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Best Practices for Managing Global Technology Projects : Page 2

Managing global-scale technology demands practices and skills beyond traditional local project management.


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Planning, Organizing, Leading, Controlling

A robust project management methodology is important for global projects. Planning, organizing, leading, and controlling with a global perspective are important. Setting up a team that has knowledge about geographic regions relevant to the project can be helpful. Project managers must also know how to operate in those geographic areas. It is also essential that all project team members are trained and understand the same overall project management methodology.

As a manager of a global project, one needs to:

 
Figure 4. Tuckman's Stages of Team Development: As teams mature, they move from a formative stage to a performing stage.
  1. Set and meet expectations of the customer on time, scope, and cost.
  2. Hire and train the right mix of global resources for the team. When team members are new to working with each other, bring the team quickly from a formative stage to a performing stage with the right leadership (see Figure 4).
  3. Establish clear metrics for success and review them on a recurring basis with the global team to take controlled decisions.
  4. Ensure on-time delivery of artifacts, documentation, creating and deploying lessons learned along the way.
  5. Coach and mentor team on the importance of responsiveness to email, conference call etiquette, and acknowledgement of tasks.
  6. Use web conferencing facilities, wherever germane. These can be quite handy when handling large audience presentations.

Using English as a Communications Medium



Culture sensitization, as highlighted before, plays a critical role. English is the de-facto language in most global businesses, yet even senior managers overlook the key factor of "global English." While language is a subject in its own right, here are a few tips when dealing with team members that are not native English speakers:

Speaking

  • Speak slowly; this helps to mitigate accents.
  • Show respect and empathy to non-native speakers.
  • Avoid being vocally animated; prefer clear elucidation.
  • Speak positively.
  • State facts than reading between the lines, if at all possible.
  • Repeat, whenever required, without showing signs of frustration.
  • Use simple English. Avoid using slang or idioms wherever possible.
  • Use pictures, they convey a thousand words.

Listening

  • Be attentive.
  • Ask questions if required, but with patience.
  • Repeat if required, without showing signs of frustration.
  • Focus on facts than interpretations.

Writing

  • Use formal words if you do not know someone personally.
  • Use simple English. Avoid using slang, idioms, phrases, wherever possible.
  • Review before you send.
  • Collaborate when appropriate.

Using Technology

  • Assign a designated note taker.
  • Become aware of the cultures of people in a videoconference before the meeting if possible.
  • Prepare agendas in advance, and follow up with action items.


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