Managing a project can be complicated, especially when different departments have to work together. As each department works on a project, each one likely uses a methodology that they’re most comfortable with to provide them with the results they want. This can make project collaboration between departments difficult, due to differences in process and methodology.
Project complications also occur when working on a larger project with many moving parts that must eventually align. Without proper alignment of these parts, the project can slow down, become less productive and possibly grind to a halt. To create harmony between the various departments and parts of a project, project integration management is implemented.
What Is Project Integration Management?
Project integration management is a way of making various processes work together. Meaning, it takes the numerous processes that are being used in a project and makes sure that they’re coordinated.
Project integration management accomplishes this by making trade-offs. That means that you can’t have everything if you want to get the project completed on time and within budget. This is normal operational procedure for any project manager. If there are competing objectives, then alternatives are needed to meet stakeholder’s expectations.
To achieve this means identifying, defining, combining, unifying and coordinating the many processes and activities within the project management process groups. Therefore, project integration management involves making choices about resource allocation and trade-offs, while managing those interdependencies that are in the project management knowledge areas.
How to Implement Project Integration Management
In order to coordinate all aspects of a project, project integration management needs to create a number of deliverables. To start is the development of the project charter.
The project charter is what gives the authority to initiate the project. A project charter contains the preliminary roles and responsibilities of the project, including the goals and objectives, and the appointing of a project manager. It is used as a reference document as the project moves forward.
The project charter is generic enough that it won’t have to be changed much throughout the project life cycle. It is usually written by a manager who works directly above the project manager, though a project manager can be the one who creates it.
Next, comes the scope statement. This document is not written in stone, and it will be edited and revised as part of the scope management. The scope statement defines what is part of the project and what is not part of the project. It lists all the work that will be done over the life cycle of the project. In other words, it outlines the project deliverables and establishes a measurable criteria for success.
Project Management Plan
The creation of a management plan defines how the various processes in the project can work together for greater efficiency and productivity. The project charter is included in the project plan, but the definition of the project is described, as well as its objectives, budget, schedule, resources, what approach you plan to take to get the project done, risk assessment, etc. This is a formal document to help guide, control and execute the project.
The project manager creates the project management plan, which will consolidate other management plans, such as the scope management plan, cost management plan, quality management plan, process improvement plan, human resource plan, communication management plan, procurement management plan, etc. It will include baselines, such as the schedule baseline, cost performance baseline and scope baseline. The baseline will only change through a formal change request.
It is at this point that there will be kickoff meetings after the planning phase but before the project is executed. This forum is used to communicate the project responsibilities of its key stakeholders.
Direct and Manage Project Work
Then comes the time to direct and manage the project execution. The project has started, and deliverables are being produced. This is the process to manage the technical and organizational parts of the project. It serves to foster a smooth execution of project work. The execution of the project is divided into three parts: implement, manage and reporting on status.
This is how project goals are achieved. The project management plan creates the deliverables. Change requests are applied to boost work performance. Environmental factors are considered. The organizational process assets are assessed, and the project management plan is updated accordingly.
Monitor and Control Project Work
The work of the project needs more than directing and managing; it requires that the project work be monitored and controlled. This includes change management, along with the process, tools and techniques used to manage the change and development in a project.
Change can be requested during the project life cycle, but these requests must be monitored and controlled to make sure that the quality of the project is not negatively impacted. Therefore, someone or some team needs to be tasked to oversee change and its implementation to control the change.
Change requests that come up during this phase are evaluated, managed and documented. A change control board is created to review these requests and approve them or not. The project manager is diligent in looking for where the project might be moving away from the project plan, and if so, they will take corrective action.
Lastly, the project must be closed when it is done. This process includes reviewing the various processes used and rating them on whether they were successful or not. Everything must be well-documented to create an archive that future projects can reference for decisions on how to implement their plans and processes.
Therefore, at the end of each project phase, it’s important to create a document that outlines what lessons were learned over this period.
When processes are interacting on a project, project integration management is crucial. It creates consistency throughout the project from planning to documentation and can dovetail with long-term strategic planning to reveal opportunities.
Project integration management happens from the start to the finish of a project. It touches on every aspect of project management and requires a powerful tool to manage all that information. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that can help ease the complex process by offering real-time data and robust project management tools that foster collaboration. See how it can help your project integration management by taking this free 30-day trial now.