Week 3: Project Integration Management and the Role of the Project Manager

In week three of the course we will look at  project integration management, the processes to ensure the effective combination of project processes and practices. We will also look at the role of the project manager and consider the approach that he or she may take to the management of people in the project.

Project Integration Management

The PMBOK refers to Project Integration Management as:

“the processes needed to identify, define, combine, unify, and coordinate the various processes and project management activities within the Project Management Process Groups.”

This is introduced in the following video:

 

The major project management integrative processes from the PMBOK are:

1. Develop the project charter.

2. Develop the project management plan.

3. Direct and manage project execution.

4. Monitor and control project work.

5. Perform integrated change control.

6. Close project or phase.

The first of these processes is the development of the project charter.  The project charter is usually based on the business case for the project and any project statement of work. The government of Nova Scotia has a sample project charter on its website that is a good example:

The second process is the development of the project management plan. This is based on the project charter and outputs from the planning processes of the project – it pulls together outputs from these various planning processes.

A project management plan template is available for students of the course through a link in the course materials:

and there is also a link to a project management plan for a systems engineering project:

The third process is the direction and management of the project execution which is based on the implementation  of the project management plan and changes to that which have been approved as the project has proceeded. The project management information system may be used to gather data on project performance and, as a result of the project execution management, the project will produce its deliverables. Project performance information will be updated as the project proceeds, along with project documentation and the project management plan itself.

 

The fourth process is the monitoring and controlling of project work and this is the activity that ensures that the project stays on track. The project management plan and performance  reports from the project are reviewed and changes to project activity are recommended where needed.

 

The fifth process is the performance of integrated change control. Integrated change control is the disciplined review and determination of changes to the project. The PMBOK places a high level of importance on ensuring that changes to the project plan are very carefully considered and only approved where these are necessary. The following video provides an  outline of this area:

 

The sixth and final integrative process is the project or project phase closure. These are the activities needed to determine whether the project or phase is complete and to follow through with that completion. The following video explains:

The six major project management integrative processes have been reviewed here. They are intended to draw together the various aspects of the project and ensure that they are effectively combined in pursuit of the project objectives.

The Role of the Project Manager

The project manager’s role is the successful completion of projects. The following video is a discussion of the job of a construction project manager:

One of the articles for this week of the course, that is available to course students provides practical advice in the role of a project manager –  it suggests that the project manager should:

1. Get users involved in the project from the start – good advice related to project stakeholder management.

2. Choose the project team carefully – project team selection is often a weak point in project management.

3. Keep project information in one place – as a central point of access to information for the project team.

4. Hold many meetings – communication is critical in projects and another common weak point.

5. Earn the Nobel Prize for diplomacy – project managers need to work with many different people and diplomacy will be valuable here.

6. Watch out for scope creep – another major cause of failure.

7. Maintain quality – don’t cut corners on the project.

8. Don’t be afraid to call a time out – valuable advice in many business situations when a time for reflection is of benefit.

9. Use a proven tracking system – use systems that will let you know early that you need to act on an issue.

10. Roll with the punches – being a PM is a tough job.

The following video considers the role of the project manager further, outlining it in relation to the project management office:

Theory X and Theory Y

The approach that a project manager takes to managing people will determine the success of their project. Theories of management emerged during the industrial revolution and in the early 1900’s Scientific Management emerged from Fredrick Taylor, epitomised by Henry Ford:

Taylorism featured a division between the planning and execution of work, an emphasis on specialisation, with a small number of people with a high level of skill and a large number of people with a low level of skill. Emphasis was placed on understanding how to manage this new system of work and on scientific measurement to establish work methods and norms.

Hackman and Lawler, writing in 1971, described this approach as:

“The general expectation of the scientific management approach was that by simplifying jobs, work could be carried out more efficiently, less skilled employees would be required; the control of management over production would be increased; and, ultimately, organisational profits would be increased.”

By the 1940’s this approach to management was being questioned. The Human Relations School argued that a more positive approach to employees should be taken, designing jobs to improve employee motivation, satisfaction and performance. They argued that Taylorism (or Scientific Management) led to dissatisfaction and lower levels of performance. Douglas McGregor, writing in 1957, categorised the different approaches as Theory X and Theory Y as the following video describes:

An understanding of these contrasting views of the role of management will assist project managers in considering their own approach to management.

Finally

This week we have looked at project integration management, outlining the processes that the PMBOK sees as important in integrating project management activities in pursuit of the project objectives. We have looked at the role of the project manager, providing some practical tips and defining it in relation to the project management office. Theory X and Y has been introduced to assist in the consideration of the approaches that can be taken to project team management.

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