Project Information Management System


Contact Information

Robert L. Thorpe
Manager
Space Support Systems & Software
(210) 522-2848
rthorpe@swri.org

Summary

The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) Project Information Management System (PIMS) is an extensive project-management web application that is used by project teams to complete many project management activities online, using any web browser. PIMS contains eleven project management modules grouped in “projects” with configurable user-access for each module. PIMS is available as a free download, as a subscription hosted by SwRI, or as a site-license hosted by an external customer1.

1 – See the “Free Downloads, Subscriptions and Site Licensing” section below

Overview

PIMS provides extensive web application project management functions through the following modules:

As a web application, PIMS provides three levels of role-based access to these functions (project, module and intra-module) and also supports a wide variety of web-application features for each module (search functions, downloads, history tracking, etc…). There are also many features specific to individual modules (electronic signatures, charting, reports, enhanced search, etc…) and individual modules may be configured to conform to project-specific needs (custom categorization dropdowns, email lists, display settings, etc.).

In addition to a wide selection of modules, extensive functionality and the ability to customize modules for each project, additional advantages to project managers and teams include:

  • Eliminate time-consuming paper trails with real-time web-based access to project data
  • Get immediate access through a subscription or deploy a PIMS site at your institution
  • No special client software required, any recent web browser is fine
  • E-mail based reminder functions
  • File-upload capabilities for detailed tracking and documentation

Modules

Action Item Management

The Action Item Management module provides functions to create, manage, approve, and download action items. There are also functions to batch-import action items, generate PDF/MS Word/RTF outputs of action items, search action items using a variety of filters, configure email reminders, and customize action items specifically for each project. Major features include:

  • Add individual action items or batch-import multiple action items
  • Create several action items at once for different “Actionees”
  • Electronic approval functions
  • Create project specific custom categorization dropdowns (filters)
  • Attach files to individual action items
  • Download all action items in a tab-delimited file
  • Generate/Print a PDF, RTF, or HTML view of an action item
  • List actions items using various filters
  • Configure and search action items using a variety of existing and custom filters
  • Generate tabular reports of action items based on existing and custom filters
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Risk Management System (RMS)

The Risk Management subsystem provides functions to create, manage, and track risks and risk mitigation plans online. This module includes functions to manage risk mitigation plans, show risks in 5x5 risk matrix format with configurable consequence and likelihood tables, update risk status, download risks in tab-delimited format, customize risk records on a per-project basis, and also includes a special function to automatically generate a MS PowerPoint slide show of a project's risks. Major features include:

  • Create and manage risks and mitigation plans
    • Each risk requires consequence and likelihood settings (for the 5x5 risk matrix)
    • Each risk has optional consequence and likelihood description and justification fields
    • Each risk can have up to 3 mitigation plans
    • Each mitigation plan is tracked through four individual statuses
    • Mitigation plans are monitored through assigned “trigger” and “last” dates
    • Mitigation plans may have files/emails attached directly to them
  • Display and print individual risks
  • Upload attachments (any file type) to risks or individual mitigation plans
  • Download risks in a tab-delimited file
  • View risks in 5x5 matrix format (with associated consequence & likelihood tables)
  • Create custom consequence and likelihood definition tables
  • Automatically create a MS PowerPoint slideshow of project risks and the 5x5 risk matrix
  • Create project-specific risk statuses
  • Manage the email list for reporting the creation of new risks
  • List project risks using various filters (owner, status, top risks, and more)
  • Send email notifications and reminders based on trigger, last and due dates
  • Move risks to other projects (with appropriate permissions)
  • Configure and search risks using a variety of existing and custom filters
  • Define custom filters in dropdown or multi-select format
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Project Logbook

The Project Logbook provides functions to create and search records of date-relevant project information online. This includes functions to create, edit, search, list, and download logbook entries, and also functions to upload files to logbook entries and create project-specific custom categorization options for logbook entries. Major features include:

  • Create and manage logbook entries

  • Create project specific custom categorization dropdowns
  • Upload files to individual logbook entries

  • Download all logbook entries into a tab-delimited file
  • Generate/print an HTML view of a logbook entry
  • List logbook entries using various filters
  • Configure and search logbook entries using a variety of existing and custom filters
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Non-Conformance Management

The Non-Conformance Reporting System (NCS) module provides functions to create, manage, and approve non-conformance records online. The NCS module provides these functions through a detailed non-conformance form with extensive, configurable approval functions. The module also provides custom configuration and attachment functions, electronic signatures and email reminders, and shows a detailed history of every change to the report and every approval (or denial) signature action. Major features include:

  • Create and manage non-conformance reports (NCRs)
    • Characterize the reports as Problem, Failure, or Anomaly reports (ARs)
    • Specify specific assemblies, sub-assemblies and hardware types (prototype, EM, FM, etc.)
    • Describe non-conformance in detail (activity in process, location, supplier, section, etc.)
    • Prompt for electronic signature as sign-offs occur via email reminders
    • Provide email approval process for internal and external approval authorities
    • Provide electronic signature capability for sign-off
    • Send email reminders to appropriate project personnel (per report)
  • Upload files to individual NCRs
  • Download all NCR reports into a tab-delimited file, or NCS summary data into an excel formatted spreadsheet
  • Generate/print a PDF of a specific NCR report
  • List NCR reports using various filters
  • Define possible and default approver lists
  • Define a custom supplier list
  • Manage the email list for reporting new NCRs and the final signature on completed NCRs
  • Define four different custom report codes for classes of projects
  • Configure and search NCRs using a variety of existing and custom filters
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Online Checklists

The Checklist Module provides functions to create and manage interactive electronic checklists online. The module also provides functions to create checklist “templates” for recurring checklist-based activities. Additionally, the module includes checklist revision capability, project-specific configuration functions, functions to download checklist templates and checklists, and electronics signatures. Major features include:

  • Create individual online checklists without templates
  • Create checklist templates, which are the basis for spawning multiple online checklists of a specific type (to create regularly used checklists for recurring processes)
  • Create new checklists or new templates from existing ones using copy functions
  • Assign custom colors to checklist items
  • Track projected, complete, and update dates for each checklist item, as well as per-item notes and sign-off status
  • Provide history tracking for each checklist item
  • Reorder or add items to a checklist
  • Track electronic signatures for each checklist item and final checklist sign-off
  • Create project specific custom categorization drop downs
  • Download checklist and template summary information into a tab-delimited file
  • Generate/Print an HTML view of a checklist or template
  • List checklists using various filters
  • Configure and search checklists using a variety of existing and custom filters
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

EEE Parts Management

The EEE Parts Management module facilitates management of electrical, electronic and electro-mechanical parts (EEE) through a project's lifecycle through the creation of assembly, assembly part group, project part, radiation, and screening records. This extensive module also includes functions to perform approval processes, attach related documents, generate reports, and manage many supporting tables (manufacturers, part types, specifications, etc.) online. Major features include:

  • Track parts
  • Manage assemblies including ability to add assemblies or part items to a project
  • Search for assemblies and parts using an extensive set of filters
  • Attach documents, emails, and files to assembly records
  • Batch-import parts information from a tab-delimited file
  • Create project specific custom categorization dropdowns for assemblies
  • Manage all parts for a specific project
  • Manage radiation data for parts
  • Manage the system master parts list
  • Download all Parts in a tab-delimited file
  • Generate/Print an HTML view of a part item
  • Generate parts reports in HTML, PDF, XLS or tab-delimited format
  • Manage assembly and part support tables and other functions
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Document and Image Management

The Document and Images module provides functions to store, search, and manage documents online, and includes functions that support managing documents in a “configuration-controlled” environment (signature approval and access/version control). It also includes extensive search and filter functions, functions to store documents and images with searchable text, and functions to customize the module on a per-project basis. Major features include:

  • Provide complete document configuration control capability (approvals and revision tracking)
  • Store multiple versions of documents and other files
  • Update document summaries
  • Provide specific access for viewing documents on a per-document basis
  • Download document summary information in a tab-delimited file
  • Generate/Print an HTML view of document summary information
  • Create project specific custom categorization dropdowns
  • List documents using various filters
  • Search documents and image thumbnails using a variety of existing and custom filters
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Materials and Processes Management

The Materials and Processes Module (M&P) provides functions to create, manage, and approve materials (metals, non-metals, etc...) and processes (gold plating, electro-polish) used on a project or across multiple projects. The module also provides excellent system-level functions to establish a master list of materials and processes across all projects, categorize those items on a per-project basis, manage M&P records, and extensive search and download functions. Major features include:

  • Create and manage individual records of materials and process used on the project
  • Create custom project-specific M&P category lists (metals, non-metals, processes, etc…)
  • Create and manage the master list of materials and processes for a project
  • Attach files and manage attachments for individual records of M&P’s used on a project
  • Download all M&P records in a tab-delimited file
  • Generate/Print an HTML view of an M&P record
  • List and search on M&P records using various filters
  • Search master list of materials and processes using a variety of existing and custom filters
  • Create project specific custom categorization drop downs
  • Manage M&P records using support tables
  • Re-use categories on other projects
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Waiver, Deviation, & Resource Release Management

The Waiver, Deviation, and Resource Release (WDR) module provides functions to create, manage, approve, and search waiver, deviation, and resource-release records for projects. The module has flexible approval management functions that allow WDR administrators to create custom lists of approval groups per request, as well as profiles of approval groups for similar requests. This configurable approval mechanism fits in perfectly with the recurring project activities of processing requests for waivers, deviations and resource releases and supports electronic signature and email notification functions. Additional functions include project customization options, attachment functions, and detailed search and filter functions. Major features include:

  • Create, update, and manage WDR requests
  • Notify the approver manager when a new WDR request is generated
  • Assign approval groups and/or approval group profiles as an approval manager
  • Pre-define and manage project-specific approval groups and approval group profiles
  • Initiate the electronic signature process as approver manager
  • Notify the next approver on the list via email throughout the approval process as specified
  • Manage the list of approver managers
  • Manage the email list for reporting new requests and the final signature on completed requests
  • Upload attachments to WDR requests
  • Download WDR requests in a tab-delimited file
  • Generate PDFs of individual requests
  • Create custom request categorization functions
  • List and search on WDR requests using various filters
  • Search WDR requests using a variety of existing and custom filters
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Project Specific Custom Modules

The Custom Module provides a powerful capability to create up to five custom-designed web application forms per project. This includes a special form manager function to create and update the form, as well as module search, email, report, charting, and download functions. Examples of custom forms created by projects include Trade Studies, Problem Reports, Change Requests, Configuration Control Board records, User Access Control forms, and Online Surveys. The module also provides functions to copy forms within a project or across projects, and extensive user access functions. Major features include:

  • Create a custom-designed web form using a variety of text, dropdown, date, and label fields
  • Create custom form statuses
  • Configure email options – initial notification, email notification and reminders
  • Create, update, and manage custom forms
  • Create project specific custom categorization dropdowns
  • List and search on custom forms using a variety of pre-programmed and custom filters
  • Generate reports and charts for custom forms
  • Interface with other PIMS modules: action items, logbook, risks, non-conformance reports, calendar
  • Upload attachments to individual forms
  • Download all forms in a tab-delimited file
  • Generate/Print an HTML view of forms
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Copy custom form layouts from one project to another
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Calendar

The Calendar module provides functions to create, display, and manage records for an online project calendar. The module also provides functions to integrate records with “due” dates from other modules into the calendar (such as action items, risks, non-conformance reports and logbook entries), and provides other project-specific customization options. Major features include:

  • Create, update, and manage calendar items
  • Interface with other PIMS modules: action items, logbook entries, risks, non-conformance reports
  • Search and display a project calendar using a wide range of filters
  • Add custom dropdowns
  • List calendar entries using various filters
  • Provide role-based access to all functions
  • Provide online help for all functions and roles

Architecture

The core “application” components of the PIMS web application are built on the Java platform, known for its ease of development and deployment on multiple platforms, as well as stability and scalability. The extensive libraries included with the Java Development Kit (JDK) include methods for handling network access, database access (via JDBC), file system I/O, multithreading, error handling, and much more.

There are several web “framework” components that support PIMS, including the Apache web server and Tomcat servlet container; both are projects of the Apache Software Foundation and have good reputations in the areas of performance and stability. User authentication can be configured to use an external LDAP server or can be managed internal to the PIMS web application.

An Oracle database provides the database framework component of PIMS. Oracle is a reliable, maintainable, and scalable database solution for applications hosting a relational database. Recent versions have provided cloud storage functions, improved high-availability functions and the backup and recovery process, and expanded an extensive library of database functions and configuration options.

The PIMS application, including all framework components, can be deployed on Linux, Solaris or Windows operating systems (or anything else that supports Apache, Tomcat, Java and Oracle). These architectures have proven to be stable and maintainable and have an extensive user community.

Free Downloads, Subscriptions and Site Licensing1

PIMS is available as a free download, on a subscription basis, or as a site license.

Free Downloads (hosted by the customer)

  • Major releases of PIMS will soon be available for free download, starting with PIMS 7.0
  • Installation and configuration instructions will be provided
  • Varying levels of support can be purchased
  • Functionality is limited to two modules per project

Subscription (hosted by SwRI)

  • The PIMS web application is hosted by SwRI for a subscription fee
  • There are several pricing structures, based on per-user and unlimited user options
  • The PIMS software engineering team maintains and updates the SwRI PIMS sites

Site License (hosted by the customer)

  • The PIMS application is hosted by an external customer on their servers
  • SwRI provides installation support
  • The customer pays an annual maintenance fee for software updates, patches and support
  • There are several pricing structures, based on per-user and unlimited user options
  • The customer provides a system administrator point of contact for maintenance and updates

Contact for more information on PIMS.

1 - Prior to authorizing a download of this software, site-license installation, or subscription access to the SwRI site, SwRI will confirm that the export/installation/access does not violate U.S. law, that the requesting party is not subject to debarment or any other export restriction imposed by any agency of the U.S. Government. This also includes a review of U.S organizations.

This page describes PIMS version 6.5.1.

Related Terminology

project information management system  •  web application  •  project support system  •  action item management  •  risk management  •  online logbook  •  online checklists  •  non-conformance reports  •  parts management  •  document management  •  materials and processes management  •  waiver, deviation and resource release management  •  online calendar  •  project support system

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.
04/15/14