If one chose only one area in Project Management to list as the most difficult one, many project managers would choose Project integration. However, when you set the scene in telecommunications, the whole thing becomes even more complicated as integration in this environment is required within IT Systems, networks, and between IT and Network systems.
FIXED VS MOBILE OPERATORS
We know that both Fixed and Mobile operators administer telecommunications networks and provide services. However, there are specific differences. Mainly in the nature of projects.
- Fixed operator projects are more infrastructure oriented, using the network provided by a fixed operator. They are linked so that when the mobile operator’s network requirements grow, the fixed operator must introduce new infrastructure or increase capacity on existing infrastructure.
- The mobile environment is a highly competitive environment with a relatively tight timeline. Therefore, it is driven by marketing and sales requirements.
Besides these differences, many projects implicate working with multiple suppliers and integrating their work. For that reason, most telco companies have been diversifying their network equipment suppliers.
So, to execute complex, massive projects while fulfilling daily changes, expanding customer needs, and following the latest technological advancements for an excellent market position – telcos must do everything in their team’s power to stay competitive. When you add that integration projects in Telecommunication usually have a much shorter implementation time than other software implementation projects – things get pretty perplexing.
Because of that, choosing the right project management approach and work method is vital! Actually, it is a prerequisite for a good start and later project implementation.
What is Project integration management?
It is the coordination of every aspect of a complex project. Every project manager must first understand that a project is much more than a group of tasks, milestones, communications, and reports. Each project has a specific context, no matter how small or large. Its goal is to satisfy – in the best case scenario – every requirement while balancing resources and fulfilling stakeholders’ expectations.
Project Integration Management can be defined as the process of managing a project in its totality. This includes tasks, milestones, communications, requirements, trade-offs, and resource decisions.
This somewhat holistic approach makes it possible for integration management makes decisions that affect the project but also have rippling effects within the team or organization.
Coordinating all elements of a project’s internal needs, together with its context, is a complex task that requires hard and soft skills running the spectrum from meticulous organization to expert communication.
What are Project Integration Management Responsibilities?
To cut a long story short – project integration responsibilities include everything! And we mean absolutely everything regarding the project, covering the effect of the project as well. This consists of the project’s schedule, scope, cost, quality, resource management, risk, changes, and stakeholder communication.
With those complex responsibilities in mind, what assets and skills should integration managers have? The ability to plan projects effectively and accurately, for sure. They organize and communicate with team members proactively and positively, constantly inspiring and positive tone. All these skills will come rather handy when they face this total responsibility or need to find resolutions if obstacles arise. His creative approach to problem-solving is sometimes a true life savior, and the ability to foster relationships to lean on when necessary is crucial for the entire team to function.
Let us not forget the critical analysis of data, timelines, and resources they need to project timelines effectively, or a strong sense of scope, budget, assessing risk, and managing change.
Challenges for project integration
Most of the challenges are related to the lead time for the delivery of changes and testing. However, it does not end here. Another obstacle may be the unclearly defined scope of the project/requirements. That is why it’s essential to determine all goals, tasks, results, deadlines, and costs to avoid misunderstandings in the work process.
Unrealistic delivery deadlines are another challenge. It helps when the possibility of the impact of various external and internal factors and potential risks is considered and carefully calculated. Insufficiently allocated requires that when developing a human resources plan, perform a detailed analysis of the required profiles and staff according to the project’s complexity.
While running the project, it is highly recommendable to determine the relation of the project with other projects as it helps assess potential risks and impacts on the task.
It is rather communing that integrations are not the primary focus or area of expertise of all project participants. That can create a particular discrepancy, and a good project integration manager must be able to overcome it when it happens.
What are the GENERIC REQUIREMENTS when it comes to project integration?
First of all, highly integrated Projects must have a Project Sponsor at the Executive level, ensuring the participation and commitment to resolving any possible issue at the highest level.
The next step is to have in order all Project Definition Document or Project Initiation documents, an encompassing and the most important document regarding the project. Some of the section cover Objectives, Scope of work, Exclusions and Interfaces, Project Approach, Constraints, Assumptions, Project Organization, Risk Matrix, Project quality plan, Configuration management plan
Project Communications plan, Acceptance criteria, External dependencies, Contingency Plan, Project Tolerances, Work Breakdown structure, Project schedule, and Project Controls – all almost equally important as one without the other doesn’t go.
Managing telecommunications integration projects is a big challenge for company management, no doubt about it. But unfortunately, the nature of the same industry does not help to make things easier. Several factors can affect delivery efficiency.
That is why it’s so important not to underestimate the importance of integration, as the changes in the systems they connect often require a significant amount of work.
Finding the integration approach that best suits the business and allows the organization to maintain customer and team satisfaction at a high level is of the utmost importance.