1. Integration Knowledge Area—Introduction
The 1st of the 10 Knowledge Areas to be covered by the PMBOK® Guide is the Integration Knowledge Area. This knowledge area is the “heart and soul” of Project Management, in my opinion, because it takes ALL of the project management activities across the 5 process groups and down the other 9 knowledge areas and unifies, consolidates, communicates and integrates them into a single entity, THE PROJECT.
This is why the PMBOK® Guide lists it as the first of the knowledge areas. However, when you are learning about project management, having this be the first knowledge area you study may be difficult because t is arguably one of the most complicated of the knowledge areas. For that reason, the PMP/CAPM exam prep class that is put on by the Orange County chapter of the Project Management Institute actually teaches it LAST instead of first. So you may want to consider reviewing the material of the other knowledge area chapters first, and then coming back to the Integration Knowledge Area after you’ve covered all the rest.
2. Integration Knowledge Area—Summary of all Six Processes
You will notice that the Integration Knowledge Area is the ONLY knowledge area which has processes in all 5 process groups. There is one process for each process group, with Monitoring & Controlling having two groups.
|Initiating||4.1||Develop Project Charter||Develops document that formally authorizes project and provides project manager with authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.
|Planning||4.2||Develop Project Management Plan||Defines, prepares, and coordinates all subsidiary plans and baselines (from all 9 other knowledge areas) and integrates them into a comprehensive project management plan.
|Executing||4.3||Direct and Manage Project Work||Leads and performs work defined in project management plan and implements approved changes to achieve the project’s objectives.
|4.4||Monitor and Control Project Work||Tracks, reviews, and reports project progress against performance objectives defined in project management plan.
|4.5||Perform Integrated Change Control||Reviews change requests; approves changes and manages changes to deliverables, OPAs, or project management plan itself; communicates their disposition
|Finalizes project across all PM process groups; formally closes project or phase|
3. Let’s take a closer look at the process descriptions.
4.1 Develop Project Charter
The Project Charter is the formal “green light” to the project and is done as part of the Initiating Process Group. It’s the high-level statement of what the project will accomplish, why it is being done (the business case), and the high-level assumptions, risks, and constraints within which the project must operate. Although the project manager should be assigned at this stage, the focus here is on the approval that must be obtained from the sponsor, and that is the basic purpose behind the project charter.
4.2 Develop Project Management Plan
The next four processes can be understood through the original Deming PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT cycle which describes process improvement in general. The PLAN part comes with the Project Management Plan, which is obviously part of the Planning Process Group. This process combines a) the individual management plans of all the knowledge areas (Scope Management Plan, Cost Management Plan, etc.), and b) some other management plans (such as Change Management Plan) and integrates them together into the Project Management Plan.
4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work
This is the DO part of the Deming PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT cycle, and the process belongs in the Executing Process Group. Notice that it is doing the work in the plan PLUS any approved changes. The changes get evaluated and approved in the Monitoring & Controlling Process under process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control, but get implemented here in this process, 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work.
4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work
This is the CHECK part of the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT cycle, which is the Monitoring part of the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group. What are you checking for? To see if the project is progressing as planned in process 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan. What happens if you’re NOT on track and you want to get back? Then you go to the NEXT process, which is …
4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control
This is the ACT part of the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT cycle, which is the Controlling part of the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group. What are you controlling? You are controlling the project so that if it gets off track from any of the performance baselines, you can then suggest, evaluate, and then either approve or reject changes that help you get it back on track. If the changes are approved, then and only then do they get implemented back in the Executing Process Group under process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work.
4.6 Close Project or Phase
If the project does proceed to the point where the deliverables are completed within the plan developed in process 4.2, then you get formal closure of the project or phase from the customer and/or sponsor of the project. Obviously this is part of the Closing Process Group. Or if the project gets to the point where it is decided that the project CANNOT be completed as specified in the project charter, the project may be terminated, but still much go through formal closure.
This is a general high-level description of the six processes in the Integration Knowledge Area. The next posts will discuss the six processes in detail.
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