Hello and welcome back to our PMP series. In our previous posts, we have discussed nine of the ten knowledge areas which are project scope management, project time management, project cost management, project quality management, project human resource management, project communication management, project risk management, project procurement management and project stakeholder management. In this article, we shall be wrapping up our PMP prep series by exploring the last knowledge area – project integration management.

By now, we should be familiar with the PMBOK as the primary reference text for the project management examination. According to the PMBOK, the project integration management was the first knowledge area that was discussed; however I have intentionally left it out till the end of our series. This is because while other knowledge area focuses on specific phases of the project, the project integration management focuses on the project as a whole. Just like the name implies, we hope to integrate all the other knowledge areas using the project integration management.

Project integration management is a combination of processes and activities that identifies, coordinate, combine and unify the processes and activities within the project management process group. It mostly deal with choices and decision making such choices among conflicting objectives, determining which stakeholder expectation is important or deciding on best deadline to complete project or a part of the project. The project integration management process group consists of 6 processes which are listed below.

  1. Develop project charter.
  2. Develop project management plan.
  3. Direct and manage project work.
  4. Monitor and control project work.
  5. Perform integrated change control.
  6. Close project or phase.

For the purpose of explanation, this processes are divided and explained individually, but in practice, the processes are iterative, overlapping and cannot be separated from each other. At this juncture, it is also worthy of mention that the project integration management knowledge area is the only knowledge area that has spans through the entire 5 process groups. (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring/Controlling and Closing)

Without much ado, let us get to the main business of the day. As usual, we would explore each process with a focus on the input, the tools and techniques.

Develop project charter

By now, most of us already know what the project charter is but for the benefit of those who are not familiar with it, this is the document that authorizes the start of a project. It defines the objectives, scope and participants of the project. It is also the document that formally entrust the organizational resources to the hands of the project manager as such, same can be utilized on project activities. The charter also serves as a reference document that is used throughout the project such as during meetings, confirming project boundaries and for change controls.

As a project manager, there are five necessary inputs required when developing the project charter. First is the project statement of work. This is a description of the product, service and result the project hopes to achieve and is generally provided by the project sponsor. The project statement of work generally contains information about the business need, product scope description and the strategic plan. Next is the business case. This is a document used by decision makers (managers above the project level) in determining if the project is worth the required investment. The business case is the most important input of the develop project charter as the analysis carried out justifies and establishes the project boundaries. The business case also analyses risk element involved in a project. It is, however, our duties as project managers to ensure that the business case is periodically reviewed to ensure the project is on track to deliver the project objectives.

The other inputs are the agreements which define the initial intention of a project, enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets.

If we all agree that developing the project data is the first stage of any project, we can therefore assume that at this stage, few tools and techniques required since the project is still at its infant stage. The most important tool or technique at this stage is the expert judgment. This is used in assessing the input of the develop project charter and to determine if the project is a viable one from both a technical and a management point of view. The other tool and technique required for the develop project charter is the facilitation technique. This includes key techniques such as problem solving, conflict resolution, brainstorming etc.

The output of the develop project charter is the project charter. As explained above, this is a document issued by the project initiator or sponsor which provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.

Develop project management plan

As stated in our last post, the project management plan is the singular most important document when managing a project. Developing a project management plan is the process of defining, coordinating and integrating all subsidiary plans into a comprehensive plan. The project management plan can be referred to as the project manager’s bible as it details how the project is executed, monitored, controlled and closed. Just like the project charter, the project management plan should be revisited at intervals and updated based on progress updates during the project.

The main inputs for the develop project management plan process are the project charter and the output from other processes. The project charter is the output of the develop project charter process discussed above while the output from other processes are the outputs from other processes that have been described in the previous posts explored (see the various knowledge areas above). The integration of all these outputs creates the project management plan. Other inputs for the project management plan are the enterprise environmental factors and the organizational process assets.

The develop project management plan has the same tools and technique as the develop project charter which was just discussed above, these are Expert Judgment and facilitation technique.

The output of the develop project management plan is the project management plan (obviously). This has been explained above and is a combination of other subsidiary plan.

Direct and manage project work

The direct and manage project work process belongs to the executing process group. It is the process of leading and performing work defined in the project management plan. It involves the overall management of the project. Project managers are the key personnel in charge of the direct and manage project work process as they direct performance of planned project, manage technical interface within a project, manage unplanned activities and manage project changes and implement approved changes within a project.

Three lines of action are linked with the direct and manage project work. These are the corrective action, preventive action and defect repair.

The most important inputs for the direct and manage project work are the project management plan. Ok guys, it is worthy to mention that the value of the project management plan cannot be over emphasized in project management. It is the most common input as it appears as a process in almost all of the 47 processes in project management. The approved change request on the other hand is the output of the change control process. This includes changes that have been reviewed and approved by the change control board (CCB). The approved change request might affect the project management plan, the procedures, schedules, cost and budgets. The other inputs for the direct and manage project work are the enterprise environmental factors and the organizational process assets.

There are three tools and techniques required for the direct and manage project work process. The most important tool is the project management information system (PMIS). According to the PMBOK, this is “part of the environmental factors, provides access to tools, such as a scheduling tool, a work authorization system, a configuration management system, an information collection and distribution system, or interfaces to other online automated systems“. The other two required tools and techniques are expert judgment and meetings.

The outputs of the direct and manage project work are the deliverables and work performance data. The deliverable is usually a unique and verifiable product which is usually the output of a process phase or project. The work performance data are the measurements gathered while activities are being carried out. Major examples of work performance data are start and finished dates of activities, key performance indicators, actual cost of project, defect recorded etc. While data is often viewed as the lowest form of information, it is impossible to process information without effective data collection. The other outputs of the direct and manage project work are the change request, project management plan updates and the project document updates.

In the next post, we will examine the remaining three processes which are the monitor and control project work, perform integrated change control and the close project or phase processes. We would also give a general conclusion to the PMP prep series we have been exploring in the past few months. As usual, if you have any questions/thoughts, please feel free to use the comments section. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you soon!