In prior posts, we outlined the best practice to follow when rolling out a new Project Management Information System (PMIS) at your organization. Refer to the previous three articles for planning, evaluating technology, and implementing a PMIS. Now comes the often overlooked part of your journey: support.
Off-the-shelf solutions are pretty standard. Pay the monthly service level agreement fee, and off you go. The system dictates how you use it, requiring you to adjust your processes around it accordingly. You will need to monitor technology changes such as browser and device issues and storage, but for the most part, you should expect a consistent experience until you no longer do.
But what happens when you customize a solution? Or when your processes need to change after the system has been deployed? Over the past 11 years, we have seen this scenario play out in most, if not all, of our clients since our solutions can be highly configured and customized. There are some considerations to plan for before and after you implement a custom solution.
Tips to Better Support a Project Management Information System
Here are some things to keep in mind when planning support for your PMIS:
• Finalize business processes. You should revisit the business requirements documents and update them to represent the processes currently being used. Include adjustments as needed during the change control process. These documents feed training and are crucial to establishing scope management controls after implementation.
• Establish a ticketing system. Make sure to establish a ticketing process for collecting system and user issues. Ensure the ticketing system has enough data points to analyze the trending of requests by functionality, category, time to respond and close tickets, responsibility, and severity. This data will help target future enhancements, drive accountability, improve training and documentation, and ensure the users get the most out of the PMIS.
• Develop a knowledge center. Identify information and resources that you can provide for users as a ‘first port of call’ for support, such as FAQs, how-to videos, and training documents. Consider establishing a Center of Excellence and encourage key users to make themselves available to their colleagues for community support and knowledge sharing, helping triage many issues without opening a ticket.
• Implement change control. A change control process will be essential to prioritize new enhancements and fixes, update training material and requirements, and schedule future migrations and implementations.
• Develop a roadmap. Develop an enhancement roadmap for the system based on priority and cost-benefit analysis. Also, evaluate related technologies affected by the PMIS roadmap, such as versions of Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, browser versions, etc.
• Simplify where needed. Frequently, the implemented PMIS can be overly complicated for the users. After using the system for six months or so, pause to assess usability. You may need to swing the control pendulum back to provide flexibility in what the system needs to track versus what you can handle using other legacy applications, such as email and Excel. Also, consider minimizing redundant functionality that may exist across your portfolio of systems or that your new PMIS can replace.
• Survey users. Reach out to users to find out what works and what does not work in the PMIS. Capture lessons learned and any suggestions for improvement. Surveys will help identify opportunities to adjust training based on responses.
• Communicate to users. Ensure regular communications with the users about system issues, changes to their processes, planned enhancements, and upcoming training sessions as needed.
We hope these tips will help you with your PMIS journey. Make sure to check out the prior articles of this series detailing upfront planning steps, technology to consider, and implementation strategies. In future posts, we will provide management tips for construction organizations to ensure the entire process stays on track. Stay tuned.
Get Expert Help Deploying the Right PMIS for Your Construction Organization
Implementing a construction Project Management Information System (PMIS) for your organization can be extraordinarily complex and costly without proper planning and management. If you have any questions or are looking for help implementing Microsoft 365 for construction, contact us for a free consultation. Alternatively, if you prefer a turnkey solution, checkout Construction Viz, our innovative app-based construction project management software solution powered by Microsoft Office and SharePoint.