Global project teams have become increasingly common in recent times. Whether working with an overseas division, department, or managing a team of remote freelancers, the modern PM must be adept at navigating the unique challenges presented by global project management to deliver high-quality outcomes on time and on budget.
That’s why today, we’re discussing our top global project management tips and explaining how you can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your international project team.
How do you define a global project?
First, it’s important to be clear about what constitutes a global project. Simply put, a global project is one that utilizes resources and team members who are based in multiple countries around the world. By outsourcing various project components and building global teams, companies are often able to save significant amounts of money in full-time employment costs like medical insurance, paid vacation, and sick leave.
What are the challenges of global project management?
As you’d expect, managing global teams can present plenty of challenges not typically encountered in non-global projects and initiatives. Let’s take a closer look at some of these challenges:
- Multiple time zones: It can be difficult enough to coordinate schedules and plan a meeting for in-house project teams — but throw an eight-hour (or more) time zone difference into the mix, and things can quickly become even more complicated.
- Language barriers: Communication is a factor that can make or break any project. With global teams, you’re often collaborating with and managing team members who are not native English speakers, which means it’s even more imperative to have a solid communication plan in place that will ensure everyone is on the same page at all times.
- Cultural differences: As a global project manager, you must also be aware of and sensitive to cultural differences among your team members. These differences may be subtle and hard to discern, especially if your international colleagues speak fluent English, but it’s important to remember that other cultures often have different values and professional expectations or standards.
- National holidays and religious observances: It’s easy to assume that everyone on your team celebrates the same holidays. But with a global team, expect that one or more of your team members will need some accommodation for a national holiday or religious observance that is different from yours. Also, keep in mind that some religious holidays may require fasting, so be prepared to adjust deadlines or expectations accordingly.
Tips for project management in a global organization
With all the challenges that come along with global project management, you’ll need the right strategies and tools in order to successfully manage global teams. Let’s now look at a few key ways to maximize global project outcomes and enhance camaraderie among international teams.
1. Keep meetings to a minimum
Even for in-house teams, excessive meetings to discuss project statuses and coordinate activities can hamper progress and stifle creativity. Throw in the challenge of coordinating team members across multiple time zones, and too many group meetings can quickly become a massive burden.
As long as you have the right tools in place to monitor and track project progress, meetings can be kept to a minimum. Preferably, you should have at most one weekly meeting at an agreed upon time. This way, international team members aren’t scrambling to attend an impromptu meeting at an inconvenient hour.
2. Encourage team-building and interaction between team members
There are plenty of ways to build trust and camaraderie among your team apart from group meetings. Use social media or your project management platform to create fun interactions that encourage team members to get to know one another and collaborate more openly.
3. Set clear goals and celebrate achievements
Clearly articulating goals and benchmarks is critical for any team, but when managing a global project, it becomes even more important to ensure everyone is on the same page. Along with setting clear task deadlines and expectations, it’s also important to celebrate victories along the way. This will help increase team unity and make everyone feel that their contributions to the project are valued.
4. Use a global project management software solution
Of course, the easiest way to implement all these tips is to use a project management platform that is equipped to handle the demands of global teams. Wrike offers global project managers real-time work visibility, resource management tools, and customized workflows that help you manage global projects efficiently no matter where in the world your team members are.
If you’re ready to see just how Wrike can help you with global project management, sign up below and start a two-week trial today — it’s absolutely free!