Projects are becoming increasingly complex. Managing the many aspects of these projects can feel overwhelming. However, the emergence of the project integration management process can help take away the overwhelm.
Project integration management allows the different aspects of a complex project to align and create the harmony needed to deliver the expected project outcome.
You can implement a successful project strategy starting today by understanding project integration management and its steps.
What Is Project Integration Management?
Project integration management involves coordinating all project elements, including assigning and managing tasks, tracking resources, engaging stakeholders, and handling requests.
This process also involves managing the five project management phases (initiation, planning, execution, performance, and closure) during the project lifecycle.
Project integration management aims to ensure that processes run efficiently and meet predefined goals. It prevents project managers from managing projects in isolation by considering how aspects of a project and other parts of the organization relate to each other.
Project integration management is part of the ten key knowledge areas in the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge) and forms a firm ground for project success.
The 7 Steps of Project Integration Management
Project integration management follows seven processes to strategize and execute a project effectively.
Let’s break them down.
Step #1: Create a project charter
The first step of the project integration management process is to create a project charter. This is a brief document used in the initiation phase to formally authorize the project’s existence.
The project charter is a critical element that describes the whole project in brief and contains the following:
- Objectives and deliverables
- Project team members
- Project risks
- Benefits or returns on investment
- Business case
A project manager can use the charter to gain stakeholders’ buy-in, enabling them to move forward with the project scope faster.
Step #2: Develop the project management plan
Once you create a project charter, the next step is developing a more detailed project plan. The project plan specifies:
- Project scope statement
- Metrics to evaluate success.
Once project sponsors approve this plan, it becomes the official document that communicates to stakeholders their expectations and how to meet these expectations.
Step #3: Direct and manage project work
The third step is project execution. Here, the project manager takes charge of the day-to-day work and ensures tasks are executed effectively according to the project scope statement and plan.
Step #4: Manage project knowledge
This step involves using existing information or obtaining additional knowledge to reach project goals.
Managing project knowledge is essential because it ensures team members have all the information they need to deliver the agreed-upon deliverables. Additionally, any new knowledge gained during this step can be stored and used for future strategic endeavors.
Step #5: Monitor and control project work
This step aims to keep the project on track to meet objectives. By monitoring and controlling project work, the project manager gains clarity on the project status. They can also make necessary strategies to help the project stick to the schedule.
Project managers need to be proactive in making corrections and crucial measures to eliminate bottlenecks that can threaten the project’s overall success.
Step #6: Perform integrated change control
In this step, project managers ensure that any change request is reviewed and considered according to the project’s agreed-upon goals.
A change control process helps you handle changes properly and ensure that they don’t affect the course of the project or cause scope creep.
Step #7: Close the project
This is the last process in project integration management after completing all project tasks and activities, delivering the outcome to customers, and receiving their approval.
- Project closure involves:
- Holding a final stakeholder meeting
- Conducting a formal review of the project
- Closing the contract
- Organizing and archiving project materials for future use
Though often overlooked, this step is essential as it provides insight into improving the project integration management system for future success.
Why Is Project Integration Management so Critical?
Your organization can gain many benefits from implementing integrated project management, including:
1. A coordinated project lifecycle
The seven steps of project integration management give your project direction and improve coordination between project teams and the organization. It ensures that processes flow quickly and efficiently throughout the project.
2. Smooth project completion
Proper integration management enables teams to complete project activities without confusion due to adequate coordination and synchronization.
3. Project progress update
Integration management enables the project manager to measure and monitor the project’s progress throughout its lifetime. Managers can then share their findings with all the stakeholders to ensure everyone stays on the same page.
4. Easier and faster decision-making
The structured coordination between project elements, such as assigning and tracking tasks and handling change requests, enables project managers to make decisions faster.
5. Improved accountability
Consistent communication between the project manager, their teams, and relevant stakeholders is at the core of integrated project management. This continuous communication keeps everyone abreast of the project’s progress, keeping them accountable throughout the project’s life.
6. Reduced time overruns
With integrated project management, project managers can proactively deal with overlapping schedules and make the most out of the available resources. This enables the manager and their team to work as efficiently as possible.
Project managers can also correctly utilize their resources and ensure none is overburdened or underworked, drastically reducing idle time. This improves productivity and helps the project to remain on course.
Implement Project Integration Management with Powerful Software
From basic task management and project planning to complex resource management and reporting, a robust project management software like Mission Control makes integration management a reality.
The software can help project teams optimize collaboration and increase work velocity—resulting in more efficiency and productivity.
With its wide range of complex yet easy-to-use features, Mission Control can simplify all elements of your project management, including planning, managing, and reporting.
You can use the interactive Gantt chart or Kanban to lay out all the project tasks and assign them to appropriate team members. This will allow project managers to get a 360 degrees view of their project status and identify bottlenecks in a timely fashion.
Other features that will help implement project integration management include:
- Launch pad to build and clone project plans.
- Timesheets to track and monitor tasks.
- Role utilization to monitor resource capacity.
- Risk log to identify and manage potential risks.
- Chatter Feed for communication and collaboration.
Request a demo for a real-time view of how Mission Control can help you implement project integration management.