The final integration is the alignment with customer expectations and systems, leading to a "perfect storm" of timing and performance with the customer's processes. This integration can be accomplished by keeping the customer involved and engaged throughout the project life cycle.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) standard for project integration has fundamentally changed from its early form—a narrow focus on project-only issues—to a broader treatment, published in 2005, of project integration from an organization-wide, global view. Project integration is now a project management knowledge area that includes the processes and activities needed to identify, define, combine, unify, and coordinate the various processes and project management activities within the project management groups, such as, initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing. In the project management context, integration includes the characteristics of unification, consolidation, articulation, and integrative actions that are crucial to project completion, successfully meeting customer and other stakeholder requirements, and managing expectations. Integration, in the context of managing a project, is making choices about where to concentrate resources and effort on any given day, anticipating potential issues, dealing with these issues before they become critical, and coordinating work for the overall good of the project. The integration effort also involves making trade-offs among competing objectives and alternatives.
What this means in simple terms is that integration has become the essential pulling together of project and organizational systems and processes for a multiproject, portfolio approach to project management. Integration is essentially the major function of program management, running several projects simultaneously and using all the support systems of the organization.
Integration brings together all of the PMBOK processes, including cost management, time management, and risk management. These processes interact to provide opportunities for tradeoffs between schedule, cost, and performance of the deliverable. The deliverable should reflect the benefits of integration - the most cost-effective product possible, within resource and time constraints, that meets or exceeds customer expectations.
Most experienced project practitioners know that there is no single way to manage a project. They apply project management knowledge, skills, and processes in different orders and degrees of rigor to achieve the desired project performance. However, the perception that a particular process is not required, e.g. cost, does not mean that it should not be addressed. The project manager and project team must address every process, and the level of implementation for each process must be determined for each specific project.
Some integrative activities performed by the project management team include:
■ Analyze and understand the scope. This includes the project and product requirements, criteria, assumptions, constraints, and other influences related to a project, and how each will be managed or addressed within the project.
■ Document specific tradeoffs inherent in product requirements.
■ Understand how to take the identified information and transform it into a project management plan using the planning process group described in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide.
■ Prepare the work breakdown structure (WBS).
■ Take appropriate action to have the project performed in accordance with the project management plan, the planned set of integrated processes, and the planned scope.
■ Measure and monitor project status, processes, and products.
■ Analyze project risks.
PMBOK assumes separate "process groups," linked at various points, or "gates," in the project. The planning process group provides the executive process group with a documented project management plan early in the project and then facilitates updates to the project management plan if changes occur as the project progresses.
Integration is primarily concerned with effectively integrating the processes among the project management process groups that are required to accomplish project objectives within an organization's defined procedures. Figure 1.3 provides an overview of the major project management integrative processes. Figure 1.3 provides a process flow diagram of those processes and their inputs, outputs, and other related knowledge area processes. The integrative project management processes include the following steps:
a. Develop project charter. Developing the project charter that formally authorizes a project or a project phase.
b. Develop preliminary project scope statement. Developing the preliminary project scope statement that provides high-level scope narrative.
c. Develop project management plan. Documenting the actions necessary to define, prepare, integrate, and coordinate all subsidiary plans into a project management plan.
d. Direct and manage project execution. Executing the work defined in the project management plan to achieve the project's requirements defined in the project scope statement.
e. Monitor and control project work. Monitoring and controlling the processes used to initiate, plan, execute, and close a project to meet performance objectives defined in the project management plan.
f. Integrated change control. Reviewing all change requests, approving changes, and controlling changes to the deliverables and organizational process assets.
g. Close project. Finalizing all activities across all the project management process groups to formally close the project or a project phase.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.