With projects varying in terms of budgets, scopes, timelines, it can be challenging to manage them, especially when you need to get different departments and processes aligned for a successful execution. Complications are bound to arise when several components and departments work together. To ensure that a project successfully meets its objectives and requirements, many organizations resort to project integration management.
What Is Project Integration Management?
In simple terms, project integration management is about seamlessly coordinating all the processes involved in a particular project. This not only includes the tasks but also the resources, the stakeholders, and other elements that are associated with the project in question.
With all the different aspects to a project, it is rarely possible to have everything correctly in place, and complete projects on time and within the given budget. Conflicts are bound to arise and when they do, it becomes imperative to make trade-offs where possible to get the best possible outcome. For example, if there has been a delay in completing certain tasks, you may need to make a choice. You may either need to hire more resources and go over the allotted budget or stick to the budget and delay project delivery.
Project managers need to assess the situation at hand with the data that they have to make an informed decision and arrive at a solution that meets stakeholder expectations. With project integration management, you can ensure that you aren’t managing projects in isolation. It helps you understand not only how the different parts of the project are interlinked but also how different parts of your organization are related to your project. Project integration management helps you in managing all of these interdependencies for a more successful outcome.
The Importance of Project Integration Management
Projects can be quite dynamic and complex. Proper and efficient project management is necessary to get all the various elements working in tandem, such as the following :
With project integration management, you can keep track of all these elements to achieve several benefits, as mentioned below.
1. Clarify Roles and Responsibilities
Through project integration management, you ensure that all resources, managers, and stakeholders have a clear understanding of what their roles and responsibilities are. It becomes easier to address any confusion and issues that might crop up.
2. Minimize Potential Conflicts:
Project integration management tracks and keeps the various elements in check, helping you understand how each factor can affect the others. For example, reassigning a resource from one task to another without understanding its effect can lead to bloated costs or delays in project delivery. Similarly, a seemingly simple decision about your project can even impact other areas of your business. For example, extending the allocation of a resource in your project may end up delaying another project in your organization. Without integration management, it becomes difficult to quickly identify potential conflicts such as the above.
3. Make Better Decisions
There are multiple steps in project integration management. Each of those steps serve a purpose. By going through these steps, you gain a better understanding of the best actions that you can take for the project at a given point in time. It also helps you clearly communicate to your stakeholders why certain actions were taken to keep everyone on track.
4. Keep Projects On Course
Of course, one of the major benefits of project integration management is that it keeps your project on course to meet established budgets and deadlines. You also ensure that the project remains aligned with the overall project management plan to deliver the results that your stakeholders expect. This is made possible by minimizing the effect of conflicts or changes on the project by resolving them quickly.
The Project Integration Management Process
To successfully implement project integration management, you need to follow seven processes. These seven steps help you coordinate and harmonize all your project activities effectively in a cohesive manner. The seven steps are:
- Develop your project charter
- Develop your project management plan
- Allocate and manage your project tasks
- Manage project knowledge
- Track and control your project tasks
- Perform integrated change control
- Close your project
The 7 Steps Of Project Integration Management
Let us now take a look at those seven steps in detail.
1. Develop Your Project Charter
Projects generally begin with the development of a project charter. This is a short document that gives an overview of your project, while also defining the key stakeholders and the project manager. The charter lays down the foundation for further planning and developing your project. You can use it to gain stakeholder approvals and buy-ins to get the project rolling quickly.
Some of the elements in a project charter are:
- The Scope
- The Objectives
- The Budgets
- The Risks
- The Team Members
2. Develop Your Project Management Plan
You can start developing the project plan, once the project charter is ready. The project plan is more detailed than the charter and specifies different aspects of the project. It includes the scope statement, the timelines, the work breakdown structures, the schedules, the risks, the milestones, and the deliverables among others. The project plan also has the metrics on which you will be evaluating the success of the project. It further directs the management and execution of your project to achieve the objectives and requirements of the stakeholders.
3. Allocate and Manage Your Project Tasks
The third step in the project integration management process involves efficient project execution. In this step, the project manager will direct the everyday work involved in the project like taking charge of the team, holding meetings with stakeholders, and tracking progress. The project manager needs to monitor the tasks and ensure that they are accomplished according to the plan and scope statement.
4. Manage Project Knowledge
This step involves using existing information or gathering more knowledge to achieve project goals through the process known as project knowledge management. Through this step, you ensure that your team members have all the data and information that they require to achieve the desired project deliverables. It is important to note that any knowledge, data, or expertise gained during this step is invaluable to the organization in the long run. It contributes to the overall knowledge base of the organization which can be used for future endeavors or projects.
5. Track and Control Your Project Tasks
The different processes involved in project integration management are interlinked. Therefore, the project manager must track and control them to ensure that all the elements are in alignment with the project management plan. In this step, the goal is to take control of the various tasks and elements to keep the project on course. The project manager needs to identify any deviations, issues, or confusions proactively and quickly perform course corrections where necessary.
6. Perform Integrated Change Control
It is a well-known fact that changes to projects can be downright stressful, particularly if they are not managed properly. By implementing a change control process, you can reduce and even eliminate potential roadblocks and issues. Assess every change request that comes in to ensure that they don’t go beyond the scope or causes scope creep. Consider the impact of those changes on the timelines, budgets, and resources. For the success of any project, it is essential to smoothly Integrate change requests into the current project.
7. Close Your Project Successfully
Once all tasks are complete and the deliverables have been approved by your client, you can finally start closing the project. However, you cannot just shut down the project and call it a day. A proper project closure process must be followed. That involves having a final meeting with the stakeholders and performing a formal review of your project. You must also ensure that all project materials are organized and archived for future reference. Project closure allows you to use the data gained from the project to support future projects while providing insight on how you can improve your project integration management process.
Simplify Project Integration Management with Polaris PSA
Project integration management is all about bringing all project processes together for successfully completing the project. With Polaris PSA, you gain a unified platform for managing all processes, tasks, resources, and data for planning and executing your project from the bidding stage to the final delivery.
To help you gain a complete and comprehensive picture of your projects in real-time, Polaris PSA cuts across the data silos in your organization. This is made possible with configurable out-of-the-box integrations that support all leading business applications from project management and collaboration tools to accounting to ERP/CRM and more. Some examples include MS Projects, Slack, Asana, Atlassian, Workday, Salesforce, MS Dynamics, etc.
Over the years, we have solved integration problems for many of our customers in addition to providing a host of other project management benefits. See their stories below:
“In the professional services industry, time, expenses and resource data is our lifeblood to ensure we support our teams, we exceed expectations with our clients, and we grow our business. Replicon plays an intrinsic role at Xoomworks.”Read More
“We liked the modern look and feel of the latest version, and the web-based user interface makes for a better user experience. Replicon’s Professional Services team helped us to get everyone on board and up to speed”Read More
“Our accounting department has significantly simplified the coding, and subsequently the data collected, in our mandated payroll system, to rely heavily on Replicon to understand the percentage of time spent on jobs to fine-tune our service level agreements, performance measures and unit costs.”Read More
“Everyone’s time is entered there [Replicon], automatically sorted based on project, then checked for accuracy and approved by the relevant people. So, for anything that anyone wants to query regarding a project, Replicon is simple and easily accessible.”Read More
“From the onset, it’s clear that Replicon is an innovative technology company, and that it sees optimizing time as a core pillar to delivering significant value to its customers”Read More