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What Is Project Integration Management

Project integration management is the coordination of all elements of a project. This includes coordinating tasks, resources, stakeholders, and any other project elements, in addition to managing conflicts between different aspects of a project, making trade-offs between competing requests and evaluating resources. One example would be if a project is not on track, you may need to decide between going over budget or finishing the project late in order to complete it. Assessing the situation and making the decision is a key part of project integration management.Integrated project management helps ensure projects are not managed in isolation. It takes into account not only how aspects of your project relate to each other but also how other parts of the organization relate to your project.Project integration management is one of the ten key knowledge areas in the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge). It’s considered a critical success factor for project managers and their projects.

Why is project integration management so important?

Projects are complex, with a lot of different parts that need to be managed. For example, a project manager needs to oversee all of the following:

  • Schedule
  • Cost
  • Scope
  • Quality
  • Resources
  • Risks
  • Changes
  • Stakeholders

Keeping track of everything and knowing how one impacts the others can be very challenging. However, if it is not done properly, it can lead to project failure. For example, if you don’t understand how a scope change will impact your schedule, costs, and resource requirements, then how do you manage the change? It increases the chances that you won’t have people you need, go over budget, deliver your project late, or all three. To make things even more complex, decisions about your project can impact other projects and other areas of the business. For example, what if you suddenly need a software developer to work on your project another month? Without integration management throughout the organization, it can be hard to see how this impacts the business.Is that resource supposed to be on another project at the same time? Is he or she supposed to be covering someone’s vacation during that period? Without integration management, it’s difficult to identify conflicts in advance and know how to resolve them.

7 processes of project integration management

Seven processes should be followed for successful project integration management.These processes are:

  1. Develop the project charter
  2. Develop the project management plan
  3. Direct and manage project work
  4. Manage project knowledge
  5. Monitor and control project work
  6. Perform integrated change control
  7. Close the project (or project phase)

These integration management processes occur throughout the entire project lifecycle. In other words, at least one of these seven processes falls within each of the five standard phases of a project. This is because managing project integration is an ongoing task that needs to continually happen throughout a project. 

The ‘manage project knowledge’ step is a new addition to the PMBOK as of the 6th edition, released in September 2017. It was added to call out the importance of using information and knowledge to make well-informed decisions. Doing a thorough analysis to understand the impacts of decisions across the whole project is a key step to project success. How to succeed at project integration management

Because integration management requires the ability to evaluate resources, making trade-offs and dealing with competing activities, project managers need to have a combination of soft skills and hard skills. These include the following:

  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Relationship management
  • Critical thinking ability
  • Data analysis
  • Impact assessments
  • Scheduling
  • Budgeting
  • Change management
  • Risk management

It’s important to build open communication channels with the project team and stakeholders to help ensure information is shared, and proper impact assessments are done to identify points of integration or dependencies. The ability to use integration management software or tools can also increase your project’s chances of success. This is because you can use systems to help you identify integration points and conflicts.

Further Reading