Anyone managing more than one calendar understands the importance of integrating plans. If you try to track things separately, you will be double-booked or miss something because you were looking at an incomplete view of your world. The same applies to projects, but more so since they engage so many people and activities.
Integrate Planning Activities makes sure all the separate plans for managing scope, schedule, costs, people, etc., are coordinated and integrated into a holistic master plan.
2.9.1 Consolidate the Project/Phase Plans
Project Management Plan
The term “Project Management Plan” has a special meaning in the PMP® exam. This is the name given to the master plan that integrates and consolidates all the subsidiary management plans. This includes baselines and other information necessary to manage the project.
The project management plan describes how the project will be run, monitored, controlled and closed. It includes the following subsidiary plans:
- Stakeholder engagement plan – How stakeholders will be engaged according to their needs, interests, and impact.
- Scope management plan – How scope will be defined, developed, monitored, controlled, and validated.
- Requirements management plan – How the requirements will be analyzed, documented, and managed.
- Schedule management plan – How the schedule will be developed, monitored and controlled.
- Cost management plan – How the costs will be planned, structured and controlled.
- Communications management plan – How information about the project will be created, shared and confirmed and who to.
- Risk management plan – How the risk management activities will be designed and completed.
- Quality management plan – How the quality policies, approaches, and standards will be implemented.
- Resource management plan – How project resources should be classified, allocated, managed, and discharged.
- Procurement management plan – How goods and services from outside of the organization will be acquired and managed.
Lots of different plans are built, maintained and executed throughout a project. Having a single, integrated master source for all plans allows the PM to see how efforts align and dependencies flow between them. It can also help identify conflicts and gaps that will need correcting
In addition to all the plans, the Project Management Plan contains any baselines used to track performance against. Common baselines include:
- Scope baseline
- Schedule baseline
- Cost baseline
- Performance measurement baseline
As the project progresses, actual values are compared to the baselined plan values for this point in time. If there is sufficient deviation from the baseline plan, corrective actions will be required.
2.9.2 Assess Consolidated Project Plans
Assess consolidated project plans for dependencies, gaps, and continued business value.
Once we have all the different plans assembled, we need to check the overall plan for untracked dependencies or missing activities/resources. Luckily these days, there are plenty of tools to assist us with these checks.
Project Management Information Systems (PMIS)
The PMBOK® and PMP® exam still refer to PM tools as project management information systems (PMIS), but you probably just know them as PM tools.
Tools popular on predictive, plan-driven projects include Primavera and Microsoft Project. For agile projects, there are hundreds, including Azure DevOps, Jira, Wrike, Target Process, Trello, Basecamp, etc.
These tools vary in functionality and ease of use but allow users to identify issues such as capacity limits, dependency violations, and skill gaps, etc.
2.9.3 Analyze the Data Collected
Some items need careful tracking; they need configuration management.
Configuration Management Plan
This plan (which is also a component of the project management plan) lists all the items under configuration management and defines how the change control board will work. It also explains how the change control system will be implemented and answers the following questions:
- What steps are necessary to evaluate the change request before approving or rejecting it?
- Who can recommend a change?
- What represents a change?
- What is the effect of the change on the project’s objectives?
- When a change request is approved, what documents must be updated?
Configuration Management System
A Configuration Management System (CMS) is a collection of procedures used to track project artifacts.
These days, CMSs are usually computerized content management systems that allow monitoring and reporting on project artifacts. When a change occurs on the project, any associated configuration items should also be updated. The CMS maintains the change history of all components tracking what changed and who changed it to effectively control the versions of all the project components.
2.9.4 Collect and Analyze Data to Make Informed Decisions
This quote is a good reminder that the value of planning lies in the thinking and consultation process of planning, but the resultant plans will likely soon be out of date and not that useful. So, yes, we must plan, but do not get too attached to those plans. They were “today’s best guess” when they were made, but today we know more than yesterday.
Changes are inevitable, and so we should have a plan for changing our plans. This is where our Change Management Plan comes in.
Change Management Plan
This document explains how the change control process works and documents the roles and responsibilities of the change control board (CCB).
Organizational culture directly influences how an organization manages changes to a project.
An organization in a highly regulated environment tends to have a cautious, formal, and rigid culture. This leads to rigorous change management procedures, perhaps with multiple levels of approval. Organizations operating in new or rapidly evolving environments tend to have a lighter-touch approach to change.
The change management plan describes how changes will be managed and may include:
- Approval levels for changes
- The structure of the Change Control Board, if one is used
- The change control process
- The tools used to track and communicate change decisions
- The emergency change process
Change Control Boards
A Change Control Board (CCB) is a formally chartered group responsible for reviewing, evaluating, approving, deferring, or rejecting changes to the project. The board represents key stakeholders for the project and is tasked with assessing changes in terms of cost, schedule, risk, and value impact. They are created to manage all project change requests fairly.
Planning in High Change Environments
Dynamic and complex projects require a robust and fast-moving approach to managing change. Agile approaches work well in these environments. Some agile approaches for managing change beyond the team level include:
- Disciplined Agile (DA) – a hybrid tool kit that lists hundreds of agile practices. It allows users to choose their “way of working” (WoW).
- Scrum of Scrums – A technique for operating Scrum for multiple teams. Focusing on how to integrate the delivery of software, especially in areas of overlap.
- Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) – A knowledge base of integrated patterns for enterprise-scale, lean-agile development.
- Less (Large Scale Scrum) – A scalable yet straightforward framework for taking the principles of Scrum and scaling them up to the organizational level.
2.9.5 Determine Critical Information Requirements
As the project progresses, we need to continuously monitor change requests, risks, issues, and team performance. Then based on these factors and customer/sponsor guidance, update our plans to deliver project outcomes and comply with our organization’s agreed procedures.
Compliance management requires monitoring project information and comparing it to compliance goals and requirements. For example, most projects are governed by conditions such as:
- Appropriate government rules and regulations
- Corporate policies
- Product and project quality information
- Compliance categories
- Potential threats to compliance
- Analysis of the consequences of noncompliance
- Recommendations to address compliance needs
Using the processes described in this module, project managers integrate plans to help identify gaps, dependencies and constraints. Planning occurs throughout the project, whichever life cycle is adopted.
Deliverables and Tools
- Project Management Plan
- Product Backlog
- Configuration Management Plan
- Change Management Plan
- 2.1 Execute project with the urgency required to deliver business value
- 2.3 Assess and manage risks
- 2.4 Engage Stakeholders
- 2.5 Plan and manage budget and resources
- 2.6 Plan and manage schedule
- 2.7 Plan and manage quality of products/deliverables
- 2.8 Plan and manage scope
- 2.9 Integrate project planning activities
- 2.10 Manage project changes
- 2.11 Plan and manage procurement
- 2.12 Manage project artifacts
- 2.13 Determine appropriate project methodology and practices
- 2.14 Establish project governance structure
- 2.15 Manage project issues
- 3.3 Evaluate and address external business environment changes
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