There are many challenges involved in managing a large number of projects. From successfully planning and executing the project to maintaining efficiencies between diverse stakeholder systems, there is enormous pressure on the program manager.

The use of a program management information system (PMIS) — which includes comprehensive data, dashboards and software integration to help organize and execute projects — can help ease the pain project owners are experiencing with their large capital programs.

With a lot of the challenges project owners are facing, including labor shortages and a slow supply chain, a PMIS can help keep large capital utility projects on schedule and on budget. Some of the benefits include:

Maximizing Resource Efficiency by Minimizing Data Manipulation

During a time when staffing shortages are abundant, it is essential to maximize the efficiencies of existing and new staff. Using a PMIS can simplify the steps needed to track, analyze and ultimately respond to the data outputs.

Instead of using multiple systems to track a bunch of separate data sources, program management dashboards backed by a robust PMIS streamline all pertinent information into one simplified location. This means that the program data is entered only once in any system and fewer pairs of eyes are needed in sorting through information and completing tasks.

Staying in the Know

The PMIS makes it possible to know at a moment's notice where each project is in terms of both its life cycle and its status, and the information is available to utility project owners 24/7.

Because the PMIS dashboards marry items like task statuses, submittal information and change orders with the current schedule, owners can quickly and easily gain an understanding of how the project is progressing. The PMIS also provides actionable, trustworthy data in almost real time.

Managing by Exception

The PMIS dashboards can be customized based on the goals of the utility project’s owner. Such customization includes the ability to apply “business rules” — allowing the system to look for specific errors or items to flag the moment they happen, before they become a part of the project record.

The main benefit of applying these rules is that instead of finding out later down the line that a certain item wasn’t requested for procurement or that a goal wasn’t met by a target date, the utility owner can be notified immediately. This way, the project avoids delays that could occur if the information were not discovered until later.

Putting Concepts Into Practice

Early in 2020, an electrical transmission utility reached out to Burns & McDonnell for help with program management on its large-scale capital project. The utility had a plan and funding in place and needed assistance executing the project from beginning to end, to see that the project would be executed at a certain pace to meet the utility’s particular financial goals.

Despite initiating the project at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the help of our program management services, including a customized PMIS systems solution and dashboards, the utility was able to keep its original timeline, and their goals are being met year after year.


With effective program management, utilities can draw together a vast number of large, complex projects under a single management structure, guiding efforts toward successful outcomes.

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Vishal Verma serves Burns & McDonnell as a program implementation manager in our Orlando office. Certified as a Project Management Professional with over a decade of experience in program and construction management, Vishal develops specialized program management solutions on complex projects and provides comprehensive program services including project oversight, project financials, schedule management and reporting. He works closely with high-profile utility clients, delivering best practices for both their design and construction projects.