PMIS selection guide

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Project Management Information System Selection Guide

Are your project stakeholders getting the right information on time to manage the projects well? If you are in the majority, the answer would be a ‘No’ or ‘Not Sure’. The biggest challenge of project managers and project controllers worldwide is the lack of timely and accurate project progress information. Even after investing on project management tools, majority of the project stakeholders are struggling with this issue.

This is due to two main reasons. Reason number one is the lack of capability of the project management information system itself and the second one is the lack of clarity on the stakeholder’s information needs and the inability to incorporate changing needs. Hence it becomes imperative to seek the answers to the following four questions before investing further in project management information systems;

  1. Who are the key stakeholders of the project?
  2. What are their key responsibilities to the project?
  3. What information is required by them to effectively monitor and control specific project areas of their interest?
  4. How to provide this information on time with accuracy?

Project Management Information Systems Modelling prior to tools selection and integration will help to satisfy the key stakeholders information needs, resulting in better value.

Performing the following 7 steps will help you to…

  1. Identify the PMIS owner
  2. Identify key stakeholders of PMIS
  3. Develop the master list of high-level functionalities (Epics) the new PMIS should have (One liners)
  4. Elaborate those high-level requirements along with the functional heads / representatives
  5. Prioritize
  6. Define the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  7. RFI, RFQ, Contract

These feature set become the key criteria to model the project management information system for the project and organization in case it is a projectized organization.

1. Identify the PMIS Owner

Why are we investing on Project Management Information Systems? In other words when will we say that the new PMIS rollout is successful? How much are we willing to invest? Answers to these questions helps to start with clarity. Once we have answers to these, the next question to be answered is about ownership to procure and implement the new system. Identify the PMIS owner with clear definition of roles and responsibilities.

2. Identify the key stakeholders of the PMIS

Anybody who is affected positively or negatively by getting a new PMIS or not by doing it. Here is a sample list of potential stakeholders of the PMIS;

  • CIO
  • PMO
  • PMIS Owner
  • Owner organization
  • Contractors
  • Sub-contractors
  • Suppliers
  • PMIS vendors
  • Other tool vendors (integration needs)
  • Project Managers
  • Project controllers
  • Planners
  • Resource managers
  • Procurement managers
  • Finance
  • Risk managers
  • Quality managers
  • Competitors (to copy their best practices) etc

3. Develop the master list of high-level potential features (Epics)

  • EDMS
  • Project scheduling & Forecasting
  • Engineering deliverable management
  • Procurement management
  • Construction monitoring & Control
  • Project control system
  • Cost control and cashflow management
  • Risk management
  • Safety management
  • Snagging and project closure
  • Integrated project management system

4. Elaborate the Epics into detailed requirements

Epics provide very high-level requirements which must be elaborated further along with the respective functional heads / representatives for clarity and expectation management. This step will also help to weed out unwanted fancy features.

5. Prioritize

You may not need all the features in the master list immediately. At the same time provisioning for them is important for the longevity of the investment you are making in the PMIS. This will also help to spread your investments over a time horizon. Do not pay for the features you are not going to use immediately.

6. Define the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

The minimum viable PMIS is the one which will satisfy all the important and urgent requirements required to make the projects successful. Clarity on the minimum viable features will help to evaluate the plethora of products out there. This will also help you to negotiate better.

7. Start the procurement process

Since you know the MVP, it becomes easier when it comes to RFI, RFQ and Contract. Remember, MVP is not something that is non-negotiable. During the negotiation cycles with the leading PMIS vendors, be open to understand / learn their value propositions which will help to refine the MVP definition.

Performing these 7 steps will help you to…

  1. Negotiate better
  2. Reduce the cycle time for procurement
  3. Reduce the cycle time for implementation
  4. Maximize Return On Investment (ROI)