Project Integration Management
Managing cross-departmental projects is a complex process. Each department likely works under its own methodology, processes, and expectations. And projects become more complicated without a central operational system of record (OSR) to help teams collaborate and manage integration processes more effectively.
This is where project integration management becomes critical to a project’s success.
Table of Contents
- What is project integration management?
- Benefits of project integration management.
- Project integration management steps.
- Frequently asked questions.
What is project integration management?
Project integration management is a project management knowledge area that helps teams work together more seamlessly. Integration management brings together various processes, systems, and methodologies to form a cohesive strategy.
To accomplish this, trade-offs must be made. Project goals need to be the guiding star when determining when and where these trade-offs will take place. They also require buy-in from the full project team and all stakeholders. Everyone won’t get what they want, but the result will be a project completed on time and within budget.
Benefits of project integration management.
Achieving project integration of teams and processes can be challenging. However, there are several key benefits for the progression of your projects.
Increased accountability from team members.
Aligning project goals means team members should be 100% sure of their responsibilities, and aware of the importance in managing each one. As team members take on more responsibility, communication loses clutter and becomes more focused.
Integration management means taking an overview across all project teams and analyzing where you can make efficiencies. Making the most of the resources at your disposal could help save time on tasks and improve productivity, ensuring team members always have something to do.
Clearly defined roles with no surprises.
Once a project manager has fully fleshed out the strategy, there should be no (initial) margin for error. Each team will be aware of its main aims and objectives, and therefore which is responsible for delivering its part.
Project integration management steps.
Before implementing project integration management processes, you must first gain a clear understanding of current systems, processes, and methodologies utilized by every team in the project. As a project moves forward, there are eight primary integration management steps and milestones with corresponding deliverables:
- Project charter
- Scope statement
- Project management plan
- Direct and manage project work
- Manage project knowledge
- Monitor and control project work
- Perform integrated change control
- Close project or phase
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Developing a project charter.
Traditionally, the project sponsor or project manager writes the project charter. It serves multiple purposes throughout the project life cycle.
This high-level document provides the project manager with the authority to execute the project and likely won’t require adjustment as work proceeds. It also outlines the initial roles and responsibilities of all team members and establishes goals and project deliverables.
Learn more about project charters.
Write the scope statement.
Scope statements fulfill one of the most important project aspects — outlining everything included in the project. It provides a framework for all tasks, which teams execute those tasks, and what deliverables are needed.
While these scope statements occasionally shift throughout the life of a project, it’s vital to keep them as accurate as possible from the beginning to avoid scope creep.
Develop a project management plan.
The project management plan brings all aspects of the planning phase together into a single document. It includes elements such as:
- Project goals
- Work breakdown structure
- Stakeholder management plan
- Change management plan
This fixed plan should not change without a formal change request.
Direct and manage project work.
Teams complete most of the work associated with a given project in this step of integration management. This involves:
- Managing resources
- Executing on the work
- Creating changes where necessary
Review performance against project goals throughout the project’s life to make necessary changes and keep things on track.
To avoid scope creep, communicate and stay transparent with every team and department involved. Use the scope statement as a guidepost to achieve the original intent of the project.
Manage project knowledge.
What your teams learn as they work on projects can be an invaluable tool for the future. Capturing this information is an important part of the project integration process.
Make the most of the information available to smooth out the execution. Record anything new you’ve learned in a ‘Lessons Learned Register’, so the organization can benefit from learnings to make efficiencies on future projects.
Discern the differences between tacit and explicit knowledge and record as much of both as you can. This way workers don’t need the benefit of psychic powers to grab it from a colleague if they have any questions.
- Tacit knowledge – The knowledge workers retain without context. That is, without knowing how they know.
- Explicit knowledge – The knowledge workers have that can be asked for and formally recorded.
Monitor and control project work.
This entails the consistent tracking and reporting on progress of the work to stakeholders. It ensures they have a clear ongoing idea of:
- Where the project is heading
- Whether it’s on schedule
- And on (or preferably under) budget
This aspect of the process is unique, in that it doesn’t really follow during the order we’ve specified. Instead, it’s something that can be performed throughout the process, to ensure each stage is on track.
Measure performance against the project management plan as a whole, so you get the best overview of where work may stray off-scope or off schedule.
Perform integrated change control.
Change control spans the life of a project. The project plan, goals, and scope statement are integral assets in this iterative process.
Never jeopardize the primary project goals with revisions made during this process and take corrective action when any change strays too far from the plan. Request and document any changes through an official process and avoid ad-hoc changes to minimize scope creep.
The project manager appoints members of a control board who help evaluate change requests and outline next steps.
Close project or phase.
This is where successful projects wrap up. This step involves reviewing various aspects of the project and documenting findings to a reference archive. Some project teams find it useful for each member to rate the project execution and management in an official post-mortem review meeting.
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Frequently asked questions.
Why is project integration management important?
Project management integration is essential to ensure a project is well executed. It helps a project manager effectively balance stakeholder and client expectations, alongside all the tasks undertaken as part of the work.
Three main reasons project integration management is important is that it introduces:
- Accountability for all team members working on the project.
- Efficiencies to make the most of resources and time.
- Defined roles so all personnel know their exact responsibilities and tasks.
What is configuration management in project management?
Managing the configuration of a project’s vital products and assets is an essential part of project management. This is when all the final and management products, such as the project management plan and performance management baseline, are looked after.
It’s a vital process to ensure consistency of such products.
Who is responsible for integration management?
The project manager is normally responsible for integration management in project management. They must ensure all the individual tasks and connected activities join up to unify as one project. Accurate execution is vital for the success of both integration and the entire project, which can lead to success and reflect positively on the project manager.