Global project management adds layers of complexity

Global project management requires both managers and team members to develop many new habits and practices, a global payroll executive said June 23.

“Seventy percent of projects fail. It’s staggering,” said Catherine Honey, vice president of global alliances for Neeyamo, adding that this stat was “several years ago” and improving but still above 60. %.

Honey cited statistics revealing that a quarter of failed projects achieve no goals or objectives, half require significant rework, and a quarter fail to achieve the desired return on investment.

Reasons for failure can include unclear goals, shifting demands, unrealistic timelines, teams that lack aligned success metrics and projects that take too long, Honey said at the American’s 2022 virtual convention. Payroll Association.

“Project fatigue, change fatigue, are real things,” Honey said.

A good project manager is a “team protector,” Honey said. “What they really need to do the most is break down barriers” and allow their team to focus on tasks, she said.

Managers must assert their authority, generously give credit to others, and be respected leaders, skilled motivators, effective communicators, and accountable with integrity, Honey said.

Overall Project Considerations

“It’s a tangled network,” Honey said of managing global projects, due to the additional practices required.

While employees have become accustomed to working with people in different locations while working remotely, managers still need to be aware of different legislative requirements or restrictions on scheduling work activities, Honey said.

Scheduling conference calls can be difficult just in the United States, Honey said. When different parts of the world are involved, meeting times should be varied so that the same people are not always inconvenienced, she said.

Time zones can also be used to their advantage by assigning tasks to teams further east so they can finish before teams further west arrive, Honey said.

“A lot of times when we think of global projects, we talk about English as the language of business,” Honey said, warning that of course there are different varieties of English. Non-native speakers may be less familiar with slang or nuance or may be more comfortable talking about complex topics in their native language, she said.

Organizational considerations should also be taken into account, as team members may belong to different departments or business units. An employee may not want to speak up if they work in a place where hierarchy is important and their work on a project causes conflict with a local manager, Honey said.

Cultural considerations are also important, Honey said. “One isn’t better than another, one isn’t worse than another, they’re just different, and a good project manager will understand that, accept that, and strive to learn. about different cultures,” she said.

“By involving people from all over the world, you get all kinds of different perspectives,” Honey said.

The risks of not trying to understand different cultures include offending others, alienating team members, and miscommunications that can cause problems with tasks, Honey said.

Communication is important, and “in the context of overall project management, it’s even more important,” Honey said, citing among the benefits of more engaged, productive and stronger teams with better cohesion and understanding. roles. Communication strategies should take into account potentially different holidays and weekends in different workplaces, she said.

The key to developing a global mindset is embracing diversity and inclusion to ensure team members feel comfortable, Honey said, citing this as one of the success factors for managers.

A good first step is to become more self-aware of words and actions and try to understand “the diversity iceberg,” Honey said. “What you see is only a fraction of what really exists,” she said, adding that managers should try to ensure that company leadership understands the importance of diversity. and inclusion.

Sharon D. Cole