About this lesson
A critical role of the project manager is to integrate the activities of the project team members across all knowledge areas and throughout the project phases. The Project Manager is the only individual who has that scope of responsibility
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Integration and the Project Manager
The project manager has the primary responsibility for project integration management. The project manager is uniquely placed to be able to conduct the integration activities for a project.
When to use
Project integration starts on the first day of the project and continues through to the last. Project managers should be conducting and directing the integration activities at all times on the project.
Projects often consist of many activities accomplished different individuals or resources. These must all work together to achieve the goal of the project. For this to occur, someone must manage the integration of the scope or activities and the integration of the team or resources. That someone is the project manager.
Although project integration management is a separate knowledge area in the PMBOK®, its purpose is to ensure all of the actions and deliverables associated with the other knowledge areas are connected and supportive of each other. The greater the project scale and complexity, the more important project integration becomes. Many projects use shared resources to accomplish project tasks and these require integration beyond the project boundaries to negotiate for access to the resources. These resources could be team members shared across multiple projects or physical resources such as facilities or equipment.
The project manager role is critical to integration since the project manager is the only individual on the project who is expected to see both the overall “big picture” of the project goal and all the details that are being accomplished by all the team members. For this reason, the project manager needs to have strong project risk analysis skills to recognize and respond to problems while they are still small. In addition, the project manager should be able to make decisions quickly, and yet recognize when the decision does not need to be made quickly and a better decision will be made by letting the entire team participate in the decision-making process. Finally, the project manager must be a skilled communicator in order to integrate well. This is communication both within the team and across the organization or with other teams.
Within the teams, the project manager will do most integrating activities during planning and in ongoing team status meetings. In these settings, integration of both task or scope occurs to ensure everything needed for a project deliverables is accomplished and integration between team members occurs to ensure smooth handoffs.
Integration across teams and the organization is normally done by the project manager who represents the needs of the project. This will often require negotiations to find “win-win” options for all parties. The project manager must know their project well to be an effective negotiator. Many times this will include negotiating a project approach that achieves the project goal and supports a business function as it seeks to achieve its functional goal.
Hints & tips
- A project manager will often feel that they didn’t accomplish much during the day except to “put out fires.” That is what integration feels like.
- Projects are seldom static. The continual change in performance will often lead to a regular reassessment of risk and the need for continual change.
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