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Mgt-573 Project Management In The Business Environment

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There are many similarities and differences between domestic and global project management. A project manager must realize that what might work in their country may not work in a foreign environment. Project managers might find themselves using practices that have worked for them in the past, without even thinking of the new environment, and issues may arise. Project managers need to understand the differences in a different country's environment to avoid and reduce any obstacles that there may be. Some considerations global project managers must consider are the legal, political, security, geographical, economic infrastructure, and culture implications of working with different countries (Gray, 2006).

Some legal and political issues project managers should consider are staying within the laws and regulations of the country they are looking to work in. The foreign environment usually has protection of local workers, and may strongly influence how the different types of projects can be implemented. In addition, security is a high risk factor and must be considered when going to a foreign country.

The geography of a country is also a consideration that one should make. It is necessary in this case to assess what the weather is like such as; does it rain often or is it extremely hot. These considerations must be made and planned into the overall projects, as some of these challenges could cause the project to be delayed if you are working on a construction project. In addition, one must consider the economic infrastructure. It is important to find out how the foreign country conducts business, and how it could influence the project's success or failure. The infrastructure is important, as the project manager would need to know if services required for the projects are available, such as communication. It is important to assess if the project manager needs to be fluent in the foreign language. In addition, it may be necessary to know if there will be resources available to assist in the communication process. (Gray, 2006)

Most developed nations use the same project management techniques including; CPM, risk analysis, trade-off analysis (Gray, 2006). Customs, values and philosophies of the foreign country must be respected by the group working in their area. Many projects have gone awry when the project team members have not recognized or respected the values of the foreign country involved in the project.

Project managers working in a global environment must recognize the various ethnic and sociopolitical challenges involved. Project managers must be aware of other nationalities' social customs, religious beliefs and work practices (Gray, 2006). Being open and flexible to differences in team member's backgrounds is important to being effective when managing global teams. In some countries, bartering and even bribery is an expected part of the business process. The labor supply, skill level and education of other nationalities is not necessarily on par with our standards, some have higher standards, and some have lower standards (Gray, 2006).

Even the idea of time as a resource in the United States is foreign to other nationalities. The Hispanic culture puts relationship and people before deadlines and timelines (Gray, 2006). In Japan, team members are used to being pushed and directed as a team, while Americans will go it alone, and want to work more independently. Various holidays among the cultures can influence a project manager's time line and ability to achieve milestones if the team member's ethnic customs are not factored in (Alexander, 2000).

Three distinct challenges are inherent in managing projects with team members of various cultural backgrounds. They include 1) the level of individual responsibility and accountability 2) the ability to accept suggestions referred to as "suggestion acceptance" and 3) a unwillingness to admit problems only unless absolutely necessary (McKinnon, 2003). These three things are "normal" for American project managers, but research has shown that other cultures do not see things the way we do. American's have a "parochial" view, they believe everyone sees things their way, when in fact these three differences alone can have a detrimental effect on projects if team members are unwilling to admit issues or problems, are unable to take other's suggestions and or do not assume the responsibility of their position (Gray, 2006).

Global project managers must first learn and then respect the customs, values, philosophies, religious, language differences and social standards of their host country or their ethically diverse team members. If they do not do this, their projects will not be successful.

Outsourcing has increased over the past few years, creating virtual teams. There have been several forms of project management systems used by this type of team such as Web-based project management systems. Software continues to develop at a rapid pace, and the need for improved communications with virtual teams is a necessity. Currently, incompatible networks, expensive videoconferencing, broadband services not available everywhere, and the inability (due to cost) for virtual teams to meet face to face make virtual team communications much more difficult (Alexander, 2000).

Time delays in other parts of the world are also a challenge for a project manager working with a virtual team. When communication is compromised, trust between virtual team members is at risk. Virtual team members do not have the advantage of assessing other team member's body language or facial expressions. They can only infer meaning through word choice and tone, and this makes virtual communication much more challenging as well (Alexander, 2000). Face to face interactions have been proven to be more than twice as productive as videoconferencing

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