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Systems and practices: from a fragmented to an integrated approach

Goodman et al. (1980) highlighted and documented the need to a new approach for project planning and management. Over case studies conducted on projects internationally, they have identified the most critical problems that are directly related to a fragmented approach to project planning and management. Those problems include the lack of communication between the different people involved with the following groups: project identification and formulation, feasibility analysis and appraisal, design, traditional project management (Goodman and Love 1980). As stated by Goodman and Ignacio (1999), it was found in this study that there was no coordination between and among the groups in charge of those different functions. This emphasizes the need to more coordination, which here validates the need and initiative behind a more collaborative work packaging framework that ensures an integrated approach with the engineering side with all its components and other involved stakeholders in the management of the project in its broader term. Tools for having an integrated approaches to engineering and construction projects have been developed. One can cite the Integrated Planning and Quality Management System (IPQMS) which is a "conceptual tool for observing and analyzing the process of projects in all sectors" (Goodman and Ignacio, Engineering project Management 1999). However, challenges remain rooted in the ultimate need for interoperability between diverse stakeholders "speaking" different "languages". The fact is: it is high time we standardize the information we exchange in our industry...and that starts by us mapping the wealth of diverse information exchanged and treated in our projects.

For almost all organizational types, including the most integrated ones, communication between 'departments' or ‘specialists’ is considered as a big challenge. This challenge has been the main driver for developing more advanced and integrated structures such as the matrix structure (Hermone 1998). This challenge extends from the early design stages regarding the development of the WBS to the late stages of drawings finalization and review for engineering.

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