As a project manager, it is essential for you to efficiently manage all the documents, information, and data that come with a project. Since all the knowledge is too much for a project manager to handle alone, it becomes helpful to use a PMIS or a Project Management Institute System - a software that can help manage, control, and plan the flow of information and data.
Introduction to Project Management Information System
A project management information system gathers, organizes, and uses project data via one or more software applications. These programs assist project managers in planning, executing, and closing their projects and organizing the information stream.
There are various PMIS software types, most with similar features like information collection, work authorization, tools for scheduling and delivery, etc. Some additional features - gathering and reporting of automated key performance indicators (KPI).
What Is a PMIS Used For?
A Project Management Information System is designed to assist all elements of project management, including information that must be monitored or collected. PMIS can be used for project scope management, integration management, project time management, project cost management, project quality management, project risk management, communications management, and more.
Essential Features of a PMIS
When a tsunami of information needs to be organized and tracked for the smooth progress of a project, a Project Management Information System becomes a necessary tool to help with efficient project management. The information also proves helpful in reducing costs, improving efficiency, and lower risk for all future projects.
The software has numerous tools to assist in storing data, making it easily searchable, analyzable, retrievable, and thoroughly organized.
Schedule and Planning
It is one of the primary functions of project management. PMIS computes the critical path, slack times, and early and late schedules.
Resources in a project include everything, from material to human. Project Management Information System makes this management of resources easy by including resource input, allocation, resource leveling, and more. In addition, it helps keep track of the task's expenses spent on procurement and allocation.
PMIS keeps track of all costs associated with individual tasks since the entire project's budget depends on the estimates of each task. Thus, for more accurate budget estimation - the customer's budget, resources allotted, and time available is taken into consideration, and then the budget is generated.
Control and Performance
PMIS provides performance management by analyzing and controlling cost and performance, updating existing plans as new information becomes available or existing data changes, and providing what-if scenarios for the project manager.
Reporting and Communication
The Project Management Information System generates reports for every task, creates charts and graphs of all the collected information and analyzes data that can be shared with the team and stakeholders. It facilities effective communication among team members.
Integration and Ease of Use
PMIS might even access data from several projects for multi-project analysis and integrate it with other systems such as inventory, payroll, and so on. The easier it is to operate a PMIS, the less cost and time it takes to train.
How Does PMIS in Project Management Work?
Depending on the project phase, PMIS may perform differently. It corresponds to the project manager's requirements and aids in the completion of project-specific phase needs. Depending on the stage of the project, a PMIS performs different functions. A basic PMIS should allow you to track your project's time, scope, and cost. A good PMIS should have a wide range of project management software functions that you may employ throughout the project life cycle.
Project Initiation Phase
During the initiation phase, a PMIS can aid in the following areas:
- Estimating a preliminary budget for the project that includes cost and resource estimations
- Outlining the scope of the project and preparing bids
- Scheduling project activities and allocating them to the appropriate team members
- Organizing project data and preparing required reports for presentation to key project stakeholders
Project Planning Phase
During the planning phase, a PMIS helps with the following:
- Extensive project scheduling, including analysis of critical paths and associated tasks
- Cost and budget management assistance, including the implementation of budget analysis, cost controls, and other KPI metrics
- Conducting resource planning for the overall project, identifying existing resources, and developing a backup plan for those that may be required later
- Creating baseline metrics for the project's time, cost, and scope
Project Execution Stage
A PMIS is essential for the smooth execution of projects. Moreover, communicating with all the stakeholders and team members and tracking conversations and responses is made easier with its help.
- The team discussions, documents, and files are all stored in a unified hub that all stakeholders can access safely and easily.
- It allows for an easy comparison of current project data with the project's baseline estimations.
- Project managers can evaluate cost, budget, and schedule projections halfway through the project and make changes based on current project requirements.
- It helps in efficiently completing several project modules, including project reporting, cost management, material management, and project performance measurement.
Project Review and Closure Stage
PMIS helps assess whether the project goals and objectives were met during the project review and closure stage.
- Allows for a thorough evaluation to confirm that the project's goals were fulfilled or exceeded.
- All project information is organized and stored in a centralized hub for future access and evaluation.
- All project information is archived for future projects.
- Aids in producing productivity analysis metrics and final project reports for stakeholder decision-making.
Advantages of Project Management Information System
There are manual PMIS, and there are online or cloud-based PMIS. The benefits of using the latter surpasses all advantages of a manual PMIS. An online PMIS will provide you with the speed, efficiency, capacity, accuracy, and economy of handling complex projects, with speed being the most beneficial feature.
Keeps the Project on Track
Tracking schedules, costs, and budgets can help you avoid expensive project shortfalls. The project stays on track due to instant notifications and project monitoring. Through SMS or emails, the PMIS will immediately inform you of discrepancies and if the project progress might go off track. The team can immediately make any necessary adjustments, reassign resources, and adopt new processes with quick updates from the PMIS.
Once the corrective steps are in place, teams can monitor their performance. The PMIS fast-tracking system provides businesses with a competitive advantage by assisting them in managing projects within budget and on schedule.
Fosters Better Collaboration and Teamwork
In situations where team members might be using different document versions, it is easy for the project to get delayed or off-tracked. PMIS avoids this issue by circulating the latest document with the team. Project managers can share, control, and update documents, and the team will be notified about the latest version.
Gives a Competitive Advantage
A project management information system is built around data. Data-driven enterprises are 23 times more likely to win new clients, resulting in a 19-fold increase in the likelihood of generating above-average profitability over companies that do not make data-driven decisions. A PMIS is a crucial contributor to project management success, enhancing organizations' capabilities in comparison to their competitors.
A PMIS provides the team access to all the data they might need to get things started. As a result, key decision-makers can access anything they might need, from detailed project processes to product testing results to the team hours worked.
Having a comprehensive perspective of the project and its granular data helps project managers make better decisions for the team. Apart from providing the project with a significant competitive advantage, it can also boost organizational performance and aid in achieving project objectives.
Manage Diverse Projects at the Same Time
PMIS helps with the management of multiple projects simultaneously. Project managers have a clear view of the progress made in each project, the schedule, and resource management. Whether the project has been completed, is in progress, or is in the planning stage, stakeholders can track everything.
How to Select Project Management Information System?
Different information systems have similar features, but some features might differ. Thus, while choosing a good PMIS for your project, here are important factors to keep in mind:
The term "suitability" here relates to various factors such as project size, team size, cost of the PMIS suite, and so on. Before choosing the PMIS for the organization, other factors, including compatibility, are verified.
Ease of Use
The PMIS should not be difficult for team members to work with. Usability usually differs among different PMIS systems. Thus, ease of use is an important factor to consider.
All PMISs have the basic features necessary for project management, but the organization should select a PMIS with extra features required for the project needs.
A mobile application makes it easy for team members to manage the progress when a computer is unavailable.
The PMIS should provide sufficient sharing and communication features since constant communication between project members is important.
Third-Party Application Integration
The PMIS system should allow the integration of third-party applications to make the software more effective. It also makes collaboration and management of tasks easier.
Challenges of Implementing a Project Management Information System
Teams might be resistant to the change that will come with using PMIS software. Some of the challenges that a project manager might face are:
Lack of Coordination
When adopting a PMIS, proper team communication and coordination are critical to its success. However, with teams spread globally and many working on multiple projects simultaneously, vital information can sometimes slide through the cracks, and priorities might fluctuate from team to team.
Poor coordination frequently results in wasted resources because team schedules are incompatible, and the implementation date is affected. Regular check-ins must be conducted by the project managers with their counterparts on the other team. In addition, they must set up effective backup plans for challenges that may develop during implementation.
Lack of Interest From Teams
Implementing a PMIS may be difficult since poor communication and delegation, as well as a lack of training and other resources, can all result in low motivation on the team.
No Required Skillsets
Introducing a PMIS needs the involvement of several qualified individuals to ensure its proper implementation. However, if the team is unfamiliar with change management or if the project involves more technical information and resources, this can be problematic for the PMIS. Therefore, before beginning the PMIS induction process, ensure the right personnel are involved with the correct skills.
What Are the Features of Project Management Information Systems?
For successful project management, PMIS software is essential. It collects, organizes, manages, and tracks information to help with the following:
- Project scope
- Project cost management
- Team communications
- Project risk management
- Integrations and applications
- Project quality management
- Project supplier and vendor management
- Stakeholder engagement
Using a PMIS reduces risks, lowers costs, and boosts efficiency.
Examples of PMIS
Some examples of PMIS include:
- A document filing system that collects and organizes data using Microsoft Excel.
- A complete project management information system with multiple project management tools and customized processes and workflows.
A typical PMIS covers several important functions, a method to gather and organize data and software that makes completing projects smooth and efficient by facilitating communication, collaboration, and efficient management. Therefore, an organization should implement a project management information system to successfully complete project goals and boost productivity.
Kickstart your project management career by learning new project management skills, tools and techniques. Sign-up for our PMP® Certification Training Course course and give your career the right push. You can also check out our more in-depth Post Graduate Program In Project Management to help you get started on your project management journey.