Projects are complex undertakings that span many knowledge areas. Most projects require technical knowledge greater than the host organization’s level of expertise. Additionally, project management itself is a profession with its own knowledge base. For these reasons, 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 items that seem to, essentially join the project together into one coherent piece.
It contains the following 7 processes:
- Develop Project Charter
The project charter is a document formed on the organizational level (i.e. above the project) which formally authorizes the project. It contains information such as project authority, funding, and a basic project scope as envisioned by the organization.
- 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
During the project, the project manager must be the team leader and ensure that project work is performed according to the project management plan. Leadership and motivation are key traits of the project manager, as are strong visions for what the success of the project looks like.
- Manage Project Knowledge
All projects require a knowledge bank to perform their work. The project inherits a knowledge base from its team – project manager and project team. Most projects require some additional knowledge to complete the project successfully, which requires deliberate knowledge management on the part of the project manager. Finally, at the conclusion of the project the knowledge gained needs to be passed back to the organization or it will be lost.
- Monitor and Control Project Work
This process includes the tasks and activities necessary to track and review project progress. Earned value management is employed to provide early warning of project deviation from the plan, and ensure decisions are made to get projects on track. Progress reporting should be standard on most projects, and stakeholders should get regular updates according to their needs.
- Perform Integrated Change Control
Project changes are the norm, rather than the exception, in most industries. Changes to the project management plan (i.e. schedule, cost, quality) should be documented and the project management plan should be updated. The changes should be communicated to the necessary stakeholders to manage their expectations. 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!