Requests for improvements to PIMS are received continually. While it is important to develop PIMS in order to better facilitate program evaluation, affiliation, and management, this must be done in a focused manner with cost and ongoing maintenance in mind.
Guiding Principles for Prioritizing Changes to PIMS
- Improvements to PIMS should address common needs for most sites;
- Feature requests should directly address:
- Program accreditation;
- Program evaluation in support of fundraising, advocacy, and continuous quality improvement; or,
- Program management.
- Feasibility assessment of feature requests should consider the time and resources required to implement a change with priority given to changes with the greatest impact from the least development time;
- Changes should be made with ongoing maintainability in mind. Very often a simpler approach is better than trying to accommodate every possible use;
- Improvements to PIMS should retain or improve the ability of individual sites and states to address individual reporting needs.
Who Decides PIMS Priorities
The diverse range of sites using PIMS mirrors the flexibility that is one of HFA's key strengths. Given HFA's commitment to keeping PIMS affordable, it is impossible to address all the needs of every site.
Therefore, HFA will strive to meet common needs after weighing input from all stakeholders, including:
- PIMS Advisory Group, composed of one representative from each state system with five or more sites using PIMS;
- Online surveys soliciting input from all PIMS sites; and,
- HFA leadership including the accreditation team and the research director.
The Process for Implementing Changes to PIMS
- Gather input from web surveys, data management leaders in other HFA states, and PIMS Advisory Group.
- Propose an outline of work in accordance with the Guiding Principles above.
- Share workplan with PIMS Advisory Group and revise if necessary.
- Develop PIMS upgrade.
- Beta test PIMS in collaboration with selected HFA sites.
- Deploy new PIMS version at several sites.
- Deploy new PIMS version across all states.
Changes to the workplan for a new PIMS version during the development process are sometimes necessary to reflect new ideas and approaches and logistical challenges. However, as it can be time-consuming to address a moving target, these changes should be carefully reviewed for their impact on the project as a whole. Major changes should be reviewed by the PIMS Advisory Group.
PIMS Feature Requests, Wish List, and Custom Development
HFA always welcomes individual suggestions for improvements to PIMS and will place all requests for consideration on the PIMS Wish List. Given the vast range of PIMS needs of various stakeholders as well as HFA’s commitment to keeping PIMS affordable, it is not possible to address every change request.
New feature requests will only be implemented as part of a systematic process of prioritizing the top needs amongst all outstanding requests.
Individual sites or states may consider requesting custom development of a new feature on a fee-for-service basis. These changes/additions must be integrated into the core PIMS program in a way that ensures they can be used by *any* PIMS site but don't clutter the interface for sites which don't need these features.