Integration Management

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Location:  PMKI > PMBoK Knowledge Areas > Integration Management. 
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This subject covers the work undertaken by the project/program manager and the core team to manage the planning, execution, monitoring and control of work of a project or program in a coordinated way from initiation to closure.

Topics included in Integration Management:

- Integration Overview
- Develop project management plan
- Direct and manage project work
- Manage project knowledge
- Monitor and control project work
- Perform integrated change control
- Close project or phase
- Useful External Web-links & Resources.

Other related sections of the PMKI:

- Project initiation, including the project charter and business case.
- Organizations & Governance
- Advanced project controls and scheduling.


Integration Overview

Integration

Project Integration Management describes the processes used to identify, define, combine, unify, and coordinate the various processes and activities within all of the other project management process groups and project management knowledge areas. It involves a project manager making choices about:

  • Resource allocation
  • Balancing competing demands
  • Examining any alternative approaches
  • Tailoring the processes to meet the project’s objectives, and
  • Managing the interdependencies among all of the different project disciplines.

This function is the specific responsibility of the project manager. All of the other ‘knowledge areas’ will typically have discipline experts involved in the majority of the work. The project manager’s skill is understanding enough about the different disciplines to be able to take a holistic view of the work and manage the integration and optimization of the total effort of the project.

Integration Management focuses on the coordination and integration of the various project management activities performed by different discipline experts including:

  • Ensuring the project has been initiated correctly and that the Project Charter is realistic and achievable. See Initiation for more on the Project Charter.
     
  • Developing the Integrated project management plan (the other PMP). This includes setting the overall strategy for the project, then integrating all of the other planning outputs to create the PMP.
     
  • Managing the work of the project to implement the PMP (formally called execution). This includes authorizing, directing and supervising the work of the project team, suppliers, contractors and subcontractors. The methodology used to manage the project can be ad hok, a bespoke organizational approach, or based on a recognized system such as PRINCE2 or a derivative of the PMBOK® Guide.
     
  • Managing the project's knowledge. Knowledge management includes recording lessons learned for the benefit of the project and to enhance the organizations knowledge resources.
     
  • Monitoring and controling the work of the project. This activity integrates the various project controls functions to develop information to assist in the management of the project and communication with stakeholders.
     
  • Integrated Change Control. Managing change to maximize value created by the project. All change requests are recorded, assessed, and approved or rejected; either by the project manager or by an external authority such as a change control board depending on the nature of the change and the authority delegated to the project.
     
  • Close out. The work needed to maximize the value achieved by the project through proper transfers to either the organization, or its client, including maximizing the retention of knowledge. Proper closure is essential if the project is terminated early.

 

Organizational Influences

Organizations create the environment within which projects and programs operate. The organizational aspects of project, program, and portfolio management, including entities such as PMOs are the focus of the Organizations & Governance section of the PMKI.

WP: EEF and OPA – The Differences. Outlines the 'Enterprise Environment Factors' (EEF) and 'Organizational Process Assets' (OPS) that may assist or constrain the work.

WP: PDC Taxonomy. The overall Project Delivery Capability (PDC) framework needed by an organization to successfully create value from its projects and programs.

WP: The Strategic Management of Projects. Describes the organizations ability to select, nurture and deliver projects and programs effectively.

Complex Decision Making: Many aspects of project management involve making complex decisions - this CSIRO paper provides valuable insights into how people make complex decisions: download the paper

       

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Develop project management plan

Project Management PlanDeveloping the project management plan integrates all of the other project planning processes (time, cost, scope, quality, etc.) to optimise project performance and to achieve project’s objectives. Very often trade-offs are needed in the planning processes to achieve this.

WP: Project Strategy. Defining the best strategy for the achievement of the projects objectives is key to achieving a successful outcome. One the key early decisions that determine project success is selecting the right approach to project delivery. One-size does not 'fit all':
-  Agile approaches work in some situations but need a very different management style. See more on Agile.
-  Traditional approaches need to be varied depending on the project type, size and procurement strategies.

Blg: Defining Project Success using Project Success Criteria. Project success can be ephemeral – successful organizations work to define success so they know when it has been achieved!

Art: Achieving Real Project Success. There are at least three different criteria for success that can operate independently: Project Management Success, Technical Success & Business Success.

WP: Statement of Work (SoW). A Statement of Work (SOW) is a formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline the project (or a vendor) will execute against in performance of specified work for a client. The SOW typically forms part of a purchase order or contract but may be attached to a business case.

A complete section of the PMKI is devoted to project controls and scheduling - this section extends well beyond the knowledge needed for the PMP exam.

     

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Direct and manage project work

Directing and managing the project’s work is the whole purpose of project management; the project team, suppliers and subcontractors need to implement the project plan and create the project’s deliverables. The project manager leads this effort.

Art: Understanding ‘Expert Judgement’. Expert judgement is and important concept in many PMBOK processes; this paper explains what it is and how to apply it.

WP: Managing Meetings. Meetings are a key part of all projects and central to the effective communication needed to direct and manager work. But, it is important to make the necessary meetings effective.

WP: Issues Management. An issue is a current problem that has a quantifiable negative impact on the work of the project, and requires managing.


Methodologies

Defining, selecting and implementing an effective methodology and then using process improvement to enhance the methodology is important in achieving consistent outcomes:

WP: Methodologies. A step-by-step series of processes for delivering a project, based on established ways of achieving a successful outcome.

Blg: PMBOK -v- Methodology. The PMBOK is a guide to knowledge, not a methodology. Selective application of the knowledge is needed to create a methodology.

WP: Process Improvement. A process is a series of standard actions, tools or techniques that are applied to transform the inputs to the process into outputs.

Blg: Agile is NOT a Project Management Methodology. Agile is a product development methodology that can be usefully applied in a range of soft projects including IT.

      

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Manage project knowledge

Knowledge Management

Doing the work, and monitoring and controlling the work, creates new knowledge. This knowledge may relate to:

  • The product being developed
  • The planning of the work
  • Issues or better ways of actually doing the work, or
  • Less tangible factors such as new concepts in communication or stakeholder engagement.

This knowledge needs to be captured, and made available for use both later in the project and within the organization as a whole. This function incorporates the traditional ‘lessons learned’ processes, but extends to a much wider range of documentation and information.

Knowledge management is becoming increasingly important in many organizations, and is now a central aspect of integrated project management. The term ‘knowledge management’ involves two interlinked elements that together can help organizations grow and succeed, information management and knowledge creation. People know things, knowledge is organic, adaptive and created – it exists in the minds of people. Information is recorded, it is held in systems and made accessible to people. Good information management systems contain verified information in a useful format but the information is of no value unless it is accessed and used. This paper highlights the important fact that, knowledge management systems require the active involvement of people at every stage of the DIKW chain to contribute anything of value back to the organization that has invested in setting up the system.

Art: Data to Wisdom - Creating and Managing Knowledge. The processes and documents used to transform raw data into the knowledge needed for wise decisions from a project controls perspective.

PP: The Knowledge Management / Relationship Cycle. The reciprocity between the data, information and knowledge that is exchanged with stakeholders for the business benefit of the organization.

Art: Knowledge management is more than information management.  People know things, knowledge is organic, adaptive and created – it exists in the minds of people. Information is recorded, it is held in systems and made accessible to people.Both aspects need to be incorporated into a KM system.

Art: Knowledge management is more than simply learning lessons.The challenges of transforming lessons learned into useful knowledge.

WP: Lessons Learned. The process of gathering and using lessons in a corporate knowledge management context.

Art: Ask for information you can use. If you are not careful, the easy to measure drives out the harder to quantify, even when the latter is more important.

     

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Monitor and control project work

Management always involves the monitoring and controlling of activities to ensure they remain as closely aligned to the plans as is practical. The monitoring and controlling process integrates outputs from all of the other knowledge area controlling processes to provide a holistic picture of the current status of the project and information needed to manage its ongoing activities. This requires the integration of the various project controls functions to develop information to assist in the management of the project and communication with stakeholders.

WP: Project Controls – A Definition. Project controls are the data gathering, management and analytical processes used to predict, understand and constructively influence the time and cost outcomes of a project or program through the communication of information in formats that assist effective governance and management decision making.

WP: Gateways and Score Cards. Two approaches to determining the on-going viability of a project and measuring its success are ‘gateway reviews’ and balanced scorecards.

Click through to see more on integrated project controls.

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Perform integrated change control

Despite the best efforts of project managers, planners and those managing the work, change is inevitable!  Projects must adapt to changing conditions and circumstances whether it’s an unexpected event, a mistake somewhere in the process, or a client instructed variation.  Effective change management is key to project success and incorporates:

  • Completing the processing of change requests consistently and completely
  • Linking the history and information associated with the change directly to the end result, a approved change order
  • Integrating your change management processes with your contract management processes (where appropriate) to mitigate risks associated with change.

The project team have to be able to identify and quantify and then manage the change management processes, to deal with changes arising from ‘all over the place’.

This activity directly affects the client and other stakeholders, therefore integrated change control almost inevitably involves some form of coordinated decision-making that includes senior management from within the performing organization and the customer. Once approved changes to the project are incorporated into the planning process, and from there into the actual work of the project. Consequently, the way a change request is processed can have a significant impact on the project and its eventual success - accuracy, agreement (or at least understanding), and speed are the three key elements to a cood change control function.

DP: Project and Change Management in the PMBOK® Guide (PMI Publication). The way various PMI Standards support effective organizational change management.

Art: Creating Value from Change. The different roles involved in generating value from the change created by a project.

WP: Organizational Change Management. The overall importance of managing change effectively.

    

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Close project or phase

Finally, by definition projects are temporary activities that have to be closed at completion. The final step in the integrated management of a project is the closing of each project phase and finally the overall project. This includes the work needed to maximize the value achieved by the project through proper transfers to either the organization, or its client, including maximizing the retention of knowledge.

WP: Lessons Learned. The process of gathering and using lessons in a corporate knowledge management context.

If the project is not closed off, system resources are wasted in accounts, HR, etc., people have a place to hide costs (by miss-allocating them), and budget, and other resources assigned to the project are not freed up for use elsewhere. The open project also offers opportunities for people to keep doing unnecessary extra work wasting money and resource effort. Proper closure is essential if the project is terminated early.


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Useful External Web-links & Resources

The Major Projects Knowledge Hub - Lessons learned from major projects in the UK - https://www.majorprojectsknowledgehub.net/

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