When implementing new software, creating a product, or delivering a service, specific processes are in place to achieve specific goals. To do so successfully, a project manager is appointed to lead the charge. There are different methodologies in place to ensure the project meets the specific success criteria. One of those methodologies is integrated project management.
Defining Integrated Project Management
Integrated – To bring together or incorporate parts into a whole
Project – Temporary with a defined beginning and end towards a singular goal
Management – The act or manner of managing; handling, direction or control
Bringing all these terms together, integrated project management means bringing together various elements to manage a project from beginning to end successfully.
Why Integrated Project Management?
In managing the successful delivery of a project, many internal and external members are critical to the project’s success. Outside the company, there are different stakeholders, vendors, subject matter experts. Internally, there are various resources within your company. A project manager relies on each person to contribute to the project’s success, so integration of all the resources is critical. Unfortunately, far too often, individuals remain stuck in their silos.
An integrated approach fosters collaboration. Identifying critical resources as early into the project allows the building of more collaborative teams to communicate and share information freely.
Implementing Integrated Project Management
Identifying Stakeholders – A central part of integrated project management is integrating all the different stakeholders into one team. Each stakeholder plays a critical role and brings specific talents and expertise to contribute to the project. The earlier that they stakeholders can be brought into alignment, the stronger the team will perform as a singular unit.
Getting Buy-In – An integrated approach differs than other traditional methods. It’s important that support is received from the top down. The owners of the project and the owners of each company, as well as all the stakeholders, must all be in complete alignment.
Collaboration – The old saying of “There’s no ‘I’ in team” rings true in an integrated project management approach. When a problem arises, the team shares their knowledge and communicates
openly to arrive at a decision together. It is not about the person/company, all decisions are made to benefit the project and made collaboratively.
Accountability – To foster trust between team members, it’s essential for there to be accountability. When someone says they are going to do it, then they will do it. Accountability fosters trust among team members.
Technology – An integrated project management system utilizes technology so that all stakeholders are fully aware of project communications and status. Technology that fosters real-time communication and provides project transparency serves as a cornerstone of integrated project management.
Integrated Project Management in Construction = Integrated Project Delivery
In construction, integrated project management is also known as integrated project delivery. It is bringing all the stakeholders together for the successful construction of a building. The stakeholders involved in integrated project delivery include the owner, the architect/design team and engineers, and the contractor. Similar to integrated project management, collaboration is at the core. The participants in integrated project delivery enter into a contract for shared risks and rewards. As a result, they receive compensation and incentives based on achieving project goals. Similarly, they assume a shared risk, which means all parties must trust each other to make the best decisions for the project.
Co-location and “big rooms” are part of the decision-making process in integrated project delivery. Furthermore, the stakeholders gather together often to discuss issues, collaborate on solutions, and conduct forward plans.
Benefits of Integrated Project Delivery
Improved coordination – With such an integrated approach, the stakeholders spend a significant amount of time in the planning phase. This helps to improve coordination to ensure more successful execution during the construction phase. Fixing any errors in the beginning planning phases is more beneficial than catching the errors during the construction phase.
Transparency – Teams meet regularly to discuss issues, so there is complete transparency among team members. The use of technology to assign tasks keeps people accountable. Additionally, the use of software to capture project information keeps all project information visible and improves transparency.
Time and money savings – In IPD projects, the contracts stipulate incentives for team members. This delivers motivation to the team members to reap the benefits and deliver the project according to budget and time schedules. If they can save money on a project, they can receive those financial incentives. Additionally, if they complete the project sooner, they can collect those financial incentives and move onto the next project.
Improving Integrated Project Management with Integrated Labor Delivery
Bringing together different team members into an integrated approach provides many benefits. Integrated project delivery brings together the owner, architect, and contractor in alignment towards a singular project goal. However, one should not forget the specialized trades. At the core of any construction project includes the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) skilled trade contractors. They perform the majority of the labor and experts in constructability. Integrated Labor Delivery (ILD) delivers the same benefits as integrated project delivery. However, it includes aligning the major trade contractors with the owner, architect, and general contractor. This ensures that even the labor teams are in alignment and collaborating towards the project’s goals.
Project Management Institute