Differences Between Standard and International Project Management
By Giana Rosetti
The differences between standard and international project management rely on purpose, scope, stakeholders, risk intensity, and mainly, culture understanding. The tools and techniques that apply for standard projects also apply for international ones. International projects reach beyond national boundaries. They are multicultural. Don’t mix virtual projects, which is a subgroup of an international project management.
An increase number of American companies are trying to develop and place new products or services internationally. For any international project to succeed, it’s highly recommended that the project manager has more interpersonal skills, intercultural management, and language skills. And, of course, willing to travel and spend time at the place where the product/service will be deployed. Project managers have to be aware of the nature of cultural differences, and must be trained in efficiently working in and with diversity. After all, project managers will be dealing with different cultures.
In international project management, the risk propensity and changes are very high. So, project managers and his or her team need to allow flexibility and quick responses. At the same time, they need to maintain cohesion among the multicultural stakeholders with a common project methodology. Project managers need to be willing to take risks and deal with changes to cope with the international complex environment.
Another important factor that contributes to an international project to succeed is to have a project management office (PMO) in place. In other words, an infrastructure that centrally supports projects. The main purposes of a PMO are to develop and apply reusable project management methodologies and processes, to support ongoing projects with advice as internal consultants, to increase staff productivity, to assure quality of projects, to support senior executives, and to retain knowledge.
In order to function successfully, a PMO needs to have sufficient authority and direct top management support. If your company doesn’t have one, you, as a project manager, can take the initiative to start one. Start by developing templates that can be used in your project, as well as in others.
I really believe that the success of an international project management relies on the two “Cs”; Cohesiveness and Culture.
Giana Rosetti is an electrical engineer and a PMP certified professional with a successful track record directing projects and programs with a combined knowledge of engineering, research and analysis, with strategic marketing driving businesses throughout domestic and international markets. You can read more from Giana on her blog.