Project Management

Global Project Management: Keys to Success

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Managing global projects can be like your worst project management nightmare on steroids. To be sure, more is likely to go wrong than right if you fail to consciously factor in strategies and tactics to overcome the added complexities that are common to virtually all global projects.

Hopefully after digesting this article and suggested readings, you will be better prepared for a global project management (GPM) assignment. If you have already experienced the joys of leading a GPM effort, hopefully you will resonate with some of the guidance offered.

The above assertion is not without reason or merit. In addition to all the issues and challenges found in “normal” projects, global projects bring with them elements that complicate things even more, including differences in:

  1. Language: While language barriers can be overcome, they do seem to slow down the pace of a project if interpreters are needed throughout the process. Two languages to deal with is one thing, but when it becomes three or more, progress dramatically slows and costs materially increase. Even when everyone speaks the same language, the words can have very different meanings. U.S. English versus Australian English versus UK English are very much different, especially at the colloquial level.
  2. Work ethic: When planning and managing global projects, it is important to pay close attention to …

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