Interface Management Plan
I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.
- Alan Greenspan
An Interface Management Plan (IMP) formalizes an agreement between two organizations (or two groups within the same organisation) that are developing interfacing components of a system.
Interface Management Objectives
The objective of the interface management process is to guarantee the proper functioning of a system composed of many interfacing sub-systems. Ineffective interface management is often responsible for the failure of large systems development projects; interface mismatches causing delays in commissioning and excessive re-work. Interface integrity is particularly important with projects involving stringent safety and security requirements.
The existence of multiple interfaces is a risk raiser in the management of a systems integration project. This risk is managed by following a pre-planned interface management process.
Interface Management Plan Content
An Interface Management Plan addresses the following issues:
- Identification of the sub-systems or sub-system components that require interfacing
- Assignment of responsibility and authority for interface management in both the interfacing organizations or groups
- Specification of the information to be exchanged over the interface with references to Interface Control Documents providing precise technical definitions of interface data flows and protocols
- Identification of the interface requirements including the scope of works, design, development, installation, integration, testing and commissioning of the sub-systems
- Indication of requirements for coordination of civil works and other facilities associated with the interface
- The technical strategy for developing, testing and deploying the interface including specification of the requirements, design and testing documentation required
- Establishment of development schedules and resources required including the relationship between interface development milestones and overall project milestones
- Specification of the management and technical skills required for the associated development work, at each phase of the developers' project life cycles
- Configuration Management and Quality Management procedures relevant to interface development including identification of major reviews
- Interface development risks and risk management strategies
- A functional safety management strategy (if applicable) including references to an interface hazard analysis.