The problem is that if you’re not scoping, planning and then budgeting for internal interface management and integration efforts, chances are the work has unwittingly been added to the responsibilities of your project managers. But as your key decision-makers, your project managers should be focused on planning, cost, scheduling and relationship management. Instead of answering emails and asking for updates, they should be focused exclusively on managing risk and making good decisions. Integration is an explicit practice: It requires time and tools to do properly, and that’s why it should be handled by professionals.
Ignoring the need for professional integration management also places undue burdens on your IT department. The reality is that modern project management happens largely online, and IT departments don’t have the resources or project expertise to manage company-wide and project-based data integration. Separate integration from overhead, and make it part of your project cost.
Here’s what professional project integration looks like, though people, processes, deliverables and information (PPDI).
1 | Integrate your people
Your integration team will clarify roles and responsibilities, and ensure that every stakeholder is prepared to come to the table with relevant input when required. From planning meetings to issuing reminders in advance of critical project gates, the integration team makes sure the people involved a project are aligned around key objectives, sharing important information and communicating with the right colleagues. If you’re using powerful integration software like T-CON™, the team will make sure your project managers can check the status of any project element at a glance, from work package status to data integration efforts. From anywhere.
2 | Enforcing the Single Source Of Truth rule (SSOT)
Projects plagued by informational discord rarely succeed. Your project integration team ensures that all people, departments, and partners are contributing to and working from the same up-to-date data, records, and information. The team watches to see how information is moving through the company and then captures it at key points to ensure effective sharing and full transparency. In the digital age, it is more critical than ever to ensure that information and data are consolidated, accurate and current. With an integration team in place, decision-makers at all levels no longer have to dig to find the most relevant, up-to-date information, which means decisions are smarter and risks are more effectively mitigated. It’s a game-changer for companies committed to quality assurance and provides a strong competitive advantage.
3 | Aligning work processes across stakeholders
Once the people are aligned and key information is organized and centralized, the integration team focuses on aligning work processes across all stakeholders, inside and outside the company. For example, in the beginning, and throughout a project, they’ll document requirements for each key deliverable and work package and monitor the maturity of the documents, with a view to being fully prepared as the project approaches key gates. As you approach the full funds authorization gate, for example, your team will be able to see at a glance whether your project is on track.
It’s time to rethink integration. As mergers and acquisitions continue, as more capital projects get sanctioned, companies are getting more complex, and internal integration is more important than ever. If not done well, the cost of lack of integration will show up through indirect costs causing unpredictable cost growth. The only way to ensure that integration is done well is to allocate to it a unique budget with the deliverables, objectives, KPIs and digital tools to go with it. Liberate your project managers and give them the tools and teams they need to get projects done, on-time and on-budget.
The Concord team provides professional integration management services using T-CON™, a powerful, cloud-based, API-friendly digital platform purpose-built for integration managers, integration teams, Owners and EPC project teams. Learn more.