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 Project Integration Management – a Key to Overall Project Success | PM Tools - PM Tools

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Project Integration Management – a Key to Overall Project Success

Let’s face it, it is indeed difficult to handle an IT project. So many matters to consider like schedule to meet, budget allocation, constant inquiries from stakeholders, team to manage, constant changes, etc. Due to the complexity of an IT project, many Project Managers (PM) tend to focus on the system to build rather than at the “big picture”.

One duty of a project manager is to coordinate all of the knowledge areas throughout a project’s life cycle. These knowledge areas are: Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resource, Communications, Risk and Procurement. I shall discuss individual knowledge areas in my succeeding articles. Project Integration Management cements all these knowledge areas in such a way that the project will be a complete success. Note that Project Integration Management is not the same thing as software integration management. The former is integration on the “big picture” (or entirety of the project) while the latter is integration on the software components only.

Project Integration Management includes the processes and methods required to ensure that the various elements of the project are properly organized. Example of which is making tradeoffs among competing objectives. Project Integration Management is divides into three parts: Project Plan Development, Project Plan Execution and Integrated Change Control.

Project Plan Development is where developers plan what they will do with their IT project. Apart from planning the entirety of the project, developers also consider other important aspects [of the project], like: Historical information, Organizational policies, and Constraints and Assumptions. The result of excellent planning is the creation of a Project (Development) Plan. This plan is used as a main document that serves as guide and blue print in project execution and project control. This document coordinates all project planning documents and assists the PM in leading the project team and assessing the project’s status. See Project Development Plan: the First Guide in Building an IT System.

Project Plan Execution is the primary process for carrying out the project plan and this is the area where the project’s budget and time is spent more. The application area or the project affects project execution because the products are produced during execution. The result of excellent planning – Project Plan – serves as input to Project Plan Execution. That is, Project Plan Execution is dependent on the result of excellent project planning, excellent creation of a project plan. Apart from this document, developers must also consider other important aspects at this stage like: Organized policies, Preventive action and Corrective action. The results of executing the Project Plan are Work Results and Change Requests. By executing the plan, results are recorded; however changes (proposed or brought about by the circumstances) cannot be avoided especially if these changes benefit the project. Here are a few samples of the tools and techniques used during project plan execution: (1) Work Authorization System – a method used to ensure that people do perform their tasks, (2) Status Review Meetings – regular and scheduled meetings where the project team discusses all things related to the project, and (3) Project Management Software – a software used in assisting a team in managing their projects.

Integrated Change Control is concerned with: (1) controlling factors that create changes to ensure that changes are agreed upon by all stakeholders, (2) determining that a change has indeed occurred, and (3) managing the actual changes when they occur. During Project Plan Execution, performance reports and change requests are gathered also. Change Request is a kind of document where all proposed changes affecting the system being built are listed and described. After the changes have been studied, corrective actions will be implemented and lessons are absorbed.

Change Control System is a process that describes how official project documents and work may be changed. The process describes the personnel who can make changes. Also, the process includes a change control board (CCB), configuration management, and a process for relaying the changes. The CCB is a group of people tasked to approve or reject changes on a project. They provide guidelines and documents for change requests, evaluate then and supervise how these changes are to be implemented.

Configuration management makes sure that all products (e.g. required documents) and their descriptions are correct and complete. Configuration management personnel identify and document configuration requirements, control changes, record and manage changes, and check the products to verify conformance to requirements.




The author of this article is Paulita C. Lobrin from Iloilo, Philippines.
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