In a collaborative global business environment, companies often reach across borders working with foreign businesses to secure products and services for their own clientele. This is the norm for the 21st century businessman. You can be in Vancouver one day, Brazil another, and with New York as the final leg of your destination. As part of this shift, business has gotten more complex. Professionals are expected to be well-versed in culture, demography and sometimes even languages. This role is even tougher for the independent business owner who has to wear many hats and juggle multiple project goals. It’s an asset to understand how to secure project management needs for this scenario and how those needs and applications differ from country to country.
Project Management Practiced by British & Arab Businesses
A study points out an interesting difference in behavior exhibited by project managers from Arab countries and the UK. Culturally, project managers from Arabic countries more heavily emphasize Key Performance Indicators, reports, sharing information and an overall communication plan. On the other hand, project managers from the UK emphasize planning aspects such as the use of a Project Management Office (PMO), change management, monitoring, work breakdown structure (WBS), Gantt chart and program evaluation and review technique (PERT).
Difference in Project Management Capabilities – Israel vs. Japan
There are considerable distinctions in the way project management is practiced in Israel and Japan. It could be attributed to cultural differences or management style. For example, Japanese are known for Six Sigma, Kaizen and Kanban. Japanese project managers measure key performance indicators in terms of cost and quality and strive to lower cost difference between budgeted expenses and actual expenses. On the other hand, Israeli project managers pursue higher performance indicators in terms of customer satisfaction and technical performance.
What a Real-Time Application Shows:
Through split A/B testing, cluster analysis and user interaction, we observed the following on our own site:
- Attention Span: Initially, the patterns showed that visitors from European countries have a greater attention span than our US visitors.
- Impact of Visuals: When we enhanced visual elements (video, images, icons, logos) on Zilicus websites, the attention span of the US visitor improved significantly.
- Difference in Online Behavior: Users from European countries look for deeper project planning and use of comprehensive features to manage projects, whereas US based users tend to look for task/calendar scheduling and social engagement.
- Agile or Waterfall: European (UK, Ireland, Netherland, Italy, Sweden) project managers appeared very keen to use agile project management methodology along with the waterfall model, whereas many project managers from North America (US) are either using or express strong interest in using advanced practices in Waterfall methodology.
- Use of Smartphone: There has been considerable adoption of smartphones to manage project management activities in European countries – especially in the UK, France and Germany. On the other hand US based project managers exhibit significantly higher adoption of smartphones for business management.
- Adoption of Project Management Software: US based project managers certainly understand the value of information management systems to manage projects; hence adoption of project management tools is very high among North American businesses (not just enterprises but also in small and medium businesses). The next region that represents the highest subscription and adoption of PM tools is the UK followed by Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Mexico.