It is Time to Shift


to Integrated Business and Project Management



By Ali Jaafari, PhD

Sydney, Australia

Keywords: Strategic project and program management, integrated business and project management, project leadership and governance, infrastructure, energy, construction, industrial, IS, defence and aerospace project management.


My professional and academic career spans more than 50 years, most of which has been dedicated to understanding the art and science of project management. Early in my career I was involved in the construction of a major building and engineering project in the heart of City of London in Britain. This project was poorly planned, designed and governed by the client/sponsor, and mired in conflict. It was eventually completed after a lengthy delay. The finished cost exceeded the original budget by a factor of 2. This is hardly a unique experience in my professional life and others’. Projects of significant size have continued to underperform worldwide. Financial losses often impose additional burden on host communities or sponsor organisations. Consequential costs are seldom reported, though these can be substantial. Why is this the case, given more than 65 years of development in the art and science of project management?

This question has been front and centre of my thinking over many years, including the focus of my academic research. The COVID-19 pandemic’s lockdown (2020-2022) provided me with an opportunity to refocus solely on this question. It enabled me to re-examine the state of play, undertake deep reflection, and combine many elements of knowledge to create a practical solution with potential to address the challenges of projects and programs on the ground, while also remaining conceptually sound. The result is a comprehensive model, captured in The Handbook of Integrated Business and Project Management, published in 2 volumes in 2022. I believe that prudent application of the integrated business and project management (IBPM) methodology can address the underlying causes of failure in projects and programs in a meaningful way, and reduce the losses sustained by project sponsors and host communities. In this article I will try to explain the rationale behind the IBPM approach, and why project sponsors, client organisations and project management practitioners should consider the IBPM approach.

What is IBPM?

The IBPM model promotes a holistic approach to creation, definition/optimisation, planning, procurement and delivery of projects and programs of significant size. The model comprises the following components:

  1. A set of objectives that represent the project’s end value and its fitness for purpose, used to guide the decision-making and optimisation efforts, and acting as criteria for performance assessment over the project life;
  2. An integrated project lifecycle architecture, embodying both the front-end business and strategic phases, and the downstream delivery phases; and
  3. A set of functions (enablers) applied to plan and deliver projects from creation to definition, design, procurement, execution, commissioning and start-up, in a holistic manner.

While elements of the above approach are covered in the literature, or applied in isolated cases, there does not exist a coherent comprehensive model, underpinned by a consistent body of knowledge, to assist both scholars and industry practitioners to anchor their approaches without limiting their freedom. The aim is not to present a rigid or prescriptive methodology. Rather, to present an open framework as a broad architecture to link all upstream and downstream elements of the project, and to sharpen focus on higher level project objectives that represent the inherent project value, and benefits flowing to the broader stakeholders, both tangible and intangible.  This higher level focus is not incompatible with continuing to use the traditional parameters of scope, time, cost and quality to aid management of the execution phase, or oversee a contractor’s obligations as part of the overall project delivery strategies. Table 1 compares the IBPM and traditional approaches.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Jaafari, A. (2023). It is Time to Shift to Integrated Business and Project Management; PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IV, April. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/pmwj128-Apr2023-Jaafari-shift-to-integrated-business-and-project-management-2.pdf

About the Author

Ali Jaafari, PhD

Sydney, Australia


Dr Ali Jaafari is an author, academic, practitioner and consultant, recognised internationally, particularly in management of large complex projects and programs. He served as an academic and researcher at the University of Sydney in Australia for 24 years, and was appointed to a Professorial Chair in 2000, in recognition of his contributions to the research and education of students and practitioners, as well as his widespread global contribution to knowledge in this field. He has delivered courses and training workshops to thousands of professionals and executives globally, including major public and private sector organisations, and government agencies.

Dr Jaafari has published widely in major international journals and conferences, books and monographs. He has been at the forefront of research and development of project, program and organisation management. Currently, he acts as a consultant in the field of project and program management, though he has held leadership positions in higher education for over 15 years, including President, Asia Pacific International College (2005-2015), Vice-President, Group Academic and Compliance, Education Centre of Australia (2015-2020), and Principal and Director of ECA College of Health Sciences (2018-2020). Dr Jaafari has an extensive professional track record in business and project management, and is known as an authority internationally. He has a Master of Civil Engineering from the University of Tehran, a Master of Highway Engineering and a PhD in Quantitative Business Methods from Surrey University in the UK.

Dr. Jaafari is the author of the recently-published two volume textbook: The Handbook of Integrated Business and Project Management, Volume 1: Fundamental Concepts, Structure and Methodologies and Volume 2: Business and Project Management Framework and Processes

He can be contacted at jaafari07@gmail.com