Implementing a Successful Project Information Management Strategy
Project Information Management (PIM) processes and software enable businesses to organize all of their financial, company and project data, documents, emails, drawings, and other assets in one central location. This gives the project team and the wider organization the visibility and intelligence to run their businesses and projects more efficiently and profitably.
Projects are the lifeblood of your organization, so the question that you should be asking yourself is, can you afford NOT to have a PIM strategy in place?
7 Steps to Implementing PIM
By following the 7 steps detailed in this guide, you will have a PIM strategy in place that will make your life easier and enable you to focus on what you and your teams do best, delivering successful and profitable projects.
Analyze your current system
Before you can begin to scope and implement your project information management strategy, you need to look at how you are currently managing your information. A great place to start is to ask the following questions:
- How are you currently filing and organizing your project information, including emails, drawings, documents and other data?
- How easy is it for people to find and access key project information? If a client or contractor asked for a copy of a specific piece of information, is it readily available?
- What are you doing well and where are the gaps when it comes to managing your project information?
- Do you have the right systems in place or are people creating information silos and working in disparate systems?
- Is there duplication of information or data?
21% of owners and 37% of contractors don’t have a system in place to manage their project information.
Set your objectives
Now you have a picture of where improvements could be made in the way that you manage your project information, you can begin to shape your objectives. What are you looking to achieve by implementing your project information strategy:
- A more accurate picture of how your current projects are performing, if they be delivered on time, on budget and profitably?
- An easier way to access all information relating to your projects so that you are working from a single version of the truth and eliminating information silos and inaccurate data?
- Mitigation against the risks associated with loss or compromise of business or project information or the inability to access information when you need it should a claim arise?
- The opportunity to be a key player who complies to BIM levels 2 and 3 and therefore attracts more high profile and profitable projects?
- Ability to operate, make decisions and course correct if needed based on an accurate picture of business performance?
- Better management of project costs and resourcing and the opportunity to identify cost saving opportunities?
To achieve these objectives you need to identify who you need to work with internally and externally. A successful PIM strategy means having the right system and process in place.
When looking at PIM systems, look to work with professionals and application vendors who understand your industry and your requirements and who can translate these into practical and workable solutions and processes. Generic file sharing and management solutions are available, such as SharePoint and DropBox, but these have not been designed and developed with your industry in mind and could impose limitations on how you work.
Taking the time to set your objectives and state the business benefits of implementing a PIM strategy will make it much easier to get the support that you need to run this project.
To ensure that implementing your PIM strategy is a success, you need to get buy-in from the key figureheads within the business. As a major project that will result in a significant change across the entire business, it needs high level ownership. This should be easy to obtain if the benefits to the business and staff are communicated clearly.
Building a business case that can be easily communicated will make it easier for business executives to understand why you need a PIM strategy. Giving them the foundations to make decisions on what objectives to focus on, which technology partner to use and enabling them to provide the support you and the rest of the organization needs.
Prepare for change
We have supported thousands of AEC companies around the world to implement processes and solutions that help them run their projects more efficiently and profitably. We know from experience that not preparing for change will lead to the failure of your PIM strategy.
To prepare for the changes that need to happen when it comes to managing your project information, you need to focus on a number of areas:
- How the change is positioned and communicated throughout the organization. This means developing an internal communications plan and ensuring that communication is two way between the project champions and the organization as a whole.
- How the project will be managed overall and how will you support people as they work through the change. Make sure you select a change leader, who is passionate about why a PIM strategy is needed and the benefits that it will bring to the business.
- How you know that the project is proving to be a success, what the milestones are and what success looks like.
Map your processes
Your PIM strategy should include processes for managing every aspect of the information that’s generated when running your projects. You need to consider the following scenarios:
- What happens when a new project is won? How is it kicked off and communicated within the firm, how is the project team selected and the client on-boarded?
- How is information and data managed while the project is active? Who is responsible for what and who has access to what types of information? How is sensitive data and information managed and protected?
- What has to happen to close out the project? What’s the process around project approval and sign off and how is information and data from that project archived?
- What happens if you need to respond to an urgent request or a claim? Can you access the right version of the document or drawing, or even the correct email in a chain, quickly and with minimal effort?
Implement your strategy
For the implementation of your PIM strategy to be successful, you need to manage the project the same way you would for a client. That means developing and following a project plan to ensure that your PIM strategy and processes are rolled out and adopted effectively.
Remember that, if carried out correctly, implementing a PIM strategy will have a positive impact on the business and often leads to significant cost savings. It would be very easy to let this slip to the bottom of the pile in favor of client work, but it’s vital that a commitment is made. That means planning and resourcing the project for success and taking into account the wider needs of the business.
Monitor, measure and improve
Once the implementation of your PIM strategy is complete it’s important to know if it’s successful. To increase the chance for ongoing success, we recommend focusing on the following:
- Monitoring how well the new processes are being adopted and adhered to by your project managers and other staff.
- Measuring results against the objectives set in step 2.
- Bringing together a group who is tasked with monitoring and measuring the success of the strategy and identifying any gaps or changes that need to be made.
- Once the strategy is implemented, it’s important that the objectives and processes continue to be championed and managed internally. This will help to ensure ongoing success and that the business and its projects benefit from PIM.
Only 20% of owners and 21% of contractors have a single, fully-integrated PIM system in place. 21% of owners and 37% of contractors don’t have a system in place to manage their project information. Setting your objectives and stating the business benefits of implementing a PIM strategy will make it much easier to get the support you need.
As a major change project, your PIM strategy needs buy-in at an executive level. 70% of change projects fail. To avoid this, a full commitment to implementing your PIM strategy and reaping the associated benefits is needed. Your PIM strategy should include processes for managing every aspect of the information that’s generated when running your projects. Implementing a PIM strategy will have a positive impact on the business and often leads to significant cost savings. Bring together a dedicated taskforce to continually monitor, measure and improve your PIM strategy.