Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Integration planning fundamentals, part of Project Management Foundations: Integration (2015).
- Have you ever thrown a stone into a pond and watch the ripple effect on the water? The stone makes one initial splash but that's not where it ends. The ripples continue until they reach the shore. When you create your project deliverables, such as the project management plan, with the necessary elements of scope, time, cost, risk, and quality, all of these need to be considered and well thought out. This is because the integration of these elements can get complicated.
Changes to any of these can cause ripples just like in the pond. You see none of these elements operate independently, they're all interrelated. This means we cannot change one aspect of our project management plan without that change having an impact on something else. For example, adding a new item to your project scope will require careful consideration because the impact of that change will result in new tasks having to be completed, and thus, added to your schedule.
The cost of these additional new tasks also needs to be factored into your budget. The new scope item may be based on new assumptions, which present new risks. The quality of the new scope item will have to be measured. This may mean that new roles and responsibilities may be required. Perhaps the skillset you require to complete the tasks is not present in your project team and you'll have to procure expertise. This could change your exisitng communication plan, schedule, and your costs.
You can see how one change can result in many impacts to the integration of your project. The way to handle this is to utilize checklists. Any time you have a change on your project look at how that change impacts the rest of your plan. Here's a diagram to help with what I've just explained. You can apply this to your projects. In this example we've encountered a scope change. You then need to update your schedule and budget to reflect the new activities and costs associated with that change.
There will also be new assumptions that need to be made. This leads to new risks that need to be documented. To mitigate those new risks you may need to employ a new project team member. And if you don't have a suitably qualified person on staff you may need to procure that resource. This will have an impact on your schedule and budget, again. Now let's look at a specific example why a checklist like this is important. The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, was at one point in its construction considerably behind schedule.
The windows needed to seal the building from the elements were to be supplied by a glazier who unfortunately, had suddenly gone out of business. In order to get things back on track a specialist project manager was engaged. He employed staff, established a factory, and manufactured all of the windows. The task, which was originally outsourced, was altered and completed within the project representing a considerable change to scope which then had an impact on schedule, budget, risk, human resources, and procurement.
Some things, like a glazier going out of business, cannot be predicted. However, by understanding the integration aspects of your project, it gives you the means to understand and convey to management the impact of the stone that's being thrown into your pond. You can anticipate the ripple and be prepared before it hits the shoreline.
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- Assess how to plan for integration.
- Identify the cost and risk of a project.
- Communicate effectively with stakeholders.
- Determine how to staff the integration.
- Analyze how to manage critical project interrelationships.