Customers often want a project to begin before they have decided on a precise outcome. However, IPM is based on the premise that a precise outcome statement, or specification, must come first: Experience and logic support this proposition. Nevertheless, when thinking is at the scope level the level of general awareness of a problem or opportunity it is often reasonable for the customer to be uncertain of such a precise outcome. Can an integrated project be started under these conditions? The answer is, necessarily, yes. The project manager can begin the project by leading the creation of the specification.
As the project manager helps migrate the project from scope to specification, he or she will aim for precision. This will capture the current best estimate of what the outcome should be. The specification will be used to plan and execute the project. At the same time, the project manager will put in place a project specification change procedure to efficiently deal with outcome changes that may come later.
Experience has proven that this approach is more efficient than starting in a general direction and then adjusting, redirecting, and reorganizing as a precise outcome concept emerges. It must be understood, however, that in IPM replanning will be a major event and will not be done piecemeal, nor will it occur often during the life of the project. Small and frequent modifications must be prevented. Such practices kill projects.
When replanning occurs, as it does in most projects, all the small, new modifications that have been considered can be batched and integrated into the specification and detailed project plan.