Managing large projects with many stakeholders gets terribly complicated, disturbingly quickly.
Understanding the various processes that go into project management will help managers prevent the worst-case scenarios and proactively approach complications.
In this article, we’ll discuss the following topics:
- What is project integration management
- The 7 processes of project integration management
- Why is project integration management important
- How to triumphantly implement project integration management
What is Project Integration Management
It’s a fancy name for all the decisions that go into managing a project from start to finish. Project integration management includes resource management, making trade-off decisions to meet the project’s objectives, communicating with the stakeholders and aligning the project goals with the company’s strategy.
The 7 processes of project integration management
The processes of project integration management are not linear.
Most of them occur throughout the project management lifecycle and are iterative. Every project goes through them, but the smaller the project is, the less distinctive the processes are.
According to the Project Management Institute’s PMBOK guide, those processes are:
Developing a Project Charter
The project charter falls into the Initiation phase of the project’s lifecycle. It’s the document that includes the project’s objectives and specifications. It also describes how the project contributes to the company’s overall strategy.
Developing a Project Management Plan
This is pretty straightforward. In the project’s planning stage, you figure out the project’s tasks and milestones and prepare the team for the upcoming work. The importance of a project management plan depends on the project methodology you adopt (though it’s never a good idea to underestimate it). Agile methodologies, for example, have an iterative relationship with the project’s plan.
Directing and Managing Project’s Work
In the project’s execution stage, the project manager leads and supports the team implementing the work. In turn, the project team executes the tasks. This integration management process is where the project progresses and where the project manager ensures the successful completion of the project.
Managing Project Knowledge
Projects don’t exist in a vacuum. The process of managing a project’s knowledge utilizes prior organizational knowledge and best practices to inform and facilitate the success of the project. It also includes the documentation of new knowledge to enrich the organization’s repository and aid future projects.
Monitoring and Controlling Project Work
The processes of tracking and reviewing the project’s progress are arguably the most crucial. Because, with poor reporting practices, the other project integration management processes lose focus and enter the speculation realm. The best reporting practices are automated or standardized with KPI templates and regular meetings.
Performing Integrated Change Control
Once a project goes live, changes inevitably arise. Changes in the project management plan, the project goals, the deliverables and nearly every process. To perform integrated change control is to manage those change requests and communicate the resolutions to the relevant stakeholders.
Closing the Project
The process of closing a project includes all the activities that mark the completion of the project and the evaluation of its outcome. The project’s products or services are delivered, all relevant documents are updated, and the project’s success is determined. Two reports usually mark the project’s completion. An evaluation report of its outcome and a post-mortem report for the team’s performance.
Why is project integration management important
Project integration management is the core responsibility of the project manager.
It’s a holistic approach to managing the project. When done right, it clarifies how every decision during the project’s lifecycle impacts the business. Every conflict resolution has explicit upsides and downsides and the project’s ROI is determined.
Project integration management is so important because it determines not only the project’s outcome but also its value proposition in the company’s overall strategy.
How to triumphantly implement project integration management
Every project has its unique characteristics, but exceptional project managers have mastered three specific project integration management processes. They:
Manage stakeholder communication efficiently
Stakeholder management is a skill that is often underestimated. Getting the right information to the right person at the right time separates the “good” and the “great” project managers.
Supervisors, like executives and directors, don’t want to hear about all the fine points of a project’s progress, like who owns what. Instead, they want to know whether the project moves well on its timeline and whether it needs extra resources.
On the other hand, the project’s team members get into every detail of the tasks they’ve been assigned. They are deeply concerned about the deadlines, their access to resources, the deliverable’s specifications and every other information that will help them accomplish their tasks.
Align the project’s objectives with the company’s strategy
The single most impactful action project managers can do to maximize their project’s ROI is to align the project with the strategy. Specifically, the project goals with the company’s strategic initiatives. Concisely.
They justify the importance of the project and why it matters to be implemented.
But it’s impossible to do that if the project manager doesn’t have access to the company’s strategy or doesn’t understand where the project fits in the big picture. Having a rough understanding of how a strategic plan is structured gives project managers valuable insights into whether their project brings value to the business.
Because then, they can tweak it or find alternatives if its initial version won’t generate enough value. It’s a process that goes before creating a project and prevents nightmarish scenarios.
Mastering the flow of information is a superpower. Established project managers realize that perfecting their communication skills and practices are the next step of the stair.