PMSRC

Project Management System resources Center

Module 1: Project Management System Basics

In this module, the project management system (PMS) construct is defined.  Additionally, the rationale for using a PMS and the organization of the PMS within the context of the project management environment of the organization are discussed.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define the construct of a PMS.
  2. Rationalize the use of a PMS.
  3. Recognize the organizational context of PMS.

For Your Success & Readings

This module is designed to help you recognize the structure, uses, and organizational context of project management systems. Take advantage of the videos and interactive opportunities as well as the recommended reading from the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge to extend your knowledge.

Recommended

  • Part 1: Chapter 1 (sections 1.2.1, 1.2.2, & 1.2.4.7) & Chapter 2 (sections 2.2, 2.3, & 2.4) in A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (6th ed.)

1. What Is a Project Management System?

Word collage in the shape of a speech bubble. Project management is at the center, surrounded by monitoring, execution, initiation, planning, objectives, business, organizing, scope, optimize, etc.

The basis for defining the construct project management system is derived from understanding the definitions of project management and systems. Whereas a project is defined as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result” (PMI, 2017, p. 4), the PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017) described project management as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements” (p. 10).  Moreover, Kerzner (2017) defined system as “a group of elements, either human or nonhuman, that is organized and arranged in such a way that the elements can act as a whole toward achieving some common goal or objective” (p. 45). With this insight, project management system is defined.

A project management system (PMS) is the amalgam of processes and procedures in conjunction with information technology to aid in facilitating of the management of projects. Addressing the information technology aspect, the PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017) described the project management information system (PMIS) as “an information system consisting of the tools and techniques used to gather, integrate, and disseminate the outputs of project management processes” (p. 95).  Additionally, a system’s elements are typically composed of subsystems that are optimally organized in a manner to provide synergistic results.

The PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017) described project management subsystems in the context of process groups comprising a logical collection of knowledge area processes.  The PMBOK® Guide process groups include Initiating Process Group, Planning Process Group, Executing Process Group, Monitoring and Controlling Process Group, and Closing Process Group.  Similarly, a PMS comprises subsystems or functional capabilities that provide automated support for the process group activities to plan, organize, manage, and close projects, as well as to facilitate project information management and reporting.     

Please see the tutorial videos “Learn the Components of a Project” and “Learn What Project Management Is” for the basics of projects and project management.

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Learn the Components of a Project

Summary: This video presents the components of a project, including definitive schedule, specific goal, and established budget.

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Learn What Project Management Is

Summary: This video presents an understanding of what project management is at a high level.

Check Your Understanding

Mastering the terminology of project management and its systems is a key component of success in the field. Take a moment to check your understanding of key terms from this module.

2. Why Project Management Systems?

A woman in business attire is writing words with a marker that are connected by arrows. Strategy leads to execution, which leads to success.

Non-profit organizations and public agencies are mission-driven, while companies are business-driven. However, all operating entities conduct business-related activities in pursuit of creating value, which for the business-driven entity is tangible value in the form of a financial return (profit) from its goods or services as well as intangible value such as brand recognition, strategic alignment, corporate social responsibility (CSR), regulatory compliance, and other benefits. 

An organization develops and executes strategies for investing and deploying its assets (resources) to achieve its mission optimally and sustainably, which often involves changes to its operations and capabilities.  The organization’s strategy is the overarching influence for enterprise change, which typically involves project initiatives for improving operational effectiveness and productivity as well as for developing new products and services.  The accelerated rate of technology innovations in a globally competitive environment has spurred organizations to adopt a project-based approach for the effective delivery of strategic outcomes to create value and benefits.

The professional practice of project management has matured with the standardization of methods, processes, and techniques; thus, the project management system’s (PMS) automation offers significant efficiency and reliability in the performance of project management functions and associated information exchange. The PMS has become a critical tool in project management for the support of facilitating strategic execution of organizational change initiatives to position the organization for sustainable success in the quest for competitive advantage.

Click through the following tabs to learn about the benefits of a PMS for each role:

  • Man in business attire seated and working on a tablet device.
  • Four team members, two men and two women, are seated at a table looking at a laptop and smiling.
  • illustration of silhouettes of businesspeople standing on a map of the world.
  • papers and graphs are laid out on a table alongside a folder.

The PMS helps project managers to concentrate their efforts on the art and craft of project management (estimating, planning, and scheduling of projects; identifying and managing project risks; assessing and correcting project progress; and communicating project performance) in lieu of being distracted with the arduous tasks of manually keeping up with the project information and continually calculating project performance.

The PMS helps project team members to understand the individual’s role in the overarching project scope; know assigned responsibilities, critical activities, and approved project changes; and to unify team collaboration as well as centralizing the collection of ongoing project status information.

The PMS helps the organization by making strategic projects visible, establishing a culture for collaborative exchange and problem solving, and facilitating enterprise change control while providing a platform to elevate project management maturity and project knowledge management.

The PMS helps stakeholders by providing proactive project reporting and project compliance accountability while ensuring project sponsors and clients feel that their needs are being met and that their interests are being safeguarded.

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Project Management Foundation: Leading Projects Welcome Message

Summary: This video introduces the DIRECT (define, investigate, resolve, execute, change, and transition) framework and how it can be applied to managing and leading projects. 

3. PMS in the Project Management Environment

The project management environment is that portion of the organization comprising the components and functions that are involved in or contribute to project-related activities (Hill, 2013).  The PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017) contextualized the enterprise environmental factors (EEFs), operational process assets (OPAs), and organization systems as composing the key components of the project management environment. EEFs comprise internal and external factors:

Click each tab.

    • organizational culture,
    •  infrastructure enablement,
    • IT capability,
    • administrative resources,
    • employee capability, and
    • geographic considerations.
    • market conditions,
    • industry standards,
    • regulatory mandates, and
    • physical conditions (PMI, 2017, pp. 38-39).
  • The organization’s

    • processes,
    • policies,
    • procedures, and
    • project-related knowledge basis and/or intellectual capital (PMI, 2017, pp. 39-41). 
    • Organization systems address management and leadership elements, governance frameworks, and the organization’s structure (PMI, 2017, p. 42).

These factors comprise the organization’s intangible assets, including organizational culture, leadership methodology, informal and formal structures, teamwork and collaboration, and stakeholder engagement (Hill, 2013).  The organizational culture is framed by the values and suppositions that guide its behaviors in conducting business.  Additionally, the organization’s culture shapes the organization’s leadership style (ranging from authoritarian to empowering), structural form and functional mission alignment, cross-enterprise teamwork, and stakeholder commitment.  The organizational values of integrity, ethics, open communication, shared information, and continuous improvement are essential for the project management environment’s success in achieving sustainable business objectives while complying with internal and regulatory mandates.

Please see the tutorial videos “How Organizational Culture Affects Projects” and “How Organizational Structure Affects Project Management” for the basics of projects and project management.

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How Organizational Culture Affects Projects

Summary: This video presents insights about the effect of organizational culture on projects.

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How Organizational Structure Affects Project Management

Summary: This video explores how organizational structure affects how projects are performed.

These project management environment factors are applied to inform the criteria for the selection of project management tools and the implementation considerations of the organization’s project management system (PMS). Project management tools comprise the techniques, technologies, and instruments that enable the effective, efficient, and reliable performance of project-related work activities. Although most of the project management tools are based on software and information technology, many project-related tools are optimally deployed as manual techniques.  Consequently, the appropriate PMS becomes an enabling resource in the effectiveness of the project management environment.

Check Your Understanding

As we conclude this module, take a moment to review and check your understanding of the project management environment with the drag and drop exercise that follows.

References

Hill, G. M. (2013). The complete project management office handbook (3rd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Kerzner, H. (2017). Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling (12th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Project Management Institute (PMI). (2017). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (6th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: PMI Publications.