Wouldn’t it be great if projects managed themselves? You could head on vacation with little need to check in and make sure things are working. Unfortunately the real world doesn’t work that way, as much as I can wish for that. Projects are complex things that span many knowledge areas, and that’s why we need Project Integration Management.
Project Integration Management is the first of the knowledge areas within the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). It contains a hodgepodge of items that seems to, essentially join the project together into one coherent piece. It seems to encompass the processes that have no place in any of the specific knowledge areas.
It has the following six processes:
- Develop Project Charter
The project charter defines the project and authorizes it to proceed. It is essentially “above” the project and serves as a reference point for management when making the decision to proceed with the project. It contains a general scope statement, with basic deliverables as they are envisioned when authorizing the project.
- Develop Project Management Plan
The development of a project management plan is central to project management. Planning is highly underrated and underutilized in today’s projects, and a strong planning phase can alleviate many concerns and future project missteps. The better the project is planned, the less likely there will be problems, and the easier it is to fix the problems that do pop up.
- Direct and Manage Project Work
This process involves the basic, day to day operations of the project. The project manager must coordinate the project team and ensure the work is performed according to the project management plan. Changes to the plan are initiated and approved as required.
- Monitor and Control Project Work
During the execution of the project, tracking, reviewing, and reporting progress is integral to project management. Tracking cost and schedule variances to ensure the project stays on track and on budget are essential. The project manager must monitor the cost and schedule in order to notice the small problems before they become big problems. Progress reporting to the required stakeholders is important to minimize future problems.
- Perform Integrated Change Control
Some people say project changes are inevitable. If the project is well planned, however, changes should be minimized and stakeholders will be more understanding of the issues. Although they aren’t all bad, most changes have some sort of negative component – an added cost, deadline change, or a quality issue. The change control process involves all of the tasks required to make and document the changes to the project. The target of the changes can be schedule, cost, quality, project team, subcontractors, communications, and many others, or any combination thereof.
- Close Project or Phase
This process includes the tasks required to close the project, or phase, and finish project work. Although underrated and often underperformed, these tasks are can be highly visible to the management and executives. Make sure you finish well!