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What is information management?


Information management is the collection, storage, curation, dissemination, archiving and destruction of documents, images, drawings and others sources of information.

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

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Information management

Project-based working relies on accurate and timely information and data for teams and stakeholders to make informed decisions and fulfil their role in a cost-efficient and effective way.

Effective information management enables project teams to use their time, resources and expertise effectively to make decisions and to fulfil their roles.

The process of information management encompasses:

Collection of project information can take many forms, such as written, video, oral, audio or electronic. It is important to collect only as much information as reasonably needed and assure its quality, i.e. that it can be trusted (SOIPM3).

Storage is important for a range of purposes including: analysis, identifying historical trends, developing lessons learned, satisfying legislative requirements etc. Appropriate controls – including user access, export controls, versioning, change control, audit, and back-ups – must be established. (SOIPM3)

 includes the process of gathering and organising information relevant so that it can add value.

Dissemination involves consideration of questions such as: what information is to be distributed, to whom, in what format, how often, under what circumstances and using what security protocols? (SOIPM3)

Archiving takes place after a period of time, usually determined by a mix of company policy and judgement. Because of the large volumes of information archived, an effective classification system that anticipates future uses is essential (SOIPM3).

Destruction eventually takes place because the information is no longer deemed important, especially in comparison to the on-going storage costs and legislation e.g. privacy laws, only allows the storage of information for a prescribed period (SOIPM3).

Project, programme or portfolio

Project, programme or portfolio documentation provides wide benefits and behaves as a tool to show plans and control the process.

Defining information management processes and responsibilities is a key set-up activity because project professionals need reliable information to communicate with the team and wider stakeholders and to provide documentary evidence for assurance.

As documents and other information are created and subsequently updated, version control is established to ensure that time and money are not wasted with people working with superseded versions.

Project professionals also:

  • Establish a mechanism for communicating changes to documents to relevant stakeholders.
  • Design information storage and retrieval with accessibility in mind. Information that cannot be found is of no value. This is important to aid in developing lessons learned.
  • Archive information when it is superseded as it provides an audit trail of changes. Eventually information will be destroyed because it may no longer be important or due to legislation such as privacy laws.

Iterative or agile projects place greater emphasis on the discovery and recording of emergent information rather than reliance on pre-approved plans and are likely to employ dynamic modes of capturing such new information.

Related resources

Managing knowledge / managing information: what's the difference?

What are the differences between Knowledge Management (KM) and Information Management (IM)? What I’m really asking is how you distinguish information from knowledge for working purposes. And whether that disctinction is important, and how.

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