integrated project management

As a project manager, you’ve seen a lot of different management styles. Traditional project management works great for some industries where a waterfall project style fits well. Creative projects, on the other hand, don’t always function the best with a traditional workflow. That’s where integrated project management can work wonders.

You’ve probably already started practicing some of these steps. But the important part is to work through all four of them in order, revisiting each as the integrated project management system evolves. The first step involves flexibility, and it’s important enough that it’s at the top of the list. You shouldn’t move past it until you’ve mastered how to adjust for each project and can use that ability with the other steps.

1. Use a flexible plan

Within an integrated project management plan, you should expect some degree of adjustment. But it’s still very important to have the framework laid out before starting each project. Technology, such as software designed to be robust and flexible, can help you with this area, supporting your project management regardless of any changes to the overall process.

2. Have a dedicated system when naming projects

When all of your projects are contained within one system, having a robust naming convention works wonders. This can help you sort through any tasks that are constant from one project to the next.

It doesn’t have to be a complicated system, but make sure that you have a unique name for each new project. This can be as simple as dividing it just by customer name and current quarter, or maybe you need twice as much information contained in the name, so you add the project type and team lead. Either way, making sure that you’re not confusing two similar projects will be quite simple with a good project management system in place.

3. Form teams wisely

Your teams are the figurative backbone of the project. Without a good staff make-up, you’re going to be falling short in a lot of areas. Take a bit of time to consider which staff will be on each project team. You can make or break the project by having the staff on – or off – the mark.

A team made up solely of experienced staff will knock down tasks in no time; however, this team may fall into the same pattern after a while. On the other hand, a team composed only of new hires will be lacking the experience of the more senior staff. An appropriate mix of the two is the most desirable lineup. This will combine fresh ideas with the knowledge of where to take each task and how long to spend in each area.

4. Continue to manage stakeholders

When communicating with your stakeholders, the discussions should be pointed and contain all of the facts they’re looking for. This doesn’t mean you should never prepare for follow-up questions, but it does mean that you’ll want to cover as much material as possible when addressing them initially. That also requires you to parse the information so that you’re not providing too much information.

Often, too much is just as bad as not enough information. Having your stakeholders sift through mounds of data to get to the metrics they’re interested in is a frustration that you can easily avoid. Use reporting features to single out the information you need to send to each group of stakeholders and appease them right away.

Take note of these four steps for integrated project management. You might already be following some of them in your current management style. A creative team needs to be agile, moving with the process. That means that even if your team is working across various departments, integrated project management will be able to move things along at an acceptable speed.