Project Management System resources Center

Module 3: PMS for Project Management functions

This portion of the project management system (PMS) resource center (PMS) recognizes unique functional requirements inherently based on the project environment or profession in which the project management is practiced. Additionally, application of aspects of the PMS’ functionality is illustrated in support of the requirements of specific project management activities performed within various phases of the project life cycle.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe categories of Project Management Systems.
  2. Explain PMS contribution to competitive advantage.
  3. Explore PMS for professional service automation.

For Your Success & Readings

This module will provide you with an opportunity to see how project management systems are leveraged within various industry segments. Compare and contrast the software suites, their functions, and their applications to the different types of projects and organizations. This module is heavy on videos, which offer a deeper dive into several platforms, as well as best practices across industries.

1. Categories of Project Management Practices

Projects are performed in the context of a system of management structures, standards, procedures, and information technology (IT) and software applications composing the project management system (PMS). Project management environments having a multiple-project emphasis--such as with program management (PM) and portfolio project management (PPM) as well as the project management office (PMO)--demand project management system (PMS) capabilities that transcend those required for project lifecycle management. The project lifecycle management facilitates the achievement of project management activities supporting project initiation, organization and planning, execution, and closure.

Program management is a synergistic approach to facilitating the activities of an organization based on an affinity grouping common to a product, functional business unit, specific customer or industry, or other such organizational emphasis.

Typically, programs comprise a cohesive group of projects to obtain benefits beyond those which would be obtained from the projects individually; thus, the program management scope extends beyond a project scope and continues over the life of the program. For program management of projects, the PMS considerations may include pro forma and capital management capabilities or programmatic business analytics based on the amalgam of program project information, as well as program-level collaboration, information sharing, and document management (which serves as a central repository for project artifacts and other program project-related documents).

Portfolio Project Management is an enterprise-strategic approach to organizing and facilitating the project- and program-related activities of an organization to achieve the strategic objectives and organizational value embodied in the organization’s mission and vision statements and delineated by its goals.

Portfolio project management has a strategic scope that extends beyond the scope of a project or program. For portfolio management of projects, the PMS considerations may include strategic project identification, evaluations, and selection features, strategic metrics, and balanced scorecard assessment and reporting capabilities. Other considerations include assessment of enterprise-level risks, capability, capacity, and resource availability.

Deltek IPM Platform: Deltek Cobra

Summary: This slideshow presentation with screenshots and voiceover provides an illustration of Program PMS.

Project management standards, principles, and methods, such as contained in the PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017), are generally recognized as good practices. However, industry-specific application of project management--such as in construction, pharmaceutical, scientific research and development, professional service organizations, and other specialized industries--has evolved to incorporate additional project management requirements. For example, professional service organizations (e.g., lawyers, auditors, IT consultants, etc.) perform their operations and deliver services to clients on a project basis. Thus, they integrate operations activities (timekeeping, billing, reporting, customer resource management [CRM], etc.) with project management activities. In this situation, the PMS should be encapsulated within the scope and functionality of the professional services automation (PSA). 

Learn about one company’s solution here:

Click on each of the following to read more. Excellus BXBS Transforms IT with Portfolio and Resource Management:

Let’s look at Plainview’s system more closely:

binder on a desk labeled with the word ‘requests’. A pen and calculator sit next to the binder.
Demand: ideas, projects, requests, features.
Word collage with strategic planning at the center, surrounded by value, organization, time, vision, mission, goal, target, process, approach, leadership, etc.
Strategy: strategic planning, business capabilities, programs and outcomes, roadmapping.
documents fanned out on a desk to show financial data
Capacity: capacity planning, prioritization, scenario analysis, financials.
interlocking gears titled performance and management
Execution: resource management, projects and work, status, cost and actuals.
large block letters spelling out ‘results’ with a magnifying glass in front of the word.
Outcomes: products, services, applications, technology. (Plainview, n.d., Page Portfolio and Resource Management demo)

2. PMS for Project Administration

The activities associated with PMS project administration typically encompass two dimensions. The first PMS project administration dimension is centric to the setup and configuration of the PMS software application. For example, Microsoft Project provides many user-definable configuration and options settings, such as:

  • setting up the project calendar,
  • defining working and nonworking days and times,
  • designating the work breakdown structure (WBS) identification format scheme, and
  • other basic feature options for project administration. 

Additionally, this dimension includes establishing and administrating the IT infrastructure for project management software access authentication as well as information sharing and archival.

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Setting Basic Options

Summary: MS Project comes with dozens of option and configuration settings that can be customized to the unique requirements of the project management environment. This tutorial video explains how to set the options most appropriate for your project’s management.

The second PMS project administration dimension is related to establishing the basic information required to set up and organize a project in preparation for its initiation. The types of information established in this dimension include designation of stakeholders, project team members, and other project resources, as well as extant assumptions or identified risks.

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Understanding Resources

Summary: Projects require people, equipment, and other resources. This tutorial video explains how to define and assign resources that are required to manage your projects effectively.

Additionally, identification, assessment, and management of risks are important administrative considerations, from project conception throughout its completion and delivery of scope outcomes.  Moreover, project risk management, which includes the processes of risk management planning, identification, analysis, response planning, risk monitoring, and risk response implementation as needed, is one of the key Knowledge Areas detailed in the Project Management Institute’s PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017). At the inception of a project initiative, risk is assessed to inform the feasibility of whether to undertake the project.

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Project Risk Management

Summary: Project risks are inherent in all projects. This tutorial video describes the process of conducting risk management: identification, analysis, response planning, and controlling risk on a project.

Moreover, Microsoft Excel is often used to manage project risks. SmartSheet and other PMS applications integrate Microsoft Excel into their software application for risk management and other project management functions.  See the SmartSheet – Project Risk template as well as other SmartSheet – Project Management templates based on Microsoft Excel. 

3. PMS for Project Planning

A PMS’ functional scope is commonly categorized by types of project management tools applied. The PMS functional scope category of Project Lifecycle Management encompasses information technology functionality to support the project management activities associated with the four project life cycle phases: Initiation, Organization and Preparation, Execution, and Closure.  Additionally, the Project Planning and Oversight category provides the information technology needed to facilitate support specifically for the planning (creating WBS, estimating, scheduling, and resourcing), monitoring, and controlling of project-related activities including earned value management (EVM).

Narrowing the focus of discussion to the project-planning group of activities, the PMS functional scope addresses the delineation of the scope by creation of the work breakdown structure (WBS), estimating the project budget, scheduling the project work activities while establishing key project milestones, and assigning resources to the project activities. Although standalone diagramming applications such as Microsoft Visio, lucidchart, Gliffy, Graphviz, SmartDraw, and other applications can be used to develop a project WBS, many PMS software applications provide the functionality to create a WBS as a foundation for project planning as exhibited in Figures 1 and 2.  Some standalone diagramming applications, such as Graphviz, are free open source software, while other applications such as lucidchart and SmartDraw offer limited free trial access and use.

Visual Project Planning

Hierarchical Diagram
Diagram starts from top (level 1), splits into three branches (summaries), each with two sub-branches (tasks).

Level 1: Software Project. $15,500.00, 710 hours.

Level 1.1: Planning Summary. $3,000.00, 240 hours.
Level 1.1.1: Task 1. $1,000.00, 60 hours.
Level 1.1.2: Task 2. $2,000.00, 180 hours.

Level 1.2: Coding Summary. $4,000.00, 95 hours.
Level 1.2.1: Task 3. $2,500.00, 75 hours.
Level 1.2.2: Task 4. $1,500.00, 20 hours. 

Level 1.3: Testing Summary. $8,500.00, 375 hours.
Level 1.3.1: Task 5. $3,500.00, 150 hours.
Level 1.3.2: Task 6. $5,000.00, 225 hours.
Figure 1, WBS Schedule Pro by Critical Tools. Retrieved from
Quick and Easy Scheduling

Swim lane chart with three horizontal rows. From top to bottom: Row 1 is Planning Summary (contains Item 3: Task 1, 5 days, 50%, March 6th to March 12th; and Item 4: Task 2, 6 days, 0%, March 13th to March 20th). Item 3 progresses to Item 4 with an arrow, but also drops down to Row 2: Coding Summary, which contains Item 6: Task 3, 5 days, 0%, March 13th to March 19th. Item 6 leads to Item 7 in Row 2: Item 7: Task 4, 4 days, 0%, March 20th to March 25. Item 6  also drops down to Row 3: Testing Summary, which contains Item 9: Task 5, 6 days, 0%, March 20th to March 27th. Item 9 and Item 7 (from Row 2) both progress to Item 10 in Row 3. Item 10: Task 6, 0 days, 0%, March 27th to March 27th. 
Figure 1, WBS Schedule Pro by Critical Tools. Retrieved from
Screenshot of software. It shows tabs across the top of the page: my work, all projects, construction project, marketing project, event planning project, IT project, or new. A set of icons is below the tabs: project, dashboard, reports, files, discuss, calendar, issues, expenses, info. A toolbar for the open project is below the icons, with a column at left for tasks in the open projects, and a calendar with columns for each date taking the majority of the screen.  Figure 2, Retrieved from
Screenshot of project management software. At left, a column of names, with the option to expand each name to show a list of projects and a calendar at right, color-coded to match the projects.   Figure 2, Retrieved from

4. PMS for Project Monitoring and Controlling

In addition to the project planning group of activities, the Project Planning and Oversight functional scope category addresses monitoring and controlling of project-related activities. Among the key PMS capabilities for monitoring and controlling projects are calculating and reporting the project critical path and assessing project performance. 
Typically depicted in the form of a project network diagram, the critical path is the longest sequential series of project activities from beginning to end of the project (Kerzner, 2017). A project network is a graphical depiction of the project’s interconnected tasks (or work packages), which are linked by predecessors and successors (tasks that are designated to start before and after the current task).  In this context, the PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017) described the critical path method (CPM) as “a method used to estimate the minimum project duration and determine the amount of scheduling flexibility on the logical network paths within the schedule model” (p. 704). For additional information see the video:

Monitoring and controlling the project activities depicted on the project network, especially critical path activities, require a constant exchange of information about project progress and status updates. Using a shared PMS software application enables information exchange that is needed for effective monitoring and controlling of projects. For example, Slack is a productivity foundation for teamwork collaboration, which is used to maintain alignment and to share understanding across the project team.

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Learning Slack

Summary: Slack is messaging software for teams. This tutorial video explains how to use Slack to put your team’s communications at your fingertips.

laptop with three data visualizations: tasks (as a pie chart), time (as a bar graph), and progress (as a bar graph).
Figure 3.

A common practice used to assess and report project performance is the earned value management (EVM) approach.  The EVM practice is a systematic analysis process and a set of calculations that integrates costs, schedule, and risks to produce metrics indicating the current and forecasted project performance (Kerzner, 2017).  Additionally, the PMS’ EVM often presents the earned value analysis as trends that are charted or otherwise graphically depicted.

A graph representing Earned Value Management along with a line graph plotting planned, earned, and actual values. Along right side of graph is amounts in dollars. Graph is titled Total Allocated Budget. Along the plot points are measured ACWP, Variance, BCWS, BCWP, Cost variance, and PMB. Left side of graph is titled Project Slippage. Wikimedia, retrieved from

5. PMS for Project Closure

The Project Lifecycle Management functional scope category for the PMS includes the information technology needed to facilitate support for project management activities associated with the project life cycle phase of Closure. The project closure activities comprise project completion signoffs, scope deliverable acceptance, contract closure, a project audit, release of resources, capture of lessons learned, and release of project resources (Kerzner, 2017). For project closure, PMS often provides closuring documents, templates, and checklist procedures, a repository for project artifact archival, quality and compliance reporting, and other project closeout features.

  • A film icon with a “play” triangle in a red circle indicating video content.
  • A film icon with a “play” triangle in a red circle indicating video content.

JIRA Software

Summary: A brief overview of Jira, the #1 software development tool used by agile teams. Learn more: Atlassian

Check Your Understanding

As we reach the end of the lecture, take a moment to check your understanding of project management functions and the PMS with the short quiz that follows.