Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Integration and communication techniques, part of Project Management Foundations: Integration.
- Have you ever played a game of Telephone? One person starts by saying a couple of words in somebody's ear, like "Rainbows are colorful." That person then says it in the next person's ear, and so on and so on, until the message reaches the last person. The last person then says the message out loud as they've heard it. Instead of "Rainbows are colorful," the message can be substantially distorted along the way. I would not be surprised to hear that "Rainbows are colorful" becomes "Kittens make great pets." This can happen on integrated projects too.
You may be working on a project to implement a new HR system, but that system may touch upon other areas of the business and other projects. Careful and deliberate communication is needed to keep stakeholders up to date with the right information. Here are some solutions you can use. An Integration Tracking Tool can be used to provide a comprehensive overview of all tasks associated with the integration effort, so those tasks can be tracked in one place.
When a change to one aspect of the project needs to occur, the Tracking Tool allows stakeholders to see what other areas will be affected. This helps you stay on top of workload changes and prepares the customer to release resources as required. A deliverables assignment diagram helps you show what the project will produce and what your customer needs to do to deliver business value. For example, your project is aimed at delivering a help desk tool. The help desk managers would need to release their help desk staff at the critical time to attend training in order to enable successful implementation of the new tool.
An interface diagram can be used to show how the individual pieces come together. Diagrams can be very powerful tools. They paint a picture that is worth 1000 words. People who are very visual will get a feel for the integrative nature of a project in a way that would not be achieved through documentation alone. Diagrams are also extremely effective on international projects when you have people who speak a variety of language working toward the same goal. A well explained diagram cuts across the language barrier.
An "As Is" and "To Be" Situation Analysis. The overall integration project will have an "As Is" Situation and "To Be" Situation. A single sheet that explains what the current state is and what the future state will be once the projects are completed can be helpful for project teams to ensure they will deliver. This sheet should be frequently reviewed at status meetings at all levels. Samples of these single sheet solutions are available to all lynda.com members in the exercise files for this course.
In any communication, it is important to get the language right. In organizations there are people at different levels. There are strategic people, tactical people, and operational people. And it's likely that all of them will be stakeholders in your project. Tailor the message to the people you are informing, so that the message is delivered effectively. The integration message can be simplified by using these single sheet solutions and ensuring the language level used in communication is appropriate for the people you're communicating with.
By doing so, you can avoid the game of Telephone and the trouble that can bring to your project.
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- Planning for integration
- Managing scope, cost, and risk
- Integration and communication techniques
- Staffing the integration
- Mapping project interrelationships
- Dealing with multiple critical paths