Integration planning is a process that should be carried out as a part of strategic planning by organizations. Integration planning is about determining what an organization needs to do in order for the changes that are planned for to happen or not happen.
Types of Integration Planning
Fintalent’s integration planning consultants identify three types of integration planning:
1) Unplanned integration, which is when an organization has no direct control over the change happening;
2) Planned integration, which happens when an organization includes change in their plans from the outset; and
3) Anticipated integration, where changes in one part of the business are predicted and managed by another part of the business.
Integration planning is a process that should ideally take place before the beginning of a project in order to ensure adequate plans are made. Integration planning is aimed at effectively integrating the change into what already exists, by achieving the desired results set out in the organisation’s business strategy, if applicable.
One of the objectives of integration planning is to provide decision-makers with an essential overview for their project. This is mainly done by collecting information from different stakeholders within range and with areas of competence on what already exists, how it works and how it should work. This can be achieved by creating a project plan for the management of a change. This summary may be used in decision-making, whereby the minimal requirements should be supplied to the project team and must support recommendations.
Integration planning is not just about making changes. It also involves measuring and understanding how those changes are likely to impact on other parts of the business, which ensures that top management has a good idea of how they will affect their organisation as a whole.
Integration planning is a process that should be carried out as a part of strategic planning by organizations. It is especially important to ensure that integration planning is done in tandem with the strategic plans of all related organizational units, and with the approval of top management. This ensures that the integration effort is planned around the overall strategy set by top management, as some projects may directly affect other parts but simultaneously benefit them through improved efficiency and performance.
If an organization has already had its strategic plan approved, then it can proceed to make changes where approved changes are needed before those changes are actually implemented. In this way, management can avoid developing new plans for the organization when it is possible to carry over the existing plans instead.
The integration process begins when the project manager, who will be responsible for the project, identifies a strategy gap or “black hole” that has been identified. The black hole is an area of the business that needs to change and can be summarized in one sentence. The project manager decides on these gaps and then informs the organization’s leadership team, which is made up of the CEO (or equivalent), and other members of management such as vice presidents, executive vice presidents and so on.
The leadership team discusses with the project manager what would need to be done in order for changes to happen. It is not unusual for a project manager to already have a solution in mind. If they do, then they will be expected to present it to the entire leadership team at the meeting. The leadership team and their managers should be prepared to contribute financially, through their budgets, for the project. They should also assign resources, such as human resources, materials and services that are needed for the project.
The project manager will also conduct a study of what is needed by stakeholders from different departments in order to carry out their work successfully and how to manage them in order for changes to happen. It is important to not only consider change in the project organization as a whole, but also how the changes that are being implemented will affect other parts of the business. The project manager will create a model, which is a simple representation of the current state of affairs and the desired state of affairs. The project manager will also determine what form the change should take. Will it be a new product, a business process or both?
The project manager will then conduct research on these areas and present their findings to the leadership team. The leadership team should review the information provided, gather more information from other departments, and arrive at an agreement on how they are going to proceed with their plans, which can also be measured against the Business Strategy.
Once an agreement has been reached by management, they should create a plan that is called a Project Charter (also called a Statement of Work). This will include the scope of work for all tasks that are required, timelines for each task within these scopes and methods of reporting back to management. The project management team will also have to determine what will be the ongoing responsibilities for management and an agreed timetable for this.
Integration planning involves defining how a planned change can take place within the organization. In order to do this, the project manager must consider how they will respond to stakeholders, who should be involved in making decisions that can affect all areas of the business. The Management Development Progress (MDP) model is used for planning and organizing major organizational changes.
It should involve top management and all parts of the business, including project managers from other projects or projects that are following the same scope of work as this project. The project manager should be able to work with the leadership team, which consists of top management, vice presidents and members of sub-management staff. This is not a formal meeting but can be useful for project managers when they are seeking recognition in order to facilitate their progress through the project.
In order to ensure that there is a level playing field for everyone involved in the integration process, top management should make sure that every department affected by an integration effort has been fully identified and briefed. The goal of this planning process is for all departments involved to understand why changes are needed and what these changes can do for them.