Project Integration Management
Project integration management is the process if ensuring that the various aspects of a project are coordinated with each other. The three major categories of project integration management are: Project Plan Development, Project Plan Execution, and Overall Change Control.
Project Plan Development – The project plan is necessary to guide the project through its life cycle. The project plan develops the assumptions and limitations of the project. It also provides documentation of the decision making made throughout the project. The project plan facilitates the communication process throughout the organization. The project plan defines the role of key management personnel, provides a baseline benchmark measuring control and progress toward milestones.
The quality of the project plan depends on many factors including how well the plan is embedded in the organization’s culture, policies, procedures, constraints and accurate assumptions. The plan needs to be grounded in a sound methodology, well defined project team member skills and knowledge. The outputs of the project plan are:
; A project charter
; A comprehensive description of the project strategy and methodology – How is the
project going to be implemented.
; A clear and precise statement of scope.
; A preliminary work break down schedule.
; Cost estimate
; A schedule of events including milestones.
; Assignment of responsibilities.
; Performance benchmarks.
; Key staff required for successful implementation.
; A comprehensive risk assessment and statement.
; Scope change processes.
; Communication protocol.
; Monitoring process.
; Applicable standards and specifications of outputs.
; Stated limitations and “off limit” issues.
; A list of open decisions and pending decisions.
Project Plan Execution- This is how projects are implemented. Using the project plan,
organization policies, supporting detail, and if necessary corrective actions. The project team will implement the project. Implementation is not something that will happen naturally. It requires the project manager and the project management team to have management skills, knowledge, and discipline.
Discipline is important because work often needs to be authorized, reviewed, and adjusted. It takes an effective information system to provide this information to the team. In order for the
execution of the project to be successful and effective, a formal process must exist to document work results and changes that need to be document.
Changes of scope need to be document and if necessary charged to the customer.
Overall Change Control – Change control is extremely important to the success on any project. Changes in scope can involve schedule changes, cost changes, quality control changes, risk changes, and contract administrative changes.
Effective change control requires the project manager and team members to understand the project. Change control requires adjustments to the project plan. Nothing occurs in a vacuum with in a project. There is always a cause and effect. Good project managers adjust their plans as changes occur.
Source: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, The Project Management
Institute, Newtown Pa. @ 1996.
From the Kerzner (2001) text Project Management: A systems approach to planning and controlling, the author adds some very important language to project integration management. Kerzner uses the term “statement of work” SOW as a tool that specifically describes the nature
and deliverable of the project team. The key that makes the SOW useful is that it is written by the project team and then reviewed by senior leadership. It is a vital component to the project charter.
A well written SOW addresses the tests that will occur to ensure the deliverable of the project performs to the expectations of the project owner. An example: after the inventory system is installed, the project team will check it for accuracy by running the equivalent of one weeks transactions through the system, run a simulation that includes a year end roll over, an audit of one weeks bills and accounts receivable ledger, etc.
You will get tired of me talking about jargon and your writing style. This is a good example where your use of imprecise language can cause misinterpretations of the true meaning of your communications. Your project charter, the SOW, and the Work Breakdown Schedule must be precisely written so who ever reads it interrupts it in the same way. All the documents should have a third party read them. If a third party (someone not directly involved in the project) does not understand the document, it should be revised.
Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) are vital for successful project management. A well
designed and written WBS describe the project’s tasks as individual subdivided elements that in many ways become mini projects. The best written WBS includes milestone dates, budgeted costs, budgeted times, prerequisite events, and the individual who is responsible for the tasks. The WBS provides the information used for other important project documents and tasks including: overall project costs, risk analysis, the assignment and balance of individual responsibilities, the coordination of objectives and the overall controlling of the project.
The major issue for the project manager is how small of task should make the WBS. All project management software packages require a lot of detail when information is inputted into them. This micro level of detail allows for more detail costing information, but also more administration time.