Cross Cultural Project Management Nora Colliton, MBA, PMP PMI-NH Chapter September 19, 2007 AGENDA Introduction Why Discuss Culture in Project Management? Levels of Cultural Study What Is Cultural Competence? Why Should PMs Care About Culture? What‟s a PM To Do? Future Steps Introduction About the presenter Why a Diplomat? Goal: Better communication within projects with multicultural teams “The single greatest cause of difficulties in global business transactions is not a lack of technical expertise, hard work, or good intentions – it is a lack of „people skills‟ for relating successfully with counterparts from other countries and cultures.” Gundling, Ernest, Working GlobeSmart: 12 People Skills for Doing Business Across Borders, page xi. Why Discuss Culture? Number of PMs staying in country of origin with multicultural teams Increase in number of projects with multicultural team members Why Discuss Culture? Lack of “soft skills” preparation to manage cross cultural teams Impact of culture on triple constraints Impact on Triple Constraints Miscommunication on scope Misunderstanding on exact form of deliverables Attitudes toward schedules result in missed deadlines, long delays Poorly estimated durations Over budget projects Sub par product Levels of Cultural Study Culture – shared pattern of ideas, emotions and behavior, crossing national boundaries Cultural Knowledge – familiarization with characteristics, history, values, of another ethnic group Cultural Awareness – developing sensitivity and understanding of another ethnic group Cultural Sensitivity – knowledge that cultural differences and similarities exist without judgment Cultural Competency What is Cultural Competency? Development of skills and programs that allow individuals and groups to function effectively and appropriately in diverse cultural interaction and settings. “Ability of people of one culture to understand, communicate, operate, and provide effective services to people of other cultures” from Wikipedia Why Should A PM Care? Communication – different formats for expression and information exchange Time – use and views of time: single vs. multi focus Why Should A PM Care? Culture‟s Hiring Practices – hiring for today‟s needs vs. future potential or relationship Education Style – Thinker vs. Doer Why Should A PM Care? Power Structure – Hierarchical vs. Equality Environment – Control vs. Harmony What’s A PM To Do? 1. Know thy culture 2. Gain cultural competency 3. Be a cultural leader within your project team and organization What’s A PM To Do? 4. Observe some language basics: 1st 300 words learned in first year of language study. Use words with single meaning Beware of expressions, slangs and references 5. Place team members in position of strength What’s A PM To Do? 6. Build impact of culture on Project plan Time differences Identify in risk assessments If there are language differences, take time to explain scope, deliverables, etc. Communication Plan – decision makers 7. Do NOT underestimate the importance of building individual relationships! Future Steps Continue to learn about cultures along with PM-related courses. Build relationships. Mentor team mates. Share your culture.
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