Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Project interrelationships, part of Project Management Foundations: Integration.
- Have you ever been asked a question to which you responded, "It depends"? Sometimes we don't know exactly what we should do about something until we know the outcome of something else. Project interrelationships typically work like that. Each aspect of your project can impact others, so you need to keep a watchful eye on all the things that are simultaneously going on in your project. But you also need to consider how your project relates to other projects as well.
By being aware of how your project touches others, you can better answer questions about your own project, and avoid creating issues for others, or having issues created for your projects. There are many different types of project or program interrelationships. Let's explore the most common. First, projects that use common resources or budgets. Sometimes projects are required to share common resources, including human resources, equipment, and funds.
In these cases, some negotiation may be required to ensure each project gets a fair share. Or a disproportionate share of available resources where necessary to achieve prioritization objectives. Second, projects that need to be completed before another can start. There may be times when your project has to wait for the outcomes of another project before being able to proceed. Knowing when this may occur in advance allows you to make adjustments to your own schedule so that you're not wasting time.
You can also choose to wait for another project to conclude for convenience. For instance, sometimes a project can proceed more efficiently when it can make use of a process that has been created by a previous project. Finally, there are multiple projects contributing to a single product or customer. Your project may be developing part of a product while another project develops another part of the same product. Take for example the wings and fuselage of an airplane. There is a need to ensure the effort is coordinated so that the product or business outcome comes together.
If two projects are working for the same customer, it may be necessary to complete project deliverables simultaneously to deliver the best overall outcome. Alternatively, the business may need to stagger deliverables to ensure that the degree of change created at one time is manageable. This is an example of schedule integration, which can be vital to the stable management of your customer's business. The points I just discussed are the most common threads which integrate projects or programs, however there are others.
In every case they need to be approached in the same way. The benefits achieved from the coordinated effort are greater than the benefits achieved from operating these projects independently. By using the integration tracking tool as discussed earlier in this course, you can stay on top of project integration activities both internally in your own project, but also where other projects touch on your project. So rather than answering, "It depends," you'll have more accurate information on which to base your decisions in an integrated project environment.
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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