Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Integration and project priority, part of Project Management Foundations: Integration.
- If you're familiar with the game of chess, you know that not all pieces have the same value. Some are more significant than others. However, it is important to keep an eye on all the pieces on the chessboard because even the pieces with lesser capabilities can play a very significant role in strategy to win the game. This is also the case with projects. Some are more closely aligned to the business objectives than others and thus, have a higher priority.
However, all have a role to play in achieving business success. There can be a number of projects going on in a business at any one time. Some projects will be focused on fixing problems within the current environment. Some projects will be focused on maintaining the environment to keep it current with business and technical trends. Other projects will be strategic and focused on improving the current environment. But there needs to be a balance with these project types.
You can't commit all your resources to strategic projects aimed at improving the current environment because you also need resources allocated to projects that fix problems and maintain the environment to keep the wheels turning. Setting priorities for each project is the key. How projects are prioritized will depend on processes, products, and business outcomes. Let's consider a business that currently has four separate systems. They may have one project working on fixing a problem with system A.
They may have another project working on maintaining system B by upgrading to the latest software version. They may have one more project aimed at combining systems C and D into one system. Of this project set, the project which represents the greatest benefit to the business will likely be prioritized highest. The business may find that it can save considerable money by maintaining one system rather than two. Therefore, the project aimed at combining systems C and D into one new system is likely to receive priority.
The integration of these systems may also enable the business to achieve administrative savings. Business outcomes aren't the only element contributing to priority, however. If the resources that are needed to combine those two systems are busy working on a big new customer contract, other projects may be prioritized higher at this point in time. Here are other priority possibilities: the project involving fixing a problem with system A is still important and worth doing if the business finds this problem is causing lost revenue.
The project involving upgrading system B may be prioritized highest if the business can demonstrate that the new features available in the software will create a new market opportunity resulting in an increase in revenue. Prioritizing projects does not mean that each and every project isn't important and valid. Differing resource levels and business conditions mean that one project may be more viable or vital at this point in time. In my example, all of these projects are likely going to be required and need to be considered for integration purposes, which is something that integration project managers need to be mindful of.
It certainly will keep you on your toes. Large projects or small, integration is vital to ensure you deliver business value to your customer. They may be pawns or maybe the queen of projects, but either one can contribute to a checkmate. You have to watch them all carefully.
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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