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challenges of global projects

Select an industry (software development, architecture, course development, marketing development, or any with which you might be familiar).

- Write a report that describes the physical challenges that you would come across in handling international projects in that industry.

- What are the common difficulties arising from physical barriers in the case of global projects?

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I was Program Manager for Black & Decker. One of my projects was to set up a manufacturing operation in China and to ship an entire product line within three months. I was based in the corporate headquarters in California. I am also a certified project manager (PMP) and understand the best practices in the profession.

We can set aside the tight time constraint of shipping the product line within 3 months. That only contributed to the stress factor. What is relevent to your question are the issues specifically attributed to managing distant international projects.

My resources were divided into two groups, the Chinese factory and the corporate headquarters staff in California. Neither of whom reported to me, typical in project management. First, I needed to get upper management's support of a project which is out of sight. This was relatively easy to do as the success of my project was critical to the success of this B&D division. The company was not competitive at the opening price point product lines. The next step was to get the support of all the corporate staff that needed to provide an important input along the way.

My project occured at the same time the company announced the closing of their plant in Anahiem, California. Thought the two events had nothing to do with each other (the company moved the operations to an automated facility in Ft. Mill, SC), everyone tied the two together and the 'China' became a four letter word in the company. this meant that I had many people who actively wanted my project to fail.

So, as with all good project managers, I had to become not only a salesman for my project, I had to become a missionary for it. I will not go into all the details how I did that, but suffice to say I managed to do it. One of the tools I used to keep excitement and support for my project was to send out an electronic newsletter once a week, outlining the success and progress up to that point, but also to pitch the importance of the project. I sent this to all stakeholders and anyone else who even had a tangential connection to the project.

I ingratiated myself with the engineering group, both for testing and for design. I ...

Solution Summary

Personal experience of Project Manager managing a project in China from the US. What are the issues specifically attributed to managing distant international projects.