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Managing Project Integration

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Apply today's best practices for managing information, processes and people to maximize success within the constraints of project cost, scope and schedule. Benefit from the most effective real-world methods and new tools, such as resource breakdown structures and new treatment of optimum duration, earned value, and integration. Plus, you'll explore a conceptual approach that will help you integrate the most crucial element for project success: people.

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CHAPTER 1 Introduction to the Calculus of Integration

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By definition, integrators seek to include. Although written mostly within the context of a single project, this book takes a broad view of integration, beyond the limited notion of a coherent approach only to a project’s triple constraint of budget, schedule, and scope. The historical foundation of mathematical integration turns out to have relevance to modern knowledge management and hence, modern project management. Thus, we begin by examining the meaning of the term integration and discover that a co-inventor of calculus was 300 years ahead of his time in thinking about knowledge management.

At least several papers in the literature (e.g., see Bibliography notes 4, 5, and 28), as noted in Meredith and Mantel [21] discuss particular templates for the traditional coordination of budget, schedule, and scope. And while project management texts recognize the importance of integration, most give a only few pages to its explicit mention. In his discussion of the growth of project management from its “traditional” ways, Kerzner [18] writes that “modern” project management demands integration skills of its practitioners, and he quotes several specialists who testify to the critical importance of these skills. Kerzner also reminds us that the global project manager faces especially difficult integration problems.

 

CHAPTER 2 Integration through Shared Information

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Project integration begins with sharing information to combine the budget, schedule, and scope consistently. This chapter treats briefly the differences between data, information, and knowledge, and it suggests at what organizational levels each should be shared. Three paths to project integration are noted, and a possible explanation of the big difficulty in integrating large projects is offered. Finally, some guidelines for presenting information are placed in the context of managing projects.

With only a slight narrowing of meaning [8], one can say that “data” are the numbers taken directly from measurements. In the hierarchy of knowledge, data provide the firmament, the fundamental basis of all higher applications, and ultimately, one hopes, of decisions.

Data are the basic facts that will be used to begin to understand the project. Valuable data collection begins with an eye toward the triple constraint: cost data, schedule data, and scope data. In managing the project, especially in the execution stage, the project manager requires organized data that reflect the health of the project. These data will facilitate the integration of budget, schedule, and scope. Instead of a single schedule number (e.g., “the project is three weeks ahead of schedule”), the project manager asks for many numbers presented coherently.

 

CHAPTER 3 Project Plan Development

ePub

The first major integration of the project’s budget, schedule, and scope occurs in the development stage of the project, when the project team creates its detailed plan. At a minimum, that plan contains the project’s work breakdown structure, a budget, a linear responsibility matrix, a network diagram, and a schedule. This chapter explains how the project team combines historical information and the cost rates found in the parent organization’s resource breakdown structure to make tradeoffs between resource use and schedule time to build an integrated project plan. A full understanding of these tradeoffs depends on the concept of a task’s optimum duration.

Ideally, at the conception of every project, the project manager will have the opportunity to examine a structured presentation of the organization’s resources (or, more likely, some subset that is relevant to a family of project types). Analogous to the work breakdown structure (WBS), a resource breakdown structure (RBS) puts the possible resources and their cost rates into a hierarchical tree. This tree can then be used at the lowest levels of a project’s WBS to determine the cost of the project.

 

CHAPTER 4 Execution and Closeout

ePub

The execution of a project begins when the so-called real work begins, but two important, related issues should be understood. First, because project phases overlap, beginning implementation does not imply that planning has ceased. Second, control requires action beyond what the original plans have specified for project execution; this control, as described in Chapter 3, should follow monitoring and evaluation during execution. As noted, the project team builds the monitoring–evaluation–control cycle into the project plan.

But how does one measure and evaluate the project’s progress in an integrated manner? The mechanics come in the method called earned-value analysis. The old computer maxim GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) holds here too, and whether an earned-value analysis yields useful, valid results depends, as always, on the judgments of the project team. Good judgments and subsequent actions transform earned-value analysis into earned-value management.

Earned-value analysis is a tool for examining the integration of cost, schedule, and scope during and after the execution of a project. While it is a potentially powerful integrating mechanism, however, EVA may not indicate the requisite controls for several reasons:

 

CHAPTER 5 Integrating Personnel and Other Interested Parties

ePub

The basic idea of managers and teams is fundamental to human society. Modern project managers understand the need for and value of diverse project teams. But team members must be treated as individuals; freedom is good. Integration presents itself as the answer to some team problems. An organization with a mature, integrative approach will replace the two-dimensional notion of interfaces with three-dimensional spaces of integration.

Although mathematical integration equations are easily written, no simple algorithm comes to mind for project integration. Still, if there were one, project personnel would multiply all other terms, so we are quite correct to call the integration of project personnel a factor. Perfect integration of budget, schedule, and scope will not prevent failure if a project and its personnel are not also integrated. To a lesser extent, the greater team should be integrated too.

Let’s begin with a fundamental question: How valid are the widely accepted notions of managers and teams? That is, does another structure exist within which projects could be better integrated?

 

CHAPTER 6 Integration and Integrity

ePub

Integration and integrity are inherently related. Both concepts imply wholeness, a prime goal of systemic project management. Integrating a project properly requires communication and freedom. The subsequent sharing of data, information, and knowledge smoothes the distribution of power, enabling good work by all project personnel. This communication demands honesty, which invokes the moral component of integrity.

The wholeness of an integrated project finds its expression in two ways. First, the project manager and the project team view a multiplexed project as a single system, with the interconnected parts all contributing to a successful outcome. Second, because of the need to communicate valid project data, information, and knowledge, the integration of the project builds on the personal integrity of all project personnel.

The words “integration” and “integrate” date from the 17th century. The word “integrity” predates them, having retained its meanings since the middle of the 16th century. [8] Integrity is an appropriate word for this subject because in its first sense it means whole, and the overarching spirit of this book is to consider all project parts holistically.

 

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