Interest and impact drive PMIS report creation foundation.
The measure of success for a Project Management Information System (PMIS) often comes down to one question: do system reports show correct, timely data for informed business decisions on any given project, program, or portfolio?
Decisions reflect overt, conscious choices made by accountable individuals who own decision outcome consequences. Accountable individuals may also be called “business decision makers” (BDMs), or “decision owners,” and may choose to share the decision—making power with a group. Informed decisions take place when all data relevant to the choices and/or consequences of a given decision are included in the conversation with the decision-maker. A PMIS report is only as good as the content tells the consumer enough to choose, with confidence, to move forward (or to stop moving forward).
Building a good PMIS report is as simple as 1-2-3:
- Know your audience
- Know your content
- Know how to design the content for your audience.
The rest of this post will focus on the first step, Know your audience. The next post will cover point 2, and a subsequent post after that will address how to put it all together in the design.
Creating a new report qualifies as a project. One performs stakeholder analysis early in projects to identify the proper folks for requirements gathering, communication management, risk identification, issue management, etc. Techniques used for such stakeholder analysis work well for creating new reports; one easy-to-use technique is an Impact-Interest prioritization matrix.
The first step in the Impact-Interest prioritization matrix for a new report is to name the report and identify the potential questions to be expected from such a report title (e.g. if I am looking to create a “Past expenditures” report showing how money was spent, some questions might include: was past money spent wisely based upon outcomes achieved to date? Do I need to request more funds for future intentions I have? Are there actions to take now to improve current acceptable performance? Do I need to give budget back because I can’t spend the money allocated to my group? Etc.).
These questions identify the people, groups, and other entities (the stakeholders) holding any interest in report content.
Plot the level of sincere interest (ranging from low to high) for each person, group, or other entity listed above. Next, very honestly determine, and plot, the level of direct impact felt by or influenced by each stakeholder entity. Also determine if each stakeholder’s impact or influence holds sway over a) inputs to answering the questions or b) the consequences of the answers (or c) both). The greatest interest and the greatest impact stakeholder group comprise the core audience to consider when moving to the next step for deciding the most relevant content to include.