Having been experienced and well accustomed to the core aspects of the project manager life, it's a good time to consider global project management. Unlike the traditional project management that relies on single-culture skills of communication and management methodologies, global project management is complex and requires you to be global-minded.
You will be dealing with people from a different culture, probably speaking different languages, and communication is still going to be key. Miscommunication is bound to happen. It happens even among teams sharing similar languages and cultural values. The biggest obstacle to success among American workers is communication at 59%, followed by accountability at 29%. Doing management at a global level requires a global capacity for strategic planning.
Just because you are well accustomed to project management at the local or regional level does not necessarily mean that you are already well equipped for the global market. In order to excel at global project management, you need to work on the following strategies for process improvement:
Communicating effectively with employees across an office is already challenging enough. This is why paying detailed attention to the tools of communication is very important in global project management. In order to be successful at this level, you need to control communication and language barriers through routine communication. What complicates communication, even more, is the fact that the team members have different cultural reservations concerning timely communication of project status to their superiors. In order to address this, it is important to develop a set of systems and rules that emphasize consistent and transparent communication.
There are instances when global project management requires you to manage teams with totally different cultures and languages. In such cases, you could engage the services of the facility project management experts in their respective regions.
Building strong teams
As the popular phrase goes, Teamwork makes the dream work. Success in global project management involves establishing strong teams that work together to achieve common goals. Projects involving teams with diverse individuals can easily harbor trust issues due to the fact that they are from different backgrounds. Managing this complexity is going to be very critical because even straightforward tasks can be hampered by a lack of trust. Assumptions and stereotypes about culture and race prevent tasks from getting done in a timely manner. As a team leader, therefore, you will be required to designate resources for building trust through team building, coaching, and conflict resolution. You have to invest in soft skills that create efficiencies at the global stage.
Effective management of global teams requires the aid of certain collaborative tools. As such, leaders must invest in technologies and systems that enable optimal communication and collaboration. Different national borders and time zones sometimes require certain equipment to aid interaction, especially at a professional level. Depending on the process design and layout, the collaborative tools required may be as complex as advanced project management software and conference calls or as simple as the use of emails and online portals.
Team leaders in global project management have to develop strong collaborative skills because team members from different cultures usually have different ways of sharing information. This is an aspect that goes even beyond collaborative tools since it involves engaging people’s personalities and temperaments. The leader has to identify the strengths and weakness of different team members and come up with ways of getting the best productivity from the strengths and covering up the weaknesses with the strengths of another team member. This is not as easy as it sounds as it requires one to gain cross-cultural insights.
Human Resource Management
An advanced approach to human resource management should be applied in global project management. Processes of recruiting and scheduling can be aided by lean project consulting service providers in the respective countries. Once recruitment is done, a considerable period of time should be spent orienting and educating the new team on what it takes to be productive at a global level. They should also be engaged in collaborative activities that build teamwork and eliminate stereotypes and assumptions.