In today’s evolving marketplace, managing globally diverse teams of employees or contractors is becoming a common challenge. As a project manager, you’re not only faced with the ongoing challenge of resource allocation, but you also have to consider how you communicate across time zones and cultures while keeping activities on time and on budget across multiple currencies.
Here are some ways that you can make managing globally diverse resources easier.
- Set clear goals and expectations upfront. By having and sharing a concrete project plan, you can ensure that your team understand their role in the project and the goal of their efforts. This should include milestones and deadlines for each project phase.
- Understand scheduling considerations. Beyond considering time zones, it’s important to understand the cultural differences in managing a globally diverse team. Other cultures often have different holiday schedules to consider. When you need to schedule team meetings when others are not available (either because of the time of day or time off needs), share accurate meeting minutes to ensure that no one is left out of the communication.
- Manage cross-currency conversions. When setting your project budget, consider the different currencies that may be a part of your expenses. Planning for these conversion rates ahead of time can ensure you don’t have any unpleasant surprises when you’re reviewing project costs.
- Set alerts to manage project progress. When we’re in the same location (or at least time zone) with our team, it’s much easier to keep track of project progress and risks. If you’re managing multiple projects, use alerts (such as chatter posts or email alerts) when a project is at risk. You can set these based on health status, completion, or other key metrics that are important to your business.
- Adapt to different working styles. No two team members are going to have the same working style – especially if they’re from different cultures. Use collaboration tools like Chatter to help keep the team on the same page – no matter when (or how) they’re contributing.
- Allow for asynchronous collaboration. Not only is scheduling team meetings harder when managing a global team, giving everyone the opportunity to review meeting minutes and project conversation on their own schedule can help make sure they feel as if they are part of the team. It’s important to keep these conversations out of email and instant messaging services so that everyone can get the information that they need.
Does your project management tool make it easy for you to manage global teams? Share your experiences in the comments.