Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video The need for cross-project integration, part of Project Management Foundations: Integration.
- In earlier videos in this course, I discussed intra-project relationships, the internal integration within a project. In this video, I will discuss project inter-relationships. We will talk about the integration considerations between projects that are external to your project. This integration is important in order to achieve the overall objectives of your organization. Let me share a story. In the neighborhood in which I grew up a line-marking team came to repaint the lines on a road by my house.
The next week a different work team dug up the very same road to replace some pipes and by doing so, destroyed the line-painting work done the previous week. No one was integrating these projects. There is a need for Cross-Project Integration, where multiple projects need to come together to create an end result for your organization. How this integration occurs depends on the nature of the customer and the capability of the resources available to work on the projects.
For example, let's consider a new car design. One project may be responsible for producing a new engine, while another project may be responsible for producing the transmission. At some point the engine needs to effectively work with the transmission to create the final working automobile, which is the deliverable desired by the organization. Beyond this example, when multiple projects are delivering a final integrated project, there are other things that require cross-project integration.
The first is when projects have Shared Human Resources. In organizations there are always super-users or gurus. There are a limited number of people with broad knowledge of your business. When involving such an expert in your own project, your project schedule must integrate with the schedules of their other projects. Otherwise, they will be shared beyond their capacity and get burnt out. Second is when projects have Shared Physical Resources or Budgets.
If a risk comes to fruition, this increases costs and could have an impact on the budget available, not only for your project but other projects as well. Managing a budget across project initiatives may be necessary to maintain the cost constraints of your organization. The third instance where cross-project integration may be necessary is when projects have Other Shared Elements, such as a Vendor. We may be using a vendor on our project and asking them to do something that stretches their capability.
If another project is using the same vendor, they may need to factor something into their risk management plan regarding this sharing of capability. For instance, if you were seeking a hard-to-find technical expert, asking the same vendor for multiple people with that capability may lead you to getting a second-rate resource. My last example is when projects have due dates that overlap with critical times for your customer's business. Let's consider a retail store, for example.
If a set of projects sustain a delay, your project to change that point-of-sale cash register system could end up scheduled for delivery just before the end-of-year holiday shopping season. For a retail store, that would be a high-risk proposition and would likely be delayed further. Working out schedules with other projects that are creating deliverables for the same customer helps maintain the integrity of your customer's business. So, it's not just important to ensure the integration of your own project is well planned and executed, but also the integration of your project with other related projects.
You want to be sure you're aware of what's going on within the organization as a whole so it is all well planned and executed. By doing so, you can avoid painting lines that will be dug up by somebody else next week.
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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