Integration Concepts and Models

What does new product development and integration look like? One way to answer that question quickly is to look at two ways to achieve cost control.

The simplest way to control cost is to match actual spending to the spending plan, pure and simple. An accounting office might do control that way, lacking any other information or perspective. This is a classic mistake in cost control that does not integrate with work performance or value.

The integrated cost control approach, on the other hand, involves looking at cost from the standpoint of work performed and quality/value achieved, not simply in terms of costs incurred. Integrated cost control is a forward integration tool that points toward completion of the work, keys on current progress, and matches costs to quality output. Forward cost control involves looking at the variance between the work performed in project execution against what it should have cost to do that work. It also looks at the value or quality of the deliverable at any given time to ensure that the customer is getting value for the dollar spent. In other words, a good indicator of whether you are forward integrating your cost control is whether invoices for work performed are paid.

What does integration feel like? In other words, this overused term has a significant meaning in many fields, perhaps beyond its literal translation. Asking what integration feels like is not as superficial as it may sound. To explore when we have it is to explore how to get it. These indicators come to mind:

■ When there is complete integration, a project deliverable reflects in its performance and value to the customer and stakeholders all of the project requirements and components outlined for it in the project plan and work breakdown structure, along with horizontal and lateral coordination. Further, the design and performance of the product facilitate the customer's performance because they are integrated into the customer's systems.

■ When there is complete integration, all parties to a program and project— managers, team members, support people, suppliers, and customers—all are delighted with the project outcome and deliverables, and their roles in its success.

■ When there is complete integration, all costs, schedules, quality, risk factors, and changes along the way are adequately reflected in the final outcome and due dates. The learning that occurs in a program or project is integrated into the product or service through integrated change controls.

■ When there is complete integration, the professional and technical project staffs, e.g., administrative staff, support people, software engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, construction workers, who participated in defining specific components for a technical product deliverable feel they have made a significant contribution and gained new working relationships with their colleagues.

■ When there is complete integration, there are no surprises and there has been an effective blending of cost, schedule, and quality considerations along the way in the project cycle; earned value has been maximized given project developments.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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