Managing Project Through Information
System
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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.
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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.”)
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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.
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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
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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.
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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 .
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Monitoring - IMSciences.net