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Topics: International Development, Resource Management
Foreign language or Product knowledge, which is more important?
Network:20



Consider a scenario in which a software product is to be deployed in a foreign country with a different spoken language.

The best case answer will be to have a bit of both (language and product knowledge). However if you have to lean more towards one, then what do you consider more important, whether it will be a PM with a local language proficiency or a PM who has command over the product to be deployed?
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Network:2958



Having a product knowledge definitely needed for any project manager. Since English is a global language, I think knowing the local language may be helpful but not necessary. But if you are working with a different country team, it may be good to know the working culture of the country. It will be helpful to manage the teams.
Network:2262



Product knowledge. Could always get an interpreter if need be.
Network:225



Product knowledge.
And a previous review with a really good interpreter (as in all areas of knowledge there are many professionals, but not so many very good ones) if it would be needed, just for checking
Network:1479



Are we asking about a project manager or a product manager?

If the former, then while I'd want someone to have some knowledge of the product, the local language proficiency is crucial for successful stakeholder management unless you have a very trusted interpreter familiar with both the product jargon and with local slang & mannerisms.

If it is the latter, then product knowledge any day of the week!

Kiron
Network:225



I agree with you Kiron, a careful review of the local language prior to the deploy is absolutely necessary, including time for some changes or corrections
Network:436



Product knowledge is the most important, language is easier to learn and translators can be easily available
Network:40



I have to agree with the group that hiring someone for the project that would have more command would be more important. There are options that could be easily available to address the risks associated with this choice compared to the other.
Network:15900



You can't really go forward with the product without language in the local context ;-)
Network:7106



Product knowledge stands out in comparison with Foreign language. With product knowledge one can use the services of local area.
Network:1833



How will you communicate with others without local language knowledge? You can be the "Messi" of the product but if you can not communicate it.....Perhaps I did not understand your point.
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