Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Projects, project management and careers – 9: international and trans-national projects 2

Posted in career development, job search and career development, outsourcing and globalization by Timothy Platt on September 2, 2012

This is my ninth installment in a series on projects and project management as a career path (see my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2, postings 250-257 for Parts 1-8.) I began in Part 8, a more general discussion of international and trans-national projects and all of the issues and challenges and positive opportunities that they bring with them. And I focused there on the issues of bringing a project team together so that everyone knows their role in it and how they will be supported with the resource access they need – with that starting with effective communication with and support from their project leader. I turn here to consider technology infrastructure and planning and executing projects through effective communications and information sharing systems and architectures. And I write this as directed to the project manager in charge and with a goal of noting and discussing at least some of the basic issues that are likely to arise, and the parameters that you would look for effective communications and data sharing through.

• First and foremost, for most project work you are primarily going to have to work within the basic information architecture and its systems resources that are in place already, and with the combination of new and older legacy resources available. And for most organizations that will mean resources and systems that were developed with operations and operational policies and practices in mind, and systems that align with the basic table of organization in place and its lines of communication and management oversight.
• For most issues and circumstances that will not matter. If, for example, your project calls for accessing and processing real-world customer data with personally identifying information included (e.g. when prototype testing out a possible new back-end support system for an online sales fulfillment system) then you will have to follow standard information and confidentiality security protocols and procedures already in place, and in this case as mandated by outside regulatory control and oversight too.
• But for some issues and details, your project may call for new capabilities. That can mean simple if novel implementations of what is already standard and in place. So for example, if your business has an interactive-capable intranet already in place (see Connecting an Organization Together, Version 2.0) that can simply mean setting up a new and standard-to-the-business file sharing group with managed access permissions to limit this to project participants. If you do not have this capability already in place, that can mean finding an in-house workaround that would also facilitate managed, effective within-team file sharing, or it might mean finding a secure third party provider service for managing this need through cloud-based online file sharing groups.
• Projects bring together ad hoc, specific-goals directed teams that can cut across the table of organization and that can bring out novel to the organization communications and information sharing needs.
• Effective information and communications systems limit or even effectively remove much of the potential challenges that could arise from the project team being geographically dispersed.

So plan out and prepare for your project with its communications and information sharing needs firmly in mind, and from an understanding of what IT and telecommunications systems can be available, and with what restrictions and at what costs. Look for ways to limit or even effectively eliminate the impact of barriers you face – here geographic barriers, and with effective use of asynchronous communications where possible. And build out and execute on the project from these sources of strength.

• And make planning and scheduling allowances for breakdowns and delays, starting with your identification of and planning for critically dependent project tasks and steps – phases and tasks of the project that cannot be carried out until other specific steps are completed, or that have to be done first or concurrently with other specific steps.
• Effective, timely communications and file sharing, and collaborative use of project software can be crucial to making that work.

I am going to discuss collaborative project software in my next series installment. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2. I have also posted extensively on jobs and careers-related topics in my first Guide directory page on Job Search and Career Development. I am also including this subseries on international and trans-national projects in Outsourcing and Globalization.

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