~ By Jessie L Warner
Integration management is the project management knowledge area that includes processes that are required to ensure that all the projects components are co-ordinated correctly in order to achieve the project goals. To help you better co-ordinate and manage the various elements of the project, may I suggest four keys to integration management:
For integration management to be effective, you need to get buy-in from key stakeholders and team members. Getting buy-in from the get go will ensure that your project receives the support and funding needed for it to be successful.
To get buy-in, start by creating a project charter and a preliminary scope statement. The project charter initiates the project and includes the necessary approvals and sanctions. It gives the project manager authority to act and apply organisational resources to the project. The charter also defines the objectives and participants in a project, with the preliminary delineation of roles and responsibilities.
Along with the project charter, you will need to develop a preliminary scope statement. This is a high level definition of the project scope and defines the reasons for undertaking the initiative, the objectives and constraints of the project, directions concerning the solution, and identifies the main stakeholders. The document further defines the project's product or service, methods for approval, and tactical strategies for the change control process.
With the project charter and preliminary scope statement in hand, you have the ammunition, and most importantly, the authority to guarantee that resources are co-ordinated and scheduled in the manner and time you request.
Now that you have a project charter and the objectives of the project have been clearly defined, it is time to create a plan of attack. Start by identifying the activities needed to effectively execute, manage, and monitor the project. Project management software can really help with this step and allows you to plan and monitor the project from anywhere at anytime. The software helps you create the project timeline and tasks, allocate the required resources, and get the day-to-day status updates needed to effectively manage the project.
As you develop your plan, verify that your team is all on the same page. Make sure each team member can login to the project management software and ensure that they all know how to update their task completion status. Performing this simple step will make reporting and monitoring more accurate and timely.
One of the biggest challenges you will face in executing the project is managing people, their opinions, and the changes they request. For you to be effective, you must be willing to make tradeoffs. Everybody won't get everything they want, but the project should meet the objectives and requirements established in the project charter.
Orchestrate how the team implements the project plan and make sure they complete the work required in the Project Scope Statement. Monitor and control the project work by measuring and balancing the progress of the project. Take corrective or preventative actions as needed to assure that all objectives are being met.
Use the pre-established process for change requests and ensure that all changes go through the proper channels before they become a part of the plan. Evaluate all change requests and approve those changes that will help you meet the project objectives. Only validated and approved changes should be implemented.
Hopefully, before you ever started the project, you clearly defined what it means for the project to be complete. As you finish up, verify that all of the project activities are complete and that the final product or service meets the expectations of the client and/or stakeholders. Obtain a written approval of the project completion.
Once the project has been formally closed, it is now time to learn from your mistakes and successes. Organise a formal review meeting and hold a brainstorming session where you list all of the mistakes made during the project. Now make a list of all the things that went right. How can you learn from this experience? What are the takeaways from project and how can you prepare for these challenges in your next project? This exercise will build team camaraderie and will help you be more effective in your next project.