Posted on December 11, 2013 · Posted in Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Project Management, Small Business

At the core of project management are planning, organizing and controlling various elements. The goal is obviously the success of the project. The project may be a product, a specific result or a service aimed to be rendered. Various aspects involved in project management require foresight and the acknowledgement of possible constraints. The challenge does not end in simply recognizing them, but it progresses into overcoming them. However, there are always instances, despite being predictable, that may always seem too overwhelming. You may foresee these scenarios, but you can never really be sure that you can overcome them.

Businessman goes nuts while overworked {shot on PhaseOne P45}

So what happens when certain uncontrollable trends work for the disadvantage of managing your project? What do you do when certain events today do not go well with the plans you’ve made to attain your goal? What trends threaten the success of certain project management?

1.       Globalization

Nowadays, the borders of everyone’s reach have been pushed further and further. In what experts now call a Global World, people have connections that transcend countries. You can now reach people from all over the world. This change may seem like a contributing factor to the success of managing your projects. In fact, it actually is, or at least, it can be.

Globalization allows you to have workers from the other side of the world, or from any part of the world for that matter. Outsourcing may be the new norm. Outsourcing allows project managers to acquire the services of people from any country. The arrangement has lower production costs and allows for the availability of workers from different time-zones. In these aspects, globalization may seem like a gift to all project managers; however, experts see some harm in outsourcing. Experts are worried that the long distance that separates employer and employee may be grounds for the growth of poor quality of service. Part of the task of any project manager is checking the degree at which his employees achieve the goal of their specific tasks, and when your worker is continents away from you, checking may not be done as easily.

2. Communication Woes

New trends in communication are the means by which project managers are able to talk to employees from different countries. Emails, text messaging, mobile calls and even video chats are new ways by which communication is done now. Face-to-face meetings may as well be obsolete.

This trend of non-personal communication may prove to be harmful to any project as valuable information may be lost or may be incorrectly communicated through these non-conventional forms of communication. The advances in technology may work against you and your team if you don’t use it well. Compounded with the possibility of working with people from all around the world, communication cannot be more important. Despite it being possible, it doesn’t always mean that it is workable. Talking to team members from another continent may be possible today, but it doesn’t ensure complete understanding. There is nothing that project managers hate more than misinterpretation of instructions and impersonal communication makes it easy for this to happen. In these situations, it may actually do best to talk in person, where explanations and instructions can be maximized.

3. Inter-Cultural Workforce

Working with people from different countries requires relating to people with different cultures. Today, the project board-rooms may be filled with a plurality of nationalities. Different races, different roots all working for a single goal: the success of the project. It may seem like a perfect picture of unity, but it isn’t necessarily easy to achieve.

There is a trend in multi-cultural corporations and project teams. It goes without saying that our cultures predispose us into a certain way of thinking, which means that a workroom with a number of nationalities, logically, is also filled with a number of ways of thinking. This variation in thinking entails an equal variation in the way each worker is approached. When relating to workers, employees or even employers of a different culture, you must be sensitive to their beliefs and personal values. The challenge is how you, as the project manager, will wield these individual variations in traits and manage them into one efficient workforce that is driven towards the fulfillment of your project. Without doing so, the entire project may end up being a tragic melting pot of nations.

4. Fast Changing Technology

Today, trends in technology change as fast as a heartbeat. What counts as a hip and trendy mobile phone now is rendered obsolete come a few months. Computer memories have grown from mega to terra. The idea of a portable, hand-carried gadget makes desktop and immovable machines disadvantageous. With this fast changing technology, it may be hard for some project managers to catch up.

This trend affects the project in different ways. One, it makes it an imperative for project managers to continually update the gadgets of the office. One computer program may have to be replaced by a better version of it every now and then, for example. The need to keep up is costly and its rewards may be uncertain. Another way is through the projects’ attempts to communicate itself with the customer. Trends in technology change how the project may be relayed to people. Internet marketing, for example, follows trends in social networking websites. These websites outclass each other every once in a while, thus, the advertisement must also go with the flow by advertising itself where more people are active.

5. Changing World-Views

Perhaps what aggravates the difficulty that project managers face in difference in cultural backgrounds is the fluidity of these cultures. Today, there is a division in culture, but these cultures are also changing in themselves.

Cultural norms and practices are ever-changing, and even more so today. Cultural groups become more accepting of things and more disapproving of others. This unpredictable trend in cultural development makes it harder for project managers to predict which approach will work better in their attempt to communicate their project. What counts as taboo today may be tolerated tomorrow; in the same way, what is freely accepted today may be banned the next. The difficulty in apprehending these changes makes it difficult for project managers to assume the success of their goals.


About the Author