Risks and Challenges of a Master System Integrator (MSI)

Naveed has extensive exposure to project and development management disciplines. He has managed implementations of high-value, large-scale programs for multinationals and public organizations. He has trained more than 500 management aspirants in various institutes and training events.

Integration is one of the most critical and complex tasks every project must navigate to achieve end-to-end objectives. The complexity is increased if the systems are being developed and owned by different contractors to carry out a large-scale program through different contracts. The master system integrator (MSI) role gets demanding—and can be overwhelming as it deals with the complexity of interconnected sub-systems (this complexity increases even more when a contractor serves in the role).

The article highlights the risks and challenges faced by the MSI, who must mitigate them for successful completion of the end-to-end project lifecycle. By highlighting the significant risks and challenges, I hope to provide guidelines for aspirants and practitioners to consider during the initial stages of a project:

1. Gaps in contract for integration implementation: The awarding of a contract for the integration of sub-systems is an important foundation to drive development across systems. If a master system integrator is designated, he or she is the key driver of handling the integration aspects.

It is imperative that all the parties are aware of the MSI role—and also their role. What is expected of them for the integration of their sub-systems with the master system?

  • If the clauses of the integration requirement are not addressed in contracts for all sub-…

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