Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Staffing the integration effort, part of Project Management Foundations: Integration.
- Ronald Graham is quoted as saying, "Juggling is sometimes called the art of controlling patterns." Managing integration is a lot like that. You have to manage the patterns between teams, day-to-day operational needs, and the roles people play on your project. It requires a lot of effort. It's important to find appropriate patterns of work and align responsibilities so you can divide and conquer what needs to be done for your project. Employing a wise staffing effort is the best way to start.
There are a number of general rules of thumb you can use when determining if you need to specifically assign someone to integration tasks. The integration effort may not necessarily be a full-time job, but it still needs to be resourced. Here are my recommendations. First, enter the integration effort into an integration tracking tool, like the one I shared earlier in this chapter. As a general rule, if I get beyond a 10 x 10 matrix with this tool, I know I need somebody to manage the integration effort.
Second, if your project requires multiple levels of risk management, such as at the subproject, project, and program level, I typically assign someone specifically to manage each risk area. It simply may be necessary to have several risk owners. The way you assign somebody to manage each risk area is to determine who can resolve the problem, should it occur. Who can take treatment action? If the risk takes a whole of program reshuffle or represents a triple constraint threat, as the program or project manager, you probably need to manage that risk.
Last tip, use the 15% rule. Generally, the time it takes to manage a task is around 15% of the time it takes to perform the task. Measure up your integration tasks and allocate 15% of that time to track them, beyond the standard project management time. In contrast to assigning a person to assist with particular integration tasks, some roles may be central to the entire project effort. Typically, an individual with a role such as procurement, product development, or engineering are assigned to assist with your entire project.
However, you may need specialty roles in your integrated project. An example is testing, which is a vital activity in integration projects. If your organization doesn't typically display the patience required to do thorough testing, it might be hard for you to institute this change. You must take a proactive approach to make this change happen, because thorough, iterative testing is extremely important. Some other tips for you to successfully staff and manage integration projects are understand and assess the cultures of the sponsoring organizations and the affected organizations.
Assign people to take responsibility for this, if needed. Have finely tuned presentations ready at all times to educate team members on environmental and cultural sensitivities. Assume or delegate the responsibility of focusing and understanding the forces present within each business area of the project. Look for things that can help or hinder project success. Lastly, spend time concentrating on stakeholder management.
Thoroughly understanding the environment and the motivations of the stakeholders within that environment are paramount for successful delivery of your integrated project. By having the integration effort staffed, you can ensure that you do not have gaps or duplicate efforts on your project. The key is to make sure that everybody knows where their responsibilities end and where somebody else's responsibilities begin. Do this and you won't drop any balls while you're juggling.
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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