Making Project Management Information Systems Agile

PMI Durham Highlands Chapter

Kevin Aguanno is the agile practice lead for Procept Associates Ltd., one of PMI’s first Registered Education Providers, specializing in training and project and programme strategy consulting. Author of over 30 books, audiobooks and DVDs on project management topics, he teaches agile methods at several universities and at conferences around the world. He spends most of his time helping large, complex organizations integrate agile project management methods into their governance frameworks.

Recently, I was interviewed by a PhD candidate conducting research into how to make project management information systems (PMIS) for large oil and gas projects more effective. A PMIS provides information on project, portfolio and program health and status. Initially, this conversation was about traditional project management practices and had nothing to do with agile methods; however, as we talked further, I began to share my views on the characteristics of an ideal PMIS and found myself starting to inject agile techniques into the discussion.

The researcher asked me to list the key requirements for a PMIS that would enable it to better support project and organizational effectiveness. I thought about my past project, portfolio and program management experiences and came up with my “dream list” of features for a PMIS to support large, traditionally managed projects. As I was listing the features, I was struck by how they were addressed by agile techniques:

  • Timely Information. The PMIS would need to provide up-to-date information to allow for decisions to be made based on current data. Agile projects get timely data through daily updates to the effort remaining per task or work package during an iteration. These updates can appear in timesheets, emails to the project manager or as daily updates on cards on a Kanban board. Agile projects require timely…

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