Integration is the process of bringing together the different elements of a project to create a cohesive whole, as it involves the coordination of the team's efforts to achieve the project goals. Unlike other managers, the project manager has to focus more on the integration of the project team into a functional unit because there are different people with different skills and backgrounds involved in the project.
To successfully integrate the team members into an operational unit, the project manager must be actively involved in the following actions:
Planning for integration: The project manager should plan how to integrate the different elements of the project as team members into a functional unit, identify potential conflicts, and take action to mitigate them. This plan should include the project's scope, schedule, budget, and resources.
Developing integrated work breakdown structure (WBS), schedule, and budget: The project manager should develop these project management documents to guide the team throughout the project lifecycle.
Communication: The project manager must communicate with the project team and other stakeholders to ensure that everyone is aware of the project's goals and how their work fits into the overall plan.
Continuously reviewing and updating the project plan: The project manager should review and update the project plan to ensure that the project stays on track and the team remains integrated.
Ensuring control and adherence to the project plan: The project manager should enforce the project plan, ensure that team members adhere to it, and take corrective action when necessary.
Designing for an integrated system: The project manager should ensure that the project design integrates all the project elements into a cohesive system.
Resolving conflict situations: The project manager should address conflicts to prevent them from affecting the project outcome negatively.
Removing roadblocks: The project manager should remove obstacles that hinder the team's progress.
Setting priorities: The project manager must set priorities so that team members can focus on the most critical tasks.
Making administrative and technical decisions across interfaces: The project manager should make informed decisions that align with project goals.
Resolving customer or client problems: The project manager must be able to identify and resolve problems that arise during the project. The project manager should ensure that customer or client issues are resolved immediately. The project manager must be able to resolve conflicts between the project team and other stakeholders.
Ensuring project transfer: The project manager should arrange for the smooth transfer of the project to appropriate individuals or departments at project completion.
Change management: The project manager must manage changes to the project plan as needed.
Decision-making: The project manager must make decisions that are in the best interests of the project.
Maintaining communication links across interfaces: The project manager should ensure that communication is constant and effective to promote information sharing and team integration.
It is a critical part of project management, by taking all these actions, the project manager can successfully integrate the team's efforts to deliver a quality project and ensure that the project stays on track and meets its goals.
The integration function is a complex and challenging process, but it is essential for the success of any project. Integration function in project management involves:
- Use clear and concise language.
- Avoid jargon and technical terms.
- Use active voice instead of passive voice.
- Use strong verbs and adjectives.
- Use imagery and metaphors to create a vivid picture in the reader's mind.
- Be specific and provide examples.
- End with a call to action.
By following the principles of integration, project managers can help to ensure that their projects stay on track and meet their goals.