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Head First PMP, 2nd Edition by Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman

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Chapter 4. Project integration management: Getting the job done

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Want to make success look easy? It’s not as hard as you think. In this chapter, you’ll learn about a few processes you can use in your projects every day. Put these into place, and your sponsors and stakeholders will be happier than ever. Get ready for Integration Management.

Time to book a trip

Everyone in the Midwestern Teachers’ Association has gotten together and planned a trip—a tour of Asia and Europe, starting with Mumbai, India and ending up in Paris, France.

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Larry’s cutting corners

Larry wants to dive into the project and make his clients happy. When he sees an opportunity to save them money, he takes it! But sometimes the cheapest way to do things isn’t the way that will end up satisfying everyone.

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The teachers are thrilled... for now

Larry convinces the teachers to travel in June because of the great price he got on tickets. But he’s not really planning for the results of that decision—and neither are the teachers.

One of the keys of project management is thinking a project through before starting the work, so problems that could arise down the line are anticipated ahead of time. That’s why so much of project management is spent planning.

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These clients are definitely not satisfied

When the clients arrived in Mumbai, they found out why the fare was so low: June is monsoon season in India! Larry may have saved them a bundle, but it didn’t keep him from soaking his clients.

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Larry’s been let go

From the minute they got off the plane, the clients were extremely unhappy. The senior managers at Acme Travel don’t want to lose the teachers’ business... so they’ve appointed YOU as the new travel agent.

It’s your job to finish planning the trip, and make sure that the teachers leave their vacation satisfied.

The day-to-day work of a project manager

Project managers make projects run well. They plan for what’s going to happen on the project. A big part of the job is watching closely to make sure the plan is followed, and when things go wrong, making sure they’re fixed. And sometimes the plan itself turns out to be inadequate! Project managers look for those kinds of problems, and fix them too. That day-to-day work is what the Integration Management processes are all about.

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A bird’s-eye view of a project

Every project follows the same kind of pattern. First it gets initiated, then planned, then executed (and monitored), and finally closed. That’s why the process groups are so useful—they’re a good way to think about how you do the work.

For a large project, you’ll often see this pattern repeated several times. Each major chunk of deliverables is treated as its own sub-project that goes through all of the process groups and processes on its own.

Note

So you always need to use the processes in the Closing group, even when it’s a sub-project of a larger project

The six Integration Management processes

The PMBOK® Guide divides Integration Management into six processes that you need to understand for the exam. They’re what people usually think of as a project manager’s “core” responsibilities.

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  1. Develop Project Charter

    The very first thing that’s done on a new project is the development of the project charter. That’s the document that authorizes you to do your work. But you’re not always involved in making it—oftentimes it’s handed to you by the sponsor.

    Note

    The sponsor is the person who pays for the project

  2. Develop Project Management Plan

    The project management plan is the most important document in the entire PMBOK® Guide because it guides everything that happens on the project. It spans all of the knowledge areas.

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  3. Direct and Manage Project Execution

    After you’re done planning, it’s time to do the work. Your job is to make sure that everybody is doing what they should be doing, and that the products or services your project creates meet the needs of the stakeholders.

    Note

    Here’s where the work gets done. It’s where all of the planning you’ll do in all of the other knowledge areas comes together so that you can actually make stuff. It’s the day-to-day work that you help your team do and make sure gets done.

  4. Monitor and Control Project Work

    A good project manager is constantly monitoring every single thing that goes on in the project. Remember, the later you find a problem, the harder and more expensive it usually is to fix.

    Note

    Keep everyone satisfied by catching problems as early as possible.

  5. Perform Integrated Change Control

    Note

    Once you catch problems, this is where you figure out how to fix them—or if they should be fixed at all.

    Once you’ve found problems on your project, you’ve got to work with your stakeholders and sponsors to figure out how to deal with those problems. You should also update your project management plan to reflect any extra steps you’ll need to take to complete the project. Updating the project management plan also makes sure everyone working on the project stays on the same page.

    Note

    Keep an eye out for potential changes. Part of your job is helping the people around you anticipate changes, and maybe even prevent them.

  6. Close Project or Phase

    The last thing you do on the project is close it out. Make sure you document everything... especially the lessons you and your team have learned along the way. You can never tell when these lessons may help you out on your next project.

Start your project with the Initiating processes

All you need to get your project started are the only two processes in the Initiating process group. First, the Develop Project Charter process tells everyone in the company why the project is needed, and gives you the authority you need to make it happen. Then you use the Identify Stakeholders process to figure out who is affected by the project and how to communicate with them.

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Integration management and the process groups

Here is how the process groups all fit into this whole Integration Management thing. The process groups show you the order in which these things happen, and how the processes interact.

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The Integration Management knowledge area brings all of the process groups together. A project manager has to integrate the work of everyone on the team through all of these major activities to keep the project on track:

1. Being authorized by the project charter to control the budget and assign resources

2. Planning all of the work that’s going to happen throughout the project.

3. Directing the work once it gets started

4. Monitoring the way the work progresses and looking for potential problems

5. Looking out for changes, understanding their impacts, and making sure they don’t derail the project

6. Closing out the project and making sure that there are no loose ends when it’s over

The “Develop Project Charter” process

If you work in a matrixed organization, then your team doesn’t report to you. They report to functional managers, and might have other work to do. But when they’re on your project, you’re effectively their boss. So how do you make that happen? Well, you need some sort of authorization, and that’s what the project charter is for. It says exactly what you’re authorized to do on the project (like assign work to the team members and use the company’s resources), and why you’ve been assigned to it. But the charter isn’t just important for matrixed companies. In any kind of company, it’s really important to know who’s in charge, and what resources you have available to you when you manage a project.

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Make the case for your project

The Midwestern Teachers’ Association contract wasn’t the only one that Acme could have taken. They’ve got more work than they can handle right now, and occasionally they need to turn away a client. That’s where a business case comes in handy. If a project is too risky, won’t make enough money, isn’t strategic, or isn’t likely to succeed, then the senior managers at Acme could choose to pass on it.

But to figure all that out, you need to do some thinking about what makes taking on this project a good idea for Acme Travel. Preparing a business case means thinking about the value of the project to business. Is there a big market for world travel packages that Acme can break into if it does this project? Should they do it just because the customer requested it? Will it help the company in other ways?

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A Business Case document says why it’s worth it to spend money on the project

Use expert judgment to get an outside opinion

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When you think about it, a lot of different people’s opinions can help your company come to a good decision about whether or not to get a project started. Sometimes a project sponsor will call on experts to help them decide which projects to do. At Acme Travel, the CEO called a meeting with the VP of Asia Travel to make sure that the teacher’s trip was worth doing. The VP of Asia Travel had set up trips like this one before and he knew where things could go wrong in planning them. Together, they looked at all of the project documentation to make sure that this project looked like it would make Acme enough money to be worth doing.

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Your company might need to talk to subject matter experts from a bunch of different departments to decide if a project will be beneficial to them. They might rely on outside consultants or industry groups to tell them how other companies have solved the same problem. All of those different opnions are called Expert Judgment.

If the experts agree that the project’s business case, contract, and statement of work all add up to a product that’s going to do good things for your company, they’ll usually give the green light to write the charter.

A closer look at the project charter

The charter is the only output of the Develop Project Charter process. We know that it makes sense to do the project—that’s what we did with the business case. And we know that it assigns authority so that you can do your job. But what else does a charter have in it?

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Two things you’ll see over and over and over...

There are two inputs that you’ll see repeatedly for a bunch of different processes throughout the rest of the book. Enterprise Environmental Factors are anything that you need to know about how your company does business. And Organizational Process Assets have information about your projects: how people in your company are supposed to perform them, and how past projects have gone.

Enterprise Environmental Factors tell you about how your company does business.

There’s a lot of information about your company that will be really useful to you when you’re planning your project. You need to know how each of the different departments operates, the market conditions you’re working in, the company’s overall strategy, any policies you need to work with, your company’s culture, and all about the people who work at the company.

One of the Enterprise Environmental Factors you’ll use in the Integration Management processes is the work authorization system, which determines how your company assigns work to people and ensures that tasks are done properly and in the right order.

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Organizational Process Assets tell you about how your company normally runs its projects.

Every company has standards for how to run their projects. There are guidelines and instructions for managing projects, procedures you need to follow, categories for various things you need to keep track of, and templates for all of the various documents that you need to create. These things are usually stored in some sort of library.

One of the most important organizational process assets is called lessons learned, which is how you keep track of valuable historical information about your project. At the end of every project, you sit down with the project team and write down everything you learned about the project. This includes both positive and negative things. That way, when you or another project manager in your company plans the next project, you can take advantage of the lessons you learned on this one.

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Brain Power

Can you think of how these would be useful for starting and planning your project?

Note

At Acme, the CEO and VP of Asia Travel were the sponsors. But at another travel agency, Frank and Joanne could just as easily sponsor the project, since they’re the customers.

Watch it

When you’re taking the PMP® exam, be careful when you see a question that asks you about the customer or client.

There’s a good chance that the question is asking you about a consulting or procurement situation where the customer or client is also the sponsor.

Plan your project!

Planning the project is when you really take control. You write a plan that says exactly how you’re going to handle everything that goes on in the project. The Develop Project Management Plan process is where you organize all of the information about your project into one place, so everyone knows exactly what needs to happen when they do the project work—no matter what their jobs are.

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The project management plan lets you plan ahead for problems

The Planning process group is where you figure out how you’re going to do the project—because you need to come up with a plan before you bring the team in to do the work. This is where you think about everything that will happen on your project, and try to plot a course to completing it with as few errors as possible.

And it’s where you figure out how you’ll handle changes—because every project has plenty of problems, but not all of those problems mean that you need to change course. If you plan well, your project will make only the right changes.

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The project management plan is a collection of other plans

The project management plan is a single document, but it’s broken into a bunch of pieces called subsidiary plans. There’s one subsidiary plan for each of the other knowledge areas: scope management, time management, cost management, quality management, human resource management, communications management, risk management, and procurement management.

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No. The project management plan is not the same thing as a project schedule.

You’ll use a tool like Microsoft Project when you’re doing Time Management to build the project schedule. (It’s also useful for other knowledge areas as well.) But you’ll use your project management plan as a guide to help you develop that schedule. It will tell you what tools to use when you develop it, and how changes will be handled.

Relax

Don’t worry about memorizing all of the subsidiary plans.

You’re going to learn about all of the knowledge areas throughout the book, so don’t worry about memorizing all of these subsidiary plans right now. Just know that the project management plan has plans within it that map to each of the knowledge areas.

A quick look at all those subsidiary plans

You’ll be learning about each of the knowledge areas throughout this book, and you’ll learn all about the subsidiary plan that goes with each area. But let’s take a quick look at what each subsidiary plan focuses on.

Note

The scope, schedule and cost management plans are all developed as part of this Develop Project Management Plan process. The other subsidiary plans actually have their own processes, which you’ll learn about later on.

The project management plan is the core of Integration Management. It’s your main tool for running a project.

Question Clinic: The “Just-The-Facts-Ma’am” Question

A great way to prepare for the exam is to learn about the different kinds of questions, and then try writing your own. Each of these Question Clinics will look at a different type of question, and give you practice writing one yourself.

Note

Take a little time out of the chapter for this Question Clinic. It’s here to give your brain a break and think about something different.

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27. Which of the following can be found in the Project Charter?

  1. Business Case Document

    Note

    Some answers will clearly be wrong. The Business Case Document is one of the tools and techniques from Develop Project Charter.

  2. Expert Judgment

    Note

    Some answers are a little misleading! This is part of the Develop Project Charter process—but it’s from the tools and techniques, not a part of the Project Charter itself.

  3. Authorization for the project manager

    Note

    Here’s the right answer! The project manager’s authorization is included in the project charter.

  4. Project Management Information System

    Note

    You haven’t seen this one yet—it’s part of Enterprise Environmental Factors, an input to the Develop Project Charter Process, but not in the charter itself..

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The Direct and Manage Project Execution process

Once you have a project management plan, your project is ready to begin. And as the project unfolds, it’s your job to direct and manage each activity on the project, every step of the way. That’s what happens in the Direct and Manage Project Execution process: you simply follow the plan you’ve put together and handle any problems that come up.

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The project team creates deliverables

The work you’re doing on the teachers’ project creates lots of things: airline reservations, hotel reservations, invoices, defect reports, and customer comments (to name a few). These things are all your deliverables, and they are one of the five outputs of the Direct and Manage Execution process.

Another output is work performance information, and that’s what we call the reports Acme’s running on the project. These reports track how many negative versus positive customer comments the project gets, and how well the project is doing at meeting its cost estimates. In fact, a project manager should figure out a way to measure how well the processes from each knowledge area are being performed.

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You create work performance information by measuring how well the processes from each knowledge area are being performed.

Executing the project includes repairing defects

The Direct and Manage Execution process has a bunch of inputs and outputs—but most of them have to do with implementing changes, repairs, and corrective action. If there’s a defect repair that’s been approved, this is where it happens. Once the defect is repaired, the result is an implemented defect repair. The same is true for changes and corrective actions; once they’re approved, they become process inputs, and then they can be implemented and become process outputs.

Note

Any time you have to correct a mistake or make a repair in a deliverable, you’re fixing a defect.

The three components of the Direct and Manage Project Execution process:

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  1. Use the plan to create deliverables

    Note

    Deliverables are anything you produce in the course of doing your project activities.

  2. Repair defects in deliverables

    Note

    Your Quality Management plan focuses on catching defects as you go, so you can repair them as soon as possible.

  3. As the project plan changes, make sure those changes are reflected in the deliverables

    Note

    This is different from fixing defects. A defect means that the plan was right, but your deliverable was built wrong.

Deliverables include everything that you and your team produce for the project

The word deliverable is pretty self-explanatory. It means anything that your project delivers. The deliverables for your project include all of the products or services that you and your team are performing for the client, customer, or sponsor.

But deliverables include more than that. They also include every single document, plan, schedule, budget, blueprint, and anything else that gets made along the way... including all of the project management documents that you put together.

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The Direct and Manage Execution Process is where you and your team actually do the project work to produce the deliverables.

Eventually, things WILL go wrong...

Even if you work through all the processes you’ve seen so far, things can still go wrong on your project. In fact, the teachers are already letting you know about some issues they’re having:

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... but if you keep an eye out for problems, you can stay on top of them!

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Sometimes you need to change your plans

Take a minute and flip back to page 97. Notice how there’s a loop between the Executing and the Monitoring & Controlling processes? That’s because when your team is executing the plan and working on the deliverables, you need to keep a constant lookout for any potential problems. That’s what the Monitor and Control Project Work process is for. When you find a problem, you can’t just make a change... because what if it’s too expensive, or will take too long? You need to look at how it affects the project constraints—time, cost, scope, resources, risks, and quality—and figure out if it’s worth making the change. That’s what you do in the Perform Integrated Change Control process.

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Look for changes and deal with them

You need to stay on top of any possible changes that happen throughout your project, and that’s what the Monitor and Control Project Work process is for. Usually the work is progressing just fine. But sometimes you find out that you need to change something, and that’s when you use the Perform Integrated Change Control process to see if the change is worth the impact it will have on your project.

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Make only the changes that are right for your project

The Monitor and Control Project Work process is where you find the changes that you may want to make. The Perform Integrated Change Control process is where you decide whether or not to make them. But you’re not the one actually making that decision – a big part of Perform Integrated Change Control is that you need to get your changes approved by the Change Control Board.

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Each change request’s status is updated. Changes that are OK’d are given the status “Approved” to become Approved Change Requests.

Changes, defects, and corrections

You’ve already seen how a project can change as it goes along. When the teachers asked for their hotel to be upgraded, you took the request through the change control process at Acme, and when the change control board approved the change, you directed the agents to make the booking for the group.

But sometimes, things go wrong with what you intended to have happen in the first place. When your quality department told you that you had booked the teachers on the flight to Rome without putting them in the same row, you quickly fixed the reservation. But you intended for the teachers to sit together in the first place, so that’s not a change, it’s a defect.

In the process, you realized that your team wasn’t reading your documentation carefully, which is why they screwed up the airline reservations. To fix the way your team is working, you need to take corrective action. That’s when you need to change the way you’re doing the work on your project. Got all that?

When the team is repairing defects to deliverables, they still need to go through change control.

Decide your changes in change control meetings

Sometimes a change you make will have a direct impact on other teams and projects, and it’s a good idea to be sure that everybody who will be impacted knows that it’s coming and thinks that it’s worth it before you make the change. You can’t always know everything that might happen as a result of a change, and that’s why it’s a good idea to get buy-in from key people in your company before you go through with it. And that’s what a change control meeting is all about!

Usually, a change control meeting will be a regularly scheduled thing, where people representing the affected areas of the company will get together to review proposed changes and decide whether or not to make them. A change control board is never made up of just the people on your team. A change control meeting is all about getting people with different perspectives together to talk about the pros and cons of changes before deciding whether to approve or reject them.

As a project manager, it’s your job to know the impact of requested changes to your project and prioritize them for the change control board. Once you’ve done that, the change control board can make informed decsions about whether or not to approve them.

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How the processes interact with each other

While monitoring the teachers’ trip, you notice that they all ask for non-smoking rooms every time they check into a hotel. But some hotels don’t have enough non-smoking rooms available, and the teachers aren’t too thrilled about that.

After talking it over with the teachers it’s clear that it’s worth splitting up the group over multiple hotels to make sure they all are in non-smoking rooms—and some hotels are more expensive than you’d planned. The cost change will put you over budget, so the cost management plan needs to be updated. Time to take the request to change control:

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Control your changes; use change control

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Any time you need to make a change to your plan, you need to start with a change request. This is a document that either you or the person making the change needs to create. Any change to your project needs to be documented so you can figure out what needs to be done. Once you have a change request, that then kicks off your project’s set of change control procedures.

Note

The key here is PROCEDURE—change control is about how your company handles changes. You may use a computer system to monitor and document changes, but that’s just one part of your change control system.

This means you need to write down exactly what needs to be changed and put it in something called a change request. That’s a form that you fill out to send a change through change control.

Change control is how you deal with changes to your project management plan.

A change control system is the set of procedures that let you make those changes in an organized way.

Preventing or correcting problems

When you monitor your project, you might be checking the actual time it’s taking you to do scheduled work versus the amount of time you planned, or you might be gathering information on the number of defects you have found versus the number you expected. In both cases, it’s possible that you might find problems. If you do, you have to change the way you do your work and keep your project from being dragged down. When you make a course change on your project, that’s taking corrective action.

It’s also possible that you might see problems that are going to occur even though they haven’t happened yet. If you do, you will want to take preventive action, or steps that you take to avoid potential problems.

Note

When people predict problems on projects before they happen, it’s called a forecast. A forecast can be a good reason to make a change too!

In both corrective and preventive action, you always need to submit your proposed change and put it through the Integrated Change Control process—and only if it is approved will you implement it. If your recommended action makes it through, you need to change the plan and any of your baselines to include it.

The documented scope, schedule, and cost baselines are in the Project Management Plan are called the Performance Measurement Baseline.

Note

We’ll learn more about the performance measurement baseline in upcoming chapters.

You always have the authority to make changes to your project if they don’t affect cost, schedule, or scope.

Finish the work, close the project

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You can’t finish the project until you get paid! Most projects start with contracts, and when they do you need to make sure the terms are met. Acme signed a contract with the Midwestern Teachers’ Association when the project started, and now it’s time to make sure all of the parts of that contract are met. And that’s part of what you do in the Close Project or Phase process. But an even more important part of this process is that you create the lessons learned and add them to your company’s Organizational Process Assets. That way you and other project managers can learn from this historical information in the future. The inputs to the Close Project or Phase process include the project management plan, organizational process assets, enterprise environmental factors, work performance information, and deliverables, along with any contract you have for the work (if there is one). And you use the same familiar tools and techniques list that you’ve seen all chapter. In this case, there’s just one: expert judgment.

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The most important output of the Close Project or Phase is the final product that you deliver to the customer!

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here

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The teachers have gone through their entire itinerary. They’re now on their way to Paris, which is the final leg of their tour. They’ve had a great time, and now it’s time for you to finish up.

Every project needs to end, and that’s what the Close Project or Phase process is all about. You want other travel agents at Acme to learn from anything new you’ve discovered. Remember how you had to scramble with the nonsmoking room request? Maybe your friends at Acme can learn from that, and ask new clients up front what they want! That’s why you write down your lessons learned, and that’s a big part of closing the project.

Note

Even if your project ends early, you still need to follow the Close Project or Phase process.

Brain Power

Think about a major project you’ve heard of that did not end well, like one that was shut down before the work was done. What lessons could have been learned from that project?

How can the project manager use the Close Project or Phase process to make sure that something good comes out of early termination?

So why INTEGRATION management?

The Integration Management knowledge area has all of the processes that you do in your day-to-day work as a project manager. So why are they called “Integration Management” processes? Well, think about what it takes to run a project: you need people and other resources from all around your company; knowledge about how your company does its business; standards, templates, and other assets that you’ve gathered from other projects; and the ability to put it all together—that’s what a project manager does. And that’s where the “integration” part comes in.

This is especially important when you need to work with consultants, because your job is to procure services for the project. And you need to plan for all of it at the beginning—which is when you integrate all of these things together into a single plan. It’s your job to make sure that every one of the 42 processes in the PMBOK® Guide is addressed in the plan, even if you’re not going to use it (for example, if you don’t need contractors or consultants, you won’t use Procurement processes).

Integration Management means making sure that all of the processes work together seamlessly to make your project successful.

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What else is there?

Huh... It seems like we covered the whole project, right? You got authorized to do the work, you planned the project, you executed it, you corrected problems along the way, and you closed it out. Isn’t that everything?

Well, of course not! There’s a whole lot more planning that you have to do, and many skills that you need to have. Luckily, we’ve got the PMBOK® Guide to help us figure out exactly what we need to know to manage projects effectively.

Note

That’s what the rest of the book is about.

Integration Management kept your project on track, and the teachers satisfied

By using all of the Integration Management processes, you kept the project on track. You handled all of the problems that came up, made some important changes in the process, and the teachers got to all of their destinations on time and on budget.

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Exactly, watch out for those red herrings.

Take some time to go over the answers to these questions and if they did throw you off track, reread the question to understand why.

Just remember... if you get something wrong now, that means you’re actually MORE likely to remember it on the exam! That’s why practice exams are so useful.

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