Program Management

Integrated Product Team (IPT)

An Integrated Product Team (IPT) comprises representatives from appropriate functional disciplines working together to build successful programs, identify and resolve issues, and make sound and timely recommendations to facilitate decision-making. IPTs are used in complex development programs/projects for review and decision-making. The emphasis of the IPT is on the involvement of all Stakeholders (users, customers, management, developers, contractors) in a collaborative forum. [2]

Definition: An Integrated Product Team (IPT) is a multi-disciplined team is made up of members from specific disciplines working together on a project to identify, address and resolve issues to help achieve project goals and objectives.

Types of Integrated Product Teams (IPT)

There are three (3) types of IPTs that each acquisition program will implement: [2,3]

  • Overarching IPT (OIPT): Focus on strategic guidance, program assessment, and issue resolution;
  • Working-level IPT (WIPT): Identify and resolve program issues, determine program status, and seek opportunities for acquisition reform; and
  • Program-level IPT (PIPT): Focus on program execution and may include representatives from both government and industry after contract award.

Purpose of Integrated Product Teams (IPT)

The purpose of an Integrated Product Team is to help with decision-making by having a group of skilled team members working together to identify, address, resolve, and recommend solutions to issues or problems to project leadership.

When Should an Integrated Product Team (IPT) be Formed

An IPT is best when a group of people from different organizations and functional disciplines are needed to work on a project, and their ideas and skills are important to its success. In considering whether an IPT is the best tool for the job, it is important to ask three questions: [4]

  • Does the work to be done require a true variety of skill sets, perspectives, and/or constituencies? For example, a group of software developers or acquisitions specialists or managers – no matter how diverse – is not really an integrated team unless they also represent different organizations whose perspectives and skills are vital to the project outcome.
  • Does the work that needs to be done require a real project? In other words, will it produce a unique result in a certain amount of time? The product might be, say, a piece of software, document, policy, or process, but it is not an ongoing organizational function or service, such as a governance board that oversees software security policy.
  • Does the work require a true peer environment where team members are mutually accountable for outcomes, and consensus-building is essential? Groups can be formed simply by pulling people together in a room. True teams must be carefully built and require a specific form of leadership (as elaborated below). The following table illustrates the key differences between typical work groups and successful IPTs.

Integrated Product Team (IPT) in DoD Acquisitions

Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) is the DoD management technique that simultaneously integrates all essential acquisition activities using IPT to optimize design, manufacturing, and supportability processes. IPTs were first used by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in 1995 as part of the major acquisition reform changes to how goods and services were acquired and bought.

Integrated Product Teams (IPT) in Logistics

The Program Manager (PM) and/or Product Support Manager (PSM) should establish multidisciplinary teams to develop and manage the implementation of the performance-based support strategy. The IPTs should consider all factors and criteria necessary to achieve an optimum support strategy using the best capabilities of the public and private sectors in a cost-effective manner.

Defense Component and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) logistics activities should participate in support strategy development and IPTs to ensure the support concept is integrated with other logistics support and combat support functions and provide agile and robust combat capability. These participants can help ensure the effective integration of system-oriented approaches with commodity-oriented approaches (common support approaches), optimize user support, and maximize total logistics system value. [1]

Integrated Product Team (IPT) Best Practices

After 20 years of working as a Program Manager, I have developed a list of best practices when utilizing an IPT. These best practices are:

  • Keep the IPT size to the smallest size possible. Too many people lead to delays
  • Communicate roles and responsibilities from the start
  • Establish clear goals and objectives
  • Have a meeting schedule and stick to it
  • Make sure everyone knows their role and assignments after each meeting

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Integrated Product Team (IPT) History

The history of the Integrated Product Team traces back to the recognition of the advantages and challenges of bringing together diverse skills and perspectives to develop products or processes. The concept gained prominence in the 1980s within the Department of Defense, where IPTs were established to support concurrent engineering approaches. The pivotal moment came in 1995 when the Secretary of Defense directed the widespread application of the Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) concept, emphasizing using IPTs throughout the acquisition process. This directive marked a significant shift towards collaborative, cross-functional teams in the defense sector. Simultaneously, similar approaches were emerging in the industrial landscape, not only within defense contractors but also in commercial industries. IPTs became a cornerstone in fostering synergy among team members with varied expertise, enabling more streamlined and efficient product development processes across government and industry domains.


  • In 1995, the Secretary of Defense directed that the Department adopt IPTs as the preferred approach for developing, reviewing, and overseeing the acquisition process.

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Updated: 2/5/2023

Rank: G2.2

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