Project Integration Management

integration

Imagine the project manager flying over a project everyday a thousand feet in the air and keeping an eye on how everything is progressing. That’s what Project Integration Management basically is, the project manager keeping a close eye on the project, getting a bird’s eye view of the entire project on a regular basis and check whether everything is going according to plan. The project manager must make sure that all the boats are rowing in the right direction. It is the duty of the the project manager to ensure that the barriers (levies, dikes, and dams) are all holding properly, otherwise a flood could break down the barriers and ruin the project.

The project manager is expected to be the pilot in command, the eye in the sky if you will, the person who keeps the project moving forward according to plan. It is the project manager’s job to provide a clear direction and support to the stakeholders while keeping everyone focused on the achievement of the project objectives. It is also important to report the progress and overall status of the project accurately and in a timely way so that adjustments can be made if necessary. This aspect of Project management falls under the scope of Project Integration Management.

Good integration management also depends upon the project team. Is the team fully staffed, do they possess the necessary skills, are they at the right place at the right time? Do they have all the information, tools, and support required to manage their part of the project? Are the team members clear on the goals and objectives of the project? Do they play well with each other? How productive are they? These are some of the questions a project manager needs to ask himself and address if he wants to effectively manage project integration across the whole project.

The Project Manager must effectively handle the inter dependencies between individuals and groups to ensure a smooth flight while traveling through a project’s life cycle and the different knowledge areas. Integration management not only involves taking decisions related to resource allocation, but its also about making tradeoffs among competing objectives and alternatives in order to solve problems and address minor issues before they turn into bigger problems.

If the Project Manager looks at the details of the project too closely, he will not be able to see the bigger picture beyond the project itself. He needs to think strategically (from start to finish) and look at the whole project, not just the parts and pieces. This is where Project Integration Management comes into play and if done correctly, it can help immensely in ensuring the success of the project.

Project Integration Management according to PMI

Project Integration Management was introduced in the 2000 version of the PMBOK. It is the first knowledge area in the PMBOK (Chapter 4) and perhaps the most important one in that it crosses all five process groups. It sets the overall tone of how the project will be managed.

PMI states that Project Integration Management includes the processes and activities needed to identify, define, combine, unify, and coordinate the various processes and activities with the project management process groups.