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Global Considerations And Trends

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Global Considerations and Trends

“Global projects consist of teams formed from multiple countries, continents, and cultures, which crisscross functions, work locale, markets, and products” (Gray & Larson, 2006, 489). Benefits and disadvantages of global projects can be sometimes similar. Benefits can range from obtaining different points of view based on culture, function, religion and time zones. Disadvantages can also be limited based on the same considerations. Team A will provide information regarding the management of global projects, challenges faced, similarities, differences and three trends that will be important in the next decade.

Challenges of Global Teams

Outsourcing and globalization are two opportunities for organizations to have teams made up of members from multiple ethnic and sociopolitical backgrounds. “By and large, project teams succeed or fail based on the strength and diversity of the team and its ability to harness distinctive competencies to achieve team goals” (Chapman, 2008, week 2). Consideration of language, political views and economic status is an important consideration to the success of the project. Gender, religion, age and other cultural beliefs may have a significant impact on team cohesiveness. When planning, a project manager should undrestand the team members’ backgrounds. The backgrounds of the team members may affect the way the project is planned. Some cultures are very sensitive to time and others are not. If the project manager (PM) considers these differences no one will be offended. Additionally, some cultures are more individualistic and ohers are more community oriented. Again if the PM is sensitive to backgrounds team membes will not be offended. An effective project manager will be able to get the most out of their team by undertanding the the differences in ethnic and sociopolitical backgrounds. “Essentially, every project team must fit within its environment and, if a team is working globally, then it must recognize and adjust for the diversity of working in other cultures and business systems and adapt to local systems and norms” (Chapman, 2008, week 2).

Managing a Global Team

“Project teams operate in global environments, and because they do, there are a host of issues that face project managers” (Chapman, 2008, week 1). Project teams are all over the world and face to face interaction is limited. Projects can be conducted via electronics; phone, web conferencing, instant messaging, fax, email and video conferencing. Communication, leadership and direct support from the executives are key factors in running a successful project. Clear roles need to be established by the PM based on individual member skills and understanding of the project goals. Time zones need to be considered when providing communication between team members because not all team members will be available at the same time. Technological communication can be sporadic based on the quality of the products. Some team members may lose communication during conferencing based on less than adequate technology resources.

A core challenge a PM has is to build trust and cohesion with individuals that are not in close proximity. Trust is a key component of successful projects, a team leader needs to clearly assign the tasks necessary and be available for guidance. Outputs should be measured not the process to get to the output. The delivery of the task is important not necessarily how and when the task was completed. Additionally, a project manager should provide regular performance feedback so the team members know where they stand.

Technology Enhancements

Technology enhancements are an effective tool in project management. The rapid expansion of computer technology is producing more work from home careers and more global companies. “Technology will, indeed, revolutionize the management of virtual and traditional project teams to the advantage of project managers and their organizations” (Chapman, 2008 week 6). Project managers no longer have to select team members from the best candidates in the local area, now they can choose from the best candidates in the world. Depending on the type of project, technology will help to improve work performed on projects. Technology enhancements need to be able to support efficiency yet not sacrifice relationships. On a similar note, integrating leadership is another focus; leadership skills need to be able to build relationships and create integrated systems that overcome geographical challenges. The ability of the PM to manage resources, schedule work to be done and manage costs is highly important at all levels of project management.

Some of the latest technology allows for teams to work 24 hours a day due to team members being dispersed around the world in different time zones. (Gray & Larson, 2006) Technology in the future will need to be focused on overcoming the barriers of distance and time. Technology needs to support planning tools and techniques that support creativity and innovation. “As software becomes more sophisticated and user-friendly, more project teams can be virtual” (Chapman, 2008, week 6). Today, project management is successful with clearly defined projects, but not when the scope is broadly defined or the project is subject to changes in scope. (Gray & Larson, 2006)

Trends

Trending for future global considerations (this part didn’t make sense) will depend on the functionality of the technology. Technology changes so often that it may be difficult to provide the necessary resources while staying updated. The first trend important for the PM to consider for the next decade is efficiency, excellence and discipline. The PM will have to maximize resources and use those resources efficiently. Therefore, the team members selected by the PM must have multiple characteristics that can be a resource to the project and the company. Project portfolio excellence is a new trend in project management. Selection of the right project is an important aspect of project management especially during tighter economic times. The selection process should use a governance structure that identifies sold benefits. (Hoving, 2007) When a project is selected, it must be executed using a disciplined, consistent and repeatable process. The importance of understanding dependencies and the costs associated with multiple projects is critical. Discipline within a project has changed from tactical to strategic. The present age is faced with increasing global competition, knowledge explosion, rapid innovation, and shortened

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