As was previously explained about the role of PMIS in large project information management in various articles and websites, PMIS is one of the principal tools in execution of the large industrial projects.
The necessity of high–volume information management and various transactions in a large industrial project in the presence of various beneficiaries including employers, contractors, designers, consultants, sales companies, and dozens of other stakeholders who seek their interests and positions in addition to the technical and executive issues of the project makes it investigable to apply a proper information structure with various features.
The minimum features and expectations from an information management system in a project are as follows:
- The necessity to support project processes
- The possibility to set and define project conditions
- The ability to cover the needs of project beneficiaries
- Projects files and documents management
- The possibility of various reporting from information
- Data analysis and knowledge management
The mentioned features are all considered features by project-based companies when they decide to prepare a software system for their collection and are always mentioned in investigating the software system’s capabilities.
However, based on our experiences ad holding dozens of meetings to present Afam products, we found that companies neglect issues that lead to the improper selection and usage of systems with less expected efficiency by the project. If the result of this selection is not putting away the purchased system in the worst condition, it would only have a little better performance than Excel in the organization. However, the function of a full-fledged PMIS is much more than the traditional common system of companies with Excel software.
Before mentioning the essential parameters in this article that a collection should consider to evaluate PMISs, it seems vital to refer that the improper selection of only PMIS is a reason for the inefficiency of a project-based collection. Factors including management’s lack of belief, project manager’s weakness, organizational resistance, inappropriate project structure, and so on are all reasons for the inefficiency of a PMIS. However, here we only want to investigate the organization’s errors for selection of an information management system based on the subject of this article. Let’s have a closer look at the project.
System selection process
All organizations normally check the companies to buy project information management software by searching through the Internet or their hearings from other companies or colleagues in the projects.
If the criterion is to select the companies who provide the second-case software, the brighter light will be naturally in the company’s way. However, it should be noticed that the condition of each company is not similar to another. Therefore, you should inspect the following cases regardless of others’ feedback you received about the software.
Flexibility in the project definition
Supplying your requirements in projects you have is only a positive point for the software you are investigating. Think that the current projects are not the only ones of your organization. Think about what you may need further and how much the flexibility of the software is to supply these requirements.
The following features should be predicted in flexible software with no need for help of the support team or vendor production.
- Initial definitions: the possibility of having an initial definition in all steps of a project (e.g. delivery of different revision methods, document numbering, additional information fields, definition of different progress scenarios, etc.) is one of the principal requirements of a project. The ability to define the required parameters and data by the project is another requirement that should be independently conducted by the project team without the involvement of the software production team.
- Project settings: the presence of a console to set and define various project parameters such as project start and end times, scheduling, deadlines, permitted times, and dozens of other definitions and settings are among the abilities which can make the project team independent from software provider company and multiply the working agility and speed for users in the admin console of the software.
- Data transfer: the ability of automatic data transfer (import) in Excel and its frequent updating are the cases that should be independently conducted by the project team. Actually, the system should be able to import all data of your project including a list of documents and reports, schedule, primary documents, list of activities, etc. through templates that are mainly in Excel format.
Supporting project processes
Each project based on its nature and dimensions may actually have a different process than another does. Notice how much you are dependent on the software-provider company to define your project affairs process while investigating a software project whether principally these definitions are possible or not.
One of the big dilemmas in the project is the definition of the project relationships and roles which are different from others according to the nature of the project. If your prepared software is not able to define its project independently, you will always face challenges during the project, which needs to be executed by the software producer team in the system if it is removable in its best state. Thus, make sure of the following cases about the software company when you select it:
- Ability to define the project roles
- Ability to draw the process visually
- Ability to define relationships
- Ability to define various conditions and reactions on the processes path
Project file management
One of the most important capitals of a project is its files and documents. Various abilities of software in file management are important parameters to decide to buy it. Don’t forget that only accessibility to files is not enough. You should have access to the set of files based on your desired classification. Summarily, the set of features that should be studied in this field is as follows:
- Possibility of quickly uploading files
- Possibility of easily downloading with agile accessibility based on the corrupted data fields
- Possibility of searching the file’s contents
- Ability to receive the project files collectively or as the final book
Outputs and reports
One of the important items to decide to select a proper system is the system quality in presenting the mentioned reports of the project. The system’s ability to produce purposeful outputs from project data is one of the parameters to evaluate its desirability. Taking output as an Excel file is one of the points that should be considered while studying the software abilities
Data management, learned lessons from the project, and purposeful records of events activate the issue of knowledge management in the project. Resources management, references and standards, embedding checklists, and the possibility of recording experiences according to the project approach is one of the abilities that provide intelligent project management by its managers if the software is equipped with this ability.
Business intelligence in project information management
Taking analytical outputs and management dashboards is another requirement for project managers, which is expected to be provided by the system despite the data injected into the software.
Summarily ad based on the explanation mentioned previously, the selection process of software is an important issue in the project, for which allocating the right time and effort is worthwhile. The final recommendation in this research is to set an RFP document and a checklist for the discussed topics in this post.