No company runs a single project at an instant nowadays unless, of course, the organization is too small-scale. But executing different projects with different types and requirements is not easy.
Even if you schedule individual projects well, your whole planning may fail if you do not sync all the projects in terms of resources, budget, and time.
Suppose, three of your projects need a single resource at an instance, but you have only a limited number of resources.
Or what if you have only one expert in a topic, but that person has to attend another requirement for you when one of your most important projects is on hold waiting for the expert!
When you are the owner or even part of a business, lack of proper planning and miscalculations like this can cost a lot of time, budget, resources, and harassment than you are okay to have. Not to mention how it will ruin your reputation and how your employees will go unsatisfied to work with you.
For times like this, it is hard to choose as the company’s interest is not the only factor here. Projects involve different stakeholders too. And it is not possible to satisfy one of them while disobeying the wish of another one.
Also, too many projects are interrelated in a company. So a project might need the output of a different project, or maybe both the department are working together for building a small part of their respective projects. If there is no room for communication, planning, and collaboration, these situations can cost considerable time and money to the company.
So project integration is a crucial part of the project management where the stakeholders, along with the company management, decide and plan, so their whole portfolio stays synced.
» What is Project Integration Management?
Project integration management is a process where the organization coordinates all the elements like tasks, resources, stakeholders to manage any kind of conflict while executing. It is a way of making various processes work together with all the diversity.
Companies have different departments, each in for a project. So these departments follow or take up different methodologies that suit their working process and goal the best. So it is hard to collaborate and coordinate all of them when necessary. From the project integration management definition, this process is invented just for that.
When a company has too many projects with many moving parts, project integration management in project management comes especially in handy. It defines critical success factors and decides all the factors beforehand, so all the departments can adjust their schedule accordingly. And they can expect no break in their work.
From the project integration management overview, the companies have to identify, combine, unify, and coordinate many processes and activities within their groups. The choices regarding resource allocation and trade-offs are the main objective of this process.
» What is the Project Integration Management process?
Organizations need to be especially careful during the process as any mistake in the integration can impact all the ongoing projects, and the entire flow might get disrupted. They follow the following 7 Project integration management steps-
1. Establish a project charter:
The first step is to gather all the primary information and create a project charter. The companies include the key stakeholders in the meeting.
But what is a project charter? It is a high-level description of the deliverables and an outline of all the goals of the current projects.
In this step, the business is starting to think of the projects. They work on the goals and the business case here. The team presents the charter as a form of a statement of work.
They assess all the agreements, process assets, and environmental factors here. The stakeholders authorize the projects and usage of the resources.
2. Preliminary project scope management:
Here, the company presents a high-level definition of the scope. The companies may include all the stakeholders in this meeting or leave the decisions to the project managers.
They decide on the primary tactics they will use in the project and even the different methodologies they will take up.
More than half of the processes from PMBOK (Project management book of knowledge) is applied here. The teams have to regularly update the documents produced in this step throughout the project lifecycles with all the latest information.
3. Project management integration:
In this step, the process is broken down and discussed thoroughly. It is all about the execution and monitoring of the plan. The way the managers will overview the day-to-day workings of the projects, the schedule, and frequency of the status meetings, and even how the team will respond to a query- are all determined here.
The integration meetings produce the details of the deliverables and the performance data. Those also update the documents as necessary and applicable.
4. Directing and managing of the execution:
In this part, the teams start working on the projects, and the managers and higher-ups work to orchestrate the teams well so they can be synchronized and well-versed with the planned schedule.
The teams inherit the knowledge bank the previous step produced and starts working on them. It gives us the registers for the lessons learned and process asset updates.
5. Monitoring and controlling of the projects:
The management overviews and analyzes the projects regularly. They decide how to measure the project progress, how often to keep the measuring and updating, and who will be in charge of the measurement.
This level produces the performance reports, and regularly updates the documents.
6. Integration change control:
Customer satisfaction is the primary goal of this phase. The teams send change requests whenever they feel necessary. The managers then analyze them, calculate and approve the changes to maximize the product impact on the market.
More often than not, the managers go for voting for deciding the factors. After they approve a change, the team members update their plan and also the relevant documents.
7. Closing of the projects:
Though the deliverables are ready by now, there are plenty of tasks before closing the projects.
The clients need to approve of the quality and other aspects of the result. The project team does a final inspection and also prepares the final document with all the details they gathered along the process for future reference. They close all the contracts they had made for the resources, and there is also insurance or bonding documentation.
Though the project teams have already achieved the goals, this part is essential for a sustainable project environment for the project integration management process group.
» What is the importance of Project Integration Management?
The advantages of Project integration management are huge for both the stakeholders and the company management. The clients also can get quality products within the speculated time for this method. Also, all the employees, as well as the company management, can be at ease as no problems are arising while having so many ongoing projects at once.
Here are the top benefits of Project integration management:
1. Coordinating and synchronization:
All the projects, and the related departments, are well versed with the overall plan, and they can schedule and work on their respective projects effectively. Even in collaborative projects, the transition phase can go smoother as the respective team members can easily pass the output of a part to another team.
2. Running smoothly:
As all the steps and the resource distribution are preplanned, there is no room to wait for request granting and everything. There is also no confusion, and the company can utilize all their resources properly too.
3. Clearly defined and distinct roles and responsibilities:
All the stakeholders have distinct roles and responsibilities for different projects, and they decide on them in a meeting before starting the projects. This system makes it easy for the stakeholders to track the progress too.
4. Monitoring progress:
The management can have a broad idea of what each of the projects will have to go through. So they can monitor those projects effectively, and they can tally the individual projects with their respective timelines.
5. Transparent decisions:
Even if some problems are to arise, the company and the stakeholders can know the exact situation of the entire portfolio and can take the necessary decisions effectively.
The meetings with the stakeholders can also ensure that each of them is getting the priority they deserve and they can be on good terms with each other and the company.
6. Performance controlling:
As the organization and the stakeholders already discuss and even agree on all the performance parameters and quality index, it becomes easy to track and check them while monitoring. It saves the cost, energy, and time for the company on the projects. And they can satisfy the clients more.
7. Aligning due dates, deliverables, project lifecycle, and benefits:
Different projects have different specifications, like benefits, deliverables, the time required, etc. But putting them on the same board and scheduling them accordingly aligns all the projects so the team members can execute all of them in their own time with the desired quality.
» How Project Integration Management Software is helpful to Project Integration Management?
Just like any other project-related process, the software can come to immense help for this one too. Project management software has dedicated parts for all the requirements you might have. Having all the applications in the same interface prevents loading data repetitively to the system, and also syncs them automatically. It is also easy to process the information and check.
The software can have different tools like Gantt chart, Kanban, or task view. These help you to see all the tasks in a visual form, and the charts that these tools display comes in handy as anyone with just some basic technical knowledge can navigate and understand the project well.
The software allows each member to operate and work in their way, so others’ work cannot be affected by them or vice versa. It boosts the productivity and efficiency of the employees, as they can work in the way they feel the most comfortable. It also improves the overall transparency of the project team.
As the software uploads the data in real-time, and the members can track that from the dashboard. The software serves as a platform to alert the members about the progress.
Whenever a member is assigned a new task, they get an email alert, so they can know about it instantly.
In the visual bars, the team can easily define the schedule of the project. It can even tag the team members responsible for a part of a project. It also shows the milestones and activities related to the respective project, along with all the timelines. The members can even attach some documents and links there. All these benefits made the usage of the software inevitable.
The project integration software is generally of two types- online and offline.
The offline software is more traditional. People need to have different licensed software for their laptops and desktop. They also need to update each software accordingly, or transferring a file is relatively difficult.
On the other hand, SaaS or software as a service is online-based, and they update the interface once someone makes a change or attaches a new file or document. This software is usually subscription-based, so the company can afford to let the employees have the software in their laptops- in case they are working from home or at a different location at a time. This system also minimizes the cost of software for a company.
For these benefits, more companies are inclined to use their software nowadays.
With so many software available now in the market, it may be intriguing to choose only one. You should search the market in that case, and find out about all the features you may need for your company, and list those features. Then tally those features and the budget you are comfortable in with the software available in that range. Then go to the review section and view the users’ response to those shortlisted software. You can also ask your peers or fellow businesses for advice or recommendation.
For your convenience, here is the list of project integration management software we have accumulated for you so you can check which one will suit you the best.
A company needs to align so many things for executing the projects well- the schedule, cost, quality, scope, risks, resources, necessary changes, and even the stakeholders. Project integration management is your one-stop solution to all these complex problems. If a company skips this process, it cannot assess the whole situation and make proper and needful decisions. It also ensures that the departments are not managing the projects in isolation.
The most important benefits of project integration management lie in creating an open communication channel where everyone can share relevant information.
To evaluate resources, make trade-offs, and deal with competing activities- the contribution of project integration management is limitless. But to execute these project integration management processes, the company need to master a handful of skills and apply them accordingly, like- communication skill, leadership, critical thinking ability, relationship management, organizational skills, etc. Apart from these soft skills, the list of required technical skills is not short, which includes data analysis, impact assessment, schedule management, risk, and change management.
But despite all the problems and requirements, this process has proven to help the companies in so many ways now and again, that makes this step impossible to avoid or skip. If you are yet to accommodate this technique in your business or master it, take this time to do that. Trust us, it will save you tons of extra effort and tension.