I’ve written a few posts about the challenge of achieving compliance with consistent project management practices.
One concept I have not written about is the Project Information System of Record (I’ll let you get a Bart Simpson-level kick out of the obvious four letter acronym!). For those of you that are not from an IT background or have not heard this term before, Wikipedia manages to sum it up quite well as being the authoritative data source for a given piece of information.
When project management procedures are properly institutionalized and these procedures are supported or automated by appropriate systems (read Vaughan Merlyn’s post on the topic of appropriate tools) the Project Management Information System becomes the Project Information System of Record.
Executives treat project information gathered through the grapevine or in elevator conversations as hearsay, and they go to the PM Information System to understand what’s really going on. That message percolates through the ranks of stakeholders, sponsors and project teams such that the staff responsible for entering and updating project data in the PM Information System know that they need to keep the information A) Current and B) Accurate.
On the other hand, when executives ignore the PM Information System and readily accept project information through other means, they are sending the clear message that the PM Information System is a pale substitute for the grapevine.
The mantra for PM Information Systems should be “If executives swear by it, compliance should follow”.