Category: Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam using A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

PMP Training: Project Integration Management Overview - Part 2

PMP® Exam Prep: Project Integration Management Overview - Part 2

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"Project Integration Management. Project Integration Management includes the processes and activities to identify, define, combine, unify, and coordinate the various processes and project management activities within the Project Management Process Groups."

This definition is taken from the Glossary of Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) - Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017.

This lesson is an overview of the Project Integration Management Knowledge area. We look at why we have it, what we do and the concepts you must know for your PMP exam. In particular, we learn about the integrative nature of project management and the processes in this Knowledge Area.

Until Next Time,

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC


Please note that the transcript is provided for promotional purposes only. Transcripts are not provided for other PrepCast lessons.

[00:00] [Introduction]

Hello, and welcome to this free lesson from The Project Management PrepCast™. I am Cornelius Fichtner and I am your lead instructor. Thank you for your interest in our Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam training course.

The PM PrepCast™ gives you the standout factor that you need to succeed on your PMP® exam and makes the skills, knowledge, tools and techniques required for passing seem like second nature. You learn by watching video-based lessons to study what you need for your exam. You’ll get over 150 lessons that all have one goal.

We want you to not only understand but master the concepts. In this way your in depth knowledge of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is going to be a substantial advantage on your exam day.

So smile! You’ve got this. Find out more at www.pm-prepcast.com.

And now, on with the show.

[01:04] Two-Part Presentation

Hello and welcome back to Part 2 of the Project Integration Management over your lesson here on The Project Management PrepCast™ where we help you piece together what you need to know for your PMP or CAPM® Exam. I am your instructor, Cornelius Fichtner.

If you recall in Part 1, we went through an overview of the Project Integration Management knowledge area, and its processes and we discussed a few of the key concepts.

Here in Part 2, we are going to further elaborate on key concepts and then we move on to trends and emerging practices tailoring considerations, as well as Agile and adaptive perspectives.

[01:44] Key Concepts

So some more key concepts. We already mentioned or alluded to some of these in Part 1 of this overview. Project Integration Management involves orchestration of project processes and activities. Integration involves identifying, combining, unifying, consolidating, communicating and coordinating various processes and project management activities. It means managing interrelationships and interdependencies among the project management knowledge areas.

Integration is not a one-and-done activity. Project managers need to oversee integration from start to finish of the project, and at many times have to repeat the same process. Integration is not an easy job but a necessary one on a project.

[02:37] Decisions

Integration involves choices and decisions. Some perhaps are easy and straightforward but others may not be quite as simple. In resources allocation, we as project managers have to make decisions on assigning people to tasks and using people effectively. For example, you have to decide how to allocate project team members and you may have to revisit these decisions almost daily.

When balancing, competing demands for the limited resources, be that money, people, tools or recruitment, we need to make decisions about priorities. We cannot make decisions in isolation. The allocation must be balanced and appropriate to competing demands and goals across the organization.

As integration management has a bird’s eye view of all the other processes, it involves examining alternative options on a project especially as they may mean prioritizing and compromising among competing constraints.

For instance, there may be competing objectives on the project. One objective might be integrating the latest technology into the result while another is a highly aggressive deadline. You need to decide how much of this new technology can truly be integrated based on the available schedule.

As projects are unique, it is rare that we can completely reuse tailoring from one project to another. We have to determine to what depth we go with each process, what level of detail we need, how heavy or light and how strict the process is. The PMBOK® Guide does not tell you how to manage this balancing act. However, mastering the PMBOK® Guide helps you gain confidence in your craft.

[04:31] Considerations

With all those choices, we want a combination that aligns our stakeholder’s expectations and requirements with our project’s due dates. You have internal milestones within your project. Other stakeholders and the environment in which you operate also have dates you have to consider. For example if you want to get human resources via college recruiting, which is handled by your HR Department, you need to make sure that the HR Department conducts college recruiting within your project’s time constraints at colleges where prospective employees will fit in to your budget.

How we integrate processes has to apply and be appropriate for the project life cycle. For example, integration has to be handled differently on a predictive versus an adaptive or change-driven project life cycle, specifically how we handle changes in requirements and the frequency in which we release products to name but two examples.

Finally, integration must support our benefits realization plan. When we integrate, we have to think of how we can identify, sustain and support benefits. For example as we develop the charter or close the project or phase, we should ask ourselves and make sure that we effectively managed the benefits realization aspects and considered how to integrate benefits management into our activities, communications, plans, dates and so on. These benefits realization plan is covered in more detail in another lesson but we must consider how we create, maximize and sustain the benefits provided by the project.

[06:16] Activities

Other activities of integration include measuring and monitoring progress and actions. Project Integration Management monitors or controls everything that is going on in your project. And if something isn’t going to plan then you take corrective action or proactive action to bring actual project results back into alignment with the plan.

Integration also includes communicating with stakeholders. It would be difficult to unify and coordinate without communication. The project manager must collect, analyze and communicate project information to relevant stakeholders.

In addition, we need to manage phase transitions. A phase may occur in parallel with another phase. For example you as the project manager may have to be completing tasks in the first phase while you are already initiating tasks for the second phase.

Finally, integration has to complete project work and formally close each phase, contract and project. As we said, integration covers start to finish on the project. To say our work is done, we must formally confirm with other stakeholders that all the work is truly complete and close out the contracts and hand over the deliverables.

[07:39] Nature of Projects

When we consider integration and project management, we must understand the nature of projects. Projects do not exist in isolation. Therefore project management is integrative by nature. You integrate and need to interact within and outside of the projects.

Projects involve more than one knowledge area. Integration is the so-called glue or connective tissue across all the parts of the project. It is also the balancing factor in the process groups and knowledge areas, which means that in integration, you have to involve others in the project.

Also processes are iterative. Therefore, as some aspects of integration are ongoing, integration steps may also be repetitive.

[08:32] Trends and Emerging Practices

Alright and that’s it for all the key aspects that we wanted to look at. We’re moving on, the PMBOK® Guide highlight some trends and emerging practices in Project Integration Management. And they include use of automated tools, use of visual management tools, project knowledge management, expanding the project manager’s responsibilities and hybrid methodologies. These trends and emerging practices reflect not only a reliance on more advanced technology but also a change in best practices and processes.

[09:12] Automated Tools

Automated tools are geared towards making the project manager’s job easier by automating time-consuming tasks. Tools such as project management information systems are used to gather, integrate and disseminate the outputs of project management processes.

For example many PMIS tools include function such as project planning and scheduling, team collaboration, workflow management, task management, cost and budget tracking, as well as time tracking and reporting. This list is by no means comprehensive. Even as these automated tools aid the team, they also come with strings attached. You need to learn about these tools and implement and integrate them into your project.

[09:59] Visual Management Tools

The second trend and emerging practices are visual management tools that are becoming more common in order to ensure different generations and cultures are coordinated and on the same page. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. In order to integrate the processes, it is useful for us to manage what the team, maybe your sponsor, senior management and other stakeholders see.

For example projects can use several types of charts, paper, posters, electronic displays or the like as visual tools since they are easy and convenient to view. These types of tools help to capture and share project information with the team and other stakeholders. The information should be relevant, up to date and presented in a manner that is simple and easy to understand. To that end, a visual management tool often contains, not only text, but also images, graphs and metrics. Visual management tools help to promote awareness. They can also be useful in seeing trends and in making decisions.

[11:07] Knowledge Management

Knowledge management itself is not new yet it is still considered a trend and emerging practice. It has always been on projects but it was assumed to be there in the background or sidelines. It has always been implied and assumed that you will learn, retain, document and pass on the knowledge.

Now, knowledge management is taking center stage by calling it out and designation it as a process. PMI is stressing how integral it is to a project’s success. It is important to plan knowledge management explicitly to call out best practices and define tools and techniques that are specific to knowledge management, particularly when stakeholders, teams or roles change. Project knowledge management is critical. It is evermore important to capture, retain and transfer knowledge effectively and efficiently.

[12:05] The Project Manager

The expectation and scope of a project manager’s responsibility and what they need to know to be effective is ever increasing and expanding. It is the fourth out of five of our trends and emerging practices here.

Essentially, the project manager is expected to know more. For example, they need to know a little bit more about operations, accounting and legal matters. They need to know more about the market or the technology. We are not saying that you as a project manager have to become an expert in everything but we need to be able to speak with people who are experts.

However, project managers do more by way of interfacing with the project stakeholders such as the project sponsor, senior management and other functional and operational areas within the organization. Project managers need to be more knowledgeable and understand the implications of what others do as they collaborate, communicate and interact with these stakeholders.

[13:11] Hybrid Methodologies

Here is the last of our five trends and emerging practices --- Hybrid Methodologies. In line with the tailoring of the processes that are described in the PMBOK® Guide, projects can opt to use hybrid methodologies. In other words, the project manager can apply and combine practices that work best for the current project.

Depending on the type of project, it may work well to find it best to use specific Agile or Lean methods, business analysis, change management or other practices and techniques that work well for the industry area or discipline. We remind you to exercise care when combining methodologies. Although it may be your intention to get the best of both worlds by opting for a hybrid methodology, if it is used ineffectively, you may end up with neither methodology’s benefits.

[14:11] Tailoring

We have touched upon many tailoring points throughout this overview lesson so you know that no project is the same. Therefore, size, complexity, risk, duration, culture and many other factors affect how to tailor the project and integration. As you go through the other lessons here on the PrepCast, you should think about how one process affects another and how that might affect your integration and tailoring activities.

[14:43] How to Integrate

There are many questions that you must ask yourself as the project manager to manage integration effectively on your project. The PMBOK® Guide calls out some considerations that have to do with underlying life cycle and approach.

Consider the project life cycle. Are we dividing the project up into phases? For example if we are following a software development life cycle then we may organizes the project into requirements, analysis, design, implementation, test and deployment phases.

What about the development life cycle, are you using a traditional Waterfall, predictive approach or an adaptive method? If adaptive, which one? Scrum perhaps? Or are you combining Agile and non-Agile methods?

Apart from life cycle, consider your own management approach. Agile methods promote a servant leadership management approach. Other organizational and social cultures may reflect a different type of management approach that affects how you would approach control, risk, trust and communications, and that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head right now.

[16:00] Tailoring Means Change

Tailoring is also a matter of change. At some point during the project, someone is going to want to make a change either to increase or to reduce the scope. Alternatively, maybe we find that our quality management processes don’t work the way that we had envisioned so we must make a change to the actual processes.

Within the project, we may be getting them through an old way to a new way. Or you may be dealing with a new product technology or regulation. Of course the organization itself can be going through a transformation or change. In tailoring, you have to consider how to integrate and manage the change.

[16:43] Additional Tailoring Considerations

There are many other tailoring considerations for integration management. Let me focus on four here --- Knowledge management. Depending on the project, you would manage knowledge a bit differently. Therefore, if you are working on a proprietary formula or recipe that you do not want your competitors to have, you might integrate knowledge management differently. On the other hand, you may want some information to be very transparent for the team to work well together.

Governance, there may be oversight committees, audit processes and other management requirements that need to be considered. We also have to think about lessons learned. We already discussed different methodologies. For example the Scrum methodology allows for feedback loops at every iteration through retrospectives.

And lastly, benefits. Similarly, how you manage benefits may also be affected by your approach. Are they measured at the end of the phase, project or iteration? Notice how each of these considerations does not fall nicely into one or the other knowledge area. You have to consider all of them --- cost, schedule, risk, communication and so on, on each of these items.

[18:02] Agile and Adaptive Perspectives

When considering Agile and adaptive approaches to tailoring integration, the PMBOK® Guide recommends that teams have generalizing specialists with broad skills in line with Agile best practices. Specialists with very narrow areas of knowledge and expertise are potential bottlenecks. As you may need to wait for specialists to become available to work on specific tasks whereas generalized specialists are flexible and can take on a variety of tasks.

Working together in a collaborative decision-making environment is important in an adaptive environment. Team members have to work and decide together to respond appropriately to changes that come their way. In Agile, teams have to control product and increment planning and delivery very carefully.

[18:56] Local Domain Experts & Scum of Scrums

Lastly, when considering Agile and adaptive approaches to tailoring integration, it is best to engage team members as local domain experts in integration management. This allows team members to participate and to be empowered to make local decisions especially in a volatile and ever-changing environment.

For example, let us think about a large-scale project that employs Scrum. At the top level, they have Scrum of Scrums consisting of ambassadors or representatives from each team so that multiple Scrum teams can coordinate their efforts. However, a Scrum team would be autonomous in making decisions at the team or local level. So team A can make local integration decisions as can team B and C. They act as their local integration experts. However, there may be some wider integration decisions that need to be made together with other teams at the Scrum of Scrums level.

[20:05] Takeaways

What should you take away from this overview lesson? Two things. You need to orchestrate your way to success. Project Integration Management identifies what needs to be done and then creates and implements all the project plans. It coordinates schedule activities, project resources, constraints and assumptions in such a way that you have a successful project outcome.

And as you progress through the project, remember that there is not one single way to manage a project. Depending on what the client wants, you apply your management knowledge, skill and the required processes in a different order, as well as varying intensity to maximize your performance.

However, be sure to address every process even though you may think one or two may not be needed. Be consistent. Be flexible. Think creatively and you will succeed. With that, we have come to the end of this lesson.

Until next time.


[End of presentation]

Please note that the transcript is provided for promotional purposes only. Transcripts are not provided for other PrepCast lessons.

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