An abundance of information is created, transferred and stored over the life cycle of a project. It seems people are always communicating and making constant updates. It’s easy for something to get lost in the mix. But what if that lost snippet is an essential direction or change?
Without a way of organizing all information a project is doomed to fail. How can some many data channels be organized so that they’re delivered to the right party and that person knows that they’re being notified?
That’s what PMIS comes in, which is an acronym for project management information system. A PMIS enables an organized and controlled flow of information, so nothing is siphoned off or misplaced.
What Is PMIS?
A project management information system (PMIS) is how information needed to run a project is organized. It collects and uses project information through one or more software applications. What these programs do is help project managers to plan, execute and close their project. It’s a way to organize that flood of information, so you don’t drown in data.
The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) states that a PMIS is “an information system consisting of the tools and techniques used to gather, integrate, and disseminate the outputs of project management processes. It is used to support all aspects of the project from initiating through closing and can include both manual and automated systems.”
There are different types of PMIS software, but most share feature sets that include tools for scheduling, work authorization, information collection and distribution, etc. Some will also have automated gathering and reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs). Others are simply a collection of files.
Essential Features of a PMIS
PMIS is made to support all aspects of project management and the information they monitor or collect. Some of those areas are integration management, project scope management, project cost management, project time management, project quality management, project communications management, project risk management, project procurement management and project stakeholder management.
That’s a lot of information to keep track of, and when managing a project, it is crucial to be able to immediately pluck that information required at that moment out from all that data. Therefore, a PMIS is so important. It’s the tool that gives you instant access to the signal in the noise. The information is also critical for future projects in terms of reducing risk, improving efficiencies and lowering costs.
If a PMIS captures all project data and stores it in an organized way, it must also be retrievable, searchable, categorizable, shareable and analyzable. To do all this, a typical PMIS will have a series of tools.
- Schedule and Planning: Computes early and late schedule, slack times and the critical path
- Resource Management: Including resource loading, leveling, allocation, etc.
- Budget: Associate cost with individual tasks for more accurate budget estimation and generation.
- Control and Performance: Analyze and control cost and performance, updating existing plans as actual against planned data changes, provide what-if scenarios for the project manager.
- Reporting and Communication: Creation of graphs and charts of collected and analyzed data that can be shared with stakeholders and team members.
- Integration and Ease of Use: Some PMIS will access data from different projects for multi-project analysis, integrating with other systems, such as payroll, inventory, etc. The easier a PMIS is to use, the less time and money required to train.
PMIS Throughout the Project Life Cycle
A PMIS will have different functions depending on the phase of the project. For example, during the initiation phase, a project manager will use a PMIS to help with coming up with a preliminary budget, including cost estimates and resources. A PMIS in conjunction with other tools can help with scheduling the project. In terms of approval, it helps define the scope of work, assists with preparing the bid and can be used when presenting the data to decision-makers.
When planning, PMIS helps with detailing the scheduling, including task and critical path analysis. It supports cost management planning, including WBS analysis and integration of control processes. PMIS will also prove beneficial to the project manager when resource planning in terms of availability and level. It can also help establish a baseline for project scope, schedule and cost.
Once the project has been executed, the PMIS is collecting, organizing and storing data as it comes in from the project team, which can then be compared to the baseline projections. The PMIS helps with cost and schedule forecasts to help if changes are required mid-project. Materials management, cost collect, performance measurement and, of course, reporting are all supported by PMIS.
Especially when closing out a project, PMIS is a great help. It helps review requirements to make sure the project has met all its goals and objectives. It also organizes all the information collected over the course of the project for performance review, productivity analysis, final reports and then keeps an archive with the historical data for future projects.
Advantages of Using an Online PMIS
While there are manual project management information systems, the benefits of using an online or cloud-based system are numerous. With an online information system speed, capacity, efficiency, economy, accuracy and the ability to handle complex projects can all be approved. But of all these benefits, the most practical is speed.
Once the data is collected, it can then be adjusted to reflect the results a project manager needs with great speed and accuracy. A manual program is never going to match that. Nor can it create and revise plans, schedules or budgets as quickly. What once took days or longer is now completed in seconds.
Project managers and their organizations can store large amounts of data with a PMIS. That data is also easily accessed, prioritized and summarized as needed. And unlike a manual system, which is large and requires many support personnel, an online PMIS needs far less support and space.
With these factors there is also a cost benefit. The cost advantage of a digital over a manual PMIS is usually significant, especially when considering storage and processing. And if inputs are correct, the chance of errors is greatly diminished with a cloud-based PMIS.
Try ProjectManager.com as Your PMIS
Having a PMIS that is already a part of your project management software will increase your savings and boost efficiencies. Keeping all your project management tools under one roof just makes for better working conditions and allows team members and project managers to stay updated on progress.
ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that has the features to make a great PMIS. Because it’s a cloud-based, there is a great deal of file store to archive your documents, images and other files. Now they’re all in one place, which keeps them safe, organized and accessible when you want them.
Communications between team members are also saved, but they’re not on email or lost in a long text narrative, both of which can waste valuable time searching for the right piece of information. Instead, with ProjectManager.com, those conversations are organized at the task level, including attaching the relevant documents, so everyone knows where to find it.
Everything in the project is under the hood of the ProjectManager.com software, which being cloud-based allows for instant status updates. Project managers get immediate updates and team members can view the project from my work section, which collects only their tasks and assignments.
The real-time dashboard gives an up-to-date view of project metrics, crunching numbers for you and creating vivid and easy-to-read charts and graphs that can be printed out for presentations or shared digitally. They can also be filtered to reflect just the data you need to show to your team or stakeholder.
PMIS is essential to manage the massive amounts of data that swarm around every project. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that has the features a project manager needs to collect, organize, analyze and archive all that information. It’s easy to use and the whole team can collaborate. What are you waiting for? Try ProjectManager.com for free with this 30-day trial.