Project management is a juggling act that’s becoming increasingly difficult to pull off.
Geography-separated teams and volatile markets make the already present complexity of balancing scope, timelines, and cost ever-challenging.
Project integration management assists this balancing act, aligning a project’s moving parts. It’s a systemic approach that delivers greater visibility and control so you can iron out workflows and let your team focus on doing their best work.
What’s project integration management?
According to the Project Management Institute’s “Project Management Book of Knowledge,” integrated project management involves thoughtfully unifying every aspect of a project’s life cycle with each other and a company’s overarching goals.
This integration process builds alignment and maximizes efficiency, optimizing tasks and resources to steer the project toward successful delivery. It allows project managers to make informed decisions and trade-offs that balance conflicting stakeholder expectations and customer needs.
Establishing an integration plan involves evaluating how each project development aspect relates to others while considering the effects at the organizational level. As a result, the initiative can improve efficiencies beyond the project team’s processes, leading to business-wide improvements.
Why is project integration management important?
Project management is demanding, with the following factors (and then some) playing a role in an initiative’s success:
- Stakeholder expectations
A single unaligned factor risks project success. But a robust project integration management plan allows you to balance and track these factors individually or in concert to deliver your project’s goals.
Integration also offers the following benefits:
- Increased efficiency: By taking a more holistic approach, it’s easier to identify complementary resources, schedules, and processes. This high-level view permits optimizations that can boost team efficiency and effectiveness.
- A clarified purpose: An integration plan ensures every team member understands project goals, objectives, and the roadmap for reaching them. This helps them clearly see how their work affects the project’s outcome.
- More accountability: Integration removes confusion about who’s responsible for delivering what task and when. It publicly communicates requirements and assignees so team members feel more inclined to own their work.
The 5 phases of project integration management
Project integration management involves aligning all five project life cycle phases to ensure each step is as efficient as possible and aligns with overarching company-wide goals:
- Project initiation: The project manager documents the project’s vision and goals by creating a charter, roadmap, and stakeholder registry. Once complete, they leverage these documents to secure buy-in and objective approval.
- Project planning: Now, managers establish the infrastructure necessary to achieve the project’s objectives and goals within budget, timeline, and resource limits. This project plan document communicates a detailed vision and requirements, giving the team the information needed to successfully complete their work.
- Project execution: It’s time to put the plan into action and begin delivering outputs. This phase kicks off activities like production, stakeholder communication, and quality management.
- Project performance: Once the team starts generating deliverables, managers supervise and evaluate performance and progress benchmarked against the original project plan. Any deviations can help them identify roadblocks or delays requiring mitigation.
- Project closure: During the final integration phase, the project manager seeks and receives key stakeholder approval and officially closes the project. The team gathers to discuss what they learned and where they might improve future project planning and work.
How to implement project integration management
While an intensive process, ensuring you’re seamlessly integrating every project life cycle process while keeping an eye on core company goals ensures success. Here’s a seven-step guide to effectively running integrated project management.
1. Establish a project charter
A project charter offers a high-level view of the work you’ll deliver and who’s involved, like the project manager and key stakeholders. It empowers the project manager to operate autonomously and oversee the project from this point.
Your charter should include:
- A project scope statement
- Objectives and deliverables
- Team members
- A risk register
- A business case
- A benefits and return on investment (ROI) outline
- A budget
This document is a single source of truth that settles disagreements and relieves confusion surrounding goals and objectives.
2. Develop a project management plan
The next integration step requires explicitly detailing all aspects of the broad project plan, including:
- Project scope
- Schedule, cost, and scope baselines
- KPIs and other success metrics
You’ll also establish management plans to ensure various project elements work together harmoniously, such as:
- Scope management
- Cost management
- Change management
- Resource management
- Stakeholder management
- Risk management
3. Direct and manage production
Now, teams execute project work, and the project manager oversees the day-to-day technical and organizational aspects, like:
- Advising project teams
- Conducting stakeholder meetings
- Tracking team performance and progress
Taking an active role ensures that teams carry out work according to the project plan, remaining within scope and on track to achieve business goals.
4. Manage project knowledge
One of the essential functions of project management is contributing to the organization’s body of knowledge. To this end, the project manager documents and archives everything they and their team learned throughout the project life cycle within the company’s knowledge management software.
This documentation will form a body of knowledge others can use to thoughtfully plan future projects.
5. Monitor and control project work
The interconnectedness of integration management requires ongoing monitoring to control project activities and performance to ensure the work delivered adheres to the project management plan. To keep the team on target to meet the project’s goals, any deviation from the established roadmap must be addressed through:
- Preventative action: Measures that reduce negative impact.
- Corrective action: Steps to re-align activities with the project plan.
- Defect repair: Acts to replace or repair a documented project defect.
6. Perform integrated change control
It’s not unusual for stakeholders to request adjustments to project deliverables after establishing the project plan. But managing change is essential to controlling scope creep and preserving project goals.
Project managers carry out a previously-chosen change management process to evaluate and document stakeholder requests, tracking approvals and how they impact budgets and timelines.
7. Close the project
Once project outcomes are successfully delivered to the client or other stakeholders, it’s time for project closure, which includes:
- Stakeholders meeting to review outcomes
- A team retrospective to discuss what went well, what didn’t, and the lessons learned
- Archiving project documentation for future use
Successful project management with Roadmunk by Tempo
Project integration management is a labor-intensive undertaking. Let Tempo ease this process with Roadmunk, a project management software that creates audience-friendly roadmaps to plan information technology, product development, and project management activities. As part of your integration practices, Roadmunk helps you create alignment around goals and objectives, centralize collaboration, and smooth project execution.