paul Currion. A project management information system serves four principal purposes: 1. on its own. Provide information for decision-making and improve project management. as it informs. Demonstrate results through project evaluation.Chapter 1 – Introduction | 13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION “One of the great mistakes organizations make is to value the technology over the process. Empower communities and other project stakeholders. The goal of this book is to present a series of techniques. Providing key project stakeholders with the right information ant the right time can significantly improve the decisions to adjust. educates. practices and processes to help project managers and project staff to manage information in a systematic way that will help improve the project interventions.
define the scope baseline. Chapter 3 presents the elements required in PMIS from the logframe to the information cycle. the PMIS is used to compare the baseline with the actual accomplishment of each activity. . including staff responsible for designing and developing technology solutions. applied in a consistent way to support the decision-making and information needs of project stakeholders. processes and methods for managing project information. development. and definitions of PMIS. Chapter 1 and 2 contain an introduction to the guidelines. A PMIS helps plan. During implementation. The goal of a good PMIS is to make the right information available to the right people at the right time. implement. and keep a record for reporting purposes. Structure of the Guidelines These guidelines are structured in six chapters. Audience This book is targeted specially to all project staff. These people will be involved in the planning. which acts as an introduction to Chapter 6 that deals with management of a PMIS. Chapter 4 provides a detail of the basic components of PMIS. During the planning process. estimate the budget.14 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations 4. manage deliverables. processes and tools to collect. the PMIS is used to review the goals to check if the tasks were accomplished and or not. supervisors and managers. A Project Management Information System is an integrated set of mutually supporting tools. monitor and close project management goals. the project team collects information into one database. Increase opportunities to learn from experience. Other audiences of the book include program managers and senior executives of the organization who are end users of the information generated by the project. collect financial data. During the monitoring of the project. The Information Management Cycle is discussed in detail in chapter 5. Project managers use the techniques. organize. a project manager uses a PMIS for structure the project work. Anyone involved with Project Management and Information Systems is encouraged to read this book. analyze and share information through electronic and manual means. implementation and management of the system. and create a schedule.
Chapter 1 – Introduction | 15
THE CURRENT PROBLEM WITH PMIS
The content of this book is designed to help projects solve many of the current problems with information management systems, problems that have been a source of complain and frustration from information users as well as information providers. • Isolated systems; one of the consistent and recurring messages is that projects are creating and using systems that are too narrow in scope and limited to track project activities and not project outcomes. These systems are designed to manage the information needs of a specific project and as a result, efforts to consolidate information are almost impossible. • Drowning on data and starving of information, some project systems focus too much on collecting, organizing and reporting data giving little time to critically analyze the information and make sound decisions. • High expectations; people involved in the collection of data receive high expectations as to the value of the data requested from them, only to never see the information come back. • Low priorities in information management; PMIS is often relegated to outside consultants or given to staff with inadequate skills or responsibilities. It is often that these responsibilities are not well assigned and accountability becomes diffused. • Technology myopia; expectations that technology will be the final solution has led to an inappropriate focus that resulted in spending more time in managing the technology than managing the information. • Systems disconnected from the logframe; PMIS are developed but only respond to the immediate needs of the project; reporting on project activities without creating the connections with the desired objectives. Systems designed to monitor progress do not show how the progress relates with what the project has set out to achieve. • Reports for reporting sake; reports are not connected with the decision process of the organization. • No standard PMIS process; the lack of a standard process has led to the development of many systems, each with its own processes, and all disconnected from each other. Organizations have to deal with information coming from different systems, making the collection and consolidation of information impossible. Systems are tailored to specific project and donor needs. • Duplication of efforts; each project develops its own PMIS system, which results in a duplication of efforts and costs to the organization.
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• Training and maintenance costs for each system; costs to train and maintain the system are seldom considered in the design phase resulting in unexpected expenses not budgeted by the project. • Little or no experience in PMIS; lack of experience leads to poor systems or failures at a high cost to the organization. Systems developed with low quality require a high dependency on consultants to keep fixing the system. • Projects with little or no IT support; PMIS perceived as a luxury that requires high IT investments. Certain development organizations have a low technology capacity that has not been structured to support complex project PMIS requirements.
SYSTEMATIZE BEFORE AUTOMATIZE
Systematization means the reduction to a purposefully regular method of organizing data and information. It is not about technology alone, the planning and organization of the information cycle is independent of the development of technology solutions, and it can even be applied to a paper based system. An Information System does not always means information technology. A small project that has low information requirements and a small budget can have a successful project information system using low technology solutions. Systematization of the information processes must preclude any effort to automatize. Technology can only help in making a process faster, but one has to define and design the process first. Systematization is the organization of the project information management processes. This book present a series of methods based on best practices to help projects systematize their information management processes. A key element of systematization is to realize the hierarchy of data to knowledge as a central component of information management. Without the proper data projects cannot have good information, without good information projects cannot create knowledge. To understand this relationship projects need to have a good definition of data, information, and knowledge and how they relate to information management systems. PMIS is the systematic management of project information systems. It is defined in terms of systems for processing and sharing information and not confined only to software and hardware.
Chapter 1 – Introduction | 17
Data Data is defined as a base representation of a fact, represented in the form of numbers, letters, or words. Examples of data include number of visits to a community, number of crop failures, number of farmers trained. Data is a discrete set of unorganized, scattered statement about a reality. Data are raw facts.
Information Information is defined a data with context, Peter Drucker defines information as “data endowed with relevance and purpose”2 Data becomes information when is placed within a context. An example of information is; 80% of the farmers who kept the same variety of coffee, lured by market prices, could not sustain three continuous crop failures and defaulted on their loans. Information is organized data, with a meaning and relevance. Information is facts with context and perspective.
Knowledge Knowledge is information in action or the ability to understand the relevance of information and to understand how to use that information to advantage. The use of information leads to experience, and new knowledge. Knowledge is information that is embedded in a context; it has a purpose and leads one to take an action. Knowledge allows us to make sense of information, relate information to a purpose and know when information is irrelevant. For example, a farmer has learned that by rotating crops he is less exposed to crop failures, he tried different varieties and with his previous knowledge about the soil and weather conditions in the region. With the technical information he received from project staff, has come up with the right mix of crops that produced a good harvest and allowed him to pay his loans and provide for his family. Knowledge is information with guidance for action. Knowledge requires a human interaction with information. Information becomes knowledge when a person acts on it, makes it her/his own, conceptualizes it by placing it in relation to previous knowledge and internalizes it by making it part of her/his beliefs.
Davenport T.H., Prusak L. Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 199
which only take away the time for analysis and decision-making. This book concentrates on the minimum basic requirements that any project can follow. without adding complex systems and processes. A good PMIS can be achieved by concentrating on the key elements required for proper information management.18 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Keep it Simple! The purpose of this book is not to complicate the project information process but rather to make it simple and achievable. .
how it transforms data into information and how that information eventually becomes knowledge. and monitor the progress of a project. What is PMIS? A project management information system is a set of interrelated components working together to collect. It does not necessarily mean complex or expensive technology. but rather the common practices that a project should follow to properly manage its information. It is more about designing the appropriate methods and processes and implements a sound plan to manage the information cycle. Characteristics of PMIS . classify. a good system has a systematized approach to manage information. This chapter will introduce some basic concepts definitions and characteristics that will help in the management of information. A project management information system is not about technology alone.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 19 CHAPTER 2 DEFINING PMIS “Knowledge is experience…everything else is just information” Albert Einstein DEFINITION OF PMIS A project management information system (PMIS) is not necessarily information technology. store and distribute information to support decision making. A PMIS is about how effectively the project manages the data.
A good project PMIS needs to contain the following characteristics: • PMIS supply the necessary information and feedback so that potential problems are identified and solutions are implemented early before becoming constraints.where project participants are given control over decision-making.the use and application of information to monitor the progress of the project and correct deviations. The system should be able to generate timely information to initiate corrective actions. PMIS focus is on the systematization of the information management processes. • Flow of information is central to PMIS and constitutes an empowerment agenda that includes: .Inclusion and participation . In order to have flexible and responsive interventions. A good PMIS builds on a project's successes while using lessons from earlier experiences to improve project performance. transparency and partnership. . • PMIS differ from other Management Information Systems (Financial.Accountability . but serve as a powerful management tool for advancing an organization’s program goals of accountability. including decisions on appropriate criteria and indicators to judge the performance of the services provided by the project. Payroll.the availability and access to information by all project stakeholders . • A PMIS is a tool to collect. store and disseminate information useful for decision making in a project. establishing smart goals and objectives and selecting indicators for measuring progress are the elements that form the basis of a sound information system. collected. .20 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations In the project information cycle. An important step in developing the system is the development of an information management plan that outlines how information will be selected. a project information system needs to be more than just a reporting mechanism. once the project has completed the design and planning of the information the project should be able to move to a systemized process to manage all the information maintained by the project. analyzed and shared during the lifecycle of the project. etc) because their demand-driven approach requires it to be flexible and adaptable to the changing conditions of the project. analyze.Transparency .
It is important for the project to identify and develop a PMIS that satisfies its critical requirements to manage information and avoid the creation of complex systems that are too expensive. Each box represents a level. 3. boxes 1-3 refer to the three levels. 2. A small project with small needs will suffice with simple technologies. managing the system can be less efficient than a simple solution. The use of complex technology not necessarily means efficiency. the project can use desktop or server based system to manage a significant volume of information. this implies adapting the technology to the process and not the process to the technology. Level one . A major imperative lies in the need for a coherent systematization of information handling as part of the information management process. The levels increase as the level of requirements increase. Level two – Information requirements are medium. and this must occur before automating. Every project requires different levels of technologies to satisfy its basic information management needs.Information requirements are low. Higher technical and information requirements are needed for setting up an integrated information system and the ever-greater complexity of supporting and operating the system itself as a project shifts from level 1 toward level 3.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 21 LEVELS OF TECHNOLOGY FOR A PMIS PMIS does not necessarily mean a state-of-the-art technology solution that tries to be everything to everybody. Level three – Information requirements are large. the project will require a fully integrated system to manage large amounts of data and information. take more time to develop and require additional resources to manage it properly. progressively from easier (level 1) to the more difficult (level 3). Every project has different information needs both in quality and in quantity. but large projects with large information needs can benefit from more extensive technology solutions. The following diagram represents the three levels of technology to consider when designing a computerized information management system. A small project with little information needs will not benefit from a complex integrated system. . On the contrary. The information requirements of a project can be divided in three levels: 1. the project can use basic desktop computer applications to manage the project information.
the effort to setup. Excel. As the amount of information increases. a level two system decreases in efficiency as the volume of information increases. and sectors may have projects at each one the levels. During the life of a project the levels may change. a project could start in level one and progressively move to the next level. This can happen when a project is using a complex system to track small amounts of information. quite the opposite. For example. It can be acceptable for a project to remain at level one. manage and use .22 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations High Level 3: Integrated Database Applications Internet Level 2: Server Database Applications Local Network Level 1: Common software: Word. This does not necessarily means that a level 3 is the ideal level all PMIS should seek. analyze and report the additional information. as long as it has a system that provides with good quality and reliable information. A development organization with several projects. Access Personal Computer Low Information Management Requirements Information Technology Complexity High Figure 1 The PMIS levels of technology This classification of levels is a guide to help projects assess their needs to manage information and identify the right level of technology. programs. Becoming more sophisticated (or automated) may not be appropriate or feasible in some situations. due to local conditions or external factors. Once a project determines its information requirements it has to mach it with the appropriate technology. a level 3 shows a low efficiency when the volume of information is small. the efficiency in the use of a fixed technology solution decreases due to the time it takes to process.
These databases may not be totally integrated but fill the need to organize large amounts of data collected by the project and generate the required reports. Desktop Applications Level one implies low information management requirements. At this level.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 23 the system. and MS Word. MS Access. All data and reports are stored on computers connected to a local server. The level of data at this level is large and may come from different sources and project locations. Levels of information systems complexity and suggested management and software support: Level One. the PMIS requires the use of more computers to manage centralized databases that contain most if not all of project information. make a level 3 system less efficient compared with simpler solutions when the project information needs are low. the small volume of data requires a simple information technology setup. Typical software includes MS Excel. There is less need to store physical records. Level Two. and all its associated costs. all the data comes in physical form and is entered on a computer to produce monthly reports. The database collects information and generates all required reports. one or two computers to organize the information collected and produce the desired reports. All information is stored on the computer and on physical files. Network Server Applications Level two occurs when the project has significant information management requirements. This type of setup allows sharing of project information across the local network and a project team working from a single location. . A central database may be used to consolidate data for reporting purposes. while reports and other consolidated information is stored on a computer hard disk. the PMIS will rely on the use of computer desktop applications (like MS Office suite) to organize and store data and produce reports. Level one assumes the volume of information to be small.
etc. This setup is needed when the project team is dispersed and works from many locations. Access to information is controlled by a central system and security features implemented to protect the data. • The types of access. This step is needed in order to evaluate the complexity of the information the project will manage. Requirements of information from the donor Requirements of information from the organization The methods the project will use to collect. modify and update the information • • • • . maps. tables. Integrated Systems Level three is when the project has a large and complex information management requirements. The volume of data in level three is quite large and requires dedicated resources to manage the technology. such as graphs. All data is stored in servers and accessed via the network or the internet.24 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Level Three. IDENTIFYING A PROJECT’S MIS TECHNOLOGY NEEDS Information Requirements The list below can help project managers identify the information to requirements in order to define and develop an information technology solution for the PMIS. The integrated system may contain other type of project data. such as budget. It requires a network were all computers are connected and sharing data from a central system that stores project data and information. and organize all the information The frequency the project needs to analyze and report the information to key stakeholders • The volume of information it needs to collect from beneficiaries • The types of visual reports required. security and controls to manage. This situation is typical of large projects disseminated in many locations and in a location with the required connectivity to link all systems with the central database. the PMIS requires an integrated view of project data and information processes. human resources and external or secondary data.
Developing a Technology Solutions for a PMIS One of the most critical steps in developing an automated PMIS is the development of a software solution that will meet all the information management requirements. In other instances. and development organizations. . the project may decide to contract a consultant to develop customized solutions that can meet all of its requirements. internet and other online systems The number of staff that will use computers in the project The level of computer literacy of the project staff The IT support required by the project Once a project has identified its information requirements it needs to define its technological requirements and start the design a technological infrastructure that will provide with the appropriate hardware and software needed to manage the information. For most projects. the options are to configure a commercial package or develop a customized solution from scratch. • • • • • • Available funds for IT resources dedicated to the project The current capacity of the project capacity to manage technology The need for communications .Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 25 • The need to develop especial reports in defined formats • The need for complex analysis on the information collected The next step is to evaluate the current Information Technology (IT) capacity of the project. email. This will identify the IT capacity that will satisfy the information requirements. Configuring a commercial package means in most cases that the selected product will not be able to meet certain requirements and that the project will need to make a careful identification and selection process to use the system that meets most of its needs and find other methods (or tools) to fill in the gaps.
the technical environment. The usual approach is to develop a request for proposal (RFP) that will detail the scope of work the consultant of system developer will do and it will detail the obligations and scope of the work to be performed. how the system will help the project achieve its objectives. its objectives and the type of environment the project will work on.26 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches: Configured Solution Advantages Disadvantages • Less time required to get a PMIS in the project • May not meet all requirements • Supported by a company that has experience • Difficult to modify for future needs and a customer base • May require third party tools to fill in the re• System can be licenses per user or per time to quirements gaps reduce costs • Project doesn’t own the code Customized Solution Advantages • • • Disadvantages • • • Meets most if not all of the requirements Adaptable to future needs of the project The project owns the code Expensive if requirements are large Costly to own the code Dependency on consultant to make any future modifications Whatever approach the project decides to take it should take in consideration the development of a very detailed statement of work document that will describe the work a system analyst or software developer should make in order to deliver a solution that meets all requirements. usually a company with a good history of developing similar systems in the past who will bid for the contract. number of PCs. level of IT support the project will have. and any other technical information that will help the consultant design the system . • A Description of the project environment. • A description of how the system (PMIS) will be used in the project. One method is to hire an external consultant. access to the internet. Here is a list of the basic content a good RFP should contain: • A description of the project. level of experience in the use of similar systems. the number of users. type of network.
The project manager or development organization should have a basic understanding of this methodology to ensure that the development of the PMIS follows the basic steps to ensure the solution develop meets the requirements and achieves its stated goals. and user ownership. • A list of administrative instructions such as date to send the proposal. development. cost of fees for support and system maintenance. reports. This may include decisions about the use of development tools. total development costs. analysis. consultant experience. The goal of a good SDLC it to produce a high quality system that meets or exceeds the expectation of the users. security.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 27 • A list of the critical functionality the system should have. such as data management. training. these include descriptions about what the system should do. in this step the consultant gathers all the functional and technical requirements for the system. format of the proposal. place to send the proposals ( hard copies or electronic copies) and expected date when a decision will be announced. code ownership. test. and manages work in a effective and efficient manner. method used by the consultant to develop the system. • Analysis of requirements. references. the consultant will interview the project team and other stakeholders who will either use the system or receive information from the system. In this step. The System Development Life Cycle The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a logical process used by a system developer or software consultant to develop an information system. . controls. it details the steps for gathering requirements. and any other functionality the project needs from the system • A list of requirements to include in the proposal such as time to develop the system. reaches completion within time and cost estimates. calculations. the consultant analyzes the requirements to identify the approach to use in the development of the system. design. review initial estimates and identify constraints. The SDLC consist usually of 7 basic steps: • Gather requirements.
In this step. the users will test the system and will ensure that all the required functionality is working according to the specifications.28 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • System Design. operating systems. the system is installed in the final place. The goal is to ensure that the design meets all the requirements before any work is done. • System development. including following procedures. Once the new system is up and running for a while. Once the system passes the users test. the solution is ready for deployment. Builds all the software code. • User training. in this step the consultant develops the system. this is a detailed training to ensure all users have the knowledge to use the system. The SDLC follows a circular method to manage the different steps: Gather Requirements Deploy Solution Analysis of Requirements User Training Design of Solution Test the Solution Development of Solution Figure 2 The SDLC Cycle . The system is now ready for use by the project. Development of plans concerning the software development. communications. and access is given to all authorized users who have either access the data or access to reports. programming languages. tests the functionality and resolves any issues caused by errors in the code. controls and security policies established by the project. • Test the solution. All system users are trained. it should be exhaustively evaluated and users of the system should be kept up-to-date concerning the latest modifications and procedures. and security issues are presented to the project for approval. here the consultant will develop a design of what the system will look like. hardware. • System deployment.
including the identification of stakeholders' needs and the definition of related objectives • Establish a causal link between inputs. After the first phase is completed. It aims to present information about the key components of a project in a clear. The logframe is constructed during the project design phase and is a structured summary of the project design information needs. It is a good practice to breakdown the development of a complex system into manageable phases. outcomes and objectives • Define the assumptions on which the project logic builds • Identify the potential risks for achieving objectives and outcomes • Establish a system for monitoring and evaluating project performance • Establish a communication and learning process among key stakeholders PMIS is based on the Logframe as the framework from which all information will be organized.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 29 This cycle can be repeated after each development phase. allows a gradual acceptance and use of the system by the project. activities. that way the project has the time to learn and use the system and move into functionality that is more complex. . This cycle approach reduces the risks associated with developing information management systems. concise. LOG FRAME AND PMIS The Logical Framework (logframe) is a tool for planning and managing development projects. It is from the Logframe that the PMIS can connect project objectives with project activities and measure impact and progress. and the project has had enough practice with the system. outputs. However. the organization and stakeholders. logical and systematic way. the project can start a new phase of the cycle with new requirements and additional functionality to meet new needs. but most important it keeps the relationship between outputs and impact in a way that project managers can evaluate the contribution of the outputs to the objectives of the project. The logframe helps the project to: • Analyze an existing situation. it ensures the ownership of the system as a tool to help the project manage its information and generate the required reports and analysis to ensure the project is on track.
The Logical Framework The typical Logical Framework consists of a 4 x 4 matrix. . the "assumptions" column is of great importance in clarifying the extent to which the project objectives depend on external factors. The horizontal components are (a) summaries of the objectives at each level. This takes the form of a series of connected propositions: If the activities are implemented. and these assumptions hold. with a vertical hierarchy of objectives at the (1) project final goal (impact). then these outputs will be delivered If the outputs are delivered. and (d) the important risks and assumptions for moving from one level of objectives to the next. and the assumptions hold. and these assumptions hold. and greatly clarify potential risks if they are not met. • A systematic approach to organize the activities of the project under specific outcomes and objectives.30 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations When the Logical Framework is applied to the PMIS. simplifies the evaluation of the project and helps monitor its performance and make corrective actions in time. then the goal will be achieved. (3) output. the project obtains the following benefits: • A consistent link between the inputs/activities/outputs and the outcomes/impact of the project. If the outcome is achieved. This is the hierarchy of hypotheses. • A means to see which outputs were significant in achieving outcomes. Tracking progress against carefully defined output indicators provides a clear basis for monitoring progress. (2) intermediate objectives (effect). (c) the sources and means needed to verify the indicators. and 4) activity levels. verifying progress of outcomes and goals. then the outcome will be achieved. (b) performance indicators for achievement of those objectives. At the core of the Logical Framework is the "temporal logic model" that runs through the matrix.
g. though they are a key element in producing project outputs.g. expected to take place in a target group. described in clear terms to reflect a measurable and defined improvement in human conditions. that is. • Project Outputs. improve the rural standard of living. Inputs occur only during the period of project support. 100 farmers trained to carry out improved rice farming • Project Activities. provide technical support to existing farmer groups.g.g. increases the production and sale of high quality rice by small farmers. e.g. in an expected period. These are not usually shown in the log frame itself. each effect objective is a necessary condition to achieving the impact goal.. and is completely dependent on project inputs. The intended changes in systemic conditions or behaviors that must be achieved in order to accomplish the impact goal. Logframe Terminology Impact The final project goal Outcomes The desired effects or measurable changes Outputs The immediate results that come from the activities Activities The actions. The logical framework must show how progress towards the project purpose will be achieved. Typical Log Frame Structure . This is the ‘lowest’ level in the sense that it occurs first. stationery supplies for workshops and training sessions. What the project intends to contribute in the long term as a result of achieving the intermediate goals.. What response the project intends to achieve among the target population groups. What resources are necessary for performing the project activities? E. • Project Outcomes.. The information contained is generated during the design of the project and is used to manage project implementation. e.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 31 Logframes are living documents. What the project staff and target population are going to do. • Project Inputs. What the project intends to deliver as a result of the project activities. work and task the project will deliver Inputs The resources used by the project activities • Project Impact. The ultimate aim or purpose of the project.. E.. which may change over the life of the project according to changes in the dynamic external environment. E.
Quality. to whom? What effect. Time) What kind and quality of activities and by when will they be produced? What are the sources of information to verify the achievement of the outputs? What are the sources of information to verify the achievement of the activities? What are the factors not in control of the project which are liable to restrict the outputs achieving the Intermediate Objectives? What factors will restrict the activities from creating the outputs? The Work Breakdown Structure The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is project management planning tool used to define a project in terms of its outputs while providing a method for breaking these deliverables into meaningful work units. implementation plan.32 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations (a) Project Structure (1) Project Final Goal (Impact Goal) What are the wider objectives. budget. what are the benefits. which the project will help achieve? Longer term program impact (2) Intermediate Objectives (Effect Objectives) What are the intended immediate effects of the project. by which achievement of the purpose can be judged? What sources of information exist or can be provided to allow the goal to be measured? What external factors are necessary to contribute to achievement of the goal? What kind and quality of outputs and by when will they be produced? (Quantity. The WBS allows the project manager to describe the hierarchical nature of the work to be performed and establishes a foundation for other elements of the project documents including the resource plan. . improvements or changes will the project bring about? (3) Outputs What outputs (deliverables) are to be produced in order to achieve the intermediate objectives? (4) Activities What activities must be achieved to accomplish the outputs? (b) Verifiable Indicators What are the quantitative measures or qualitative judgments to know whether these broad objectives have been achieved? (c) Means of Verification What sources of information exist or can be provided to allow the goal to be measured? (d) Assumptions What external factors are necessary to sustain the objectives in the long run? What are the quantitative measures or qualitative judgments. and project schedule.
leading and managing the project that are not always present in the logframe.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 33 With the WBS. 2003 . Additionally. once it is complete. while at the same time capturing the order and sequence of the work necessary to produce those outputs. communications. 3 Project Management Institute. effort and resources of the project. organizing. and that is one limitation of the logframe as it only lists the activities that are directly related to a project outcome and goal. project managers will be able describe the outcomes of a project in a way that is clear to members of the project team as well as the project’s stakeholders. it is much easier to see how the project activities are organized under each corresponding output and each output with is corresponding project outcome and final goal.3 The chart below is an example of the WBS Project Impact Final Goal Project Outcome #1 Project Outcome #2 Project Outcome #3 Project Output 1-1 Project Output 1-2 Project Output 1-3 Project Output 2-1 Project Output 3-1 Project Output 3-2 Activity 1-1-1 Activity 1-2-1 Activity 1-3-1 Activity 2-1-1 Activity 3-1-1 Activity 3-2-1 Activity 1-1-2 Activity 1-2-2 Activity 1-3-2 Activity3-1-2 Activity 3-2-2 Activity 1-2-3 Activity 3-1-3 Figure 3 Project’s WBS In the above example. the WBS becomes an essential building block and reference point for other project plan components. evaluating. activities such as meetings. planning. An advantage of the WBS is that it should detail 100% of all the activities or work the project will do. presentations. updating. The WBS provides a means for carefully detailing the outputs of the project and facilitates the identification of all the work required to deliver each output. beneficiaries and donors. In project management there are a series of activities and tasks that take time. WBS Standards.
34 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations .
An Integrated Approach In most development organizations. each designed to specific needs. the system will contain a basic core or central module that structures the project’s basic set of information. market prices. number of patient visits. Depending of the nature and information complexity of each project. For example. . a project health information system will focus on collecting health information. the project systems have been built independent of each other. Each project can then add more complex processes and modules as the specific needs of the project may require it. and each project has a different definition on how to structure information.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 35 CHAPTER 3 MODULES OF A PMIS “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted” Albert Einstein. All these systems are serving the specific needs of projects but it becomes impossible for an organization to consolidate information. types of pesticides used. and number of health practitioners trained. MODULES OF A PMIS Any information system must be built with enough flexibility to accommodate the specify needs of the project but at the same time must comply with basic standards that make analysis of the project progress available at all levels of management. an agriculture project system will concentrate on collecting data on crops yields. number of vaccines. as each project defines its own process and components of project information.
4. Development organizations need a more holistic view of project information systems.36 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Project information systems are also designed to meet the specific needs of a donor and do very little to manage information beyond the scope of the donor’s needs. development organizations end up with information on the systems that are isolated and difficult to monitor or consolidate. Projects collect data that is seldom reported or have little use in the evaluation of the project. the timing of all the project work Budget. the project participants Indicators. This excessive focus on data collection has taken many projects to have the data but have little information to guide the organization on how the project contributes to the organization’s strategy and objectives. The Core Modules of PMIS The core modules are a way of categorizing basic information into logical groups. each with its own set of processes for information management. As a result. Additionally. which facilitate the consolidation and management of information across all projects. 6. one that looks at information as an organizational resource and not as a project output. the project indicators to measure goals . 3. Each module defines the minimum information elements that a PMIS should have. the project members Beneficiaries. even less share it and compare it with other similar projects. the excessive focusing on collecting data leads to projects with little time to analyze and use the information internally. Scope. the agreed work of the project Schedule. 2. 5. the project funding Team. This book uses the concept of structuring project information into six modules. There are six basic modules for a good PMIS: 1. tools and processes for collecting and structuring data that will not be used beyond the life of the project. These systems have their own methods.
As the central component of PMIS. it provides a high-level detail of the project information to all stakeholders. include phone. identify the group or groups Detail the total number of beneficiaries. it includes information on two areas: • General Project Information • The Project Work Breakdown Structure General Project Information Information on the project includes the main objective of the project. . includes basic project information and information on all objectives and activities. it also includes the name of the project manager. the donor. This information is setup at the beginning of the project and requires little or no changes.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 37 THE PROJECT SCOPE This is the core of PMIS. the ultimate goal or the impact the project is seeking to achieve. it is here where all the activities of the project are monitored. Information Type Country Project Number Project Acronym Project Name Project Start Date Project Completion Date Project Final Evaluation Date Project Manager Project Main Objective Project Beneficiaries Number of Direct beneficiaries Description Name of the country were the project will be implemented Unique number assigned to identify the project A simple word to easily identify the project The complete name of the project The actual start date of the project per donor contract (Day-Month-Year) The planned end date of the project per donor contract (Day-MonthYear) Estimated date of project evaluation (Month-year) Name of manager responsible for the project. it defines the relationships among the other modules. email and or address Describe in a short sentence the main objective of the project. Provide a description of the main beneficiaries of the project activities. the project type and total amount of funds available to the project. That is. the project code. the estimated start and end of the project.
. Describe briefly all the project stakeholders Detail the total project budget (USD. The information should include detailed descriptions of each level and the indicators of achievement selected by the project to measure progress.38 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Project Location Project Stakeholders Project Budget Describe the locations were the project will be implemented. Project Impact Final Goal Project Outcome #1 Project Outcome #2 Project Outcome #3 Project Output 1-1 Project Output 1-2 Project Output 1-3 Project Output 2-1 Project Output 3-1 Project Output 3-2 Activity 1-1-1 Activity 1-2-1 Activity 1-3-1 Activity 2-1-1 Activity 3-1-1 Activity 3-2-1 Activity 1-1-2 Activity 1-2-2 Activity 1-3-2 Activity3-1-2 Activity 3-2-2 Activity 1-2-3 Activity 3-1-3 Figure 4 Work Breakdown Structure The WBS builds the relationship among all the elements of the project. etc) The Project Work Breakdown Structure The WBS details all the activities of the project in a logical grouping structure that links the project objective with the project outcomes and each outcome with a project outputs and its related activities or tasks. Euro. The structure is built following a direct relationship between the expected final goals down to all the planned activities of the project.
Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 39
• Project Goal or Final Objective
Information Type Project final goal Goal Statement Project success factors Risks Dependencies Description Short and simple description of the project goal. (By June of 2010, 5000 project beneficiaries will reduce diarrhea infections by 90%) A longer description of how the project will achieve the goal. Describe how the project stakeholders will determine the project was a success, how will they identify the project met its final goal All the critical risk the project will face trying to meet the goal. Any dependencies of this goal with other projects or actions taken by the organization or other entities with the same group of beneficiaries
• Project Outcomes
Information Type Project outcome Outcome Statement Assumptions Risks Constraints Dependencies Description Short and simple description of the project objectives. A longer description of how the project will achieve the Project outcome The external factors necessary to contribute to achievement of the goal The risks that will jeopardize the achievement of the objective. Factors outside the control of the project List any project constrains to achieve the project outcomes, these may be staff, skills, budget, time, etc. Any dependencies of this outcome with other projects or actions taken by the organization or other entities with the same group of beneficiaries
• Project Outputs
Information Type Project outputs Output statement Assumptions Risks Constraints Description / Example Short and simple description of the project output. A longer description of the project outputs List the factors not in control of the project, which are liable to restrict the outputs achieving the purpose. List the risk associated with achieving the project outputs List any project constrains to achieve the project outputs, these may be staff, skills, budget, time, etc.
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Any dependencies of this output with other projects or actions taken by the organization or other entities with the same group of beneficiaries
Activity Information The PMIS should be able to list all the project activities with basic information on progress; this can be achieved by adding a column that shows the percentage completion of an activity. With this information, the project manager can monitor the general progress of the entire project, which is the sum of all activities. • Project Activities
Information Type Project Activities Statement Assumptions Risks Constraints Dependencies Description / Example Short and simple description of the project activity. A longer description of the project activities List the factors that will restrict the activities from creating the outputs. List the associated risks in delivering the activities List any project constrains to achieve the project activities, these may be staff, skills, budget, time, etc. Any dependencies of this activity with other projects or actions taken by the organization or other entities with the same group of beneficiaries List the principal resources or inputs required for this activity
Resources or inputs
Resources and inputs For each activity, the project should identify the resources or inputs needed. For example, an activity will require people and material or equipment. • Project Inputs
Information Type Project Activity Team resource Support Resources Description / Example Name of the activity. Name of the persons responsible for delivering the activity Names of the people that will provide support to achieve the activity, these may include consultants, vendors or partners
Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 41
List of the required materials needed by the activity List of the required equipment needed by the activity
THE PROJECT SCHEDULE
Schedule Development The project schedule information comes from the WBS, which has all the activities identified for the project. The quality and completeness of the WBS will determine the quality of the schedule, and this is a good time for the project team to review if all the project activities are accounted for. Building the schedule is actually an easy part but once a project is published and issues and changes start to creep, the schedule becomes difficult to manage. The goal of developing the schedule is for the project team to have a complete understanding of all the work that they must accomplish, it also develops an understanding of the constraints, dependencies and sequence of the activities. The duration of an activity includes the actual amount of time needed to complete an activity, the estimation should take into account the number of people assigned; for example, if an activity takes one week for one person, the estimate may become two weeks if the person works only half time. This information is important at the moment of determining the total time of the project and the resources available for a project. That is why it is important that the people actually responsible for doing the work should have a say in the selection of the estimates. The typical units for measuring the duration of an activity are days or weeks.
Schedule Information All activities in the WBS have an estimate on the time it will take to complete them. This estimate becomes part of the project schedule, which is the total time to complete the project. Each activity identified in the WBS will have an estimated start and end date. Each activity will also have a dependency relationship with other activities; the purpose is to create a chronological order among activities.
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Using the information from the WBS the project will start defining the estimates of duration of each activity and their chronological dependencies; the table below shows an example.
WBS 1.1.1 1.1.2 1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.3.1 1.3.2 2.1.1 Activity Name Activity 1.1.1 Activity 1.1.1 Activity 1.2.1 Activity 1.2.2 Activity 1.2.3 Activity 1.3.1 Activity 1.3.2 Activity 2.1.1 Days 20 30 30 20 10 30 20 10 Start Date Tue 01-06-10 Tue 22-06-10 Tue 03-08-10 Tue 14-09-10 Tue 12-10-10 Tue 14-09-10 Tue 26-10-10 Tue 23-11-10 End Date Mon 21-06-10 Mon 02-08-10 Mon 13-09-10 Mon 11-10-10 Mon 25-10-10 Mon 25-10-10 Mon 22-11-10 Mon 06-12-10 Dependency with Activity No 1.1.1 1.1.2 1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.2 1.3.1 1.3.2 and 1.2.3
Schedule Graphics Information can be visualized with a network diagram. A network diagram is a graphical representation of the sequence of project activities and the dependencies among them. The network diagram is read from left to right or top to bottom. The network diagram uses a diagram technique in which boxes represent activities (used by project scheduling software). The complex and dynamic nature of development projects make this toll especially valuable because it forces the project team to address the potential interactions of project activities that can be easily missed otherwise. In this diagram the project’s critical path is the path with the longest duration,in the example below shows the critical path is the series of activities 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.2.1, 1.3.1, 1.3.2, and 2.1.1, that make a total of 135 days. Any delays in those activities will result in a total delay in the project.
Activit y 1.1.1 15 days Activit y 1.1.2 30 days Activit y 1.2.1 30 days Activit y 1.2.2 20 days Activit y 1.2.3 10 days Activit y 2.1.1 10 days
Activit y 1.3.1 30 days
Activit y 1.3.2 20 days
Figure 5 Network Diagram
Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 43
Schedule Analysis and Monitoring Monitoring the project schedule is mainly focused on determining the current status of the project. The project manager will determine what factors have influenced in the changes to the planned schedule; these factors may be internal or external. The project manager will determine the impact on the schedule and determine various actions to bring the schedule back to the original status. For example an activity was estimated to take 30 days to complete, but an external factor (rain) caused a delay of two days. If the activity is on the critical path the entire project will be delayed by two days. The project manager will need to evaluate how critical is this delay and find alternatives such as adding resources to the next activity in the critical path in order to reduce the planned time and bring the project completion to the planned date. An popular method to display and monitor project schedule is know as the Gantt chart, it has become an popular method for its use in the most common project scheduling software. It was developed by Henry Gantt in 1911 and since then has been incorporated, with some improvements, to the field of project management.
ID 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Activity 1.1.1 Activity 1.1.2 Activity 1.2.1 Activity 1.2.2 Activity 1.2.3 Activity 1.3.1 Activity 1.3.2 Activity 2.1.1 15 days Tue 01-06-10 Mon 21-06-10 30 days Tue 22-06-10 Mon 02-08-10 30 days Tue 03-08-10 Mon 13-09-10 20 days Tue 14-09-10 Mon 11-10-10 10 days Tue 12-10-10 Mon 25-10-10 30 days Tue 14-09-10 Mon 25-10-10 20 days Tue 26-10-10 Mon 22-11-10 10 days Tue 23-11-10 Mon 06-12-10 Tas k N am e D uration Start Finis h '10 Jun '10 Jul '10 Aug '10 Sep '10 Oct '10 N ov '10 D ec '10 09 16 23 30 06 13 20 27 04 11 18 25 01 08 15 22 29 05 12 19 26 03 10 17 24 31 07 14 21 28 05 12 19 26
Figure 6 Gantt chart
As a graphical representation of activities as segments on a time scale, the Gantt chart helps plan and monitor project progress. The left hand side of the Gantt chart is a column with a list of all activities or tasks. The horizontal axis is a time scale, expressed either in absolute or relative time. In a Gantt chart, each activity takes up one row. Dates run along the top in increments of days, weeks or months. Rows of bars in the Gantt chart show the start and end dates of each activity in the project. Activities may run sequentially, in parallel or overlapping.
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THE PROJECT BUDGET
All projects need resources, and financial resources are among the most important for development projects. A careful planning of project costs and expenditures can be asignificant factor for the success of the project. A project manager is ultimately the responsible for the project budget, specially in using these resources wisely to meet the desired objectives. An important piece of information for a project manager comes from the project expense reports, they provide a detailed view of were the project is in terms of its cost and that can help determine wheter or not the project can complete all its planned activities.
Budget Development There are two approaches to develop a budget, top-down is when you already have a lump sum figure and you need to figure out the number of activities and number of beneficiaries you can do with the budget assigned. The bottom-up is to determine the cost of how much a project will cost based on the required activities and number of beneficiaries. In any case, all activities should have an estimate of the cost required to complete them. This initial estimate can then be used to develop the final project budget using financial codes from the chart of accounts. The purpose of having the project budget broken down by activity is to help in the analysis of project progress and determine if the project is meeting its goals on time and within budget. A common problem for project managers is to find out at nearly the conclusion of the project that they either have no money to complete the planned activities or that there will be an excess of funds that the project will not be able to spend and may need to be returned to the donor.
Budget Information With budget information broken down by activity, the project manager can easily verify how the physical progress of the project, from the project schedule, matches the project budget plans and actual expenditures.
500 67.3.500 9.000 2. the difference shows whether the project is under or over budget.500 3.500 22.500 2. a month or a quarter.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 45 Activity No Activity 1. This is quite useful at the time of project evaluation to determine the actual cost of the project impact or the cost that the project incurred in order to meet a desired goal.500 2.1. Under spending is when we ask for money that we are not spending fast enough.000 4.000 8.500 With this type of information.1.000 5.000 5. Budget Analysis A simple method to analyze the progress of a project against the planned and actual budget is to chart the information.500 10.500 2.3 Activity 1.500 6.500 1.1 Total Costs Labor Cost Material Cost Other Costs Total Cost 2. the project can organize its budget following the initial project logframe.000 26.1 Activity 1.500 4.500 1. What this means for the project manager is the ability to track and measure the cost of the project by the outputs it has produced.000 1.000 3.2.2 Activity 1.2. a project based on historical data can try to accommodate its budget expenditure plan to this natural cycle and thus avoid the cost associated with under spending or overspending.000 3. Budget Monitoring At the end of a cycle.000 2.2. The chart below shows a line for the planned budget and another for the actual expenses.000 2.000 6.500 3.000 2.000 19.000 13.000 9.000 2.000 4.000 2.2 Activity 1. Every project has a natural cycle that defines how money will be used during a year.2 Activity 2. the project needs to evaluate its project budget to determine if the project is on track and that its financial resources are being used ac .500 2. the implications can be additional cost to the organization who may be forced to use unrestricted funds which in turn restricts the cash flow for the entire mission. this can be caused by a slow start of the project.500 3.1 Activity 1.1.000 5.3. Overspending means that the projects is spending money faster that what they are receiving from the donor.1 Activity 1.
This report shows the budget per month. the remaining balance for each account and the burn rate of how fast is the project using the budget. and roles of the staff in the project.000.000.000.000.00 $800. the project can better understand the relationships and collaboration required to accomplish the project goals.00 Underspending $200. One limitation with this report is that sometimes the report does not show the purchase orders that are in transit or in the payment process.00 $1. The most common method is to use the budget reports that show the planned budget versus the actual expenses made by the project. responsibilities.00 Overspending $600.000. .000. By managing project staff information. This information is complementary to the information captured by the HR systems and seeks to inform project stakeholders on the skills.00 Plan Budget Actual Budget $Au gu st Se pt em be r O ct ob er N ov em be r D ec em be r Ja nu ar y Fe br ua ry M ar ch Ju ne Ap ri l M ay Ju ly Figure 7 Project Budget Chart THE PROJECT TEAM This is the information on the project staff dedicated to manage and execute the project activities.000.400.000.00 $400. $1.200.00 $1.46 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations cordingly. This information can help clarify the roles of all members in the project and can help in the resolution of conflicts and specially help in identifying redundancies and omissions.
1.3.1 Activity 1.2. The activities come from the list of activities planned in the Logframe and can be assigned either by output or by activity.1.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 47 Project Staff Information Matrix Information Type Description / Example Project Manager Name Phone number Home Address (for emergency needs) Email Technical and Managerial Skills Responsibilities in the project Project Staff Name Phone number Home Address (for emergency needs) Email Technical Skills Roles and responsibilities in the project Project Staff Assignments This section defines the activities that each one of the project members will be responsible. these may include reasons why the activity was not completed and an estimate the date of its completion. Upon completion of the activity project staff report back to management any delays or issues the activity faced.1 Activity 3.3 Time Start and end Start and end Start and end Start and end Start and end Place Location Location Location Location Location Project assignments are planned by the project team on a quarterly basis and define the activities and locations where the activities will take place.1. Project Staff Coordinator Technical Coordinator Technical Technical Assignment Output 3.3 Output 1.1. and this is used to feed information on the project progress reports. .2. The assignment identifies the type of work a project staff has to deliver in the planned time.2 Activity 1.
48 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Project Organizational Chart This chart helps the management and supervision of project staff assigned to the project. each one with a sub-project manager in charge of the work. Figure 8 Project Org Chart A Project organization chart is a good reference tool to identify the reporting relationships of everyone involved in the project. Project Work Matrix Another tool to help in the definition of levels of collaboration is the development of a matrix or a table that shows the level of interdependencies that exists among the different project stakeholders. in some cases subdivisions in the chart are designed to manage different sub-projects. . The chart also shows the structure the project has chosen to organize the project work. The chart can also include staff from other partner organizations that are working for the project. The information is used to determine responsibilities and accountabilities across the project.
resources.” Levels of Collaboration: 1. or systems working together but at a significantly higher degree than through coordination or cooperation. Requires a high level of trust. constant exchange of information. around a few project areas or themes. structured and planned activities for collaboration to occur. shared resources. less structured. 2. Collaboration is the process of various individuals. informal and loose. . leadership.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 49 Staff A Staff A Level of Collaboration Staff B Staff C Staff D A B B Staff E B Staff B 1 A B B Level of Coordination Staff C 1 2 C C Staff D 2 3 1 C Staff E 2 3 2 3 Collaboration is defined as the mutually beneficial well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations or project members to achieve common goals. and the working relationship extends over a relatively long period for common goals. less formal and less supervision. Low. within the collaboration process. groups. and joint resource management. Collaboration occurs through shared understanding of the issues. Collaboration typically involves joint planning. To collaborate is to “co-labor. collaboration is occasional on specific project areas. mutual trust. Medium. each party fulfills a carefully defined role. risk. 3. High. open communication. requires close relationships. and control are shared. and tolerance of differing points of view. comprehensive planning is required.
50 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Coordination includes activities between two or more project members or organizations that has as its purpose prevention of duplication of efforts and assurance of provision of service Levels of Coordination: 1. may occur for specific deliverables that have low impact to the project. Scope and Budget Updates Plans and evaluations Project Manager Finance Manager Project and Program Manager Another important tool to monitor the team is the Resource Allocation Chart. This tool helps identify were staff are overalocated and identify oportunities to redistribute and balance the project work. Low. From this information the . Project Roles and Responsibilities Another tool to help the coordination and collaboration is the responsibility Assignment Matrix ( RAM) this table details all the roles and responsibilities of all the people involved in the project. plans and communications Coordinates use of resources Information analysis. less formal. only for specific deliverables or activities in the project and for specific activities 3. that shows the total hours of work each team member responsible for an activity. The chart below shows the hours per week of all the staff asigned to a project and the total work hours. High. M&E. Medium. these need to include key stakeholders and other people that will have a direct participation in the project Project Role Project Manager Project Coordinator M&E Coordinator Name Name Main Responsibilities Manage resources. is allocated to the project. Use of policies and procedures to ensure close coordination during the life of the project 2. Uses of common schedules and specifications for the delivery of activities. Staff training Major Deliverables Status Reports Support Required Program manager Name Name Schedule.
social health.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 51 project manager can identify the resources that are working above 40 hours per week. PROJECT BENEFICIARIES This is information about the project’s beneficiaries. educational and economical information from the beneficiaries. The information is basic and seeks to have a general understanding of the demographics. Monitor performance results in deciding if the variation o the schedule requires any corrective action. The information also tries to capture the . and were some resources are not being fully used. Resource Name Resource 1 Resource 2 Resource 3 Resource 4 Resource 5 Resource 6 Resource 7 Resource 8 Resource 9 Resource 10 Total Week Week Week Week Week Week Week Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 30 15 20 10 15 20 40 10 40 20 10 20 10 20 40 40 50 60 20 40 10 15 15 15 50 15 20 15 20 25 15 20 60 40 40 35 10 15 40 10 40 10 15 10 10 10 15 20 20 70 20 40 260 180 170 160 125 225 115 60 Total Hrs 110 140 220 165 70 200 160 25 145 60 1295 Figure 9 Resource Allocation Reporting schedule progress reports are used to evaluate the impact to the schedule and determine if the project is still on track or will be delayed.
as well as information on how the beneficiaries perceive and define the project success. This information feeds into the output indicators and used to track the initial . address) Describe how the beneficiaries define the project success. etc. etc. departments. etc) Statistics Basic statistics that describe the major issues facing the beneficiaries: Community Leaders Project Success Criteria Health Indicators Education Indicators Access to public services (water) Economic indicators Other Indicators Languages. social customs. and other groups that will benefit directly by the project’s interventions. risks and assumptions the project makes on the beneficiaries. their role in the project and general contact information (name.) Location Geographic locations of Beneficiaries (states. regions. religion. challenges.52 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations baseline project indicators defined at the baseline study. Beneficiary Tracking A method to track project progress is to track the activities the project beneficiaries have participated. Beneficiaries include families. communities. children beneficiaries by: Background Cultural Characteristics of the beneficiary group (languages. women . The names of the leaders in each community of beneficiaries. Beneficiary Information Information Type Beneficiaries Description / Example Describe in general terms the beneficiaries of the project Total number of Men. Additionally the information will include the issues. religion. that includes the criteria by which the beneficiaries will define the project was a success or not.
Training on water sanitation Activity 1. 2010 End Date October 20.Training on water sanitation Activity 1. 2010 December 13.1. Information Type Beneficiary Analysis Description / Example The mayor issues affecting the beneficiaries that the project WILL address The mayor issues affecting the beneficiaries that the project will NOT address Challenges the beneficiaries will face with the project Factors that may prevent the beneficiaries from supporting the project Strategies to reduce the obstacles for support to the project.1 . 2010 November 20. 100 children of school age. 2010 Beneficiary Analysis Beneficiary analysis is information to define all the factors that can have an influence on the project success. 2010 Beneficiary groups 50 men and women.2 – Workshop with local teachers 30 teachers at local schools December 12.1 – Workshop with local health workers Activity 1. These include factors that may prevent the beneficiaries to support the project and develop strategies to reduce obstacles. 2010 December 11. 2010 November 15. .Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 53 results the project is obtaining.2 . The information needed is to list all the beneficiary activities and their start and end dates. 20 health workers Start Date October 220.127.116.11. 2010 December 10. Activity Activity 1.
From this view. within the context of an information system. is the ability to show were the project achieved its initial goals and were is lagging behind. outcome and output level. the project obtains new data to track against the expected goals and make appropriate decisions.54 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations PROJECT PROGRESS INDICATORS A final but significant element of the PMIS is to define the critical indicators it will use to track progress. As an example. the chart below shows the progress of a project as defined by the project indicators. #5 and #6 have met the goals before the end of the . by which achievement of the purpose can be judged The quality of outputs and the time when they will be produced Means of Verification Sources of information to allow the goal to be measured? Assumptions External factors necessary to sustain the objectives in the long run Intermediate Objectives Sources of information to allow the goal to be measured External factors necessary to contribute to achievement of the goal (3) Outputs The sources of information to verify the achievement of the outputs The factors not in control of the project which restrict the outputs achieving the Outcomes The following chart shows the progress on each project outcome indicator. Project Logframe Project Final Goal Verifiable Indicators The quantitative measures or qualitative judgments to know whether these broad objectives have been achieved The quantitative measures or qualitative judgments. On a regular basis. the project defined indicators at the goal. The project logframe lists the indicators the project will use to monitor progress against the expected goals. the progress to date and the expected goal of the indicator. It shows the baseline value. Project Indicators One significant value of the logframe. this helps managers reallocate resources and efforts to those areas that need more inputs. Each indicator also receives a value from the baseline that defines the level of the indicator at the start of the project. During the development of the logframe. one can see that indicators #2.
From this information.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 55 project. This could be a typical case for a project during its midterm evaluation. #3 and #4 are still below target. A good PMIS will always have a method to present the data in meaningful format that reduces the complexity and time to analyze raw data. the project can decide to move effort or reallocate resources dedicated to the indicator #5 to the work under the indicator #4. With a quick analysis. . while indicators #1. In the next chart. the project can decide to reorganize its priorities and place more effort to catch up on the activities required to achieve the desired goals. a project manager can deduce that more effort is required to achieve the intermediate objective #4. This type of information representation can significantly reduce the time of data analysis and help the project focus on the areas that need more attention. Baseline Progress Goal Project Goal Project Outcome #1 Project Outcome #2 Project Outcome #3 Goal behind schedule Goal achieved ahead of schedule Indicator #1 Indicator #2 Indicator #3 Indicator #4 Indicator #5 Indicator #6 Figure 10 Project Progress Measured by Indicators Visualization of project information is a powerful capability of any PMIS as it allows for a quick analysis and identification of areas was the project has problems or areas where there are opportunities to increase the performance of the project.
and short-term information obtained via quick surveys and field observa- . activities and outputs. The process at this level has two targets. can then monitor and evaluate the impact of these actions. This is the dayto-day information and data management that PMIS does at the project level. short-term information that can be made available on a monthly basis. The picture below shows how the decisions made by the project have been able to improve due to the reallocation of resources. Baseline Progress Goal Project Goal Project Outcome #1 Project Outcome #2 Project Outcome #3 Goal Achieved Indicator #1 Indicator #2 Indicator #3 Indicator #4 Indicator #5 Indicator #6 Figure 12 Project Indicators Improvement The main Focus of PMIS is to track project inputs.56 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Baseline Progress Goal Project Goal Project Outcome #1 Project Outcome #2 Project Outcome #3 Indicator #1 Indicator #2 Indicator #3 Indicator #4 Reallocate Resources Indicator #5 Indicator #6 Figure 11 Logframe and Project Resource Reallocation Once the project has reallocated resources to improve the project outcomes #2 the project.
project’s long term results Output 1-1 Output 1-2 Process Measured by data from project’s MIS Short term results Activity 1-1-1 Activity 1-2-1 Figure 13 Relationships between Process and Outcomes . Project Goal (Impact) Project Outcome #1 Outcome Measured by surveys and research.Chapter 3 Elements of a PMIS | 57 tions. Above this level is the Outcome and Objective information that is obtained through formal evaluations that can even go beyond the life of the project.
58 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations .
values. the attention is not on systems. how it is organized. Information environment introduces the notion of locality that is missing from the system view. when one element changes its effects can affect the whole system. and what information is valuable and which is not. Information management depends on exploiting the information resources to the fullest. Information is also a system of people. stored. This environment influences what information is collected. practices. For projects to be successful in information management. meaning and purpose. but on human activities that are served by systems. To understand information a project needs to look beyond the concept that information is a collection of data and start looking at information within a much wider and holistic context.Chapter 4 – Components of PMIS | 59 CHAPTER 4 THE INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT “Information management is 5% technology and 95% psychology” Tom Peters THE PROJECT INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT Information lives in an ever-changing environment that has direct effect and influence on its context. A key element of managing information is the recognition that is not just a matter of "processing" information. economical and political subsystems that shape the creation. and technologies in a particular local environment. what information is made available. Information lives in an environment with complex dynamics where change is systemic. cultural. a careful analysis is required on how the elements of the information environment need to . In this environment. flow and use of information. The environment consists of the numerous interacting and interdependent social.
For this to happen a project needs to adopt a holistic approach to information management. especially the understanding of the critical social networks in which information and knowledge are always a part. It has to do more with managing human behaviors than managing technology. but are not limited to the following. It is not enough to see information as a product. Given a piece of information.60 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations be treated. An information environment puts people at the center. . development projects need to treat information as a whole and avoid “tunnel vision” solutions. Some of these elements are as follows: Types of information These categories are used to structure or analyze project information. it answers the simple question: what type of information are we dealing with? Information categories or types of information include. and systems and technology as an enabler. Information deals with other elements that help define its relevance to the project objectives. an approach that takes in consideration an environment that has a direct impact on information and one that consist of the following factors: • • • • • • • • • • Information Dimensions Information Logistics Information Workers Information Standards Information Strategy Information Economics Information Politics Information Culture Information Governance Information Architecture INFORMATION DIMENSIONS Information lives in an environment that needs to be defined beyond its basic representations.
and helps develop an ability to interpret and use information. presenting the same information in different ways can suggest very new meanings or reveal hidden patterns.Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 61 • • • • • • • • • Beneficiary Information Country Geographical Information Country Population Information Country Economical Information Country legislative Information Country Health Information Political Environment Information Local Government Information Community Information • • • • • • • • • Project Information Donor Information Expert Domain Information Partner information Other NGOs information Country Cultural Information Financial Resources Information Market Information Weather Information All these are elements that a projects needs to consider in designing its information management plan. All these types of information will have an impact to the project and they need to be considered and made available to the project stakeholders. Levels of understanding Explains how project staff discovers meaning in data. Questions that a projects needs to ask include: What understanding do we have of this information? Is there a single definition. or are there alternative definitions in use? Do we have definitions of the component parts of the information What background knowledge can help us make the most effective use of information? • How did we interpreted and used this type of information in the past? • • • • Types of representation Is about how information is presented. Some of the main questions here include: .
Questions associated with levels of transition include: • • • • • • Is the information undergoing any form of transition? Is it likely to change in the future? Has it changed in the past? Will it be redesigned or restructured in any way? If so. such as creating. distributing. This includes such questions as: • • • • • Who owns or controls the information? Who is responsible for collecting all the information? Who is responsible for the accuracy or quality of the information? Who is responsible for analyzing the information Who is responsible for distributing the information? . or developing it.62 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • • • • • How is the information represented or stored? How is the information structured? Is it possible to structure it differently? What are the needs of information users? Do all users can interpret the information the way it is presented? Levels of transition This deals with the changes that might happen to the information over time. what is the impact on the project? Does this create any new opportunities? Levels of responsibility This is about making sure that someone takes responsibility for the key actions on information. Resources are always more valuable when someone takes on the appropriate responsibilities for looking after them.
analyzing. with a flexible format customized to each user’s need and capacity to access and interpret the information. In this sense. a resource used to make better decisions. Information should be made available to all project stakeholders. information management is not the sole responsibility of a project manager. Information needs to be available at the right time. depending on priority and situation. The main objective and concern of information logistics is to supply information to all users. inform stakeholders and take action. Each of them has a key role for the success of the project. The key responsibilities are to make information meaningful. reporting or using information. storing. accurate. when they need it and in a format that is useful to use. whether it is collecting. they are all managers. accessible and engaging. it is the responsibility of all project stakeholders. In order to achieve the responsibilities the project team needs to develop information skills required to manage information as a resource.Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 63 INFORMATION LOGISTICS Logistic within a PMIS is defined as the right information to the right people at the right time. Users of information need to receive detailed information free of related facts. and how and when this should be accomplished. not just data but also the information that users need. the right information means information that is relevant to support decisionmaking. The Basic Skills: . including partners are individually and collectively responsible for determining what should be done with the information. A project can be successful in identifying and collecting data but its efforts will be in vain if it fails to make the right information available to those who need it at the time they need it. The skills required are similar to the skills needed to manage financial or human resources and are used to obtain the most benefit from the information resources the project creates. timely. Their role in the overall information management process is critical to the project. information that is obsolete or late does not help management or donors. Project personnel. Information Workers The project team is responsible for managing information. improve the interventions.
Have an ability to instruct and train others in the use of information-based systems. or if it needs to be summarized in some way. Understanding the principles and practices of information management. Have an awareness of the organizational context in which information is used. economic or political trends affecting beneficiaries or donors. Have ability to market knowledge and skills throughout an organizational structure. Monitor changes in organizational policy. Have an understanding of social. Looking for information that will require some action or planning. A creative approach to problem solving. An ability to organize information in a systematic and logical way. implement and manage appropriate technology in the development of information services. Decide how the information should be stored so that the project and others will be able to find and use it easily. Have an ability to foster a `community space´ that provides a venue for information exchange. political and ethical issues related to information sharing. An ability to analyze and interpret information. Make a habit of communicating the information to others who will be affected by it. Use. Effective communication with information users. The Personal Qualities Required • • • • • An ability to find the right information. Decide whether the information is useful as it is. INFORMATION STANDARDS A project defines how to manage the information in a consistent manner while maintaining by keeping a set of standards and principles that guides all its decisions. Standards help in making the process more efficient while principles ensure the process follows ba- . Exercise informed judgment to meet the information needs of the project stakeholders.64 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • • • • • • • • • Ability to articulate ideas clearly in writing and words.
information include the needs of donors. Beneficiaries have a right in some cir- . and other interests of donors. The purposes for collection of.Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 65 sic rules and values set by the organization. the project team should manage all information resources as strategic assets. privacy safeguards for project beneficiaries are an essential element in the design of information systems. managers. project stakeholders and the beneficiaries. partners and other project stakeholders for information required to make the best possible decisions. Project information is a valuable asset that needs to be properly managed. Because of this commitment. meet operational requirements and protect the legal. which support effective decision-making. delivery and evaluation of effective programmatic interventions. as such. Respect for privacy and dignity of the individual Collection and of project information are guided by a commitment to ensure confidentiality of project participants information and a reasonable expectation of personal privacy. The following are some of the basic standards and principles a project should follow to manage its information: • • • • • • • • • Value of information Purpose Privacy Openness Accountability Confidentiality Integrity Timeliness Accuracy Value of information Project information is an essential tool in the design. and access to. financial. Purpose Project information is collected and used on a "need to know" basis. and in the assessment of the project status against its desired outcomes.
Accountability A project is responsible for safeguarding and controlling the information entrusted to its care and is answerable to proper authority for the loss or misuse of that information. But most important. Beneficiaries have a right to know what personal information is collected about them by the project and how it is used. Openness Wherever possible. the treating of information as private and not for distribution beyond specifically identified individuals or organizations as defined by the project stakeholders. There must be no beneficiary record-keeping system whose existence is secret. The collection and use of project information should be characterized by transparency so that it is clear to the provider and the collector why the information is being collected. the collection and use of project information is characterized by consent from the person about whom the information is collected. or agencies. Confidentiality and Security A project must ensure that information is not disclosed to unauthorized persons. Whenever feasible. Project beneficiaries have a right to review records of their personal information. information should be collected directly from the individual or original source of the information.66 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations cumstances to refuse to give or to limit use of information about them. how it will be used and who will have access to it. and all beneficiaries should be informed of this right. . Beneficiary information must be treated with respect and only used within the objectives of the project. The project is responsible for the protection of sensitive information from unauthorized disclosure to third parties. The project has to inform donors and projects stakeholders of the manner in which project information is used and the information provided should be traceable back to the original data collected. processes.
systems and services are efficient and effective. The information strategy must flow from the organization’s strategic plan and help achieve its mission. It enables management to take account of the views of other projects in the organization. The information provided must be accurate to its purpose to inform. information technology. An information strategy is also a means to build better development strategies. The project must establish methods to ensure all information is accurate and complete. INFORMATION STRATEGY An effective information strategy will ensure that investments in information. Timeliness Information must be timely and accurate. The various processes to manipulate information increase the chances for information to be inaccurate or incomplete. A project shall make reasonable effort to ensure that all information is accurate and up-to-date and that procedures are in place to dispose of records once they are of no further use. guide and Accurate and Complete The quality of information depends on its accuracy and completeness.Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 67 Integrity The primary purpose for the collection and use of project information is to benefit beneficiaries by improving the project interventions. a project is responsible to meet the needs of management. accuracy is the degree of closeness of the information to its actual source. and the information produced will benefit the project and the organization. Integrity provides verification that the original contents of information have not been altered or corrupted and that managers can be confident on the quality of the information to make decisions on the project. . donors and other projects stakeholders who need the right information at the right time.
It encompasses information in all formats and at all stages of the information lifecycle. a culture in which the informational aspects of all project activities are fully taken into account. their responsibilities towards information management. and exercise. The information strategy has three main components: • • A set of principles defining the main elements of good information management practice. An information strategy describes the overall direction and general framework in which the project’s information resources and processes should be managed. completeness). all project members know. outlining the current and the desired where the project would like to be. strategic focus that concentrate resources to the information that creates the most value As such. which act as the standard for the management of information within the project and the organization. An information strategy typically consists of the following: • • • goals and objectives that are well aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. It aims to enhance an information culture in which all members of the project understand the importance of information. The information strategy seeks to identify and evaluate the most effective and efficient ways to get the information. The best way to think of an information strategy is as a set of attitudes in which: • • • • any information that should be available for sharing is well defined and appropriately accessible (allowing for necessary safeguards). . enabling the project to work effectively in the external information environment. management and dissemination of information as a project resource within the organization. so that the project can achieve its most important goals. currency. a mechanism where priorities are clearly identified and then acted upon.68 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations An information strategy exists to support the project’s objectives. the information strategy is concerned with the creation. Information goals and plans. accuracy. the quality of information is fit for its purpose (e. consistency. principles that articulate desirable outcomes and form the foundation for developing information policies.g.
with trust. Federalism: information management based on consensus and negotiation. but this environment is usually impacted by the internal politics that exist within any organization and define the level of control on how information is used and shared. A project needs to assess the current environment. Types of information politics include: • • • • • Technocratic utopianism: information management is based on a belief that technology is the ultimate solution. For a project’s information management process to succeed it needs to live in an environment that fosters trust. . Monarchy: all information-reporting structures are defined by the organization’s leaders. There must be commitment at a senior level to the successful implementation of the information strategy and its regular review and development. beneficiaries will be more open to share valuable insights and donors will be more open to accept projects results and recommendations. who may or may not share the information once they have it. evaluate its advantages and disadvantages. Define what will be the ideal environment and create a plan to move and close the gap. promoting the effective exploitation of information in order to support the programmatic interventions and provide a high level of service to donors and project stakeholders. The organization must develop a project information culture. Awareness of the importance of information as an organizational resource should be promulgated to all levels of the organization and its projects.Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 69 • A strategy for implementing the tasks outlined in the above plan and for ensuring that the information strategy is regularly reviewed and updated via an information audit process INFORMATION POLITICS Information needs to live in an environment that encourages its use and sharing. Anarchy: the absence of an information management policy altogether where employees are left to “fend for themselves” Feudalism: Individual projects manage their own information independently.
Information management is a constant effort.4 4 Information Ecology. A culture that fosters IM has the following characteristics: • • • • • • • Project members are aware of the importance of good quality information and take the necessary steps. store. analyze. voluntary action that a project does to make information available to others. not technology. A project needs to assess the current practices and behaviors around information management and identify the areas that need improvement and support from upper management. For IM to be effective projects need to consider the cultural characteristics of its environment. both of which determine the practices and behaviors for IM. Sharing information is not the same as reporting information. Project managers are using information for decision-making. Information culture means the practices. hoarding or ignoring it. 1997 . Project members know were all project information is stored and know how to retrieve it. report and use information. how they select. and make the time to learn from the experience. It is not held at specific areas or units but is open and available to all staff. which is a more structured process. behaviors and local customs that people have regarding the use of information. Information flows vertically and horizontally across the whole project. Sharing is an open and almost free. A project is influenced by the local culture and the organizational culture. gather. A project that rewards and encourages the use of information for decision making has better chances at IM than a project were information is seen as a project by-product . Project members share information with other projects to learn lessons and best practices. Project members use information to enable changes and improve project deliverables. classify. not only driven by donor requirements. or a nuisance.70 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations INFORMATION CULTURE Effective information management (IM) is how people use information. Behaviors can include sharing. Information behavior refers to how project members approach information. another donor requirement. Davenport. but by project needs to improve impact and learn from the experiences.
policies. such as: • • Availability: Information and data must be created. and different donor and community governance drivers. and managing and coordinating the procedures and resources that ensures the quality of all project information. standards and guidelines.Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 71 INFORMATION GOVERNANCE Information governance is defined as the systems and structures for defining information policy. how beneficiaries are given a voice. and how decisions are made on issues of project concern. where communities are actively involved in decision-making processes. and shared with. different strategic focus. Accessibility: Information should be accessible to. acquired and maintained to document important activities and decision-making processes adequately. It should be based on fundamental information principles. faster and better decisions. Because projects have different financial objectives. information management is relegated to become just an exercise of gathering data for data’s sake. In whatever form. To enable information management. projects and organizations need to develop new governance models with the power and influence to set and enforce standards and policies across the organization. information management governance needs to take in account the realities of a project’s environment and be flexible enough to adapt without losing sight of its main objective. . which results in clear lines of input and decision authority. leading to more informed. providing leadership. Governance also comprises the processes that determine how information management is exercised. objectives. those who need to access it and have a right to do so. An information management governance framework may range from a single document expressing essential elements to a complete set of principles. it must clearly tell project members and key project stakeholders why good information management is important and what must be done to ensure that it happens. If thoughtfully designed a transparent information management governance enables projects to deal more effectively with less complexity. Without this mandate. Information Governance involves the culture of participatory governing. It must communicate a vision centered on responsible management and effective use of information and knowledge in support of project goals.
materials and training. An Information Architecture may contain several of the following elements: • A model of information entities and processes. donor. classification and organization of information within a framework that describes the methods for managing information as a resource. consistent with compliance to legal and donor requirements. Privacy and Security: The security of information should be protected to ensure privacy. for governing information management processes and activities must be clearly assigned at appropriate levels. information management policies and processes must be periodically reviewed. authenticity. guidelines and training.72 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • • • • Stewardship: Projects should be accountable for ensuring the accuracy. Resources. . confidentiality and integrity. Information architecture is also the structure. rules. definitions. accountability and organizational needs. relevance and reliability of their information resources. equipment. Creation and Retention: Project information should be created acquired and retained only for valid program. legal. all project members must understand their responsibility for maintaining good information management practices and have access to relevant standards. Life-Cycle Management: Information in all media and forms should be managed as a strategic organizational resource throughout its life cycle. and standards that give structure and order to a project’s information so that information needs can be matched with information resources. Measurement. space. The governance framework should address critical issues in the development and implementation of information management processes. evaluated and modified as needed. projects must be adequately resourced to ensure information management effectiveness – this includes personnel. INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE An Information Architecture is a set of models. Individual Responsibility. including: • • • • Roles and responsibilities.
critical interactions. Project Organigraphs An organigraph depicts the project processes. Another use behind this technique involves viewing the project as a set of processes rather than as a hierarchical stratum of power. This can be used as an information map to identify and categorize the sources and users of project information. both within and outside the project Example of a project organigraph to chart the relationships within a project: Formal Authority Communication Figure 14 Project Organigraphs Cooperation . definitions and interpretations of terms. In contrast to a project organization chart. Standards. It helps by saving resources and time by locating information already available and thus avoiding creating the same information again. Information architecture helps the project by creating of systemic. not simply the names of its staff. products. which reduces the time and cost of collecting. resource maps and description frameworks. inventories. and relationships. this way of mapping allows an understanding of the project itself. structural. services. Standards for developing information systems.Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 73 • • • • A taxonomy or categorization scheme. A project organigraph is a useful tool to visualize relationships and the information flows across the project. Directories. storing and processing project information. and orderly principles.
Information maps can be developed at several levels of detail. Gives a high-level definition of where is the information. what it will take to have it and its relevance. a map that connects project information needs with project information sources. An information map is intended to show what kinds of information are kept by the project. where they are. who uses information and how the information is or could be used. when they need the information. including who has responsibilities over information (ownership and stewardship). who owns it. how often. who are they. Example of an information map: Types of Information Who has it? Guidelines and best practices Project Manager Project Standards M&E Coordinator at HQ Methodologies M&E Coordinator at HQ Training Materials Consultant Information HQ office Where is it? Project Library at Main office Access intranet web site Intranet Intranet Website Consultant Databases How to get it? Access intranet web site Access intranet web site Request copy to HQ office Request copy to HQ office Is it relevant to the project Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes In what format? Word and PDF Word and PDF Word and PDF Web Training and CD-ROM Excel worksheet .74 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Information Maps In practical terms. The first map should be a draft intended to give an overall picture of the internal information resources and to suggest where further examination may be required. It also maps the users of the information. An information map contains information about information. how access is provided. an information map defines the boundaries of information. how they are maintained. It defines what is important and what is not important.
They can also be used for a number of purposes: • document the main flows of information around the project • document information flows within the organization as a whole. it interacts with its external entities. A project needs to determine its current information flow and redesign it for efficiency and accuracy. • to ensure that none has been omitted . from source to users An information flow diagram is useful tool for specifying the boundaries and scope of the PMIS. This information flow can be redundant or contradictory. Community Data Project Coordinators Extension Agents Secondary Data M&E Officers Locating & Collecting Information Organizing & Storing Information Analyzing & Reporting Information Project Assistants Program Management Other HQ Donor CO Management Primary Recipients of Information Primary Recipients of Information Donor Agencies Secondary Recipients of Information Figure 15 Information Flow.Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 75 Project Information Flows Project information flows from the sources to the final users. This flow helps understand the different actors and owners of the information as it moves from origin to destination. It also helps understand where the bottlenecks. the redundancies and shortfalls of information are. The diagram shows the boundaries and scope of the system. The graphic below shows an example of an Information Flow Chart. program managers or donors to be receiving the same information from different sources. It is not uncommon for a project manager. the chart makes it is easy to visualize the flow and identify the areas for improvement. and the main flows of information within the system and within any complex subsystems. The information flow diagram is a simple tool that can be used to document information requirements.
Identifies the ultimate user of the various types of information as well the information that enters and passes through the project. the identification of web sites that have a reputation for providing accurate and unbiased information the project can use. It is of no value for a project to have information that is difficult to access or that requires multiple actions or use of complex systems. the donor. it is part of information security and compliance with confidentiality regulations setup by the project or the organization. Information access also defines who has access to project information. its outcome will produce a deeper understanding of the project and its links with its various stakeholders. . educate and guide project stakeholders. Information access also describes the valid or approved locations to get information that can benefit the project. The benefits of mapping the information flows are: • • • An understanding of how information is used and by whom. Helps focus on the information with the highest potential benefits Information Access Within and information architecture.within a project or an organization .and to understand the needs from each information user. It is also a method to visualize the immediate and wider context of the project. One goal of the information architecture is to design a system that facilitates the access to information by using different methods and tools to meet the demands of different stakeholders.76 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • as an accurate and efficient way to document findings Mapping the way information flows is a process for analyzing how information is transferred from one point to another . especially of the information required is needed to inform. the type of information the project makes available to the organization. information access defines the methods by which the project and other key stakeholder can access project information. key project stakeholders and the general public. for example.
Chapter 4 The Information Environment | 77 Information Flowcharts An information flowchart is a graphical representation of the information management process within the information architecture. It identifies the owners of the different processes. their responsibilities and the dependencies. analysis. The flow chart symbols are linked together with arrows showing the process flow direction. An example of an information flowchart is presented below: Start Donor Needs Negotiate Needs No Can we meet these needs Yes No Negotiate Needs Stakeholders Needs All needs are identified? Yes Develop Information Needs Matrix No Can we meet these needs Yes Compile Needs End Figure 16 Information Flowcharts for Defining Information Needs A flow chart is a graphical or symbolic representation of a process. Each step in the process is represented by a different symbol that contains a short description of the process step. it defines the steps required to collect. report and use information. store. organize. .
these can be country statistics. the organization has a bird eye view of where the projects are in relation to their objectives. this is a method to organize projects and programs aligned to the organization’s vision and mission and supporting the key development strategies the organization has identified. from projects to programs to the portfolio. poverty indicators in the areas were the project operates. At this level. PMIS looks to consolidate all project data and compares them to program or organizational objectives. . The structure that defines the flow of information from projects to programs and to portfolios is detailed in the following chart: Portfolio Programs Projects Figure 17 Portfolio. delays or cost overruns. and the potential areas of problems.78 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Development Information Architecture Development information architecture is a structured organization of all information in an organization. Programs and Projects At the top of the triangle is the organization’s portfolio of projects. the organization consolidates all project information using standard report formats to measure and track project progress against expected objectives. By consolidating information. At the program level.
and management should provide more attention and support to it. An example of a project portfolio dashboard presenting the status of 5 projects is shown below: Project Code Scope Status Schedule Status Budget Status Project 1 Project 2 Project 3 Project 4 Project 5 Behind Target On Target Ahead of Target From this simple view. They need to know in advance. This view doesn’t need to be complicated and a simple summary report from each project showing progress made against expected schedules can be made available in a standard format easy to read and interpret. Project 4 has some schedule issues and project 1 is ahead of its scope and budget targets. one can easily see that project 2 is showing issues with scope and budget. Here is another view of a project dashboard using numbers to indicate status: Project Code Scope Status Schedule Status Budget Status Project 1 Project 2 Project 3 Project 4 Project 5 75% 15% 65% 55% 35% 65% 25% 65% 45% 50% 80% 40% 55% 60% 50% .Chapter 2 – Defining PMIS | 79 Project Portfolio Development organizations need a complete view of all projects. One way to manage this information is trough the project portfolio view. this information helps focus on the potential problem areas that will require close attention. which projects are on track and which projects are behind. Organization managers can ask for more detail on the projects that are having issues.
The example below shows how an organization can organize project information in a portfolio dashboard to evaluate if it is doing the right projects.000 >10. Management should pay close attention to this project. Project 2 is in a similar situation with 40% of the budget spent and only 15% of scope completed. can help identify how all the projects are addressing the organizational objectives and how an organization may need to balance its portfolio to obtain a balanced mix of projects addressing the most important elements of its strategy. but its schedule is not. Project 5 is in midterm 50% of budget and schedule but only 35% of scope executed.000 Low Low Time High Low Low Time High Project Type Agriculture Strategy 3 High High Strategy 4 Education Budget Budget Water Health Low Time High Low Low Time High Figure 18 Project Portfolio Low . Strategy 1 High High Strategy 2 Project Beneficiaries >1. The projects are grouped by type and number of direct beneficiaries on a chart that groups all projects under the strategies they support and organized by the time and budget amounts. Project information presented in this context creates information. Project 4 is doing the scope and using the budget faster than planned. this is a potential risk with a donor.80 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations The example above shows that project 1 budget and scope are on track. that made available on time can help management in taking corrective actions before it is too late.000. Balancing the Project Portfolio This view of all project information. Project 3 is in good shape with little difference between budget expenditures and scope.000 Budget Budget >100. the project could end before the planned end date. The project is spending faster that the schedule and activities planned. trough a project portfolio.
Geographic Information Systems A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a visualization of project information in the form of maps. that information is also useful in presenting proposals to donors.59. some are limited to a specific area in a country while others have a wide area of interventions. it provides with a simple yet complete view of the context where projects intervene. In the example chart above the strategy. This view allows for a very good visual analysis and interpretation of data. Most development projects work in various locations.100% p Figure 19 Country Poverty Map A map can be a powerful method to show information.84.94. A PMIS could add country information in its database for example a country’s poverty map to help identify the areas the organization can focus in order to create the most impact.9% 60% . This information helps the coordination and planning of the project resources. The example below shows how this information can be presented in a PMIS: y 17% .9% 98% . 1 has fewer projects as compared with the other strategies. helps with the logistics of moving re- .9% 95% .9% 85% .Chapter 2 – Defining PMIS | 81 In some instances the organization may chose the balance its project portfolio by focusing on developing more proposal of a strategy area that has few projects to support it.97.
cities or towns. A simple approach to GIS can improve the management of the project’s logistics and delivery strategies. departments. Unless the donor requires it. GIS country information can also be powerful tools to identify potential areas were the project can either have increased risks or increased benefits. A portfolio can show any type information at a field office level. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is nothing but the visualization of information on a map. roads. lakes. There is no need to use complex and expensive computer based applications for GIS. rivers. The map can include information on natural conditions. It helps track progress in a country and matches it against other GIS maintained by the government or international agencies. The purpose of this component of PMIS is to facilitate management when the project is required to work in different locations. A GIS can help by making or discovering connections between activities based on geographic proximity. a project can develop a simple GIS that is partially manual and partially computerized that can meet the needs for the geographically representation of information. .82 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations sources and provides a method to classify the project interventions based on geographic areas such and regions. etc. mountains. and then (according to each country’s own parameters) define each political subdivision that will eventually pinpoint the area were the project beneficiaries are located. Again. A GIS needs to start at the country level. from a different perspective. explanations. These connections are often unrecognized without GIS. The information is available from many sources and the project will need to identify the type of information it is best suited for the project needs. the goal here is to see. Historical Information and Trend Analysis A development organization can benefit from a portfolio view of its projects and be able to understand better the trends and changes that have been happening over time. the implications of managing a project that needs to work on a wider geographical area. classifying projects by type. but can be vital to understanding and managing activities and resources. A GIS can also become a tool to help in the development of project proposal to donors. looking at data geographically can often suggest new insights. sector and budget.
Chapter 2 – Defining PMIS | 83 < 2 years > 2 years Emergency Project Cost >$1. . The trend also helps identify opportunities to leverage funding from different donors.000 >$10. Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Water FUNDING Health Agriculture Education TIME Figure 21 Funding Trends The above representation of information provides insight on the future and helps a development organization prepare for the changes that will occur. Here an organization is able to see funding trends from the last nine years. useful to know if what the development organization is experiencing is a general trend across all donor or specific to a few donors. The graph above can include information on specific donor funding trends.000 >$100.000 Project Main Sector Agriculture Education Urban Rural Water Health Figure 20 Classification of Projects Another example of project information can be seen in the chart below.000.
84 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations .
the expression information system is mixed up with concepts of information technology. This system is formed by the different processes around information management required to monitor a project. Humanitarian Community Information Center from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. and the application of that information to improve the project outcomes. or interdependent elements forming a complex whole”6. and will only succeed if those involved understand the value of information and is committed to its effective use. but they are merely one component of the system.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 85 CHAPTER 5 THE INFORMATION CYCLE “Information management is a process. appropriateness. interrelated. Computers certainly have a role in most project information systems. Instead. not an end in itself. not an event. A more precise definition puts a system as “A group of interacting. Third Edition Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. and the real measure of success is how improved management increases the timeliness. Managing information is a means to an end. and coordination of humanitarian assistance” 5 THE CORE PROCESSES OF PMIS The word system implies a collection of many different components working together for a particular purpose. The information 5 Paul Currion. 6Excerpted . system here refers more to a set of operational procedures for the collection of data from a range of different sources. and is understood to refer to a computer system. a tool for speeding the handling of information. the processing of that data to produce useful information. However.
and provides management with the key information to monitor the project. distribute. store. The information management process is a set of activities that a project does in order to obtain information to make decisions. and use information. The project information management process consists of nine basic steps: 1. The information management process is the sequential set of activities to manage data and transform it into useful information. Define the information needs Locate the information sources Select the information needed Collect the information Organize and Store information Analyze the information Report the information Use on the information Evaluate and Improve the process THE PROJECT INFORMATION CYCLE Information management is the channeling of the information resources and information capabilities of the project in order to add and create value both for itself and for its stakeholders. create. 9. this process is independent of the type of project or program.86 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations management process relate to the steps to gather. Information Management describes the means by which a project efficiently manages its information resources. 7. IM is a continuous cycle of eight closely related activities: identification of information needs. acquisition and creation of information. 6. Information management (IM) is the management of processes and systems that identify. 8. A system is not necessarily a computerbased system but a set of related processes that form a whole. 5. 3. organization and storage of . 4. and through which it ensures that the value of that information is identified and exploited to its full extent. acquire. in this view. 2. organize. as well as identify sources and uses of information. locating the information sources. A project needs to adopt a process view of information management. analyze and report information. information that leads to action and the creation of new knowledge. store.
allocating resources. locating. This process is also known as the Information Life Cycle. . a process that constantly feeds back to itself to improve on every cycle. collecting. developing policies. All the classic functions of managing an organizational activity apply to IM as well: defining goals. information use. organizing. and evaluating information. training staff. faculty member of the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 87 information. providing leadership. The concept underlying Information Management is that just as a project purposefully and systematically manages its human resources and financial assets. Define Evaluate Locate Use Organize and Store Select Report Collect Analyze Figure 22 The Information Process Life Cycle 7 Chun Wei Choo. analyzing. evaluation and feedback. reporting. information dissemination.7 Information Management means the management of a nine-step process of defining. analyzing and reporting information. it should do likewise for its information resources and processes. evaluating the information process. selecting. using.
Project stakeholder’s information needs arise from problems the project is trying to address. A project's best interests are served with a thorough understanding of the needs of all internal users and as many external users of project information as possible (other agencies. local governments etc. each project member’s data requirements are dictated by his or her roles and responsibilities. when and how they need the information. donors. Including more views in the development of the information management plan increases the chances of the plan's success. It is important to ask what the information requirements of all project stakeholders are.88 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations DEFINING INFORMATION NEEDS Defining information needs is the first step in the information process. . A project’s information needs are determined by the types of information it must maintain and the users who require access. The increasing reliance on site-based decision making generally means that more information must be made available to more people. a project should not limit to ask what they need to know but expand the question and add the why. Project members who are responsible for reporting to outside agencies will be most familiar with the requirements of these outside agencies. A project's information needs are dictated by: • • • • • Legal and regulatory requirements imposed by local governments Requirements imposed by outside organizations Contractual requirements established by donor agencies Beneficiary (Public) demands for information Internal control operations Each of these areas should be examined in detail to specify the project's information needs. The person most familiar with the job will be able to specify the information needed to do the job efficiently and accurately.) Such identification allows for customization of the plan based on specific requirements. consideration should be given to both short-term and longterm needs and both regular on-going and temporary needs. For internal operations. In this examination. the public. This will result in an inventory of all the information that the project will manage during its lifecycle.
In particular. expected outputs. cultural. The project should not only limit to identify the information needs of stakeholders but the information the project will need to manage and monitor its progress. Most of the donor’s requirements are already part of the contract or donor agreements. requested information needs that do not match a project’s member level of authority and obvious omissions in the project's information needs. Other important project stakeholders include: • • • Local governments who need the data to feed their own information systems. Some may even be required before any disbursement are made to the project and may be a necessary condition to accept the project’s final outputs. a project should look for duplication of effort (for example. evaluation reviews. The organization’s management focus is on project progress.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 89 After this information is gathered. the information needs can be classifying by answering the following questions: • • • • • Who needs the information? What information is needed? Why they need the information? When they need the information? How they want the information? Who needs the information? The first step is to identify all the project stakeholders who need information. they may include specific information that the project is responsible to collect and report to the donor at specific intervals or project milestones. changes and deviations in the plans. Communities need information to monitor progress and evaluate how they are doing. religious and political environment of the community. potential risks and delays to the project. the format of how to present this information needs to be carefully defined and should take in consideration literacy levels. for example health information. it should be analyzed and compared to the project's current efforts. These could be regulatory requirements that the project is mandated by local law to collect and report to local or national government agencies. Communities need to be involved earlier . The first stakeholder is the project donor (or donors). multiple project members citing responsibility for reporting identical information). they need to know about project schedules. deliverables.
Project PMIS formation Community Base. it’s not enough to ask “what you need” but to drill down the requirements into manageable sets that enable a good identification of the data and information the project needs to gather.90 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • • in the project information management planning stage as they will be the main source of project information. processes. consultant evaluations. subject matter experts. etc. Other users of information may include staff from other similar projects. Finally. an important user of information is the project itself.Community line members Family Surveys Community crop Community faryields mers Table Charts Report . project members and project management needs to define what information they need to bring the project to a successfully completion. PDF Format Survey Forms Annual Project In. The information may include technical manuals. training documents. analyze and report back to the stakeholders. a project can use the table below to identify the project information needs: Information Types Project progress Reports Source Project Schedule Who needs it? Donor Program Manager HQ Project Management Donor Project Donor Government Format Excel spreadsheet with chart. methodologies. and other development organization with whom it needs to share information. What Type of information is needed? The type of information defines its use and purpose. best practices. For example. The project needs to interview project stakeholders and try to obtain a good definition of their information needs. The project needs to classify the information types into its basic data components and organize it according to common characteristics. project partners.
baseline information must be collected before the start of a project.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 91 These are the most common types of information needed from and by the project: • Baseline Data. Compare the two sets of information. then there is little point measuring to see if the impact goal has been met. • Information for a process evaluation. Therefore. Baseline data describes the situation before the project or intervention happens. depending on what the goal is and how quickly change can be expected. collecting data to measure the final goal is done at the end of the project. Therefore. It is used during the project to indicate progress towards the goal and objectives and after the project to measure the amount of change. If the process are not going well then there is little chance of reaching the objectives. The goal is reached by achieving the project objectives. • Information for an output evaluation. The processes of a project are the methods that the project is using to achieve its objectives. The amount of time required for monitoring change and before final evaluation of the goal will vary. The process must be evaluated before the objectives can be evaluated. The information collected in the needs assessment can be part of the baseline data. Is there a difference? What is the difference? Is it what was being aimed for? Has the objective been achieved? • Information for an impact evaluation. If the information is not relevant. It is important that the information collected and used for baseline data actually describe the situation that the project goal and objectives are addressing. This time factor is something the project team will have to think about and discuss when planning the evaluation. In order to see whether the objectives have been achieved. which relates to the objectives: immediately before the corresponding activities are put into action and then after the activities are completed. It is then compared with the baseline data that described the situation just before the project started. Data used to measure the project is collected as the project proceeds. . it is necessary to collect data. the project will not be able to evaluate the goal and objectives properly. If the impact evaluation shows that the objectives have not been met. there is little point evaluating whether the objectives have been reached.
Match each information requirement with its corresponding schedule: • • • • • • • 8 Weekly Monthly Four times a year Two times a year Once a year Before disbursements At project evaluations CARE DME Guidelines . The following list shows some of the key reasons why information is needed by the project: 8 • • • • • • • Achievement – what has been achieved? How do we know that the project caused the results? Assessing progress – are the objectives being met? Is the project doing what the plans said it would do? Monitoring – is the project well managed? Identifying strengths and weaknesses – where does the project need improvement and how can it be done? Are the original objectives still appropriate? Checking effectiveness – what difference has the project made? Can the impact be improved? Cost-effectiveness – were the costs reasonable? Sharing experiences – can the information help to prevent similar mistakes or to encourage positive approaches? When they need the information? Timing is an important element in allocating project resources to produce the required information. and the project needs to plan for the time it will take to gather.92 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Why they need the information? A Project needs to have accurate and timely information to assess the value of what it is doing. and track this need against the project calendar. Assign to each information user the type and frequency of the information needed. process and report on the information. Users are dependent on receiving the information on time to make decisions.
Matrix to identify information needs The following matrix can be used to facilitate the identification of information needs and classify them by criteria of importance. DVD). 8mm. The format may vary from forms to reports. A project needs to assess the detail of the information needed. everything else is just a luxury that the project cannot afford to have. A project information system needs to be able to deliver information in the formats required by the key project sponsors. time and effort . etc) Document on electronic format (specify word processing versions. as this may have a large impact on the use of projects resources. The first is a requirement.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 93 How they want the information? Each user needs to have the information available on a specific format. SQL. the second a luxury. Each hour spent in managing “nice to have” information is an hour the project looses to concentrate on the “must have” information. from pictures to video. size limitations) Document hard copies (number of copies) Pictures in electronic format (specify format and size) Printed pictures (specify size and color or black & white) Voice recordings (analog. The project should make a clear distinction between “must have” information and “nice to have” information. MS access. A project needs to concentrate on the information that will provide the best opportunities to measure its impact. digital) Video Recordings (specify format VHS. The type of format the information required may include the following: • • • • • • • • • Forms (donor or government forms) Data reports (includes charts and graphs) Database sets ( specify database versions. from simple charts to comprehensive analysis.
Locating information requires a strategy that will facilitate the identification of information sources that are valid and reliable. the plan should describe how the information would be collected and stored. If there are multiple sources for a particular type of information. which then remains inaccessible to others. accuracy and how close the source is to the origin of the data. . Locating information sources and finding information within those sources requires a careful planning and analysis. This should include a strategy on what the project will do in order to get the information. information providers often do not find appropriate venues for presenting their information. The information management system must identify an appropriate source for each type of information required. then sources must be judged based on efficiency. The project should determine the most efficient source and modify its data collection procedures if a proposed source is more efficient than the existing source. Each piece of information the project needs has to be localized and an inventory created that will identify the location and owners of information. A direct flow of information is generally the most efficient and the most accurate. it may be more efficient for the project to provide such information directly to all program directors. For all internal sources. For example.94 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Who Donor What Why Progress Reports Monitor progress Financial Reports Annual Project Information Monitor expenditures vs. This direct flow ensures that all directors receive the same information in the same time. if one program director currently receives project information from another program director who receives the information from the project. progress Track global indicators When Every three months Every month How Donor format Project Manager Reports from Finance Online form Organization Headquarters End of Fiscal Year LOCATING INFORMATION SOURCES A major problem facing projects is locating information sources corresponding to their needs and equally important. A project acquires information from both internal and external sources.
Other non-governmental agencies collect country information that the project may consider useful for the projects purpose. feedback. the difficulty resides in identifying were the best information is located. the project team can find alternative sources of information less expensive and more convenient. Using the information requirements matrix. Secondary information is usually prone to contain errors or simplifications from the original information. libraries. the internet (if available). universities and research centers. each level defines a degree of relevance. Community Sources. Country Sources. adoption rates. etc. Basic sources for information available to a project: • • • • Organization Sources. this is caused by the handling that occurs when moving information from one source to another. Information on the community includes beneficiary needs and perceptions. the information is already available from other reliable sources. The more a piece of information is handled the less reliable becomes. Government Information. Sources of information that have the required level reliability and quality. etc. A map can also be used to define information sources and the level of relevance the information has to a country office needs. information derived from an original source is more reliable than secondary information. experiences on similar methodologies. reliable and dependable. External information located at other country offices. Collecting raw data is expensive and time consuming. Information sources can exist in different levels. what is important to remember is that the project should not try to collect all the information from direct sources. partners and other local organizations. Other Sources. Where is the Information? Information is everywhere. The map shows a project surrounded but different layers of information sources. captured by other projects or other staff in other country offices. may include country statistics collected by government agencies and local municipalities. evaluations on similar projects. the projects needs to connect its needs with the sources and then properly classify which are valid. surveys. the closer the . headquarters and CI.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 95 Generally. Internal information. With some research and creativity. and in many cases. Other sources can also include consultants.
the information could be in a different language. Development Information Partner Information HQ Information Project Historical Information Primary Secondary Government Tertiary Information Community Information Primary Secondary Tertiary Donor Information Local NGO Information Figure 23 Map of Project Information Sources Who Owns the Information? Information is power. A project needs to investigate who owns the information and identify the barriers that may be in place to get to it. This can help is determining the strategies a project needs to collect information from these sources. practices and behaviors. .96 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations layer the more relevant it is to the project. Ideally. protected by copyright laws or inaccessible to the public. In many cases. The graphic below shows an example of an information source map. Many sources of information may be located in places where there is too much control on it. A project needs to map its information sources and classify them according to how close and accessible and reliable the information is to the projects and how expensive or difficult is to obtain. the information may be embedded in people’s experiences. and one way to exercise this power is by controlling it. information should be made available to all who need it. In other cases. but that is not always the case.
a project can identify the gaps and redundancies of the information required by the project. Table to classify information sources or owners of information: Type NGO Community NA Health Statistics Market Prices NA Gov Partner Ministry of Database Health statistics Published NA market prices. bias and other factors that limit is usefulness to the project. The project will evaluate the best and more cost effective method to get the information. make a quick assessment before investing in a direct collection of data. Community Survey Data Other NA Survey and interviews to farmers. Collection from secondary sources. usefulness. this means the project gets the information from other organizations or agencies that have collected it. accuracy. The information may not be complete or meet all our needs. government publications. Sampling of prices on local markets By organizing. and fill any gasp in our collected information. this means that the project by the means of surveys and other tools collect the information directly from the source (beneficiaries). This needs to be balanced with the cost and effort needed to get the information. the information sources with the type of information. The table above can also be used to classify information sources by its relevance. It is more time consuming and expensive due to the logistics but assures the project gets the information in the quality needed. its less expensive but there may be issues with quality. . This kind of data can be used to support the initial findings. Ways to get information are: • • Collection from primary sources. it needs to find out what it needs to do to have access to it. credibility and significance.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 97 How to get the information? Once the project has located and identified the “owners” of the information.
then the information that has the most significance to the project is the one about consumption habits. too many things to read. too much to absorb. Significance can help decide what information source should be given more attention and analysis. significant. accurate and credible. useful. because new events. that is if the information will have an impact on the project. . projects are overwhelmed by too much information. but if the main project goal is to reduce cases of diarrhea in infants. The project manager needs to keep in mind that relevance means information that will support the project needs for decision-making. The project should classify each information source with a degree of relevance from high to low. but in a project’s life span that may not be possible or desirable. In these circumstances a project is always at risk of being overloaded with information and some techniques for selecting are needed to prioritize sources specifically a project needs to know if its information sources are: relevant. Unfortunately. A project needs to evaluate its information sources and choose which ones are relevant for its needs. For example. It is hard to slow the tide of information. Another filter the project could use is to test if the information is significant. information on water use habits and information on rain downfall may be both relevant to a water project. Significance of the Information All information sources may be relevant to project needs. ideas and discoveries are always turning up. which at the beginning of the project can be quite large. questions driven by the needs of project stakeholders to monitor progress and make decisions to improve the effectiveness of the projects interventions. Information that is not relevant is not needed and the project should not spend time and effort in trying to collect it.98 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations SELECTING INFORMATION TO COLLECT How to select information relevant to the project and ensure such information is accurate and relevant is a critical step in determining how the project will manage its information. Relevant Information Although it would nice to be able to have all the information possible on every area. Each source of information the project identified needs to be evaluated and analyzed to discover if the information it provides will be able to answer the questions the project needs to answer.
or emotionally charged.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 99 Usefulness of the Information Not all the sources. One way to verify is to look at the information to see if it is objective and impartial. only with its use the project is receiving its full value. Information as an expensive resource. The project should check for bias by looking at the original source. The use of basic criteria can help filter information and select the most useful. if the information provided has been of good quality consistently. Some sources attempt to influence public opinion by advocating or presenting a specific point of view. Another indicator to test information usefulness is to see if the information can be obtained on time and if the information is current. or propaganda. The project needs to decide if the information can be used in its present form. If the information collected does not lead to a decision then it is information not useful for the project. the project should take in consideration and evaluate if the information is not affected by any bias. that is. The project should ask the following to verify the accuracy of information: • • • • How is the information presented? Is the information presented as fact or as an opinion? Is the information verifiable? Is it correct and complete? Credibility of the Information While analyzing the sources of information and trying to define if each source is useful. A project may spend resources to collect information that its use may lead to wrong conclusions or incorrect actions. will be appropriate for the question the project needs to answer. its value resides not in collecting and storing it but in its use. Factual statements should be well documented and/or footnoted so they can be verified for accuracy. prejudice or inconsistencies. Accurate Information The project also needs to determine whether the information is fact. or if it needs additional analysis or confirmation from other sources. that it can be audited and that other projects . in the vast information inventory. If the information comes from secondary sources the project should take the necessary time to investigate if the source is credible and reliable. opinion.
By carefully selecting the information the project needs to identify trends. A project manager should continuously evaluate the relevance and usefulness of the data collected to avoid unnecessary costs. In other cases. Amount of Information Needed Projects that often forget to define the information they need end up with collecting large volumes of information that the project may never fully use. A project may decide that it is for its best interest to collect directly all the information. The credibility of an information source can have an impact on the project final evaluation and on the credibility of the project results. just like a financial system would. . problems or opportunities then the project can determine corrective actions without adding workload to an already taxed project team. The most expensive cost to a project is the collection of information that is not used. religious or cultural motives. PMIS cannot be an effective tool for the project if the project takes an attitude of collecting data for data’s sake. this information needs to be taken with caution and not used as the main source but as an alternative source. The cost. but the cost of this enterprise may outweigh the benefits. there is no need to conduct surveys of all beneficiaries when a simple random sample can provide the project with data that has a good level of confidence as a much larger data set would.100 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations or organization have been using it in the past. Information sources from government agencies or other organizations can have biases that respond to political. A project needs to analyze all its information needs and determine which ones will help the project. For example. Cost to obtain the Information When selecting information the project should evaluate the cost of collecting the information. There is no need to treat PMIS as a continuous detailed record of all data and activities. the project may decide that secondary sources of information are accurate enough to use for the project thus reducing the costs to collect the information. effort and time spent in collecting information needs to be balanced against the relevance and importance of the information to help the project meet is goals.
As much as possible. or analyze information that does not help the project or its evaluation. If a project maintains multiple databases for surveys . By reducing the effort of collecting ancillary information the project can free up valuable resources that can be better utilized in reviewing and improving the project.the possibility of problems relating to accuracy and consistency of project reporting will increase.records maintained by the project and separate records maintained by the organization .Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 101 For each category of information and for each piece of information needed the project needs to ask a basic question. There is no point in generating reports that take six weeks to produce when they were needed to support a decision four weeks ago. a project should strive to have a consistent source for each type of information. . The objective of PMIS is to keep things simple enough for the information to be significant to the goals of the project. with paper documents or with magnetic media. The project cannot afford to waste time and money to collect data that will not be used. It may be done verbally. can help the project meet its objective? In other words. COLLECTING THE INFORMATION A project should ensure that duplication of effort does not occur in the collection of data. The project's information management system should address the following: • • • • How will data be collected? Who is responsible for the data collection? When will data be collected? In what format data will be collected The method for collection of information depends on the type of data. A simple test is to see if any information collected was not used by the project then the information is not needed. the project has to determine the value added of collecting the information. once collected. The project manager should assign collection responsibilities to specific staff members to ensure that expectations are clearly understood and that duplication of effort is reduced. Creating information overload is quite easy and that can have negative impact on the project as it tries to spend more time in managing databases and records to the point that its loses sight of the project goals. How would this information.
checklists and information flow diagrams are a few examples of documents that may be useful. Qualitative methods measure the status or change of a specific indicator. the number or roads improved. There are two basic considerations the project will need to take in account when deciding how to collect information. A project may use a variety of documents to address these issues. Defining the Methods One of the difficult decisions a project needs to make is to decide the method for collecting data. for example. The kind of data the project will collect and the information it will look for will depend on what the project is trying to do or change. the projects needs to balance the needs for data and the cost or funds available to accomplish this activity. it must match the project goal and objectives. Some of these documents require frequent or periodic updating. therefore. the method provides with textual descriptions. the method provides with numerical results. • Qualitative methods. Quantitative versus Qualitative and Participatory or Nonparticipatory • Quantitative methods. For collection activities that require data to be collected or reported in specific formats. The project needs to take in consideration that evaluations for the project are measuring change. Qualitative methods are used to gather information from beneficiaries or partners by asking them to explain what they have observed. It should clarify which periods include due dates that are fixed and those that have flexible dates. the process should either specify the format or refer to the source documents that provide the information. believe or feel. . timelines. Methods may include techniques to capture audio or video as another method to capture people’s expressions to measure change over time. the changes in crop yields.102 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations The system should incorporate reporting deadlines when appropriate and establish periods for all collection tasks. charts. A method is defined as an established and systematic way of carrying out a particular task. the method chosen to collect information also needs to be systematic and one that meets the project needs.
large sample Closed More extensive.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 103 Differences between Quantitative and Qualitative methods: Purpose Quantitative Methods Used for measuring extent or prevalence (i. People in the communities should know that the information asked of them is voluntary. They are time-consuming and require substantial talent in communication and negotiation between planners and participants. gain perspectives of people Used for more in-depth analysis of case studies Open-ended Richer and more in depth. with either the organization or other organization with no issues arising and with no one objecting to giving this information to the community. A primary consideration for the collector of information is privacy. Many communities have already completed extensive surveys.e. 80% of young people have heard HIV/AIDS) Used in surveys. communities are comforta- . number based Qualitative Methods Used to understanding context. in the form of words More time for each interview More time to interpret and summarize information Cost is higher in analysis Scope and scale Type of questions Type of information Time to collect data Less time for each interview Time for analysis Less time to aggregate and process data Collection of data is more expensive (requires larger sample survey) Medium (more extractive) Strict protocol Basic skills needed Valid and statistically reliable Cost-effectiveness Interview participation Flexibility of protocol Interviewer’s skills and experience Statistical basis High (more participatory) High flexibility Significant experience Credible Participatory Methods Participatory methods of data collection can bring new insights into peoples' needs for project planning and implementation. but are no less demanding on skills than questionnaire surveys.
IFAD 2002 . Pros and cons of collecting data from groups or individuals:9 Individual Advantages Manage the discussion more easily Can get detailed information Generate data that can be structured in a way that makes statistical analysis possible Generate new learning in some participants as information is shared Can allow for marginal voices to be heard Can show where divergence and convergence of opinions lie Disadvantages Consumes more time if data is needed from many individuals Cannot be used to generate consensus Does not allow cost-effective feedback Can cause problems in terms of data validity and group dynamics may influence individuals Cannot deal with sensitive information Requires a facilitator able to deal with group dynamics Requires careful though abut group composition Group Defining the Collecting Techniques The following chart provide with a general overview of the most common techniques to collect information Techniques Questionnaires. A Guide for Project M&E. Individual interviews and surveys are also part of this method. It must be clear at the outset that this is not the intent of the survey. Surveys. and Checklists Overall Purpose To quickly and or easily get lots of information from people in a non threatening way Advantages Can complete anonymously inexpensive to administer easy to compare and analyze administer to many people can get lots of Challenges Might not get careful feedback wording can bias client's responses are impersonal in surveys. Non-Participatory methods These may include observations and use of secondary data from other sources that provide enough information to the project.104 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations ble providing their general information but they do not want anyone to solicit personal or private information. may need sampling expert doesn't get 9 Managing for Impact in Rural Development.
organize and describe represents depth of information. To fully understand or depict client's experiences in a program. and conduct comprehensive examination through cross comparison of cases Fully depicts client's experience in program input. data restricted to what already exists Can be difficult to interpret seen behaviors can be complex to categorize observations can influence behaviors of program participants can be expensive Can be hard to analyze responses need good facilitator for safety and closure difficult to schedule 6 or 8 people together Focus Groups Explore a topic in depth Quickly and reliably.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 105 Techniques Overall Purpose Interviews Documentation Review To fully understand someone's impressions or experiences or learn more about their answers to questionnaires To know how program operates without interrupting the work Observation To gather accurate information about how a program actually operates. rather than breadth . through group discusget common impression. process and results powerful means to portray program to outsiders Case Studies Usually quite time consuming to collect. particularly about processes Advantages data many sample questionnaires already exist Get full range and depth of information develops relationship with client can be flexible with client Get comprehensive and historical information doesn't interrupt program or client's routine in program information already exists few biases about information View operations of a programs they are actually occurring can adapt to events as they occur Challenges full story Can take much time can be hard to analyze and compare can be costly interviewer can bias client's responses Often takes much time info may be incomplete need to be quite clear about what looking for not flexible means to get data. sions can be efficient way to get much range and depth of information in short time can convey key information about programs.
Frequency of collection The frequency to collect is mandated by the type of information and by the indicators chosen to monitor project progress. in other cases would be local governments like health units that require the project to use specific formats to collect and report on health information. the project avoids two basic problems: information that ends up collected twice or information that is not collected at all. Frequency of collecting information needs to be weighted by the projects needs for information by the needs of the final users of information (donors. For example. sources. uses and frequency the information needs to be collected. By defining responsibilities. management. and government) and by the sources of information and their availability to provide it on a timely manner. The people selected need to be well informed as to the requirements. The project needs to be careful not to burden beneficiaries with too frequent surveys. The project manager can define responsibilities by developing a matrix that identifies the staff responsible for information gathering and the type of information they are responsible. Donors in some cases define the format by which information needs to be reported. Defining the Format The format needed to collect the information is very dependent on the uses that the information will be give. the project manager needs to take a systematic approach to define responsibilities on who collects information. it would be ideal if a project could collect information as frequent as it needs it but it is dependent in the availability of the beneficiaries to provide the information. There are different formats for collecting information: • Paper surveys filed by hand . Whether it is quantitative (surveys) or qualitative (interviews) information.106 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Defining Responsibilities The project team is involved in the process of collecting information.
Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 107 • • • • • • • Surveys filled electronically by means of PDAs (personal digital assistants).Format for colleclected tion Start of the project Manual surveys Quarterly Every six months End of project Interviews Interviews Interviews. Each survey or information requirements should be analyzed to see whether the data collected has a valid reason to be collected and analyzed and how once collected it will support the project decision and monitoring processes. It is quite easy to come up with a list of questions for a survey. hear or read the information. Document reviews Information Collection Review After identifying the information that needs to be collected and when designing the forms to collect the information the project will need to validate the relevance of the information to the objectives of the project. Information Gathering Matrix The following matrix/table is a useful tool to help the project define the responsibilities. Information Type Baseline Progress Surveys Questionnaires to measure changes Final Evaluation Who will collect Project staff Project staff Consultant Consultant When will be col. GIF. Downloading tables and databases from the internet Pictures from films (slide and print) Digital pictures. MP3) Video in both digital for CD or DVD Video for VHS or 8mm formats The projects needs to be consistent in the format it collects information. in JPEG. frequency and format of the information. the difficult part when the data arrives and the projects has to make sense of all this data and convert it into information useful for the project. . WAV. changing formats can result in users not being able to see. RAW format Sound in digital and analog formats (audio tapes.
recognize trends. and communication. synthesis. understanding. A project needs to organize its information into logical easily understood categories to increase its access and use. how it relates to the objectives and goals Purpose How will this question help the project? To what purpose will this information be used Accuracy How accurate is the information we need? What are the levels of accuracy we can accept? ORGANIZING AND STORING INFORMATION Project information must be organized in order to permit analysis. Relevance Why we need this information. synthesize disparate pieces of information into new knowledge. Survey Question Question No. Organizing project information is important because it allows to: • • • • • manage and retain the information more efficiently. . recognize the need for further information and discard unneeded information. a project is able to: • • enforce standards for the representation of information. the project should ask questions like: • • • • • Why do we need this information? How it will help us in making a decision? How difficult is to get this information? Is it relevant to the project objectives? Are there other sources for this information? The table below can help in determining the validity and relevance of each question on a survey. clusters. and other patterns in the information gathered.108 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations For each information requirements. By organizing information. relate different pieces of information to one another in meaningful ways. communicate the information more effectively.
The PMIS organization design should capture hard and soft information. link together items that are functionally or logically related. Because the same information can be relevant to a range of different problem situations. Organizing information One way to organize the information is to group materials by similar concepts or content. store and retrieve structured and other unstructured data. Organizing information makes it easy for project members to find it. and make information available for people to use The organization. and provide friendly but powerful analysis tools that allow decision makers to search the data for strategic insight. it becomes necessary to represent and index of the structured information by several methods. Projects with significant volumes of information could need to reorganize and unify data from several sources. qualitative as well as quantitative data. Organizing and storing information may be facilitated with the application of information technology. Outlines allow to group materials by similar concepts or content and put them into a logical order. and permit users to harvest the information that is buried in these resources. The project needs to define the methods it . and retrieval of information are a critical component of information management. Another way of organizing information is to create an outline. An outline arranges materials hierarchically and sequentially by identifying main topics. Well-integrated archival policies and records management systems will enable the project to create and preserve its memory and learn from its experiences. donors and key stakeholders about the current state and recent history of the project.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 109 • • protect information from destruction. The project needs to find the information it needs when it needs it without having to spend time and effort. Rather than answering to a query by providing the user with all the data collected by the project. and details under the subtopics. support multiple user views of the data. storage. The information must be readily available to answer questions from management. the project needs the ability to access structured information so that its retrieval can be more specific to the needs. so they can discover patterns and opportunities buried in the volumes of project information data. subtopics. The potentially severe consequences of the loss or inability to find vital documents are a driver to seek more versatile information storage and retrieval systems that can capture.
The legal requirement to store the information. This can be by using shared folders on a computer that project staff can have access or by storing the information on document management system made accessible via a network server or an intranet. 3. they may include privacy clauses and clauses that determine the length of time to store information for auditing purposes. The project will need to setup a document or file storage system that is well classified for easy retrieval. With the adequate measures for security. 5. the inventory should be maintained periodically to reflect new information. the method to classify the information should be made available to all project staff and key stakeholders. Governments and donors have legal requirements for the storage of information. the project should follow the same recommendations for classification and access to the information.110 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations will use to organize information. Storing the Information Storing the information is a means by which the information can be recalled later by project stakeholders. information should be made available upon request by the authorized personnel. In the case of information in digital or electronic format. not only information in electronic format but information in physical format as well. The organizational requirement to store the information. One good practice is to build an inventory of all information assets own by the project. There are five basic considerations a project needs to take in account when deciding how to store information: The format of the information. 4. This includes who has access to the information and who is responsible for safekeeping the information. whether in a physical or digital format The security of information. The availability of the information. information needs to be available to its intended users once it has been properly collected and organized. . the project needs to identify what information is secure and what information is public. the project needs to consider the format and means by which information will be stored. 1. 2. This requirement comes from the need to have the knowledge and experience of the project stored for future reference by other projects within or outside the organization.
Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 111 Securing the Information All project information needs to be classified as either private or public. or the security of the project and the organization. a file cabinet with a lock or in a secure room should be considered as appropriate methods. Projects work in areas or environments that are not always secure. To facilitate document retrieval and accessibility To minimize documentation errors through version control and secured access. A project needs to define the structure by which it will organize its project documents and develop a simple method for its management. To accomplish this objective the projects will start by defining some basic goals. in that case. • • • • • To provide a mechanism for document production and control that does not add substantial overhead to the project process. There may be cases when the information is critical and its contents are meant very few key stakeholders. distribute and store various types of project documentation. In the case of digital information. the information that project manages needs to be secure from reaching non-authorized personnel as it travels in personal briefcases or via email. To promote collaboration and consensus through a structured process for document review and approval. both in its storage and in its manipulation when it is distributed to its intended users. Project Document Management Project documentation provides the means by which information and ideas are created and shared. Project document management is defined by the practices and procedures used to create. In the case of paper documents. All computers and networks of the project will also need to be evaluated for unauthorized intrusion and attacks. To provide standardized formats and templates for document production. Public information is available to any person and its contents do not compromise the rights of any beneficiary or person mentioned on the information. and is the basis upon which decisions are made and approved. the project will need to put measures in place to encrypt the document or database to keep outsiders or nonauthorized personnel from opening and reading it. . the project needs to take the necessary measures to ensure that the information is secure.
Access: The means by which access is granted and controlled. As such. which is all documents must be created and stored in an organized fashion. Archival: The means by which documents can be stored and retrieved for future reference.1.0. Version Control: The means by documents are tracked for changes over time. and ensure that everyone is literally working "on the same page". To maintain a tangible record of project strategies.1. folders. Document versions offer a visible trail of project changes and progress. etc. while providing content guidelines to ensure that all documents convey essential information. via the internet or email (or other applicable format).). technical manuals or contracts). 2. any established documentation standards should address the following issues: . Document Management Elements From the most complex system to the simplest filing cabinet. (shared drives. (Version 1.0. as well as external documents produced outside the team. 2. input and edits. Project Document standards. 2.e. any document management system must address the following elements: • • • • • • • Input: The means by which documents are created and placed into the system. Output: The means by which documents are retrieved from the repository and distributed in print. Searches: The means by which documents can be found and searched (i. including reference materials (i.2. Project document repositories may hold original documents that are created by the project team. designed for easy access and control. document management tools rely on a standard premise.112 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • • To ensure that all documents are current and that distribution is timely.e. The goal is to save time and promote consistency by standardizing the "look and feel". activities and decisions. 1. and scaled to suit project size and circumstances. Documentation standards should be designed in accordance with technical capabilities. according to keywords or for specific information). intranets) Collaboration: The means by documents are reviewed and revised based on collaborative (team) reviews. As such. for future reference and lessons learned evaluation.
Review comments are considered and document revisions are made. any productive workflow should be designed to ensure that these documents are created in collaborative manner.At times. revised and approved. email.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 113 • • • • • Software used to produce the various types of documents Formats used for each type of document Document templates provided according to project needs. Confidential. Since project documents represent tangible proof that project decisions and strategies are underway.e. . to the general end-user comtion munity as project updates and general reference information). size and complexity Documents classified for security purposes (i. A "pre-approval" version is produced. project documents may be distributed outside of the project document repository (i. Phase 2: Document Review Phase 3: Document Revision Phase 4: Document Approval The "pre-approval" version is distributed to all appropriate stakeholders for document approval and acceptance.e.e. and distributed for timely approval and acceptance. and input is offered. Phase 5: Document Distribu. print)? Project Document Workflow The document production cycle and workflow provides the structured process by which documents are created. and Internal). Public. A basic documentation workflow can be laid out in five specific phases: Phase 1: Document Draft The document "draft" is prepared according to established standards and formats The "draft" is reviewed by all appropriate stakeholders. Departmental. web. Documents distributed outside the repository (i.
An important consideration when defining the means to share information is that not all audiences are the same and one piece of information shared with different groups or audience may have different interpretations. information needs to be easily accessed and shared to provide maximum benefit to those who need it. The project needs to be conscious of the audience it intends to share information. In order to be most effective. A project should be able to: • • • Correctly describe and identify the information assets that benefit the project. The project needs to identify all the sharing methods available at its disposal and match it to the information it will share and the audience that will receive it. . both electronic and physical. The means available range from a meeting or group presentation to a publication in a local newspaper. the information’s value grows as other projects or stakeholders can benefit from the findings and insights the information is conveying. By reporting and sharing. The information held within a project is central to achieving key targets and objectives and ensuring positive collaboration and strengthening relationships occurs amongst its beneficiaries and partners. know what systems. There is no value if the information does not reach its intended audience. the project needs to identify how each one of its information assets will be shared with the different stakeholders.114 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations REPORTING AND SHARING INFORMATION As important as is to collect the right information. Develop a culture that not only encourages the sharing of information but also encourages project members to find information from outside of their own immediate environment. need to be put in place in order to ensure the efficient flow and distribution of information Identifying the Means to Share the Information The means to share information are the methods chosen by the project that will make the project information available to its final users on a timely manner. it is also important to report the information to the right people at the right time.
Development workers. Targeted audience. Targeted audience. instructions searchers Studies. evaluations Instructions. beneficiaries News. project staff. training. marketing. announce. ments News.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 115 Sharing methods Physical means: • Group presentations • • • Newspaper Handouts and pamphlets Books. donors Can be private as well as public. Short messages with small attachments containing Questions and answers. instructions. documentaries.Targeted to TV audience in a community or city. market. Public in general Electronic means: • Web Sites • • • • Intranets Audio/Video Email Discussion Forums Organization and other program staff. marketing. management.General public vertising Directions. Data Analysis A project can implement a variety of processes to ensure that reported information is complete and accurate. testing and analyzing that are designed to be used for specific reporting purposes and that are implemented on or near the time the project is required to report the data .Communities and general public ing Evaluations. Studies. pictures. journal Good for Training materials Key audience Project participants. relines.Targeted to radio audience in a community or city. These can be divided into two broad types: • • Procedures for editing. pictures. ments marketing. resolve and agree issues News. reports and ad. case studies. pictures. reports. guide. evaluations. training. research articles. testing and analyzing that are incorporated into day-today operations Procedures for editing. research articles. reports. Other means • Radio • Television announce.
Problems and inaccuracies should be corrected at the end of the each reporting period when the personnel who collected the data are more likely to remember what caused the problem. Project staff. For example. testing and analysis procedures can take many forms. donors and the beneficiaries form opinions and make decisions based on the information reported by the project. Editing. the more verification that can be incorporated into a project's regular information -generating activities. entries outside of specified ranges. accuracy and completeness. Furthermore. a project can incorporate rules that look for valid data entries. Project information is accessed by various users on a regular basis for decision-making purposes. For internal reporting. The PMIS reporting process needs to include ways in which day-to-day information review and analysis can be combined with one-time review and editing to provide accurate information. This process is more likely to result in fewer errors than a process that attempts to correct information for the year on or near the final evaluation deadline. Automated and non-automated systems require reasonableness checks and periodic analysis. Another reason to incorporate editing and analysis into everyday activities is that it is much easier and more efficient to identify and correct mistakes on a current basis rather than on an historical basis. the most critical elements may be timing. Day-to-day operations depend upon a regular flow of reliable information. if a project collects and processes beneficiary information in an appropriate format on a daily basis and reviews the information at the end of each period reporting period. For automated systems. most projects will find handling large information deliveries easier if the information is collected and reviewed on a regular basis rather than all at once before the reporting deadline. etc. comprehensive and understandable reporting mechanisms and formats. The project manager may need a monthly analysis of project progress and critical issues to . the better information the project is likely to produce.116 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Generally. Reporting the Information The most visible part of an information management system is the information that is generated. the project simply completes the final period as usual. then the process of information reporting is simplified. valid combinations. When the information is due. A project should strive for timely. partner organizations. Users should have confidence that a project's information database is as correct and complete as it can be at any time the user needs the information.
The format may be determined by a donor agency.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 117 make planning decisions. the format or manner in which information is presented becomes much more important. Program managers need reports to compare plans with actual information so that budgets are not overspent. In this case. However. a project's primary consideration should be the intended audience it is presenting the information. accuracy and completeness are just as important for external reporting as for internal reporting. in some cases the audience has little time to read and a quick graphic in one page would suffice. A project should spend time training its staff to read internal reports and documents necessary to perform their jobs. the audience is an analyst or evaluator who will require more detail in order to conduct its own analysis and conclusions from the information. . For example. For external reporting with no mandated format. Defining the Formats to Present the Information The table below is a simple example a project can use to develop the list of formats it will use to present project information to different audiences: Information Type Project Information Reports Training Material for Beneficiaries Format Word Document. Beneficiaries Defining the Level of Detail Required The detail presented in the information needs to serve a purpose. Each information user or audience has different requirements as to the level of detail in the information. Timeliness. It has no purpose to send a lengthy manual of 200 pages to a project stakeholder who needs information that can be summarized on 5 pages or less. a project must make the required effort to report in the required manner. a presentation to the organization management team about a project's current progress may be more technical in nature than a similar presentation to stakeholders. using standard country office format Pamphlets and one page instructions User Program Manager Specifications Send via email with size less than 500kb Large pictures and charts in colors. In other cases.
118 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Sharing the Information Internal information sharing is vital for the efficient operation of a project information system and the provision of high-quality services to donors and stakeholders. Information Hoarding It is common to think that information sharing is always better than hoarding information. by modifying strategies. it is impossible to know how close the destination is. All project information sources should be regarded as shared unless there are legitimate reasons for restricting access to a particular group or person. Information must be seen as a project asset and the existence of ‘information silos’ discouraged. Information hoarding is the other extreme. sharing information just for the sake of sharing must have a purpose. Hoarding information results from a lack of trust. Information Sharing vs. the project needs to focus on strategies to begin a productive information-sharing environment. USING THE INFORMATION The highest value from information comes when it supports decision to improve the project. Encouraging and providing an incentive for people to share what they know will show returns to the project via an increased base of information. Without information. Using in- . organizing and reporting is similar to having all the gauges and dials on a car and all the road signs and maps and not using them to get to a destination. Information represents power and hoarding is not always a conscience act of holding back information. It is not uncommon for a project to collect large amounts of information and never use it (a symptom of poor project information planning) and not unusual for a project evaluator to find out that the project has been collecting the wrong type of information. what changes are required to correct any deviations from the original plan or what opportunities are ahead to help get the project to its final destination. However. Not using information. By using the information project stakeholders can know how close the project is to its objectives. after all the effort of collecting. approaches. methods to get the project closer to its objectives. Sharing information should support decision-making or propel innovation.
promote and influence positive changes. It is from the use of information (information in action) that a project can gain knowledge. donors and key project stakeholders. compliance and knowledge. information requested by headquarters to help in the development of strategies. • Decisions are made on information that tracks progress to make changes in the strategies and approaches the project has chosen initially. Knowledge is also gained by the project itself in its process of implementing actions in the field as it evaluates and learns from its actions. but to the uses and value the information can bring to the project and to its organization. Information is also used as a tool to communicate and educate beneficiaries. Main use of information in this category is to monitor projects performance in the utilization of its schedule and budget to meet the expected outcomes and objectives. These information types are used by management. information such as migratory changes of beneficiaries. information to the local governments to meet local laws. baseline information. political unrest. etc. if deviances are found the project will need to make corrective actions.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 119 formation validates and justifies the cost and effort of collecting it. Donors use much of the information sent to them to also report back to their own supervisory boards. Other type of information needed for decisions may include changes in the project environment that will affect its operations. information is also used by other external parties to gain on the experiences of the project. There are many uses of project information and these should not be confined to the uses a donor makes of it. these are decisions. These include information to the donor. How is the Information Used? There are three main categories of information usage. evaluations. etc. Evaluators use information on the effectiveness of the project in meeting its goals. • • . community leaders. Knowledge. Compliance is information used to meet legal or contractual requirements that the project has responsibilities for. This type if information includes project reports.
then the project needs to ask as to the value of continuing its collection. In other occasions.120 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations What Decisions Were Taken From the Information? Information leads to decisions and actions that will help the project meet its goals. The design of the PMIS needs to take in consideration the different stages that occur in the decision-making process and design the system with enough flexibility. Is There Any Information That Was Not Used? The value of information is in its utilization. the quality of the decision will be influenced by the quality of the information. a solution needs to be designed. identify any potential problems. it consist of several different activities that take place at different times and uses many information sources. It is important to have information to track the progress of the solution. for decision to be made the problem needs to be well understood and thus project managers need to have access to good information on a timely manner. Once the problem is identified. the decisions will be to increase the inputs or activities to meet the project schedule. skills and knowledge Capable of changing as project staff learn and clarify their roles. and define corrective actions. Once different solutions have been designed. either by changing strategies or approaches. at this step. A PMIS should have the following characteristics to support decisionmaking: • • • Flexible and able to provide many options for handling data and evaluate the information. All the decisions taken are based on the quality of the information. the next step would be to choose the best solution and implement it. The project needs to provide the right information for stakeholders to know how well the project is performing and where the problems exist. if a piece of information is not being used. If the information . An important role of PMIS is not to make the decision for people but rather support the decision making process. The decisions in most cases will be corrective actions to refocus the project objectives. Making decisions is not a single activity. difficulties. Projects need to have an inventory of all the decision made and the information that was used to support the decision. Capable of supporting a variety of styles. more information may be needed to ensure the solution fits the appropriate context.
the most relevant information that needs to be visible to all includes the following: • • • • • • Project Logframe Project Objectives Schedules (updated regularly) Progress charts (indicators) Pictures of project activities and beneficiaries Maps of the areas were the project works EVALUATING THE PROCESS To be an effective system the PMIS needs to go through periodic reviews. The objective of the evaluations is to streamline the information process. necessary to maintain its quality and effectiveness. . compliance or knowledge then it is not needed. The process to evaluate the PMIS needs to be inclusive and use the feedback from information users as a first step to identify improvements. by reducing the time and effort it takes to produce results. graphs. in the project walls and other areas for all to see it. Using Information at the Project Level Information is not a product the project creates only for donors or external stakeholders. The project manager should make the information visible to all the team by posting the information available in the form of charts. eliminating redundancies or overlaps in process and information. the project will determine what information stays and what information needs to be left out of the next information management cycle. Evaluating the system can occur at any time or during project evaluations. After each cycle of information process.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 121 is not used for decisions. and identify opportunities to increase its impact to the project. Project members need to be informed as well on all elements of the project. the project also needs to use the information. The main goal of evaluating the PMIS is to check on whether or not the system is providing the information needed by the project stakeholders.
As part of the validation. credible and cost effective? 4. Evaluate the process to Identify needs. Evaluate the process to select the information. Evaluate the process to collect the information. Do the means to share the information need to change? Are the users receiving the right information on time? Are the formats to report information adequate and accessible by the users? Is the level of reporting detail adequate? 7. Have all needs been captured. Evaluate the process to Locate information. Is there a need to change the methods to organize the information? Is there a need to change the tools to store the information? Has the security of the information been compromised? 6. Is the information still relevant. accurate. useful. The project can start by looking at all the components of the information process to identify the areas that may need improvement. are any needs still not being accounted for? 2. the project will need to answer the following questions: • • • • Does the project team understand the use and purpose of PMIS? Is the information requested being collected correctly? Does the information reach all stakeholders? Is the information being used correctly? By evaluating the process the project should look at areas were the process has “bottlenecks” or areas were the information takes too much time to process.122 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Evaluate the Process to Manage the Information To maintain the effectiveness of the system the project will need to make periodic reviews trough the life of the system. 1. Evaluate the process to Report the information. Have new sources of information been discovered? Are the original sources still available? 3. format and responsibilities to collect information? 5. Evaluate the process to organize the information. Is the volume of information too large to manage? Are the methods and techniques to collect information still valid? Is there a need to change the frequency. How is the information being used? Is there any information that is not being used at all? How is the information helping the project meets its goals? . significant. The evaluation is a validation of the PMIS as a tool to help the project meet its objectives and it is an opportunity to review the process with other project stakeholders. Evaluate the process to Use the information. whether in its collection or distribution.
This process ensures that project staff is able to express their opinions about the areas that need improvement for the next project cycle (or improvements for the next project). a lesson learned is a validated working experience that. Lessons learned processes are meant for sharing and reusing knowledge gained through experience. Lessons Learned The projects needs to have a formal process to capture the lesson learned in the information management process of PMIS. The team brainstorms the solutions to improve the process and develops an action plan to implement any . Is the project evaluating the process correctly? Is there a need for an outside expert? Has the project received feedback from all stakeholders? 9. when applied. Therefore. Is the project implementing the changes to the project? Have the changes resulted in actual improvements? Analysis of Gaps in the Information Collected The project should be able to identify the gaps between the original plan and the results it received from the process and make any modifications to close the gap. The process to capture lesson learned needs to be simple and inclusive and it is a great opportunity for learning and improvement. during the analysis the project may discover that the data collected only accounted for gender and not age. forms and reports to include this data on the next cycle. Gap analysis identifies the differences between the current state with the ideal or desired state. can positively affect a project’s information management processes. Evaluate the process to improve the information process. and then lists the areas of weaknesses of PMIS. These can be motivated by the need to preserve a project’s knowledge and convert individual knowledge into organizational knowledge so that other team members who encounter conditions that closely match some lesson’s context may benefit from applying it. a project indicator was set to monitor the number of children that receive vaccinations and disaggregate the information by gender and age. Evaluate the process to evaluate the information. For example. The methodology follows a process in which the team first identifies what have been the strengths of the PMIS. The project should make the necessary changes to the process. It is not an opportunity to lay blame for any problems.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 123 8. These could be found at the moment of making analysis of the information received and comparing the analysis to the original questions asked by the project.
This is what the project has learned and these lessons need to be shared to a wider audience. Users are not only the external stakeholders of the project. not only team members Incorporate lessons learned into the closeout phase of the project. of poor quality. The project needs to document the causes of variances and the thinking behind the corrective action in order to enhance its ability to respond to future project challenges. the users will not be able to act. as the information serves its needs not only to be informed but to act based on the information received. This can help explore potential new uses for the information as related to the needs of the user. The lesson are documented for other projects to take advantage of the experiences and knowledge the project produced. which can have serious consequences to the credibility of the project.124 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations changes to the process. User’s Expectations A key indicator of the effectiveness of the PMIS comes from the actual users of the information. The project needs to capture or understand the user’s satisfaction to the timeliness. The following are some guidelines to capture the lesson learned. quality and relevance of the information they have received from the project. not relevant or in the wrong format. The goal is to ask what would the team change. The project should interview users as to the expectation they have with the information they receive from the project. or the actions taken may result in negative outcomes to the project. but also the internal users in the project who use the information to guide them reach the project objectives. The project manager can act as a facilitator in the lessons learned meeting to help the project team capture the project’s lessons. . The final evaluation comes from the information user. Establish a process for communicating lessons learned to others in the organization that might benefit as well. If the information is late. The project enhances its ability to deliver its information by learning from previous experiences. add or delete if it had to start the project all over again. • • • • Capture and share lessons learned at the end of project phases rather than at the completion of the project Capture lessons learned with the people most closely involved with the project.
Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 125 IMPROVING THE INFORMATION PROCESS The goal of evaluating the process is to improve the process. guidelines. The project manager can list all the recommended improvements and rank them by its feasibility and impact to the project. By improving the information life-cycle projects can achieve a reduced time. The objective is to improve everything in the process by encouraging everyone to take responsibility in the process. flowcharts and other tools used in the process. Improve the Process for the Next Cycle Every project cycle is an opportunity to review and improve the PMIS process. It is at that moment that the project team has fresh memories of what went wrong and how to fix it. Changes require that all staff be trained to use and apply the new changes. Waiting too long may cause that improvements are never done or done partially. evaluate the changes needed to the documentation. and make improvements to the process so that the next project or information cycle produces better results. Modify the Process The project manager should review the steps in each process. Not good can be obtained by an evaluation report if no actions are taken to implement the changes. by concentrating on the most needed changes the project could achieve a significant improvement in its information management process. The project manager should also make the required changes and properly inform all stakeholders on the new changes. It is not necessarily that the projects seek to implement all the recommendations for the next cycle. . cost savings and greater stakeholder satisfaction.
At a grass-roots level. Each individual follows a unique process and applies standards independently. Information Management Maturity Model This model shows the different levels of information maturity for any project. Starting to establish structure and uniform practices. Level Level 1 Informal Level 2 Rudimentary Level 3 Organized Characteristics Characterized by a lack of structure and uniform practices. If time and resources allow it. reduction in process time and effort). this will give the project an opportunity to test whether or not the changes are feasible and meet the objectives the changes were designed to achieve (quality.126 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Implement the Changes The project manager should inform all project information users. including quality reviews. This is also useful when the changes include changes to a software database application. Planning and quality assurance activities are stressed and are incorporated into every project phase. local governments and the organization’s management on the new changes. By informing accordingly the changes. the project begins to establish best practices. Rudimentary new practices are often abandoned under pressure of deadlines and constantly changing requirements. as well as a lack of commitment among the project members to change individual practices. the team establishes some data collection standards and uniform practices. No quality assurance activities take place except for reviews for information accuracy. . Often characterized by beginning to institute quality assurance practices. partners. this can be useful when auditing the system. The project manager should make an effort to document the changes to track the modifications made to the whole process. donors. At a management level. The quality of the information is highly dependent upon the professionalism and expertise of the individual. the project should pilot the changes before its full rollout. Dedication among the majority of project members to uniform best practices and standards. Practices begin to take on a quality focus. This model can help in identify the current state of the project information management level in order to define what needs to be done to achieve an optimal level. beneficiaries. each user will see the improvements in the information they receive. Each project goes through a series of improvements and enhanced to its information process in order to meet stakeholder’s expectations of quality information.
and achieving a superior information output. information and knowledge is one of the most important human characteristics.Unesco. and seek to reach level 5.Chapter 5 The Information Cycle | 127 Level Level 4 Managed Level 5 Optimized Characteristics Characterized by a stable commitment to planning. hiring and training. Recognized as effective by the organization and donor agencies. Each project should be able to locate its information process in one of the above levels. A continuous process to improve the project’s PMIS should be part of the normal routine in the project’s management cycle. At this level the project continually calls into question its own practices and standards. quality assurance. assessing and meeting stakeholder needs. is recognized today as one of the main requirements for development. defined as knowledge in communicable form. Characterized by innovation beyond the stable commitment to mature practices. "Information. Information is at the core of what a project manages to reduce poverty and bring change to the communities. and controls. continually seeking ways of meeting stakeholder’s needs more effectively. Indeed the ability to record and use data. ." . Level 4 projects become increasingly sophisticated in handling beneficiary data. reducing process and costs.
128 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations .
It is through information management that a project can improve its decision making process. Knowledge is information in action. Planning the management of information is an opportunity for the project to ask critical questions about the purpose and use of information. to the right people at the right time. A project needs to have the adequate resources and skills to bring the right information. The project management information process can be described as a logical chain of linked ideas that start and continue with information users.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 129 CHAPTER 6 MANAGING PMIS MANAGING THE INFORMATION SYSTEM Managing information requires the same level of discipline as the management of other organizational resources and development projects need to treat information as a strategic resource and manage it accordingly. learn and create new knowledge. Information on practices in the field and information on current methodologies. this “intellectual capital” is one of the project’s critical assets. solutions and approaches need to reach an ever-wider audience that in many cases lies outside the organizational boundaries. Knowledge resides in people’s experiences. when information is used and applied to the context of the project that is when new knowledge is created. Information management also considers the information on practices that have produced outstanding results and that could be adapted to similar situations. The chart below shows the questions the project needs to address in order to identify the different require .
This detailed analysis can help in the design of a good information management system that focuses only on the critical and most important information uses and limits the collection of information that does not add value to the project and its stakeholders. Who Needs Information? Information Users Is The Information Ready For Use? Information Sharing Why They Need Information? Information Purpose What We Do With The Information? Information Analysis What Specific Information? Information Uses How We Get The Information? Information Collection When They Need Information? Information Timing Where Is The Information? Information Sources Figure 24 Project Information Management Requirements • Information Users include persons who are influenced by projects as well as those who influence the project. target communities. For example.g.. donors. e. country office management. • Information Purpose is the specific information needed in order to ensure that the project is relevant. the project should start with the identification of the information users and ask why they need information.130 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations ments. • Information Uses include informing decisions in the project and sharing information with other persons or organizations. etc. efficient and effective within its stated objectives. project staff. .
then the project may get off track. i.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 131 • Information Timing is delivering the information when is needed. but it is not feasible to collect it or it can’t be collected in time. • Information Analysis means that the information collected can be used by the project stakeholders to identify trends. A project MIS could technically collect every detail of information available but managing this volume could be both expensive and result in inefficiencies. If certain information is needed. A small project will require low volume of information organized in such a way that can be managed. • Information Sources. • Information Gathering is collecting in a systematic process the information needed. critical decisions about the project may not be made or may be poorly taken Depth of Detail Although there is no physical limit to the volume of information any system can collect.e. . If the information collected was never used then the project needs to consider the value of the information and decide to stop collecting it. is locating were and who has the information and what will the project need to do in order to have access to it. if the information is collected and analyzed but not available to the persons who need it.. • Information Sharing. problem areas or opportunities. A project needs to determine the level of detail they need to collect that is both manageable and supportive of its objectives. there is a limit on what the project can manage. it can become ineffective or irrelevant to local priorities. A simple rule of thumb is to keep it simple and identify only the information that will be used. The project manager should ask if the information collected has been used to make decisions that improved the results of the project.
. Management of project information should be incorporated into the project’s comprehensive information management system. the quality and accuracy of information reported to donors and other governmental entities can affect a project’s funding. Developing a plan is an essential step in determining the effort and time that will be required to collect and distribute project information. In this plan. a project’s credibility and the public’s perception of a project. A project’s information management system should address the use of both technological and human resources. it may be informal and undocumented or formal and documented. processed and stored? Is information being reported and distributed appropriately? All projects have an information management system. which includes all of a project’s information needs. timely information to a variety of audiences may significantly affect the relationship the project has with its staff. This strategy and the project’s information management system should be designed to provide answers to two basic questions: • • Is information being collected. A project’s ability to provide accurate. media and technology constraints. Management of information is a critical component in the overall management of a project.132 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations PLANNING FOR PMIS Detailed planning is critical to the development of usable. and development environment for the project. management. reported and stored. beneficiaries of the project and outside funding agencies. The overall project information plan also includes an initial specification for each individual information output. In addition. high quality information deliverables that meet the needs of internal and external information users. The Project Information Management Plan is a document that defines the actions and responsibilities to manage project information. A project information management strategy should be developed which will specify how information is created or collected. The project team needs to discuss the content and structure of the overall project information plan. the team will analyze the purpose. design issues. maintained. audience.
The internal controls necessary to ensure the plan is working Establishing a written plan can help a project maintain control over its information management system. Information Analysis . Internal Controls . Reporting Information .The roles. With a documented plan. information and technology needs change over time and the available technology changes.What information must be available and to whom? 2.How will information be collected? 3. In addition. as the maintenance of the plan is a dynamic process. responsibilities. Elements of such a plan describe: 1.The technology necessary to support the plan's goals and objectives 9. Personnel . the internal controls established by the plan may indicate that some parts of the plan are not working. Creating an information management plan is not a one-time task.How will historical information be maintained? 6.How will the information be edited. the information management plan and all subsequent changes should be made available to all stakeholders affected by the plan. documented information management plan. For example. A project should encourage those who create and use information to become . As an element of this dynamic process. qualifications and training of the personnel necessary to implement the plan 8. Technology . Information Requirements .How will information be secured from unauthorized access? 7. It provides a framework that can be useful to a project in the process of achieving its goals. Historical Information .Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 133 INFORMATION MANAGEMENT PLAN A successful PMIS usually requires creation of a formal. tested and analyzed? 4. Access to Information .How will the information be disseminated? 5. The plan should be constantly revised as circumstances dictate to incorporate a changing environment and to address existing problems. Information Collection . improvements or changes can be identified and readily incorporated into the system.
staff members responsible for reporting to donors will be most familiar with the requirements of these donors. The person most familiar with the job will be able to specify the information needed to do the job efficiently and accurately. it should be analyzed and compared to the project's current efforts.134 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations involved in correcting and improving the project's information management system. Beneficiary and partner demands for information Internal operations Each of the above areas should be examined in detail to specify the project's information needs. each staff member's data requirements are dictated by the staff member's responsibilities.). a project should look for duplication of effort . a project must first determine its information needs. DEFINING THE INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS To develop an information management plan. the public. consideration should be given to both shortterm and long-term needs and both regular on-going and temporary needs. These requirements should be gathered from beneficiaries. For internal operations. A project's data needs are dictated by: • • • • Legal and regulatory requirements imposed by donor and local governments. other organizations. partners. government agencies. increases the chances of the plan's success. Such identification allows for customization of the plan based on specific requirements. A project's best interests are served with a thorough understanding of the needs of all internal users and as many external users as possible (other agencies. Requirements imposed internally by headquarters and regional management. In this examination. The increasing reliance on site-based decision making generally means that more information must be made available to more people. For example. etc. By including staff from all areas of a project in the development of the information management plan. In particular. After these requirements are gathered. All information needs are determined by the types of information it must maintain and the users who require access.
This direct flow ensures that all managers receive the same information in the same period and reduces the potential for information to be miscommunicated. If there are multiple sources for a particular type of information. The project should determine the most efficient source and modify its information collection procedures if a proposed source is more efficient than the existing source. THE INFORMATION COLLECTION PROCESS After information needs are identified. it may be more efficient for the main office to provide such information directly to all project managers. The project can use this matrix to rank the priorities and relevance of all information needs.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 135 (for example. For all sources. how they need it and what uses will be given to the information. requested information needs that do not match a staff member's level of authority and obvious omissions in the project's information needs. A direct flow of information is generally the most efficient and the most accurate. The project needs to develop a document that details the project information needs. The document should identify the people that need the information. when they need them. multiple staff members citing responsibility for reporting identical information). if one project manager currently receives country statistic information from another project manager who receives the information from the main office. the plan should describe how the information would be collected and stored. both internally and external. If a project maintains multiple databases for beneficiary surveys (records maintained by the project staff and separate records . a project can determine sources for the various types of information and specify how the information will be collected Information Sources The information management plan must identify an appropriate source for each type of information required. A project should also ensure that duplication of effort does not occur in the collection of information. a project should strive to have a single source for each information type. then sources must be judged based on efficiency. accuracy and how close the source is to the origination of the information. A project acquires information from both internal and external sources. For example. As much as possible.
charts. For collection activities that require data to be collected or reported in specific formats. down times. the possibility of problems relating to accuracy and consistency of beneficiary reporting may increase. A timeline that includes external reporting dates allows a project to establish internal due dates for the creation or sharing of information. the plan should either specify the format or refer to the source documents that provide the information. For example. checklists and information flow diagrams are a few examples of documents that may be useful. potential problem situations identified can be dealt with in a timely manner. This schedule can identify a project's peak information reporting periods.136 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations maintained by the partners). Timing Issues The timeline should show reporting requirements in chronological order. During the planning process. For example. a timeline that includes major project events will be replaced with a new timeline each year. based on a project's fiscal year deadlines to its donor and to headquarters. Timelines. The plan should incorporate reporting deadlines when appropriate and establish periods for all collection tasks. deadlines and overlapping events. Some of these documents require frequent or periodic updating. A project may use a variety of documents to address these issues. the project can establish essential internal . The plan should assign collection responsibilities to specific staff members to ensure that expectations are clearly understood and that duplication of effort is reduced. Collection Issues The project's information management plan should address the following: • • • • How will information be collected? Who is responsible for the collection of information? When will information be collected? In what format will information be collected? The method for collection depends on the type of information and how it will be used in the project. It should clarify which periods include due dates that are fixed and those that are simply target dates.
if necessary. a project may not control over all aspects of the timing of information collection activities for reporting information to external organizations. For example. Dates help ensure that critical deadlines or events will not be missed and to provide a framework for change. In certain instances. The chart below reflects an example of a timeline highlighting major project activities. A project may still establish detailed timelines and checklists for the annual processing of donor reports despite this uncertainty. For example. Since the project already has a plan with established periods for the preparation of the report. there is a certain amount of risk that the external agencies will not make information available within the periods established by the project's schedule. a project may rely on the local government own timelines to publish reports. Figure 25 Example of a Timeline of Major Events for a Project Information Needs . it should be easy for the project to analyze the effect of the new requirements and to make adjustments to comply with the requirements. The uncertainty that exists in such situations can make planning difficult.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 137 deadlines for submission of designated elements of PMIS information to the project's PMIS coordinator. However. a project may have established periods for Donor report preparations but then discover late in the calendar year that additional information will be required for reporting. A project should include dates for such activities in its information planning timelines even if the dates are estimates. These timelines can be a useful component of the information management planning process.
timelines. The format is similar to a flowchart. The use of charts such as project evaluation and resource tracking charts (PERT) and Gantt charts can be valuable to graphically display process flows. Staff members involved in the design of the project's information management system should become familiar with these chart types which can be very useful tools for information management planning. At the beginning of the .138 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Resource Aids Utilization of project planning tools can enhance the information management process. Each box or ellipse within the chart represents a task. connecting lines or arrows show the relationships between the tasks. Complete Project Logframe Information Update Indicators Measure changes Develop Donor Report Send Report Analyze Beneficiary Survey Collect Beneficiary Data Report Beneficiary Survey Review Beneficiary Indicators Figure 26 Work Flow PERT Chart A Gantt chart is a graphic representation of a project's schedule. PERT charts can be used to depict the interrelationships among the tasks that make up a project. a PERT chart might be used to depict the work flow and critical paths for the Donor Report submission. The chart clearly shows which task or tasks must be completed before another task can begin and which tasks can be carried out simultaneously. This chart is very helpful in depicting work flow and interdependencies between tasks. The chart below provides an example of a PERT chart for this type of project. tasks and the interrelationships. Each task within the project appears as a bar. The starting point indicates when work on the task can begin. For example. the tasks that cannot begin until after another task has been completed and that some tasks can occur simultaneously. The bar's length represents the task's duration. The chart can help staff members see the tasks they may begin before other tasks are completed.
The chart below shows what a segment of a Gantt chart for a project might look like.18.104.22.168.6 Sign 5 MOUs with associations (eg PASHA Agro-related. 2500 females) through BTN led training by the end of the first year 1.5 Sign MOUs (7) with local partners with gender balance potential 1. gender capacity. skills upgrad with gender balance potential 1. Nestle etc. and/or business organizations with gender balance potential 1. A Gantt chart shows whether a project is on schedule signaling modifications that should be made to the project to provide resources to make up for the time lost. During the project.3 Identify sectors and companies with unmet workforce needs for men & women and potentia for on-site training 1.5 Launch 1 lifelong gender intelligent learnin program across the BTNs 187 days 45 days 13 14 15 117 days 70 days 70 days 16 60 days Figure 27 GANTT chart Information Schedule Checklists A checklist is another useful tool in information planning. 1.1 Develop and Roll Out Alliance Strategy 1.1 Establish section on EPJ website for postin BTN application and criteria.1.2 Building Business Training Network (BTN) 1. HR Association.1.3 Identify and establish at least 4 gender intelligent BTNs 1.7 Sign 14 MOUs with either large enterprises such as Unilever. Note that the Gantt chart shows both the anticipated times needed to complete each task and the interrelationships between the tasks.2 Develop engagement model to include private sector in the curriculum of men and 1.1.4 Place and retain 5000 (2500 males. Mid Wifery Association) – certification training.2. a checklist of the steps . Some data collection and reporting activities in the project’s timetable require a very detailed breakdown of the steps necessary to accomplish a task.2. ID Task Name Duration 1st Half 1st Quarter May Jun Jul 2nd Quarter Aug Sep Oct 2nd Half 3rd Quarter Nov Dec Jan 4th Quarter Feb Mar 1s 1s Apr 1 2 3 4 5 1 : Industry Sector-led Technical Training 1.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 139 project. If a task early in the project falls behind schedule then adjustments must be made in the time allowed for later tasks (updating staff responsibilities) if the project is to be completed on time and meet the due date.1. project guidelines.2.1 Develop gender intelligent criteria and principles for partnership model 1. In this situation. the chart can be updated to show the actual time a task was completed.4 Develop draft Gender Sensitive Alliance Strategy 1. the chart shows the estimated times for each task.2 Identify and establish at least 3 gender intellignent BTNs 1.8 Identify at least 4 private sector companies offering on-site training or allowing use of their facilities for such a purpose that have gender balance potential 202 days 84 days 37 days 84 days 45 days 6 7 8 50 days 0 days 0 days 23-07 23-07 9 0 days 23-07 10 30 days 11 12 1.1.2.
The checklist should list each step in the process. the person(s) assigned to do the task and the date the task must be completed.140 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations required may be useful. efficient manner Assists with time management Provides feedback that may indicate problematic aspects of a project The chart below is an example of a checklist that might be created by a PMIS coordinator in preparation for donor report submission: Task Distribute project’s information requirements Train staff on use of PMIS Establish due dates for donor reporting Design Baseline forms Prioritize information needs Conduct Surveys Responsible Project Manager Planned completion Actual Date Date Week 2 Week 2 completion Consultant Week 5 Week 4 Project Manager Week 3 Week 3 M&E Coordinator Week 2 Week 3 Project Manager Week 3 Week 2 Project Staff Week 6 Week 7 Collect and analyze survey information Report initial results M&E Coordinator Week 8 Week 8 Project Manager Week 10 Week 12 . A checklist: • • • • • • Assists a manager in tracking the status of the project Informs staff of task and time expectations Provides a measure of assurance that steps will not be omitted Provides a framework for tasks to be done in a logical.
The diagram below shows an example of information flows from its original source(s) to its intended users. Multiple diagrams may be needed to adequately document a comprehensive plan. Information also flows upward from the rank and file and across organizations. project managers may be responsible for reporting beneficiary data to the program managers (an example of vertical information flow where the information flows upward through the management structure). from and across major stakeholders or areas as well as document the process by which information is reported to external entities (e. Information flow diagrams can readily indicate information bottlenecks and suggest alternative channels to alleviate these problems. The information necessary to complete the report may originate in the main office (an example of horizontal information flow). A master information flowchart may document information flow to. Supplemental plans may document the flow of information within departments or areas or may document information flow for a specific process such as PMIS reporting. For example.g. In another example. Note that information does not just flow down through a hierarchical management structure.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 141 Information Flow Diagrams The purpose of the information flow diagram is to specify how information is transmitted or circulated among staff members and to and from external organizations. . The project can utilize information flow diagrams to depict how information currently flows within the project and how information should flow to achieve greater efficiency and improved accuracy in reporting. a health program director may be the person responsible for submitting quarterly expenditure reports to a donor agency.. donors and local governments).
142 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Project Partners Project Manager Program Manager Country Director Project Staff Donor Representative Donor Main Office Figure 28 Sample PMIS Information Flow Chart INFORMATION ANALYSIS A project can implement a variety of plans to ensure that reported information is complete and accurate. Another reason to incorporate editing and analysis into everyday activities is that it is much easier and more efficient to identify and correct mistakes on a current basis rather than on an historical basis. These plans can be divided into two broad types: • • Procedures for editing. Project information is accessed by various users on a regular basis for decision making purposes. This may include the identification of . the better data the project is likely to produce. Analysis refers to the ability to break down the information into its component parts so that its elements may be understood. Users should have confidence that a project's database is as correct and complete as it can be at any time the user needs the information. most projects will find handling large information delivery projects easier if the information is collected and reviewed on a regular basis rather than all at once before the reporting deadline. testing and analyzing that are incorporated into day-to-day operations Procedures for editing. testing and analyzing that are designed to be used for specific reporting purposes and that are implemented on or near the time the project is required to report the data Generally. the more verification that can be incorporated into a project's regular data-generating activities. Furthermore.
The way information is presented helps the analysis of the information. If there are deviations from the original plan.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 143 the parts. Project staff. Analysis usually involves the search for potential problems in a project. outside organizations and the donor form opinions and make decisions based on the information reported by the project. the design of solutions and the implementation of the best option. A project therefore should . Stakeholders have many different needs for information. management needs to develop alternative solutions or remedies to make up for the delays or shortcomings. the visualization of information also helps identify trends or changes that are not easily identified when the information is presented in tabular format When looking at the information the project manager should ask the following: • • • • • • Are there any similarities in trends from two different sets of data? How far or how close is the project to the original objectives? IS there a need to rethink the original assumptions on the project strategies? Is the information telling something else? Is the information showing was expected to show? Are there any other needs for detailed analysis or additional information to help clarify an issue? INFORMATION REPORTING The most visible part of a project information system is the reported information. and recognition of the organizational principles involved. graphs or maps facilitates its presentation. analysis of the relationships between parts. rather than presenting all the facts the projects needs to understand the type of analysis and uses of the information and make changes or develop formats to present the information that facilitates its analysis. In most cases the representation of information in the form of charts. analysis is usually done to see if the project is doing the rights activities to accomplish the desired objectives in the time and budget assigned.
The financial manager may need a monthly analysis of cash balances and projected cash flows to make cash management decisions. Program managers need reports comparing expenditures to budgets so that budgets are not overspent. the original document should be re- .144 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations strive for timely. A project should spend time training its staff to read project reports and documents necessary to perform their jobs. For project reporting. The format may be determined by an outside agency (for example. the reporting formats required by the Donor). staff training and/or technology changes. the format or manner in which information is presented is also critical. Each project must make its own determination about what records have programmatic significance and for how long they maintain such significance. Reporting in the manner prescribed may involve activities such as programming changes. Day-to-day operations depend upon a regular flow of reliable information. For external reporting with no mandated format. a project may make multiple copies of some documents to allow for easy access to or wide distribution of information. As timeliness. For example. accuracy and completeness. accuracy and completeness are as important reporting. Records the project is not legally required to maintain but that have programmatic significance for development organizations. Historical information for projects is generally classified into two categories: • • Records the project is required to maintain based on the Donor or Local Government requirements. the most critical elements may be timing. a project's primary consideration should be what information it desires to convey and to what audience it is presenting the information. a presentation to beneficiaries about a project's progress may be less technical in nature than a similar presentation to donors. For example. Generally. HISTORICAL INFORMATION AND RECORD KEEPING An integral but frequently forgotten component of an information management plan is the maintenance of historical records. In this case. comprehensive and understandable reporting mechanisms and formats. a project must take pains to report in the required manner.
. For example. Access may be limited because of legal requirements or internal requirements. but copies can be destroyed at the project's discretion. A project should consider: • • • • • What safeguards are needed to limit information access to staff with proper authority to access the information? How does the project team access the information they need? What must happen when a staff member changes positions or leaves the project? How can the project guarantee protection for records that are deemed confidential? What procedures should be established to ensure compliance with the local government legal requirements? A project must decide what types of project information will have limited access. ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION A crucial aspect of information management for any development organization involves access to information. but the prevention of unnecessary confusion that could be caused by access to un-reconciled information. a project may not want anyone other than management staff to have access to monthly financial reports until the finance unit has reconciled and reviewed the reports. After the project has specified the contents and location of the records that must be maintained due to legal requirements. Incorporating historical records management into the information management plan enables a project to: • • • Know what records it has and where they are located Properly identify and store records that must legally be maintained either permanently or for a specified period of time Know when it can legally destroy records to minimize record storage issues.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 145 tained for the required period. disclosure is not the issue. it should be easier to specify the other types of records that should be retained for programmatic purposes.
security changes may be necessary. the project can determine what kinds of limitations are appropriate for the various categories of information. maintaining. However. Whatever methods are used to limit access. Projects frequently receive requests for information from the public. For more infor- . classified beneficiary information may be stored in locked file cabinets in a room that has limited access or the information may be recorded on a computer that has password security. Organizational charts. authorized staff must be given the tools necessary to gain access. PERT charts and information flow diagrams are examples of tools that can be used to coordinate and assign responsibilities and to assist staff in understanding their roles in the system. Access can be limited by the information's physical location or by some other types of controlled access measures. The information management plan should: • • Assign duties and responsibilities to specific staff members or positions for creating. security codes may be changed or the staff member's computer passwords may be deleted. reporting and/or storing designated types of information Establish methods for ensuring that personnel are qualified and adequately trained for the responsibilities assigned to them Coordination of Responsibilities There are a variety of tools to help a project assign responsibilities and to coordinate the assignments. RESPONSIBILITIES TO MANAGE THE INFORMATION Human resources are a vital component of an information management system.146 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Once a project knows what information should be classified as having limited access and what staff must have access to the restricted information. whether confidential or not. projects may have records that are protected from disclosure. When a staff member moves from one position to another or when a staff member leaves the employment of the project. Ensuring access may be as simple as providing keys to a room or file cabinet or assigning passwords and levels for computer access. For example. For example. Project staff should be trained to know what information falls within this category and how to handle requests for all information.
collecting. overseeing the midterm evaluation and serving as the PMIS coordinator. Job descriptions should include principle duties relating to management of information. The charts and diagrams described earlier can also help identify staffing patterns that may require change to allow for meeting deadlines or to provide continuity during times of staff reorganization. beneficiary attendance is usually maintained by field personnel while budget information is usually maintained by the main office or the finance department). see the Information Collection section of this chapter. For example. maintaining or reporting information. if there is one staff member responsible for project’s reporting. organizational charts and information flow diagrams can provide important information to help a new staff member understand the position requirements and workload fluctuations. For example. It is important that all staff members clearly understand their roles in creating. Other information sources that may be helpful when a project is trying to assign and coordinate information responsibilities are: • • Well-written job descriptions Records showing individual staff members' skills and prior work experiences . staff members should clearly understand their roles and how they relate to the process.. To ensure that the Donor submissions will occur as efficiently as possible. creation of a PERT chart may demonstrate that critical deadlines cannot be met without a reassignment of some duties to another staff member. if a key staff member resigns. staff turnover or the absence of key staff.g. The PMIS coordinator usually is not responsible for maintaining the database(s) from which this information is extracted (e. Staff members should understand the interrelationships of their duties and responsibilities with other staff members so that they understand the consequences of missing deadlines and of not sharing information in a timely manner. Or.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 147 mation about PERT charts and information flow diagrams. a project's PMIS coordinator is responsible for collecting and integrating all of the various records required for a Donor submission.
the corrected report may not be completed. Frequently. reports may be completed incorrectly or not completed at all. require training in a specific job. projects should consider whether existing staff members may be able to provide in-house training for other staff members. non-profit organizations and private vendors offer training in many areas on either a regular basis or on an as-needed basis. . In addition. donor requirements. If the staff does not understand how the adjustments affect the Donor report. Training should be considered an on-going process. Training may relate to diverse areas including: • • • • • • Computer hardware Special equipment Software programs Specific processes required in the position How to read special reports How to fill out special forms Appropriate training can come from a variety of sources. If something unusual occurs. changes in process. professional organizations. a project staff responsible for submitting quarterly reports to the project manager may be completing the report mechanically without understanding why certain information is reported in a certain way. For example. if a Donor contract adjustments are made that affect a prior report.148 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Staff Qualifications and Training Even with the best information management plan. rules or regulations require additional training of experienced staff. technology. local education service centers. even though they meet specified qualifications. a corrected report may be required. A project should identify critical qualifications appropriate to each position and hire people based on these qualifications. Qualifications may include: • • • • A specific degree or level of education A professional certification or specialized training Certain types of previous job experience Combination of the above Most employees. For example. the plan can fail. if the staff members assigned to carry out the plan are not qualified or are not adequately trained.
Depending on the size of the Project. Deciding to Computerize PMIS The size and complexity of the project will define the level of technology that can be implemented. If the manual system is not working then technology will not help at all.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 149 TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Information technology is significantly changing the development environment. and communications technologies have yielded increases in productivity and effectiveness for office personnel. rapid advances in hardware. Use of technology is not a necessary element at all levels of the project. particularly in the areas of information collection and reporting. Deciding to use technology to automate the PMIS process should not be done until the manual system is up and running. The project needs to evaluate the right “doses” of technology that will help the project. software. on the contrary it may add more problems and staff may feel the culprit is the technology and not the process. Using technology is not an end to itself but a tool to help the automatization of a well designed process. but the analysis remains in the hands of the people involved in the project. The use of computers can assist in the organization of information but at the end are the project members who are in charge of the analysis and use of the information processed by technology. The use of technology can assist in the data capture and storage and distribution of information to all stakeholders. Too much technology can actually hinder the project’s ability to operate efficiently and instead of working with technology the project ends up working for technology. and can help M&E by organizing the information and presenting the results quickly for the project to make decisions. using technology to speed up the information management process may be useful. Selecting the right technology for the right job is not an easy task. Computers are efficient in managing large amounts of data and producing reports. When deciding to computerize the PMIS take in consideration the following questions: . In recent years.
150 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • • • Do all project staff and partners have adequate skills to use computers? If not then how much it will take to train staff to the desired level? What are the manual processes that technology will help the project? If the process is simple then a complex database system may not be needed at all. Do all project locations have good access to technical support. When making technology-related decisions. Obviously. what would be the cost of the support to maintain and fix the computers? The purpose of having a computerized PMIS is to facilitate and expedite the handling of large amounts of information. It can be quite easy for project to go and develop a complex system without first understanding its own realities about using and supporting the technology. Before the project decides to computerize PMIS a manual system should be in place and should be functioning. development of policies and procedures and adequate . programming and technical resources are required to install the hardware and software. Accurate work-flow design. it should not be viewed as a one-stop solution or a way to solve other non-technical related problems. if project personnel are not using the manual system then adding technology will not help. a system is only as effective as the people who use it. the following activities should be conducted: • • • • Perform a cost/benefit analysis of the technology Identify the level of resources available to the project for technology (both monetary and human resources) Review the types of technology or technological services available to meet the needs of the project Seek best practices from other comparable projects Human resources are required to successfully maintain information systems. The project needs to make a careful consideration on the type and complexity of its information management needs to decide the level and complexity of its technology solutions. However. The computer will not be of any help if the manual system is not working. Technology Related Issues Although the use of technology can have significant advantages to a project PMIS.
Some key elements to remember are: • • • • Do not automate an existing work flow without reviewing other alternatives. Willingness to immediately take corrective action when deficiencies are discovered is also important. people generally fear change. informal work patterns develop over time. people tend to forget systems training if it is done too much in advance of their actually working on the system. Information systems generally have a life-span of five years. Often.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 151 training are vital for a successful implementation. the implementation of a new system provides an opportunity to evaluate and modify processes. Recognize that they exist and incorporate them into the new system. it should consider including: . Because the information is an on-going process. This step is beneficial for several reasons. The attitude of a project's administration about the importance of internal controls is a key factor in the successful implementation of an internal control system. Develop detailed technical and user documentation. First. it is important for end users to feel involved in the process to make change happen. including work-flow policies and procedures. INTERNAL CONTROLS AND QUALITY As a project writes an information management plan. user documentation and on-going training is important because of new hires and staff turnover. Second. policies and procedures. Development of policies and procedures that include internal control elements is critical. Get input from the eventual end users of the system during the design or package selection phase of the project. inherent in the process should be consideration of internal controls. Train staff as close to implementation as possible. When a project creates an internal control plan. Each project should have an internal control structure in place to provide reasonable assurance that the project's assets are safeguarded from unauthorized use or disposition.
The level of quality should be "appropriate to the nature and timeliness of the information to be disseminated" and will be affected by the nature of the information collected by the project. The quality of decisions has a direct correlation with the quality of the information provided. not just the information. Quality includes the utility. Information quality must concentrate on the people responsible for collecting. not just a systems problem. limiting access. objectivity. Provide quality training to staff in charge of collecting information.152 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations • • • • • Security measures to safeguard the project's assets from internal or external misuse (such as video monitoring. Evaluate the impact of poor quality information on the project and donors expectations. In considering utility. projects should evaluate the usefulness of particular information to those expected to use it. security codes and computer passwords) Segregation of duties Hardware and software controls Internal audit and review functions External audits Monitoring Information Quality Every Project PMIS should establish and information quality as a performance goal. Implement reviews of information quality in the project process Measure not only validity but accuracy. analyzing and disseminating information and not on the system. The goal of information quality management is not about improving what is in the information repository or even the databases. . The goal of information quality management is: To increase project effectiveness by eliminating the costs of nonquality information and increasing the value of high quality information assets. Focus on the users and sources of information. Essential ingredients for information quality management: • • • • • • • • Understand that information quality is a project problem. After all it is people who manage and use information. and integrity of the information. and solve it from a process perspective. Manage quality as a product to the various projects stakeholders.
Inaccurate. In order for information to be of value. Some principles and good practice related to quality of monitoring information. Project activities should be scheduled on annual implementation or work plans. partial or superfluous information is of no value and may even be detrimental to the overall project processes. and records Specify the timeframe needed for efficient monitoring Who will be responsible for collecting the information Information Source & Collection Method Frequency of Collection Person Responsible Specify the timeframe needed for efficient monitoring Who will be responsible for collecting the information . A monitoring and evaluation plan should be included as a part of project information management plan design. financial accounts. Monitoring Planning Matrix: Goal Hierarchy Indicators Selected Effect Indicators A subset of evaluation effect-level indicators which are easily monitored Specific variables to measure for each selected effect indicator Same as in evaluation matrix for specific effect indicators Annually or other regular/periodic timeframe Who will be responsible for collecting the information Outputs Output-level indicators Activities Activity-level indicators Inputs Input-level indicators (link to financial accounting) Information Needed Specific variables to measure for each output indicator Based primarily on project records. timely and accurate: it must be available to the staff that needs it at the right time in an appropriate format.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 153 Information should be fit for its purpose. it must be quality information of direct relevance to the projects objectives. The quality of information can be evaluated via the use of information needs analysis and quality metrics. but may require periodic survey Specify the timeframe needed for efficient monitoring Who will be responsible for collecting the information Specific variables to measure for each activity indicator Based primarily on project records Specific variables to measure for each input indicator Based primarily on project records.
how valuable they are. what it knows. Resulting from an information audit is an ‘information map’ which can be used as the basis for designing the foundation of a corporate information strategy or a knowledge management strategy. and the specific needs of individuals Identify the information created and assess its value to the organization Identify expertise and knowledge assets and enable the start of an intellectual asset register Identify the information gaps Identify quick wins that could be implemented to produce immediate benefits Review the use of external information resources and how it may be used more effectively Review the use of internal information resources. An information audit will also: • • • • • • • • Identify the information needs of the organization itself. and how they may be improved Map the information flows and current bottlenecks within those flows .154 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Goal Hierarchy Information Analysis Reports and Use of Information Selected Effect Indicators Primarily trend analysis to measure effectlevel changes over time Used as early warning of effect changes. the information flows and gaps. An information audit will review what information is created and needed across the organization. develop key questions Outputs Trend analysis and simple statistics Activities Basic statistics and accounting Inputs Goods and services expenditure accounting Project tracking and linkage to goal-level changes Project tracking and accountability Accountability and budgeting Information Audits An information audit is a systematic process through which an organization can understand its knowledge and information needs. the various business units and divisions. Everyone within an organization has a role in creating and using information – even if they do not realize it! One of the positive side effects of a well-run information audit is that it raises the awareness across the organization of the value of information and the value of sharing knowledge.
barriers. Once the information map is complete and recommendations implemented the information audit should not be forgotten. and focus groups explore particular issues and challenges. questionnaires. discussion groups and focus groups need to be used. A detailed questionnaire to all staff draws out specific information and appropriate data. and inefficiencies. Discussion groups test conclusions. exploring what information is needed in the process and what information is generated by the process. to gather all the data. bringing confidentiality and a fresh perspective to information management practices and use. Organizations change and information . An independent information audit team is often preferable. To understand the key issues and business processes a number of people in ‘central’ positions are interviewed. To achieve all the objectives of the information audit. Specifically an information audit will be to identify how the organization can: • • • • • make better use of its intellectual assets make better use of external information avoid inefficiencies and duplication of information avoid information overload save real time and money through efficiencies The Information Audit Approach A successful information audit must reflect the organization and how it works. It requires a top-down as well as a bottom up approach looking at all the information flows. The main benefit of an information audit is the development of a much better understanding of this prize asset and how it can be used to stimulate creativity and innovation. a mix of interviews. and to develop practical proposals. It must review the different business processes within the organization.Chapter 6 Managing the PMIS | 155 • Develop an knowledge and information map of the organization Information Audit Benefits Information and knowledge are now recognized as core assets of any organization and are potentially the source of an organizations key competitive advantage.
basically it’s a small stop in the project to see whether or not the project is in the right curse. The final evaluation seeks to answer the questions. Did the project meet its expected objectives? . Get the project staff and stakeholders in the process of evaluating. Internal Project evaluations are done by the project staff to evaluate not only progress made but to see if any changes are required in both the goals originally planned or the methodologies to implement the activities. the baseline provides with a “snapshot” of the situation of the project targets at the beginning of the project and it serves as a tool to compare the progress made by the project during and at completion. Build in the information plan activities designed to evaluate and improve the information management process that supports PMIS. if possible get some outside expertise to help in the evaluation.156 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations needs and flows change – the information audit should be a regular feature of an organization helping to maintain and capitalize on this critical asset. Assign timelines. and a budget to accomplish the above. Look at the processes. the first one is information on the Baseline. Midterm evaluations are made half way through the project. EVALUATING AND IMPROVING PMIS A critical component of the PMIS is the way information on project’s baseline and evaluations are managed. The project needs to have a structure to manage this information from the beginning of the project until its very end. responsibilities. Only by the analysis of the project outcomes against its expected objectives we are able to know whether or not the project was a success. Evaluation Information Evaluation information has many elements. The IM plan will be more complete when an element exists that incorporates the lesson learned into the new cycle or the next time a project will design its PMIS. use the findings from the evaluations and lessons learned to help understand what needs to be improved and why. Just like any development project the PMIS needs to be evaluated and improved.
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Information Type Baseline
Midterm Internal Evaluation
Description / Example When deciding what information to collect for a particular indicator, the projects needs to ask if the information collected can be used to measure and make comparisons on progress or not. Projects suffer from either getting too much or too little information. Made by the project before the midterm evaluation to determine progress or deviations from plans. This information can be quite useful for the midterm evaluation and can result in the discovery of opportunities to improve the project. Midterm evaluation, usually made by the donor agency. Made by the project before the midterm evaluation to determine progress or deviations from plans. This information can be quite useful for the midterm evaluation and can result in the discovery of opportunities to improve the project. Final evaluation, usually made by the donor agency.
The PMIS needs to be able to collect in an organized manner the information gathered by the evaluation process. Some of the common tools used for data collections in evaluation are:10 • • • • • Surveys Participatory Rapid Assessment Key Informant Reviewers Focus Group Discussions Individual and Household Case Studies
The PMIS system needs to be designed taking in consideration the information needs of the evaluation process and the ability to show data when needed. How effective we are should not only respond on how the project was able to deliver all activities but also how efficient we were in delivering within the boundaries of the schedule and the budget and how the project deliverables met the project objectives. It is not uncommon for a project to have completed all activities on scheduled and under budget but has missed completely the objective of the project.
CARE Project Design Handbook, Richard Caldwell, July 2002
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Lessons Learned This is an area that the project uses to capture the lesson they are learning on the project, information that can help in the redesign of the project or in the design of new projects. The rationale behind capturing lesson learned is driven by the very same nature of projects: projects as such are undertaken to create a unique outcome, or result. Since each project is unique, it is impossible to predict the exact course of the project with precision. Therefore each project is expected to face a unique set of challenges. But while the set of challenges is unique, individual challenges recur. By documenting the causes of variances, and the thinking behind the corrective action, we can enhance our ability to respond to future project challenges. We enhance our ability to deliver every project on time, within budget, according to specifications and contractual agreements.
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Fifty Good Reasons for Avoiding Project Management Information Systems
Here are some of the most original responses when projects are asked about information management systems. 1. Our project is different. 2. It would cost too much. 3. We don't have the time. 4. The project is too limited. 5. It doesn't figure in the work plan. 6. We've never done it before. 7. The donor wouldn't like it. 8. Give me the funds. 9. It's not my responsibility. 10. An information system isn't necessary. 11. It's too theoretical an exercise. 12. Let's be realistic. 13. It's none of our business. 14. It works now, so why change it? 15. We're not ready for it yet. 16. It's not included in the budget. 17. We can well do without it. 18. We've never done this before. 19. Is somebody trying to teach me my job? 20. It might work in any other organization but it will never work here. 21. I'm not convinced that it would be useful. 22. It's impossible to do it with the necessary objectivity. 23. Change upsets things too much. 24. We've always worked like this. 25. We've done what we said we'd do. 26. We've done what was in the project document. 27. We don't have any problems. 28. There's been an organization reshuffle. 29. Financial havoc has delayed our schedule. 30. Our accounts have just been audited. 31. The donor says that it's one of his best projects. 32. It's a pilot project. 33. It's a demonstration project. 34. It's an experimental project. 35. The project is too new. 36. The project is almost over. 37. The organizational framework hasn't been worked out yet. 38. We can't find the original work plan. 39. The program specialist in charge at the beginning of the project was somebody else. 40. The donor was happy with the project. 41. The beneficiaries haven't given its contribution yet. 42. The project isn't ready for systems yet. 43. We don't have all the skills 44. The project document is too vague. 45. It's a national holiday. 46. It's the rainy season. 47. Let the M&E take care of it. 48. Let the IT Unit take care of it. 49. Outsiders won't understand the complexities. 50. I have to take my annual leave
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17 Data Analysis. 99 Analysis of Gaps. 125 important project stakeholders. 90 Baseline Data. 52 Beneficiary Information. 23 DME-IS information process. 80 GIS). 155 Frequency of collection. 17 Information Access. 148 Decisions. 87 Depth of Detail. 132 Accessibility. 121 impact evaluation. 90 Beneficiaries. 98 Customized Solution.. 130 Desktop Applications. 70 Baseline data. 43 Budget Information. 51 Beneficiary Tracking. 118 Checklists. 65 Configured Solution. 27 Assessing progress. 42. 81. 26 Cost to obtain the Information. 66 Accurate Information. 135 commercial packages. 65 Accurate. 35 Individual Responsibility. 71 Credibility of the Information. 90 Implement the Changes. 23 Deciding to Computerize PMIS. 43 Budget Monitoring. 27 Geographic Information Systems. 138 Collecting Techniques. 26 Data. 44 Budget Development. 51 Budget. 25 complex technology. 137. 128 Document Management Elements. 132 Identify needs. 80 Henry Gantt. 71 Information. 118 computer system. 21 Compliance. 120 effectiveness. 91 Amount of Information Needed.. 91 Evaluation Information. 111 effective system. 122 Analysis of requirements. 75 . 35 Budget Analysis. 98 Achievement.PM4DEV | 161 Index Access to Information. 70 Accountability. 138 Gather requirements. 105 Gantt chart. 88 Improve the Process for the Next Cycle. 124 Indicators. 114 Database Applications. 84 Confidentiality. 118 Defining information needs is. 31 categories of information usage. 42 Historical Information. 99 Creation and Retention. 35 Beneficiary Analysis. 44 CARE Log Frame Terminology. 91 Availability. 103 Collection Issues.
59. 157 Levels of Collaboration. 31 Logical framework. 66 Information timing. 96 Information Sources. 129 Information Workers. 32 Participatory Methods. 85 Information Maps. 134 Information Sources. 125 information management process. 133 Knowledge. 59. 111 Project Document Workflow. 153 Information Collection. 59. 129 Information uses. 66 Internal Controls. 132 Internal operations. 129 Information requirements. 23 Non-Participatory methods. 130 Information Types.162 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations Information analysis. 130 Information Analysis. 140 Information Flowcharts. 46 Project Document Management. 61 Levels of transition. 164 portfolio dashboard. 132 Information Architecture. 32 Logframe Terminology. 61 Levels of understanding. 26 Project Impact. 137 PM4DEV. 132 Information Sharing. 48 Levels of responsibility. 59 Information environment. 69 Information Dimensions. 122.. 59 Information Economics. 68 Information Purpose. 117 Information Logistics. 71 Locate information. 73 Information Politics. 31 Project Indicators. 63 Information Strategy. 124 Monitoring. 92 Modify the Process. 21 Information Requirements. 121 Log Frame Structure. 106 Information Governance. 62 Integrated Systems. 89 Information users. 112 project environment. 130 Information Standards. 79 Privacy and Security:. 32 Project Activities. 24 Integrity. 53 . 91 Monitoring Information Quality. 108 Outputs. 76 Information Gathering Matrix. 17. 133 Lessons Learned. 95 information sources. 130 information source map. 59. 59. 31 Project assignments. 62 Information management. 132 Information Culture. 59. 71 Information Audit Approach. 152 MS Office suite. 110 Project Document standards. 59. 154 Information Audit Benefits. 59. 71 Project. 128 Information Management Maturity Model. 58 Information Flow Diagrams. 102 PERT. 24. 151 Monitoring Planning Matrix:. 154 Information Audits. 70 Information Hoarding. 118 Legal and regulatory requirements. 103 Openness. 29 Matrix to identify information needs. 65 Organizing information. 60 Life-Cycle Management.
42 Schedule Development. 132 Technology Related Issues. 64. 97 software solution. 113 Sharing experiences. 71 Schedule. 81 Types of information. 40. 64 Qualitative methods. 94 Staff Qualifications and Training. 66. 71 Storing the Information. 96 WBS.PM4DEV | 163 Project Information Flows.. 64 Ways to get information. 72 Project Organizational Chart. 132 Resource Aids. 46 Project Work Matrix. 78 Project Roles and Responsibilities. 31 Project Organigraphs. 116 Timing Issues. 35 Schedule Analysis and Monitoring. 28 System Development Life Cycle. 31 project portfolio. 91 System Design. 37. 59 Types of representation. 97 Reporting Information. 60 Usefulness of the Information. 16 Team. 31 Project Outputs. 41 Scope. 33. 74 Project Information Management Plan. 135 Trend Analysis. 88 Stewardship. 46 Project Staff Information Matrix. 32. 37 . 131 Project Inputs. 25 sources for information. 64 Roles and responsibilities. 123 Value of information. 147 stakeholders. 78 Project Portfolio. 32. 35 Technology. 98 User’s Expectations. 40 Schedule Graphics. 110 Share the Information. 47 Project Outcomes. 47 Purpose. 149 Timeliness. 101 Relevant Information. 36. 41 Work Breakdown Structure. 101 Quantitative methods. 91 Significance of the Information. 35 Securing the Information. 27 Systematization. 137 Respect for privacy. 109 strengths and weaknesses. 49 Project Staff Assignments.
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the PM4DEV logo and Management for Development Series are trademarks of PM4DEV. This point of view is intended as a general guide and not as a substitute for detailed advice.PM4DEV | 165 Copyright © 2009 PM4DEV All rights reserved. “PM4DEV”. As PM4DEV is aware. . Neither should it be taken as providing technical or other professional advice on any of the topics covered. This publication contains PM4DEV copyrighted material and no part of it can be copied or otherwise disseminated for commercial purposes. the information contained on this book is correct and accurate but no responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracy or error or any action taken in reliance on this publication.
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budget. Project Management for Development Organizations consists of six phases: initiating. Advanced Project Management This book focuses on advanced practices and methodologies in project management. project management information systems and helpful advice on how to implement a project management methodology in a development organization. risk and contract management. implementing. This book will give readers helpful information that can be incorporated in their project management practices. managing international projects. The Project Management Cycle This book offers and introduction to the concept of managing a project using a cyclical approach.Project Management Series: Fundamentals of Project Management This book is an introduction to the basic ideas and concepts of project management for development organizations starting with an introduction to the project management cycle and followed by the nine management processes. to project portfolio management. team. The reader will learn that the complexity of development projects require a different approach and also new ways of managing limited resources and the increasing demands from all stakeholders. monitoring. quality. Topics discussed include: project management during emergencies. security management. from the project maturity model. Readers will develop a basic understanding of how a modern project management methodology can help development organizations deliver projects that produce the most impact. planning. Mastering Project Management This book presents the nine project management processes. . stakeholder. and keeps the project on track to deliver its outcomes on time.PM4DEV | 167 PM4DEV . adapting and closing. on budget and under the expectations of the donor and project beneficiaries. This book includes practical insight on the key skills a project manager must learn to be effective in attaining the project objectives and how organizations can benefit from using modern project management practices and methodologies. This integrated approach provides a continuous learning process. information. The reader will learn how understanding the project cycle allows for opportunities to make adjustments and an on-going learning process. One of the most critical roles of the project manager is the integration of these processes to ensure that they are all properly coordinated. These are designed to help manage the different elements of a project: scope. schedule.
168 | Project Management Information Systems for Development Organizations .