Yep, that’s right — more professional jargon to get your head around.
It’s a pain, we know.
But don’t worry, we’re here to break it down and help you understand the basics.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a good understanding of what project integration management is and how to get yourself started with the process.
What is project integration management?Project integration management is a way of coordinating all the many elements of a project. It’s like the conductor who ensures everyone in the orchestra plays in harmony—without it, you get a dreadful racket that just doesn’t sound right (and on your business’ bottom line).
Project integration management involves organizing tasks, working with stakeholders, coordinating resources, and juggling priorities so that everyone and everything works in concert to complete the project at hand.
Examples of project integration management
Suppose that a project requires documents from three different departments. They’re all going to the same end client so they must be consistent in tone, style, and format.
This is where integration management comes into play.
Without it, how on earth will you ensure there’s consistency between project deliverables done by different people or departments?
An integration process is what you use to make sure your client feels like they’re getting products or services from one cohesive company, rather than a bunch of unique individuals.
In this case, the integration could include software that helps everyone format the document correctly, a standard process for them to follow, a client style guide, and one reviewer.
What are the processes involved in project integration management in 2021?
As you might have guessed, there’s a lot of work involved in project integration management.
To keep it as straightforward as possible, we’ve outlined the 7 project processes involved in integrated project management:
1) Create the project charter
To put it simply, a project charter gives an overview of the project in its entirety.
It’s a short project document (a page or two) outlining the who, what, when, and why at a high-level. It can include:
- Business case (why)
- Project scope statement (what)
- Project baseline (when)
- Project sponsor (who)
- Project team (who)
It can also include other stakeholders, project objectives, assumptions, potential risks, and a general budget.
It’s like your executive summary of the project — The point is to capture and communicate key details early on so everyone who’s invested in the project is starting from the same page.
But, why is the project charter the launching off point for project integration management?
Here’s the 2 main reasons:
- The charter helps pinpoint what parts of the project need to be integrated (and whether cross-functional collaboration might be needed).
- It gives you an opportunity to spot any potential integration problems before the work has even begun.
2) Develop a project plan
Integrated project management requires a lot of organization — and that’s where your project plan comes in.
The project management plan takes high-level information from the project charter and breaks it down into detailed project activities and actionable steps people can follow.
The plan should be clear and concise about what needs to happen and when, and should clearly outline all the integrations that need to happen throughout the project.
Using project management software is a great way to clearly outline the integrations in the project plan. Notes and instructions can be added to specific tasks, and everyone involved in a certain task will have visibility of what’s required.
3) Direct and manage the work
This stage covers the day-to-day tasks of executing the project.
As we all know, unexpected challenges often crop up and destroy our dreams of a smooth journey. A bit dramatic maybe, but you know what we mean.
Part of project integration management requires you considering what integrations might be necessary to overcome hurdles.
Setting up Zoom calls to keep teams communicating, making important project files shareable, and keeping everyone on top of project changes are just a few integrations that happen during this stage.
A project tracker can help keep everyone on top of project integrations and work that needs to be tackled in sync.
4) Manage project knowledge
Ah project knowledge, what a vague term…
Despite academics’ love of fancy language, all this really means is handling the project information.
This knowledge area part of the integration process is all about ensuring everyone knows what they need to know, when they need to know it.
How will you make sure people have the right version of product requirements? How are you going to keep them all in the loop about risk progress, progress, and client feedback? Where are you going to store vital information like test results?
If you don’t have a way to manage documents you’re asking for misunderstandings and people working off of the wrong information.
We like to use our project documentation template to keep all this important info in one easy-to-access location.
5) Monitor and control the project
When the project is in the swing of things, you need a way to make sure the integrations you planned are actually working — That’s what the project control process is all about.
When you’re checking your reports and dashboards to look for delays, bottlenecks, and issues, you’re essentially monitoring and controlling the project.
For project integration, this stage doesn’t just mean checking on progress though. It’s about looking for integration problems. Are team members talking to each other? Do deliverables feel cohesive?
Using a feedback tracker is a great way to log and track team and client feedback and pinpoint any integration areas that need your attention.
6) Carry out integrated change control
Integrated change control is the process of finding, reviewing, and managing any changes throughout the project. This part of the process ensures that any requests for change are reviewed and approved changes are carried out.
The best way to keep on top of any changes is by implementing a change request form. It provides everyone with a structured way to ask for changes.
So, instead of having to deal with various calls, emails, and face-to-face conversations, all change requests are sent through one platform.
Then, you can deal with the requests in one place and review if and how integration is needed.
Integrated change control is really important. Without a solid integrated change control process, you might find yourself struggling with scope creep which we’re sure you’d rather avoid.
A PwC report has found that a lack of change management is one of the main reasons that projects fail to deliver. To avoid this being one of your problems, make sure you have a solid process in place.
7) Close project
You’ve made it to the finish line! The project goals and deliverables have been achieved, so your project management activities are done… right?
Unfortunately not. The project integration management process isn’t quite done.
At the end of the project or phase, you’ll need to conduct a post-project review.
This gives you a chance to reflect on the successes and failures of the project and talk about how you can make integrations better next time.
The project completion phase is also where you wrap up any integration-related stuff, like canceling recurring meetings and archiving change documents.
Using work management software for project integration management
According to IPMA, 71% of organizations are using project management software. Quite a high percentage, wouldn’t you agree?
But how exactly can work management software help with project integration management?
If you’re looking for a way to use integration management in your project, you need a platform that can provide you with instant visibility of what’s going on in the project, so you can pinpoint where integrations are needed and oversee them.
Work management software provides all the project information in one place.
It’s easy to see what’s been done, what’s being worked on, and what’s fallen behind — super useful if you want to see whether any tasks need some kind of integration to be completed.
Not to mention, you’re able to add notes, comments, and information to specific tasks so everyone knows what needs to happen.
If you need a way to improve a task or process within your current system, using a platform like monday.com can help.
Software is also helpful when it comes to the post-project review. Everything that happened in the project is stored in the central digital workspace, so you can easily look back at what went well and what didn’t.
Optimize your project integration management easily
You now know what project integration management is, how to use it, and how work management software can make the process a bit easier. But what next?
We’ve got tons of templates to help get your next project off on the right foot, including ones to help you map out your planning process and monitor your integration tracking.
Why not start with this project proposal template to build out your project charter?