It is important to differentiate a process from a project, the importance of integrated project management tools is easily seen when differentiating the two. Although they seem very similar, they are not the same. Part of the job is being able to distinguish whether a certain task belongs to a process or a project. A process is more of a procedure, a series of actions to achieve a result. A project, however, is not an ongoing process but a plan that is designed to accomplish something particular.
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Integrated Project Management
Regardless of what one plans on accomplishing, there is generally a process set in place to achieve it. In the case of construction projects, a project manager is selected to lead the process for the project to be completed successfully. Integrated Project Management (IPM) is one way to ensure the project completes successfully. Integrated project management means bringing together many different elements to manage a project from beginning to end successfully. IPM has a huge impact on what we believe project management is today. Many people are confused as to what it even is as a whole.
Just like many other things, preparation plays a crucial role in project management. Making a clear plan should be the first step once the requirements of the project are discussed and very clear. Some things that should be considered are Risk Management, Quality Assurance, Resources, Documentation, Measurement Plan, and Issue Management. Many project management software exists and can a lot considering they allow project managers to plan and monitor projects from anywhere and anytime. The software can create project timelines, tasks, monitor resources, and give status updates needed to help manage your project.
Integrated project management is incredibly important considering it helps to make sure that each element of the project is appropriately coordinated. It also keeps track of everything/everyone involved such as stakeholders and resources. IPM is also what ensures that all needs and expectations are met.
Components of IPM
There are many different components to Integrated Project Management that add to the importance of the job.
The very first step is to develop a project charter which is a virtual statement of participants and objectives of the project as a whole. It fills the stakeholders in on everything and should clearly state the project manager’s responsibilities. Part of what is filled in is the project scope which gets more into detail of the project’s goals and objectives. Generally, this section includes what is hoped to achieve with the project.
Planning and Defining
After that is the project management plan which documents all of the other methods that have to do with the project, this plan includes activities for each department and should be defined and prepared. It is vital to make sure different teams are established for different aspects of the project. The quality of the teams can make or break the project. Regular meetings should take place, and there should be detailed guidelines and expectations set. The project management software could also come in handy for this. Having individual teams use the software will keep track of progress and ensure that everyone in the team is on the same page. Software will make communication much more comfortable and help make sure the most up to date information is accessible to everyone.
Now the execution of the project and the plan comes to life. Each component of the project is executed and monitored for activity velocity and performance. These plans that have been executed are monitored against an established baseline, which should have been stated in the initial project plan. If any negative deviations occur, plans can be changed accordingly. This is why it is important that monitoring takes place.
Monitoring and Documenting
Next is change control. Things will change and go wrong because that’s just how life operates. Some resources can run out, deliveries may be delayed, people can get injured, or stakeholders may even personally request a change. The change control document is what keeps track of and controls these changes. This is a crucial part of integrated project management because it keeps stakeholders in the loop and allows them to make requests. The document also measures the effects of the change on overall progress which is very useful.
Integrated project management plays a crucial role with stakeholders. IPM essentially keeps stakeholders reassured and gets them excited about the project. It also gives them the project objectives clearly which gives them an idea of what type of results they can expect from the project. It also makes them aware of the constraints and concerns that may come up during the duration of the project. Once these issues are addressed, it is much easier for stakeholders to trust you and gives them confidence in your work, thus easily getting them onboard. Showing stakeholders that the project has tangible benefits will give them reasons to be much more invested.