A commentary on extending project management


integration services into new domains



By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia


This commentary looks at opportunities to extend project management know-how on integration into new external domains. Currently there are limited external integration-related services which support some client organisations with their strategic planning and early strategic development initiatives. I have frequently discussed these in recent articles in this journal. I have also discussed broader aspects of project integration and interface management in articles referenced below, together with their potential for extension into longer-term futures for project management. This article will update, consolidate and extend some of these materials.

It will be noted first that integration is an important component of management at large. This also applies in project management, but project integration is typically a more intensive task because of dynamic project environments. The broad equivalence of project integration and project interface management will be discussed, as will the necessity for project managers to develop substantial skills in managing the many internal and external interfaces typically associated with projects.

We then broadly summarise the many existing project-related strategic planning and strategic initiative support services for external client organisations being provided by certain project-based organisations and note that most of these services have substantial integrative components. Project managers are typically well equipped from their own experience to help with integrative issues in such organisations.

We then turn to potentially broader application domains for such integration-related services. We will look at ongoing growth of specialisations, and the increasing need for people with appropriate skills to integrate their work. This need has been recognised by a variety of people, and we will discuss Mintzberg’s “integrating managers” in certain contexts, and proposals by others for specialised “synthesists” to undertake this role in broader contexts. It will be contended that project management is uniquely placed to add such a role to its longer-term aspirations – perhaps as “integration managers”?

Finally, we will look at how this may link with a recent suggestion from PMI’s le Manh about possible longer-term movements from project managers to “change makers”. “Integration management” could be seen as a subset of the latter, but one whose deployment would appear to have the potential to be most readily advanced.


As I first noted in Stretton 2013m, I have always considered that integration is one of the really key jobs of most types of managers. This is a major reason for having managers in the first place, as is implicit in many of the classical definitions of managers. For example, Allen 1962 said

….we can define a manager as someone who is so placed organizationally that only he has the perspective, objectivity, and balance with respect to the varying and sometimes conflicting needs of his subordinates.

In this definition, the focus of managers’ efforts is decision making in the context of providing an overall balanced amalgamation of contributions by subordinates.

A more specific connection of management with integration was made by Lawrence & Lorsch 1967, who published an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “New management job: the integrator”, in which they defined integration as follows:

As used in this article, integration is the achievement of unity of effort among the major functional specialists in a business.

Another way of looking at the situation is to ask the question, “If the manager is not acting as an integrator, who is?” The answer to this question is rather obvious.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Stretton, A. (2023).  A commentary on extending project management integration services into new domains, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/pmwj130-Jun2023-Stretton-extending-project-management-integration-services-.pdf

About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD     

Sydney, Australia


Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published 250+ professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at alanailene@bigpond.com.au.

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.