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Communication and Managing global projects

Communication and Managing global projects

Communication and Managing global projects

i'm new to managing global project. This experience has put me back to being a rookie after 8 years of managing projects.

I have been introduced to unfamiliar territory, encountering new challenges and wondering if anyone else out there has experienced the same and what did you do to overcome your challenges in tracking activities performed by resources on the other side of the world, ensuring proper and effective communication, and overall project planning.

I'm currious to what methods you may have tried, did they succeed or did they fail horribly, and tools?

RE: Communication and Managing global projects


Have you checked this book:
Cleland, D.I., Gareis, R. (Eds) (1994), “Global Project Management Handbook”, McGraw-Hill International Editions

http://www.pmhut.com/ - The Project Management Hut

RE: Communication and Managing global projects

1. Daily service/accomplishment reviews by telephone (voice to voice)
2. "Shift Turnover" - each geography summarizes issues, actions and help they need in order to keep progress moving forward
3. Create standard communication templates to improve productivity and efficiency
4. Visit sites in person at least 1 time per year

Peter Buitenhek

RE: Communication and Managing global projects

Use Universal Time for all matters rather than local times (meetings, calls, job schedule, etc).

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was - Steven Wright

RE: Communication and Managing global projects


All of the above is excellent advice, and one important issue to keep an eye on is cultural differences.

I once worked as Sr. PM for a consulting firm on a global project. The teams that I worked with were in the US and Europe. The two US teams worked very closely and acknowledged the tight deadline when hardware and software had to be available. The European team was much more laid back and although they knew that the deadlines existed, they did not change their working style to accommodate the project requirements.

I had to work carefully to keep the European team involved and hitting their milestones, while occasionally communicating with the project owners and stakeholders to push the European team along.


RE: Communication and Managing global projects

I manage a number of concurrent o/seas projects, often rolling from one into the next with different Vendors, and agree whole-heartedly with prjctfish' comments on cultural differences...

Initially, assuming other folks/cultures work to the same priorities, methodologies & ethics caused me a few issues... but we all know what assuming makes you & me looking around

Since then, I hold daily con-calls with each site/team nearing milestones (even a 5-minute "Hi, how's it going?"), and weekly video hookups with every PM at one stage or another. It's amazing what a difference being able to SEE the person you are dealing with makes... of course, I no longer have a life due to the weird hours - but that's what working from home X-days-per-week is for!

Site visits are a definite - working environment can affect the performance of the teams greatly - you need to understand what you are working with! Simple things we take for granted as being available to us aren't necessarily also available on the other side of the globe!

Standard reporting templates, implementation plans etc also make a huge difference, and can make or break your project - things we take for granted (or that teams in other countries take for granted) are often assumed (there's that word again) to be known, and aren't communicated - having a template that includes everything, and deleting the irrelevant, prompts them to include points that would otherwise go unmentioned...

One artifact you MUST have... a calendar with holidays (both Public and Religious) for all countries you are dealing with. I have "come a cropper" over some religious holidays a few times - India for example (I have a lot of work there) has a number of these, which has caused me some grief... depending on the religion, you may only have half your staff around on a given day - but since half don't belong to that faith, it doesn't get mentioned...

Anyways, enough waffling from me - enjoy, and good luck! Let us know how you progress...

RE: Communication and Managing global projects

I manage a similar offshore team sitting here in U.S.
In addition I interact with different client groups, vendors based in U.K., Canada, India, Phillipines and different locations within U.S.

My learnings from the last 3 years
1. Set the right expectations with the client. In most cases the client thinks the offshore team to be an "extension" of their own team, which it is NOT.
2. Act as a buffer between the stakeholders and the other team members (especially but not limited to the cultural stuff)
3. Should be able to step in the shoes of the stakeholders as well as your team.
4. Daily communication - Stay on top of the open issues, since these get lost, especially when the teams/ members are being shared across projects.
5. Find a common time and get all the concerned folks on a bridge/call to sort these out.
6. I spend atleast 1 hour on Friday
  - Putting together a weekly status report with inputs on weekly resource utilization from team members and their status. All these are rolled up at the project level.
  - Updating list of issues encountered/resolved during the week.
  - Setting the agenda for the team members for the next week.

Overall don't expect to micro-manage and communicate-communicate-communicate.
You may need to discard linear thinking for a while when building, interacting and allocating stuff to a global team.
Overall the initial few months while building this team will be painful, but once everybody gets it this will worked like a well-oiled machine.

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