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.

What is integration management?

Simply put, integration management helps teams work together more seamlessly. It takes various processes, systems, and methodologies and brings them together to form a cohesive strategy.

In order to accomplish this, trade-offs need to be made. Project goals need to be the guiding star when determining when and where these trade-offs will be made and will require buy-in from the full project team and all stakeholders. Everyone won’t get what they want, but the end result will be a project completed on time and within budget.

Integration management steps

Before implementing integration management practices, gain a clear understanding of current systems, processes, and methodologies utilized by every team in the project. As projects move forward, there are six primary steps and milestones with corresponding deliverables.

  • Project charter

  • Scope statement

  • Project management plan

  • Direct and manage project work

  • Perform integrated change control

  • Close project or phase

Developing a project charter

Traditionally, the project sponsor or project manager write the project charter, and it serves multiple purposes. 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.

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, 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 project goals, budget, risks, scope, work breakdown structure, stakeholder management plan, and 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. This involves managing resources, executing on the work, and creating changes where necessary. Review performance against project goals throughout the project’s life in order 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.

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.

Other knowledge areas

  • Communications management: Communications management outlines the processes and procedures needed to ensure that information and data throughout the life of a project are properly collected, stored, and distributed across the project team.
  • Cost management: Cost management is the process of planning and controlling the budget of a project. It involves everything from planning the overall project budgets to funding individual actions throughout the life of a project.
  • Quality management: Quality management is the process of continually measuring quality throughout the life of a project and making necessary changes until the desired quality is achieved.
  • Time management: Time management involves analyzing and developing a schedule and timeline for project completion. Formalized time management processes provide a buffer for things like unexpected roadblocks and misestimated timelines.
  • Resource management: Resource management is the process of effectively planning, scheduling, and allocating all resources needed to execute on a project. This process touches on everything from financial resources to human capital.
  • Risk management: Risk management is the process of mitigating the potential negative impact unforeseen events can have a project's cost, time table, or other resources. This process should be accounted for from start to finish on all projects.
  • Scope management: Scope management is the process of actively managing what is and is not included in any given project. The scope should be defined in the planning phase of a project and should be reviewed throughout the execution to minimize scope creep wherever possible. 
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