Managing Project Through Information System Monitoring is collecting, recording , and reporting information concerning any and all aspects of project performance that the project manager or others in the organization wish to know. It is important to remember that monitoring, as an activity , should be kept distinct from controlling ( which uses the data supplied by monitoring to bring actual performance into approximate congruence with planned performance), as well as from evaluation (through which judgment are made about the quality and effectiveness of project performance. The key things to be planned, monitored, and controlled are time( schedule), cost (budget), and performance (specification). These, after all, encompass the fundamental objectives of the project. There is no doubt that some organizations do not spend sufficient time and effort on planning and controlling projects. It is far easier to focus on doing, especially be cause it appears to be more effective to “ stop all the talk and get on with the work.”) Identify factors :: The first step in setting up any monitoring system is to identify the key factors to be controlled. ( well defined specifications of performance, cost and time) Project action plan and risk mgt plan:: The best source of items to be monitored are the project action plan and the risk management action plan. Monitoring system is the direct connection between planning and control Information on the morale of the project team might be useful in preparing for organizational or personnel changes in the project’s action plan. Avoid Un-important data:: unfortunately it is common to focus monitoring activities on data that is easily gathered- rather than important – or to concentrate on objectives measures that are easily defended at the expense of softer, more subjective data that may be more valuable for control. Measurement of project performance: there is a strong tendency to let project inputs serve as surrogate measures for outputs. Furthermore , it is common to specify performance to a level of precision that is both unnecessary and unrealistic. Performance, criteria, standards and data collection procedures must be established for each of the factors to be measured. The criteria and data collection procedures are usually set up for the life of the project. Standards may also be changed by the community as a response to shift in public policy. Information to be collected must be identified: this may consist of acc data, operating data, eng test data, customer reactions, specification changes and the like Monitoring avoids crashing 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. What type of data and how ? Following are the different forms of data collection Frequency counts:: a simple tally of the occurrence of an event Raw numbers: dates, dollars, hours, physical amounts of resources used and specifications are usually reported in this way. Subjective numeric ratings: these numbers are estimates, usually of a quality, made by knowledgeable individuals or group. Indicators: when the PM cannot measure some aspect of system performance directly, it may be possible to find indirect measures or indicators. When using indicators to measure performance , the PM must make sure the link between the indicator and the desired performance is as direct as possible. Verbal measures: measures for such performance characteristics as “quality of team member cooperation”, “morale of team members” or quality of interaction with the client” frequently takes the form of verbal characterization. Depth of the report: Everyone concerned with the project should be tied into the project reporting system. But report needs not be of same depth or at same frequency for each level of organization. Report content and frequency: the relation of project reports o project action plan or WBS is the key to the determination of both report content and frequency. Contain relevant data: reports must contain relevant to the control of specific tasks that are carried out according to a specific schedule. Timing of the project reports: the project reports should be available in time to be used for project control, the timing of the reports should generally correspond to the timing of the project milestone. ( this means avoid periodic reports) Identification of milestones depends on who is interested . Nature of project report: the nature of the project report should be consistent with the logic of the planning, budgeting and scheduling systems. The primary purpose is, of course, to ensure achievement of the project plan through control. Design of the report: the scheduling and usage columns of the project action plan will serve as the key to the design of project reports. Detailed reports delivered to right people:: Mutual understanding of goals Awareness of progress More realistic planning for needs of all groups. Understanding the relation b/w individual tasks to one another & the project. Early warning signs Minimizing confusion Faster management action Higher visibility to the top management Keeping the client and other interested parties up to date on project status. Routine : the routine reports are those issued on regular basis. Exception: exception reports are useful in 2 cases They are directly oriented to project management decision making. They may be issued when a decision is made on an exception basis and is desirable to inform other managers as well as to document the decision. Special analysis: are use to disseminate the results of special studies conducted as part of the project or as a response to special problems that arise during the project. Meetings Common reporting problems: Use of too much details Poor interface between the project information system and the parent firm's information system Planning and the monitoring system's poor correspondence.