PIM is more than just a side character and secret star in the Disney channel show, Phil of the Future.
PIM stands for Project Integration Management and is used in projects where various departments have to come together to accomplish something under budget and on time.
The longer you’re in project management, the more likely it becomes that you’ll encounter a project with overlapping teams. It’s important to learn about PIM so you know what to do when the time comes.
What is project integration management?
Project integration management is the planning strategy project managers use to keep various departments on the same page throughout a project life cycle. If teams aren’t working together, it’s possible they’re actively working against each other. PIM ensures cohesion amongst all departments.
PIM is a seven-step process that consists of many concepts you’ve likely heard of already. Let’s go through the steps so you know how to manage multiple teams from start to finish and accomplish your goals along the way.
7 steps of project integration management
The PIM process may be lengthy, but it’s also tried and true. These seven steps help project managers ensure a task stays within budget, delivers at the highest quality, and does not run out of resources throughout the project life cycle.
Let’s go through the process steps one by one.
1. Project charter
The project charter is a common type of documentation stating a team has permission from executives to go through with the work. The charter outlines who is doing what so there are no discrepancies throughout the process. This document is referred to later on if there is any confusion or disagreements about the project’s goals, objectives, etc.
. Image courtesy of Ulysses Room
TIP: Not to be confused with a business case, a project charter is a formal document that is written up after the project has already been approved.
2. Project scope statement
The scope statement defines the scope, or size of a project’s impact. The scope statement is in charge of outlining a project’s specific deliverables, as opposed to generic goals. A scope statement might say the project’s deliverable is to “develop and construct a homeless shelter that can house up to 500 residents.”
This would be different from a goal, which might say something like, “develop a homeless shelter that can safely house people struggling from displacement or any variety of factors.”
3. Direct and manage production
In the next phase of project integration management, project managers are responsible for directing the actual work that is to be done. This means hiring construction workers, architects, etc., and informing them of how the project is to be accomplished.
This can also be referred to as project execution, a phase of the project life cycle. To put it simply, this is the phase wherein stuff gets done.
4. Manage project knowledge
In project management, it’s very important to document processes, as well as any lessons learned. Throughout project execution, it’s imperative to keep a record of all the knowledge associated with the project.
Some questions that should be answered during this step are: What tools were used? What were the processes taken to arrive at certain deadlines? Were any experts brought in who helped the rest of the project team better understand their objectives?
For this step, you may want to consider a knowledge management solution. This type of tool helps keep all learned information organized and accessible for future reference.
5. Monitor and control production
In addition to directing and managing the steps in the project, a project manager also has to regularly check on progress and make sure the team is progressing as planned. A project that misses deadlines is not always considered a project success.
Monitoring and controlling production can help ensure managers meet all of their project goals outlined in the project charter. This is especially true of PIM, wherein project team members are from various departments within the company.
It’s easy to lose track of what one team is contributing, which can knock the whole production off course. Proactively monitoring production is one way to reduce the risk of losing control.
Some team members may not be used to working together and it can be jarring to have to figure out how to cooperate with brand new colleagues. Project managers working with PIM should also be familiar with change management and should know how to lead a project through changes they may be uneasy with.
Ideally, you have a team of talented, flexible employees who are open to the idea of building one super-team. Even the most agile employees can find change complicated, however. Project managers should be a positive force, hearing out their employees as to the difficulties of a project that integrates multiple teams, while also being able to lead them to success.
7. Project closure
At long last, we can close the project! Project closure is a process in and of itself. It involves going over the various elements of the project to discover whether it was a success. Did it come in under budget? Check. Was it completed by the intended deadline? Check. Is the client satisfied with the results? Check.
All of these questions are answered in the project closing, as well as a record of final learnings. Don’t forget to put the final learnings in the knowledge base you created for this same project!
Even the best project managers can benefit from a refresh on how to manage people who are coming on board from different departments. Hopefully this article has done just that!
And if you’re new to the concept of PIM, I hope you feel confident enough to grab a sales manager and a graphic designer and brainstorm great collateral. We’re all more alike than we think.
Interested in learning whether a project is right for your company, right now? Learn how to conduct a feasibility study.
Grace Pinegar is a lifelong storyteller with an extensive background in various forms such as acting, journalism, improv, research, and content marketing. She was raised in Texas, educated in Missouri, worked in Chicago, and is now a proud New Yorker. (she/her/hers)