Hello and welcome back to the concluding part of a 2-part article that explores project integration management. In the previous post we started to examine project integration management and we discussed the first three processes which are:
- Develop project charter
- Develop project management
- Direct and manage project work
This post concludes the knowledge area by examining the remaining three processes which are the monitor and develop project work, perform integrated change control and close project or phase. As usual, we will explore the inputs, tools and techniques and outputs of these processes.
This post also officially concludes the Project Management Professional Series. For more interesting project management knowledge, have a look at the new Agile Project Management Series or take a look at one of the official courses being offered by Intense School.
Monitor and control project work
This is the process of reviewing progress updates during a project to ensure that work done is in line with the project objectives as defined in the project management plan. This is an important aspect of the process which involves the collection, measurement and distribution of performance information for process improvement. As project managers, monitoring is very important as it is performed throughout the project life cycle. Continuous monitoring helps the project manager compare project performance against the project management plan and determine areas that require special attention. It also monitors other areas of a project as discussed in our previous posts such as schedule (time), cost (budget), quality and scope.
Important inputs for the monitor and control project work process are the project management plan, schedule forecasts, cost forecasts and work performance information. Once again, let us remind ourselves that the project management plan is an input to the six processes in the project integration management knowledge area. Since the project management plan consists of other subsidiary plans (scope management plan, requirement management plan, schedule management plan, cost management plan, quality management plan, process improvement plan, human resource management plan, communication management plan, risk management plan, procurement management plan, stakeholder management plan, scope baseline, schedule baseline and cost baseline), it automatically becomes the best document used for monitoring project work.
The schedule forecasts and cost forecasts are used to determine if the project is still within tolerated cost and schedule while the work performance information is the work performance data which has been converted to information for the purpose of decision making. Other inputs for the monitor and control project work process are the validated changes, enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets.
As project managers, we require four tools and techniques when monitoring and controlling project works. These are expert judgment, analytical techniques, project management information system and meetings. Of the four tools and techniques, the analytical technique is the most important. There are; however, a range of analytical techniques and here is a list of some of the most relevant ones: Regression analysis, causal analysis, root cause analysis, trend analysis, earned value management, failure mode and effect analysis and variance analysis. These analytical techniques are used to forecast a project based on different variations involved in a project.
The change request and the work performance reports are the primary outputs of the monitor and control project work process. As usual, the change request might require corrective action, preventive action or defect repair (previous post). Other outputs of the monitor and control project work process are the project management plan updates and the project document updates. It is important to remind ourselves that the project management plan is the umbrella plan that involves all other subsidiary plans.
Perform integrated change control
This is the fifth process in the project integration management knowledge area and belongs to the monitoring and control process group. A quick glance at the four previous processes discussed would recognize that three of the processes (develop project management plan, direct and manage project work and monitor and control project work) have change request as one of their outputs. The perform integrated change control is the process that reviews all change requests, approves changes and manages changes made to the project management plan, project documents and deliverables. Since the change request is an output of many processes, perform integrated change control allows changes made to be coordinated in an integrated manner thereby reducing the risk involved when making changes.
While a change request might be generated by any of the stakeholders (to know who the stake holders are, see here), these requests have to be approved by either the project sponsor, project manager or the change control board. The information on who approves and the approval process is always documented in the project management plan. In some cases where the project manager or a change control board is required when performing integrated change control, the project sponsor’s approval would still be required before the implementation of the approval made.
There are 5 inputs required when performing integrated change control processes. The project management plan, the work performance report and the change request are the most important inputs and have all been discussed earlier in this post. The other inputs required for performing integrated change control process group are the enterprise environmental factors and the organizational process assets.
The tools and techniques required when performing integrated change control are expert judgment (we all can place a bet on that now), meetings and change control tools. The meetings are referred to as change control meetings which are usually held in reviewing the requested changes and approving or rejecting the changes. The change control tools on the other hand are tools used (WORD MISSING) change requests. The tools are biased towards communication as this is essential in ensuring effective communication among the change control board members and in circulating the decision outcome to relevant stakeholders.
The main outputs for the perform integrated change control process are the approved change requests which just like the name are change requests that were processed and approved and the change log. The change log documents changes and their impact to a project in terms of cost, risk and time. Rejected change requests are also documented. The other outputs for the perform integrated change control are the project management plan updates and the project documents updates.
Close project or phase
Finally, we have gotten to the last process in the project integration management knowledge area. It is a very important process that cannot be ignored when managing a project irrespective of the magnitude of that project. It finalizes activities across the project management process groups to formally complete a project or phase. At the project closure phase, the project manager reviews the project management plan and other subsidiary plans to ensure that the project objectives were met and all works have been completed. The lessons learned from the project are then documented after which organizational resources can be redeployed to pursue new projects.
In exceptional situations where a project is terminated before completion, the close project documents the reason for the termination and actions taken during the process.
The inputs for the close project or phase process are the project management plan, accepted deliverables and organizational process assets. The project management plan is very important as it details what the project entails and shows the agreement between the project sponsor and the project manager. The accepted deliverables details the agreed product specifications, minimum acceptable standards and is particularly relevant when dealing with third parties (Please see project procurement management – http://resources.intenseschool.com/pmp-prep-project-procurement-management-part-1-2/ – for more information).
The close project or phase uses the same tools and techniques as the perform integrated change control process. These are expert judgment, analytical techniques and meetings.
The most important output of the close project or phase process is the final product, service or result transition. This is the main reason for which the project or phase was originally setup. The other output is the organizational process assets update.
Whew! This concludes the project integration knowledge area. Now we have covered all the knowledge areas defined by the PMI for the new PMP exam. I hope you have been able to glean some useful information from this series. It is important to note that the information provided in this series is only a concise summary of the project management knowledge areas and you should spend more time studying to nail the concepts and terminologies for the exam.
Although this post officially concludes the PMP Series, I promise not to leave you hanging. I will still write some additional articles about interesting project management topics. Don’t forget to use the comment box to drop a list of topics that you would like to learn about. See you soon and until then, have fun studying, passing exams and managing projects.
Finally, we have a summary diagram of the Project Integration Management processes from the PMBOK shown below.