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Introduction, History, And Purpose Of PMIS

What is PMIS?

The Project Management Information System (PMIS) is one of two official budget formulation systems of the National Park Service (NPS) used by all organizations Servicewide. PMIS is used to request project funding, while the Operations Formulation System (OFS) is used to request base operational funding. These systems have credibility with the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Congress.

PMIS is a tool that tracks all requested, funded, and completed projects, whether or not they are in any other NPS system. It is also a Servicewide tool for reporting the status and success of projects. This Web-based system allows real-time data entry and retrieval any time, and has the ability to interact with other NPS computerized systems.

Purpose of PMIS

The primary purpose of PMIS is to request funding for, and track, unfunded non-recurring budgetary requirements. It is a Servicewide, intranet based application that allows easy identification, review, and presentation of the NPS budget request. PMIS uses a single central system and is the mechanism by which funding requests are reviewed, approved, and prioritized at the park/unit, region, and Servicewide level.

Hierarchy of Review and Approval: As noted in the following paragraphs, the pyramid graph illustrates the progression of the review and approval process throughout NPS organization levels.

PMIS is a Servicewide system, so there is consistency from park to park or office to office in how the information is presented and evaluated. Its processes are objective and transparent, allowing users to see what projects were successfully funded, and what priorities have been set. It also allows users to look at other parks' projects and see what was or was not successful.

When the park/units, regions, or Washington Area Support Office (WASO) need project information, PMIS users at any level can readily retrieve it. Since it is a centralized system, the park/units, regions, and WASO can also look up the same information at any time. In addition, the system is available year-round so users do not have to wait for a budget call to identify their needs.

Finally, PMIS enhances the efficiency of the NPS by reducing redundant information in data entry. Efficiency will continue to increase as other systems are actively linked to PMIS (e.g., Facility Management Software System [FMSS] and Administrative Financial System [AFS3].)

Relations of NPS Internal Systems to PMIS: Graphic illustrates how NPS Internal Systems and PMIS are interconnected or related.
  • Deficiencies in facilities are identified in FMSS. In order to remedy the deficiencies, project funds must be requested in PMIS.
  • If the project requires additional staff and/or resources to operate on a continuing basis, those funds must be requested in OFS.

How the terms Park/unit, Region, and Washington Office (WASO) are used in PMIS

Park/Unit: Throughout this training course, the term park/unit will be used to refer to the organizational level where a staff member responsible for identifying a funding need will enter that need as a project in PMIS. This includes staff at all NPS units, as well as some staff in regional and Washington program offices. For example, all of the following are considered park/units in PMIS: Adams National Historic Site, Chiricahua National Monument, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Niobrara National Scenic River, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, Midwest Regional Office, Southeast Regional Office, Alaska Regional Office, National Information Systems Center (NISC), and the National Information Technology Center (NITC).

Region: The terms “Region” or “Regional Office” refer to staff that may be in regional offices or at the WASO level and are responsible for the second level review of projects submitted by parks/units. The primary duties in PMIS for staff at the Region level are 1) to review and approve project proposals and assign their components to a specific fund source, 2) to return projects and/or components to park level staff for editing, 3) to mark components “funded” and assign account numbers under which the project component work will take place, and 4) to review park level reporting of component status and completion.

WASO: Generally, WASO level functions are synonymous with the functions of a regional office, except for the few Servicewide program offices where all funding decisions are made at the WASO level. In these cases, the WASO level functions are nearly parallel to the Regional office functions, except that WASO approval is required before a region marks a component “funded.”

PMIS interfaces with other servicewide systems

The National Park Service has recently undertaken an effort to enhance system capabilities, reduce the workload of employees, and improve information reporting by interfacing with other Servicewide systems. PMIS currently has links to the following systems/groups:

In the future, PMIS intends to interface with additional Servicewide systems such as:

  • Administrative Financial System (AFS3)
  • Performance Management Data System (PMDS)

Why was PMIS developed?

PMIS was developed as part of longstanding efforts to systematically document unfunded project needs and to efficiently fund projects. Specifically, PMIS was developed to do the following:

  • Provide a consolidated process by which project needs are identified, gathered, and managed
  • Ensure and maintain the integrity of the list of documented project needs from year to year
  • Respond to a management Directive from NPS leadership (Director's order #2 )
  • Document the backlog of unfunded project needs in the NPS
  • Meet Congressional and OMB requests to improve accountability and have one Servicewide process
  • Provide better accountability to justify increased funding levels
  • Report what was accomplished using the funds allocated

Brief history of PMIS

Since its introduction in 1998, there have been a series of updates intended to fine tune PMIS to accommodate needs for program efficiencies, supplemental information, data entry, information retention, and to document the backlog of unfunded project needs in the NPS. 

linear calendar of PMIS version history

As PMIS is upgraded, new or different elements may have been added to the system requiring new project entries to comply with the updates. Projects that were entered and funded prior to system upgrades are known as legacy projects. Although these legacy projects may appear to be incomplete entries based on the current system requirements, these projects met PMIS requirements at the time they were created, and in general, do not need to be changed to meet changing system upgrades.

The PMIS Newsflash

In July 2003, the management of PMIS ceased instantaneous updates to software in favor of quarterly software updates. Since this time, PMIS management has begun to release a newsletter called the PMIS Newsflash. This newsletter was created to provide PMIS users and administrators with information on recent and planned changes to the software. The newsletter precedes the release of new software versions by at least two weeks allowing users to learn about changes prior to the launch of a new version.

There are two additional tools available to users wishing to read about PMIS changes: the PMIS Index and the PMIS Digest. The PMIS Index provides a listing of PMIS Newsflash topical areas with the editions and page numbers in which they were discussed. The PMIS Digest provides the NPS community with an executive summary of PMIS changes from each software release. To access any of these resources, please visit

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PMIS in Context
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Self Quiz 1
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