As specialists in the language sector, we can support your business in succeeding internationally by overcoming language barriers. In this blog – as part of International Project Management Day – we look at how a project management professional can succeed when moving on to manage international teams.

The baseline

In theory, the principles of managing projects with international teams are the same as when managing a project with an in-country team. The usual requirements concerning schedules, cost and scope remain of importance. However, there are additional challenges with international projects that span national borders.

When managing projects where the result needs to be rolled out to multiple countries, there are a number of areas which should be considered in more depth.

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1 – Change management

If you work in project management, you’ll be familiar with change management. In this case, you will need to consider how are you going to manage the evolution of the team and create a sense of global teamwork.

You may be managing contributors from several countries, and will need to ensure a sense of cohesion and unity. Team members need to have confidence in each other and understand their role within the team.

2 – Assumptions

In this case, we are talking specifically about cultural assumptions. Use your team meetings to discuss culture and expectations. Be transparent and discuss your differences. Celebrate these differences by making a note of international holidays and occasions which are important to each team member and why.

It is especially important to have a discussion about terminology and clarify the expectations. Even the most specific terminology can have different meanings in different locations.

Being mindful of cultural differences is incredibly important. If you have already succeeded as a project manager, then international project management can sometimes be seen as just an extension, but with a different team. Get to know your team as people and try to ignore stereotypes.

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3 – Body of knowledge

Even professionals can face a language barrier when managing international projects. To ensure your team feels engaged and empowered, you need to remain empathetic, understand their challenges and try to minimise them to facilitate them in doing their best work. If project management software can be accessed in their language, assist your team in doing so.

4 – Status reports

As a new international project manager, cross-border budgeting can be daunting. Do not be afraid to ask your finance department for support. They will have tips and tricks for multi-currency project management. This can be a time-consuming element of the job, so be sure to set enough time aside.

Get in touch today to learn more about how we can support your international projects with translation, localisation and consultation services.