September 28 & 29, 2020 | Virtual
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I was working on a project where the vendor was in a different country and in a different time zone and had appointed a project manager to represent their deliverable
Communication on Project Progress was a key challenge.
The options used by me to overcome these challenges were leveraging the available technology like WebEx and Video Conferencing having weekly/fortnightly progress meetings.
I even tried to schedule a face to face by flying over to where they were located but unfortunately was not successful in convincing the management to fund this key travel from the Project Budget
Accountability was another challenge. Had to rely on the Project Manager at the remote site to motivate the team and keep them focused.
Another challenge I faced was that defect remediation cycles took forever as the limited resource pool was supporting several other projects.
One of the steps I had to eventually take was to escalate to their senior management on the delay in progress, poor performance/lack of accountability.
What were some of the pros with the project. It sounds like communication was occurring but just not in alignment with the schedule, resources were constrained, travel was not a option and you took the initiative to escalate. What lessons learned did you walk away with?
Communication is the greatest challenge when it comes to virtual teams. The PM should make sure everything is communicated clearly and effectively. Continuous communication is very important as well to ensure all parties are on the same page especially if it involves design.
As Rami commented, communications are key. I develop a little my experience regarding communications.
- Scheduling meetings. With time differences sometimes keep all the teams' members happy with the schedule is a nightmare.
- Language Barriers. Yes, yes, all us tried to do our best to speak in English...but sometimes, native speakers forgot that there were team members (as me) that don't understand "game A" expressions. (After few projects, I know what it means, but, hey, always there are some word that I need to look at google)
- Virtual meetings...Rami has joined the conference, Mayte has left the conference, Mayte has joined the conference...Technical issues, another challenge.
Pros&Cons...in IT outsourcing is something very common. Depending on the organization and the teams, I found different pros and cons.
1) Elaborate and justify from the learning of this project that for future projects, Allowance for either Co-location of vendor resources with the Project Team or allowance for travel to the remote site to establish a rapport and relationship is a must for Project Success, especially where an overseas vendor is involved.
2) Tighten the Accountability for the remote team by putting more rigor into Vendor Management and more legality into the Scope of Works, including penalty for significant delays and poor performance.
Poorly designed contract may be exploited by the vendor to whom the service is outsourced, either inadvertently or knowingly.
Frequent communication may be difficult to achieve if the vendor is offshore, especially in a different time zone.
If the vendor gets taken over by another company or changes it's delivery team drastically, the Intellectual property may be lost and will affect the level of services provided
The Customer often has a single point of contact or failure , which is the Project Manager on the vendor side and the customer's view of the vendor's world is solely through this conduit and the communication then depends very heavily on that Project Manager
Based on my experience, I will share that first time was very challenging.
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