Managing construction projects can be complex, especially when various departments have to work together throughout the project lifecycle. As each team works hand-in-hand, each is likely to use a project management methodology they’re most comfortable with to get the desired results. These contrasting strategies can make collaboration between departments challenging.
Project complications are way more difficult with larger projects with more moving parts. Without proper delegation of tasks and alignment of schedules, construction projects can potentially slow down, workforce productivity decreases, and the budget might blow up. These are why the construction industry has dipped its toes into project integration to simplify construction management.
Let’s dive right into this new project management concept.
What is Project Integration Management?
Project integration management is an often overlooked concept area in construction project management methodology, which is a waste. This is because project integration management generally controls the most difficult areas of construction work, such as integrating the various department or teams, repetitive tasks, routinary processes, and various strategies required to complete a successful project.
What is the Role of Project Integration in Construction Management?
Project integration gives Project Managers a strategy to bring synergy and workflow to the overlapping processes from all your management areas. The integration management process puts construction managers in control of their processes. It helps their teams strategically plan, consolidate, and delegate the many project resources, tasks, stakeholders, and schedules required to meet their project goals.
When stakeholders of the project have competing objectives, or there are task delegation conflicts, project integration aids project managers in making smart cost or schedule trade-offs that help the construction team to meet stakeholder expectations and complete the project on time at within budget.
What is the Difference Between Construction Project Management and Project Integration?
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), there are ten knowledge areas within project management.
- Project Integration Management
- Project Time Management
- Project Cost Management
- Project Scope Management
- Project Quality Management
- Project Communication Management
- Project Resource Management
- Project Risk Management
- Project Stakeholder Management
- Project Procurement Management
Individually, these project management systems contribute to a construction project’s success. However, the role of project integration management is to combine these separate management processes into one consolidated framework.
Knowing this, we can conclude that project integration management is the foundation for project success.
Why Project Management Needs Project Integration Management
It is the role of project managers to manage vast amounts of stakeholders, materials, and workforce in a construction project, and they have to be updated in real-time. Project managers are involved in labour, finance, scheduling, procurement, risks and safety, design changes, and stakeholder coordination, among much more.
Hence, keeping track of different teams with different types of concerns daily is incredibly challenging but vital for the success of a project. Project integration management enables solutions to conflicts and challenges as they arise onsite. Additionally, integration management helps you grasp how one area of your construction project is hinged and affected by another area. With this in place, you can establish quick and default responses and prepare for necessary changes.
Lastly, meeting stakeholders’ expectations is only possible with a bird’s eye view of your project. Fortunately, project integration management can provide this easily.
How to Establish Integration Management in Your Construction Project?
While deadlines and deliverables may change over time, your team’s guiding principles and direction should remain solid as ever. Below are the necessary steps you should take to build your integration management’s solid foundation:
1. Create a Comprehensive Project Charter
In construction planning, creating a project charter is always the first step. A project charter is a high-level document that guides your project team throughout the project’s lifecycle and strengthens the project manager’s authority. A project charter covers the goals and responsibilities of each project team. A good output must clearly define the “why” and “how” of your project, such as:
- General project overview/Project Profile
- Project objectives and goals
- Reason for/Purpose of the project
- Identified risks and safety precautions
- Expected deliverables and deadline
2. Outline a Project Management Plan
A project management plan outlines “how” specifically project teams can achieve their construction goals. The project management plan should be extensive enough to list the project’s goals, scope, timeline and budget.
Coordinate with stakeholders to determine their needs for the project and arrange necessary procurements. Once established as a baseline, you can input data to construction dispatching and scheduling software to record your plan and let all your team members access it. Your construction management plan should include the following:
- Project scope details
- Project goals
- Budget expectations
- Risk management guidelines
- Stakeholder information
- Change management planning
- Workflow & Reporting guidelines
While your project management plan clears out expectations, change orders are inevitable in construction. Miscommunication, short-sightedness, and change orders will cause schedule and cost overruns. A good management plan establishes an efficient process with a pre-planned workflow for RFI use, identified communication channels, and integrated construction dispatching software to bind them all together.
3. Delegate Tasks Accordingly
In this stage, you will monitor your construction teams and ensure collaboration across different project life cycles. Using a Master Schedule with identified Work breakdown structures (WBS) to track progress in an organized way and for a broader outline of work to do to help workers complete their tasks.
During this step, your role as a Project Manager is to direct project execution and monitor resource management. Remote collaboration tools like crew dispatching software will aid communication and task scheduling, especially for big construction projects. As each team works on their respective deliverables, it may be necessary to adjust materials, timelines, etc., throughout the project lifecycle. However, with good integration management, this would not be a problem, and you should be able to adapt to needed changes without significant fallout.
4. Monitor Your Project in Real-Time
Project updating and reporting are critical for construction projects. You need to assess deliverables and milestones in real time. Use construction dispatching and scheduling software to communicate in one platform and track project progress at all times. With collaborative software, you can stay in touch with onsite teams, office employees and key stakeholders across your project.
Early reporting also allows for corrective measures to be implemented quickly. Delays will cost the scope and timeline of your project and may lead to project creep. It’s vital to make adjustments and know how one task affects another. Monitoring progress will allow you to adjust and stay aligned with your project charter.
5. Establish a Change Management System
A good change management system tightly organizes project change requests from multiple stakeholders, enabling direct change requests in a centralized change request platform. It may be necessary to appoint a person in charge of design changes, RFI submissions, document queries, etc. Steer clear from project scope creep by planning for changes and creating a solid system that can adapt when changes arise.
Project integration management guarantee that overall project goals stay on track when changes happen.
6. Prepare for Project Closeout from the Start
As you reach the closeout phase of your construction project, you will face several even newer challenges.
Many project phases are rushed during this stage, and contractors and subcontractors will want to quickly finish the project so they can move to a new one. Contractors are prone to jump from area to area to swiftly finish out tasks, which may pose a conflict with other departments and trades. Both of these issues can contribute to onsite injuries and costly rework.
Hence, it’s vital to set the boundaries in your project scope regarding the expectation set for each department, with an identified timeline accounted for in a construction dispatching software so workers are informed of their assignments until the last day of the project.
7. Inform Your Team About the Project Integration Management Plan
Communicate the laid-out project plan to all team members before any work begins. Give them the flexibility to approach tasks through their methodologies while keeping them accountable for their timeline and deliverables expectations.
A good project management plan is the core of successful project integration management: giving full autonomy to your team while maintaining alignment between overall project objectives from start to finish.
Construction management software has assisted Project Managers in keeping track of construction timelines, milestones, budgets, and communication for years. If you are debating when adapting to new technology is best, this is the best time. Simplify your complex processes with a digital solution designed to assist you.
Rather than using various and complicated tools to complete your tasks, onboard all construction team members into one collaborative system. Pro Crew Schedule is designed to meet project goals, establish effective tracking, improve communication, and integrate the many dependencies of a construction site in one online platform.