Even someone remotely associated with project management knows how projects encompass multiple departments, tools, and other activities. With so many moving parts, it’s important to keep everyone on the same page and synchronize everything for an efficient and effective project.
The activities performed to achieve that synchronization during the project life cycle are essential for success in the modern project environment. PMI describes these activities as project integration management and considers it an important knowledge area that is essential for any project’s success.
The importance of project integration management in an organization
Projects don’t exist in a vacuum. All the important project activities are interrelated and require you to keep an eye on the bigger picture. Project managers and organizations deal with multiple projects simultaneously and often have shared resources. With the right project integration strategy, managers can understand how one aspect of a project affects other projects and the entire organization on the whole.
That’s not all. An effective project integration management strategy also allows you to give direction to your team and streamline all your processes. Resource allocation and effective project collaboration are among the primary requirements for project success and they are not possible without organizational efficiency.
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6 key steps in project integration management
Project integration management is not limited to a single phase. It continues throughout the project lifecycle and allows you to plan and implement a holistic strategy. Six crucial steps for project integration management can help you coordinate and control your project’s activity for a greater likelihood of success. Those six key steps are listed below:
1. Project charter
The project charter is the formal go-ahead that kicks off any project from its initiation phase. It contains all the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders, SMART project objectives, and all the other information you and your team need to proceed with.
2. Project management plan
Having an actual plan of approach is necessary for integration management. This master project plan acts as the holy grail for a project and determines all the deliverables, their deadlines, important milestones, and the criteria for success. The project management plan also contains the execution strategy for projects.
Managers also divide their overall projects into smaller, bite-sized activities for better management and project tracking. For this, sprints, user stories, work breakdown structures, and other similar approaches are commonly used. Another important element for any project management plan is an extensive resource allocation structure. The project plan gives people the insight to forecast and predict the demand for resources.
You can also prepare your team members and give them the project management skillset they might need in the later stages of a project. This would allow you to minimize delays and additional costs due to the last-minute hiring of a new member with the right skills.
3 – Project execution
The project execution phase typically consumes the majority of resources allocated during the project and maintaining efficiency and collaboration at this time is integral. As a manager, you are responsible for ensuring that everything goes according to plan and is within the specified budget.
Project execution is a dynamic phase where you are constantly required to keep an eye on things, keep project stakeholders in the loop, facilitate team members, and update the original plan according to the given situation. This constant back and forth is overwhelming and requires effective collaboration.
All relevant parties need to be aware of the current project progress, possible risks, contingencies, and the next step for the project team.
4 – Monitoring and controlling the work
Another important part of any project manager’s job is to keep an eye on project progress and rectify any deviation from the original project plan.
Establishing clear approval processes and protocols from the early stages of a project allows you to maintain quality standards of the final deliverable and keep everything under control. Problems like cost overruns and project delays usually occur when team members proceed without a clear plan.
5 – Integrated change control
Change requests are a common part of a project. Client requirements and expectations change throughout a project as new information comes to light. While change requests are expected, too many of them can create problems for the project. You’ll also have to consider the effects of a certain change on your organization’s operations and the other projects you are managing.
6 – Project closure
Project closure is the last phase of the project lifecycle that takes place after the final delivery of all the client requirements. Projects are a learning activity of the organization and the manager needs to review the team’s performance and identify strengths, weaknesses, and other challenges.
Another aspect that needs to be finalized in this phase is your project’s documentation. These documents act as an archive of the entire project and maintain a record of how all processes interacted. The documentation is also an excellent reference for your organization. It allows you and others to learn from the experience and iteratively improve performance.
How does Kissflow Project help everyone stay integrated?
Managing so many integration aspects while ensuring that a project proceeds smoothly can be an overwhelming job. Free project management tools like Kissflow Project can reduce the overall burden on your shoulder and help you manage things more efficiently.
Kissflow Project is a powerful project management tool that comes with enhanced reporting capabilities and intuitive visualizing tools that make it easier for you to plan and monitor your progress. You can also share your plans, collaborate with your team in real-time, and send automated reminders to relevant members.
That’s not all! Kissflow Project also allows you to centralize all your resources, keep track of all communications, and focus on the bigger picture. Also, Kissflow Project has pre-made templates for many use cases. In essence, Kissflow Project considerably eases and makes intuitive project management.
An integrated management approach that maximizes productivity and uses all the available resources as efficiently as possible is necessary for success. The modern business environment is extremely competitive with every player trying its best to gain market share. In this situation, reducing your costs while maintaining service standards is the most sustainable way of remaining on top.
A project manager’s work (whether they are official or unofficial) is not limited to simply planning and controlling projects. The position demands you consider all the effects of your decision on all your projects, and the organization on the whole. Through an integrated approach, you can completely streamline your project processes and significantly increase the likelihood of success.
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