In this age of globalization, international projects have become extremely common. Almost all Indian software and Information Technology (IT) companies have international projects. These projects have people or teams from different nations working together on the same project.A project manager needs to be careful about certain things while managing international projects.
The project manager should be cognizant of Time Zone differences. Different countries are located in different time zones. Online meetings and video-conferencing between team members located in different countries should be held at such a time when it is working time in all the countries in which the project team members are located. Websites like TimeAndDate.com can be used by a project manager to manage time zone differences while scheduling online meetings, video-conferencing or telephone calls.
Technologies like video-conferencing and e-mail have made it much easier to manage international projects. The cost of these projects has come down because the need for international travel has been cut down by tools like real-time video-conferencing, Skype and other instant messaging sites. Mind mapping software enables companies to even conduct brainstorming sessions online.Success in international projects is heavily dependent on continuous communication and collaboration between team members present in different countries.
A number of meetings are held regularly in a virtual environment created by internet and other telecommunications tools like video-conferencing. It is important that the project manager clearly sets the agenda of each meeting. These meetings should begin punctually. International communication through virtual, online tools is not face-to-face. Therefore it is necessary to keep such communication precise and lucid.When the project team has members from different nationalities and cultures then language problems may arise because of the different mother tongues of the team members. It is the responsibility of the project manager to take care of these problems.
The project manager should ensure that miscommunication doesn’t take place because of these language differences. If services of a language interpreter are required then the project manager should not hesitate in taking it.The national holidays in the different countries should be factored in while scheduling the work of an international project. For instance a team member present in US will not be able to work on 4th of July because it is a national holiday there on account of the country’s Independence Day.International projects offer great opportunities of learning for the project managers and team members. They just need to be managed more carefully.