Saturday 27 November 2021

An Integration Approach for Project Management

Project Management - Art, Science, Craft The activities of many companies in a wide variety of fields are implemented in the form of projects.

A lot depends on project managers, but certainly not all. For the successful and effective work of the manager and the entire project team, certain conditions must be created

Project Management – Arts, Science, Crafts

The activities of many companies in various fields are implemented in the form of projects. At the same time, it is known that even in not too complex projects there are problems that are manifested in the dissatisfaction of the customer and their own management, failure to meet deadlines, exceeding estimates, conflicts within the project team, etc. 

Prevention and overcoming of these problems are the most important components of the activities of the project management staff and should be supported by appropriate standards, methodology and tools.

Thus, like any other type of professional activity, project management activities generate the development of an independent market for products and services. Let's describe examples of some of these services and products (see Figure 1).

Services and products in the project management market

Projects should be managed by professionals, but the number of real professionals in this field in Russia is relatively small and, obviously, lags behind even conscious demand. The art of project management is possessed by specific personalities in which certain human qualities, experience and knowledge are combined. Not every company that implements projects related to its business activities has (or can even afford to have) such specialists in its staff. Such a service as the provision of project management personnel (project managers) is quite widespread in the world. Nor is it something exotic in Russia.

The most important elements affecting the development and formation of this market segment include training courses and certification programs. Obviously, all other things being equal, preference will be given to certified specialists and consulting companies that have these specialists.

To date, considerable experience has been accumulated in various methods of project management in areas such as goal setting, network planning and management, cost planning and control, risk management, etc. Products and services in the scientific and methodological sector of the market are offered in various forms - from educational literature to specialized software tools, from individual educational programs to certification for national and international programs.

A lot depends on project managers, but certainly not all. For the successful and effective work of the manager and the entire project team, certain conditions must be created that allow them to fully realize their capabilities. It is required that the usually separately existing methodological, instrumental and some other tools necessary for successful project management be combined into one system in which the tasks of the project manager and team would be solved with the greatest efficiency. 

In other words, it is necessary to create and ensure the operation of an integrated project management system - PROMS. This is especially important when performing large projects or in enterprises that are constantly engaged in project activities.

Integrated Enterprise Project Management System

Setting the goal of creating an integrated PROMS requires priority attention to the set of functions that such a PROMS will provide. Immediately it is worth paying attention to the fact that many soups should include functions that are often overlooked or considered completely owned by other systems of the enterprise.

Often, PROMS is understood as application packages that automate the functions of calendar and resource planning. This view seems to be very simplistic, since these functions are far from exhausting the whole variety of project management tasks. For this reason, even as separate project management tools, it is often necessary to involve the involvement of software packages of related areas, such as document management, personnel management, etc.

Speaking about the integrated project management system of the enterprise, we mean not only the joint use of tools, but also special forms and management technologies that allow you to fit project activities into the general context of the company's activities.

In every company, there are certain, sometimes significant, features of project management. These differences within the framework of proms are reflected at the level of formation of specific management procedures, routes of documents, tools used, etc. Similar principles of construction, the concept of integrated PROMS can be reduced to a number of basic solutions that form the basis of the general methodology for designing the SUP of a particular enterprise for a wide variety of enterprises.

In this article, we are based on the methodology for designing an integrated proms developed by the author of the article and his colleagues. In this technique, the creation of proms is considered as a well-formalized process, the result of which are solutions in several areas:

  • organizational structures and support;
  • software;
  • technical infrastructure;
  • system integration.

Thus, the integrated project management system (SMS) is considered as an organizational and software-technical environment that provides the manager with tools for developing and implementing balanced management decisions covering different levels and stages of project management at all phases of its life cycle, allowing to ensure the effectiveness of management and coordination of project work.

Organizational component

First of all, it must be said that the SUP is not confined to the framework of only information technology. Moreover, based on our own experience, we can say that most often the initial conscious need for project management support lies precisely not in the field of information technology.

A typical example in this sense is the work on the creation (implementation) of integrated information systems for federal ministries and large companies.

The creation of these systems inevitably disrupts the existing balance of interests of various functional units. An attempt to change this balance in one direction or another in an orderly manner, as a rule, does not lead to success, since disinterested parties have enough opportunities for an arbitrarily long delay in the process.

For this reason, the function of managing the creation (implementation) of an information system cannot be delegated to any one unit. All affected parties should participate equally in decision-making, and the organizational forms used should ensure the parties' participation at all stages of work and at all levels of decision-making (see also the article by S. V. Piterkin in the same issue of the journal. – Editor's note).

The most adequate form of organization of such work can be considered the use of project management methods. And the main (sometimes the only) element of the PROMS, which is in demand in such projects, is the organizational support of project management.

In general, the organizational component of proMS is a set of documents describing project management bodies, regulations for the interaction of project participants, procedures for performing the main stages, instructions for management personnel, templates of management documents, etc. We also note that organizational decisions can be supported at the level of information technology (for example, by means of workflow technology).

Project Management and Shared Enterprise Solutions

In order to understand the role and place of project management in the system of relations within the enterprise, consider as an example the ideal process of forming a project team in a company whose organizational structure is built on a matrix type.

Recall that the matrix organizational structure assumes the existence of functional units in the company (resource in relation to an integrated project, the implementation of which requires combining the capabilities of different functions / divisions), which provide the personnel necessary for the implementation of projects. 

The interests of the project in this process are represented by the project manager, the interests of the resource unit are represented by its head. The interests of the company as a whole are represented by the sponsor of the project, who is, as a rule, the top manager of the company. (In this article, the example "The process of forming a project team" uses a simplified version of the relationships and actions of the company's management personnel. – Author's note.).

Example: "Project Team Building Process"

  1. Step 1. The project manager forms a schedule of work, determining the roles and qualifications of project participants, as well as their employment in it. This information is recorded in the calendar and resource planning system. This information is then passed on to the enterprise's human resources system, which provides the project manager with information about available resources that meet the requirements of the project.
  2. Step 2. The project manager prepares a request for the personnel he needs, which is agreed by the heads of the relevant resource units. When a resource conflict occurs, the issues are brought to the level of the project sponsor. The resulting correspondence is recorded at the formal level in the document management system of the enterprise. Promotion of documents is provided by the business process management system of the enterprise (workflow).
  3. Step 3. After resources are allocated, the heads of resource units make appropriate changes to the statuses of employees allocated to the project, and the project manager forms tasks for performers and fixes them in the calendar and resource planning system.

This example shows that in addition to the calendar and resource planning system (which is traditionally considered as the basis for project management automation), a number of other information systems operated in the enterprise are involved in the project management circuit.

To the systems mentioned in the example, you can add other standard packages and systems that could be used in solving various project management tasks - from statistical packages to financial planning systems and ERP systems.

Speaking about the integrative approach to project management, we mean considering this activity in a broader context – the activities of the company as a whole. This means that the solution of problems in individual areas of project management should be based on more general, "corporate" solutions.

When we talk about integrated SUP, we stand in the position of a project manager who considers the entire information and instrumental field of the company from the point of view of the project. In fact, it is more correct to talk about the integrated information system of the enterprise and about the SUP as its integral part. With this in mind, for example, from the point of view of the company's management, proms is one of the sources of information used for analysis and decision-making.

In the organizational field, the integration approach is expressed in the need to form management structures lying above the staffing table (steering committee, management group, working group), and organizational and administrative documents describing end-to-end processes affecting not only the project personnel, but also the permanent structural units of the enterprise (resource units, financial service, logistics service, security service, etc.).

In the IT field, the integration approach is expressed in the need to create a contour of interrelated products, in which the proMS is connected with other enterprise systems by information and user interfaces (an example of such a contour is shown in Fig. 2.). And this, in turn, leads to the need to establish interfaces between the basic application packages used to create the cohesion elements of the integrated enterprise system.

Unified outline of the company's software products

In both areas, solutions are most often not universal and are developed for the requirements of specific customers.

Private products in the composition of the SUP

So, we have defined SUP as an integration technology. The definition of "complex" best characterizes the SUP as a product.

Actually, the work on the creation of proms is mainly consulting and integration in nature.

However, practice shows that, as a rule, when creating a proMS, there is a need to provide the customer with a whole range of products, including:

  • application packages;
  • training of the customer's personnel;
  • provision of managerial personnel from the outside;
  • methods in various areas of project management (formation and organization of work in a team, identification and assessment of risks, motivation systems), etc.
  • As independent (having independent value for the future owner) products, a number of local results achieved in the process of creating and implementing proMS can also be considered. In this article, we will limit ourselves to mentioning only two such products.


The concept of an automated project management system,within the framework of which the following are determined:

  • the main elements of the SUP (management subjects, objects of management, management processes);
  • formalized functional model of top-level proms, describing the main stages and stages of management;
  • specific tasks of ProMS in terms of implementing management functions;
  • the scope of automation of management functions, including as part of various queues of the system, as well as automation tools, both as part of enterprise-wide IT solutions and specialized software packages;

the main requirements for the supporting components of the ProMS are technical, software, information, methodological and organizational support.

Organizational support of the project management system

Including a description of the regulations for the interaction of project participants, procedures for managing various stages of the project, detailed instructions for the implementation of procedures and templates of management documents, as well as provisions on temporary project management bodies and relevant job descriptions.

The scheme of work on the creation of ProMS contains stages that are traditional for the development of information systems - examination, concept development, selection of software products, integration work, staff training. The specificity of these works is manifested mainly in the object of the survey, the models used and the shift of attention towards organizational support. 

The work of all stages of the creation of proms can be largely formalized up to the use of standardized questionnaire forms, methods for forming models and document templates (this, in particular, is the task and content of the above-mentioned pro MS design methodology).

A more detailed consideration of the issues identified in this section, as well as the issues of organizing the effective use and reproduction of the Pro MS, the author considers it expedient to make in separate articles.

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