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and Information Management

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Workshop Handout

How to handle the information that monitoring generates

Management information and information management are different; management information is a kind of information (the data); information management is a kind of management (the system).

Information management is the process of analysing and using information which has been collected and stored in order to enable managers (at all levels) to make informed decisions. Management information is the information needed in order to make management decisions.

Monitoring provides information about what is going on in the project. This information is collected during the planning and implementation phases. The information helps to detect if anything is going wrong in the project. Management can therefore find solutions to ensure success.

The Importance of Management Information:

Management Information is important to:

  • Make decisions necessary to improve management of facilities and services; and
  • Implement participatory planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

How to Use Information Management:

To be able to use information to make management decisions, the information should be managed (collected, stored and analysed). Whereas information management (the process of collecting and storing information) and management information (the information needed to make informed decisions) are different; they always reinforce each other and cannot be separated in day to day operations.

Management information therefore involves:

  • determining information needed;
  • collecting and analysing information;
  • storing and retrieving it when needed;
  • using it; and
  • disseminating it.

Determining Information Needed for Management: During project planning, management and monitoring, much information is generated. Some is needed for making management decisions on spot; other for later management decisions. A good management information system should therefore assist the project managers to know the information they need to collect, for different management decisions at different times.

Collecting and Analysing Information for Information Management: Information can be got from reports of technical people, village books, forms filled by the different actors, community meetings, interviews, observation and community maps.

Storing Information: It is important to store information for further references. Information can be stored in the village book, project reports, forms and in the mind. The major principle in information storage is the ease in which it can be retrieved.

Using Information: Information can be used for solving community problems, determining resources (amount and nature), soliciting for their support and determining future projects.

Dissemination or Flow of Information: For information to be adequately used it needs to be shared with other stake holders or users. The other stake holders can also use this information for their management decisions and they can help the one collecting information to draw meaning and use out of it for management purposes.

Information should be shared between the village, parish, sub-county, district, national office, NGOs and the donor.

Management information is part and parcel of monitoring because such information is got during monitoring and helps in the planning and implementation of monitoring activities.

Whether it is from the staff or stakeholders, one of the most effective ways of getting useful monitoring information is through the Annual Review. Although it is described in its role of getting participatory management information, it is equally applicable in obtaining monitoring information.


Reporting Progress to the Executive:

Reporting Progress to the Executive

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2011.09.30

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