Difference Between Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information

Do you know the difference between Data and Information?

work performance data

Data

work performance information

Information

Data and Information are common terms in the realm of Data Science. These terms have specific meanings. The difference between these two terms can be easily understood by looking at the above two images.

In very simple language, we can say that Computing Devices need Data whereas Humans need Information. But let define these terms more scientifically.

Data

Data is raw, unorganized facts that need to be processed. Data can be something simple and seemingly random and useless until it is organized.

Diffen.com

Information

When data is processed, organized, structured or presented in a given context so as to make it useful, it is called information.

Diffen.com

Data is the base or building block whereas Information provides meaning and context.

Data and Information used to be simple terms till PMI introduced them in PMBOK® 5th edition. Leaving the humor aside, there are 2 new terms in PMBOK® 5th edition.

  • Work Performance Data – This term was not part of PMBOK® Guide 4th edition
  • Work Performance Information – This term was part of PMBOK® Guide 4th edition but its meaning was different from the 5th edition

The concepts regarding Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information were present in PMBOK® Guide 4th edition. However, PMI was not using standardized meaning & usage of Data and Information. This has changed in PMBOK® Guide 5th edition. The following diagram explains the difference between Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information further.

work performance data work performance information

Work Performance Data

The raw observations and measurements identified during activities performed to carry out the project work. Examples include reported percent of work physically completed, quality and technical performance measures, start and finish dates of scheduled activities, number of change requests, number of defects, actual costs, actual duration etc.

PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition

In simple terms Work Performance Data can be considered as Project Status on a particular date (Control Date).

Work Performance Data is an output of PMBOK® Guide Process 4.3 – Direct and Manage Project Work. It is an input to all Monitoring & Controlling (M&C) Processes except Integration Process 4.4 & 4.5 – Monitor and Control Project Work & Perform Integrated Change Control.

Let me give you few more examples of Work Performance Data. Each of the following examples are written with reference to different Knowledge Areas. In PMBOK® Guide all Knowledge Areas (with the exception of Human Resource Management) have at least one M&C process. All these M&C processes take Work Performance Data as an input:

Scope – ‘D’ Deliverables have been completed

Time – ‘n’ Activities are started & ongoing, ‘m’ Activities have been completed

Cost – ‘M’ units of money have been spent

Quality – ‘X’ Requirements have been completed, ‘Y’ Change Requests have been completed

Communication – ‘C’ communication items have been sent

Risks – Scheduled Milestone ‘S’ is behind, ‘R’ units of money have been used as Contingency Reserves

Procurement – ‘I’ invoices have been processed and paid, ‘D’ Deliverables have been received from Contractor

Stakeholder – ‘P’ percentage of work has been completed

Work Performance Information

The performance data collected from various controlling processes, analyzed in context and integrated based on relationships across areas. Examples  of performance information are status of deliverables, implementation status of change requests, and forecasted estimates to complete.

PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition

In simple terms Work Performance Information can be considered as processed Work Performance Data.

Work Performance Information is an output of all Monitoring & Controlling (M&C) Processes except Integration Process 4.4 & 4.5 – Monitor and Control Project Work & Perform Integrated Change Control. Work Performance Information is an input to PMBOK® Guide Process 4.4 – Monitor and Control Project Work.

Let me give you few more examples of Work Performance Information. Each of the following examples are written with reference to different Knowledge Areas. In PMBOK® Guide all Knowledge Areas (with the exception of Human Resource Management) have at least one M&C process. All these M&C processes produce Work Performance Information as an output:

Scope – ‘D’ Deliverables have been accepted, R Deliverables have been rejected

Time – A Schedule Milestone is behind by ‘n’ days.

Cost – A Control Account is over-budget by ‘M’ units of money

Quality – ‘R’ requirements have been Inspected

Communication – ‘C’ communication items have been fulfilled

Risks – R’ Risks have occurred

Procurement – ‘C’ new Claims have been made by the Contractor

Stakeholder – ‘D’ Deliverables have been accepted

Summary

  • Work Performance Data is raw, unorganized and observed facts. It does not provide any intelligence.
  • Work Performance Information is processed, organized and structured. It helps in decision making.

PMBOK® Guide is a standard for Project Management. PMI has used universally accepted standard meanings of terms ‘Data’ and ‘Information’. This is a move towards right direction. However, I feel, there are many inconsistencies with the way these terms have been used in PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition.
Do you think PMBOK® Guide terminology is confusing? Please leave a comment.
Praveen Malik, PMP is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) with a rich 20+ years of experience. He is a leading Project Management Instructor and Consultant. He regularly conducts Project Management workshops in India & abroad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *