The significant pressure in terms of creativity
The current R&D project requirements and environment are complex. R&D Project Managers need to make fast decisions, allocate scarce resources efficiently, and have a clear focus. In organizations that are engaged in many projects simultaneously, management is faced with multiple challenges (Elonen and Artto, 2003). Project managers handling different projects with different scopes, complexities and timelines face particular problems. These can be related to resource conflicts and throughput times. Inadequate balancing of scarce resources often results in additional pressure on the organization, whichleads to poor quality of information and longer lead times of projects (Elonen and Artto, 2003). Interdependencies and interactions between projects and information and project overload present specific challenges as well.Project Management Information System have become comprehensive systems that support the entire life-cycle of projects, project programs, and project portfolios (Ahleman, 2009). They can support R&D project managers in their planning, organizing, control, reporting and decision making tasks, while evaluating and reporting at the same time (Raymond and Bergeron, 2008). Studies have shown that there are several important factors that encourage project managers to use PMIS. First, whether or not project managers will use PMIS strongly depends on the quality of the information generated by the PMIS.Kent University UK for example has implemented an integrated research information system (CRIS), known as KRIMSON – Kent Research and Innovation System Online. In a published paper (McDonnella and Kerridge: 2016), it reflects on the lessons learned for the implementation as a whole, and, in particular, the experiences with the various integrations and interfaces that were developed to other existing University IT systems: user authentication, HR, Finance, Institutional Repository, and the student records system. KRIMSON is envisaged as a cradle-to-grave research information management system, with functionality for pre-award proposal tracking and approval, costing and pricing, post-award management and financial reporting, publications management, activities and event records.In Malaysia, most universities implemented a manual project tracking system e.g. for research grant obtained under FRGS (USAINS, 2016). Under the FRGS guidelines produced by Ministry of Higher Education 2017, the responsibility is given to the individual university to manage the grant and research projects, as an example by the individual Research Management and Innovation Centre.Another challenges is in managing collaborative research projects which have emerged as a particular form of academia–industry-industry interaction. Collaborative research projects face many challenges concerning a successful project management (PM) since they are generally associated with high uncertainty and risks, individually oriented project personnel, heterogeneous project partners which are located at different locations, and significant pressure in terms of creativity and innovativeness (Barnes et al., 2006).Issues highlighted above are also applicable to TNBR. Gaps and opportunities for improvement will be studied and analysed to deliver an enhanced and effective Project Tracking System for the purpose of managing R&D projects.