International Project Management

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Worldwide, technological development and innovation have allowed businesses to develop and expand where some have developed into multinationals. This growth has also encouraged organizations to establish alliances with other external organizations and hence operate internationally. Outsourcing of businesses, in which the resources and assets of other foreign organisations, are purchased by companies, some of these practices can be related to the global growth of organizations. This has led to the increased rate of globalization indicating that business projects are being conducted on an international platform where the project managers and the workforce may vary based on background and culture. Therefore, international project management involves regulating and controlling business activities internationally; hence, the project managers require to possess some unique leadership skills to ensure the projects are a success (Lientz and Rea, 123). This paper will focus on analyzing the unique characteristics of international projects through assessing the challenges and opportunities experienced when developing a project statement. The paper will also focus on the leadership skills that should be possessed by the managers, and some of the key issues present in international project management.

Challenges and Opportunities

Language

The problem of language-barrier is likely to be experienced in international project management since the project manager will operate across borders; hence, it is unlikely that the project team will use a common communication language. Business outsourcing enables people from different countries to unite and share their ideas and skills regarding the business project they are conducting, but since they are from different nations communication may be a major challenge. Through the project managers coming from different regions, they are expected not to be native speakers of the language being utilized in the country where the project is being conducted. This is a major challenge since the leaders may fail to effectively manage the individuals working on the business project which may lead to failure. For instance, a German project manager operating in the United States may experience the language-barrier challenge since he or she may fail to comprehend some of the terms and theories in English which is the common language in the US. In some cases, language may be an issue despite the project manager and the workforce communicating using a common language due to the different practices and beliefs. For instance, a project manager from the United Kingdom working in the US may experience some difficulty in communication despite both countries using English as their common language. This is because some of the concepts and theories used may differ; hence, they may require additional explanation. Despite language-barrier being a challenge, it may be considered an opportunity since the project manager can utilize his or her leadership skills to learn other foreign languages and practices. This will enable the manager to effectively regulate and control future international projects created by the organizations.

Time

Time is a crucial factor in project management since it determines when the project will commence and conclude; hence, enabling the project manager to effectively plan and organize the workforce. However, it is considered a challenge in international project management since countries have different cultures and interpretations regarding time. This means that businesses in some countries view time as an important factor in management where it must be considered and accounted for when conducting work-related activities. On the other hand, organizations in some regions fail to effectively observe the time factor when conducting business which might negatively affect their performance. In this case, the international project manager may value punctuality due to the culture and practices of his or her background, but the team members may fail to observe time; hence, negatively affecting the manager’s works (Atkinson, 340). For instance, when a meeting is organized by the project manager, some of the members of the workforce may be reluctant to attend; hence, arriving late while others may fail to show up due to the nature of the region’s perception and interpretation of time. The project manager may view the situation as an opportunity to train other team members on the importance of keeping time to ensure the project’s activities are conducted efficiently. This will enable him or her to change the region’s perceptions and cultures regarding time-keeping; hence, eliminating the challenge during future projects with the members of the team.

Roles and Responsibilities

In project management, every team member has specific roles and duties to perform during the working of the project to ensure it becomes a success. The positions in project management are expected to be hierarchical to indicate the powers and responsibilities of the team players. This may be a challenge in different countries due to their different business cultures and beliefs. This means that some individuals may fail to appreciate or recognize the roles and responsibilities established by the role manager. This is a challenge in countries where organizations have very strict hierarchical structures, indicating that the employees may fail to recognize the external project manager or his or her policies. This is because due to the organizational culture of the entity, the employees are trained to observe and abide by the policies and practices established by the top management. Therefore, the team members fail to take directions from the project manager since they do not view the position as crucial to the firm. The roles and responsibilities of the project manager may be well identified and respected in the manager’s country, but this may not be the case in some regions; hence, being a challenge to the operations of the international project. The team members may also fail to comprehend their roles and responsibilities in the project due to their different working positions in their organizations. The project manager, in this case, can cater to this challenge during the project through holding discussions with the top managers of the entity to build a strong working relationship. The employees may begin to identify the powers of the project manager after viewing his or her good relationship with the top management. The team members may also experience further training to enable them to comprehend their roles and responsibilities regarding the project.

Leadership Skills

Adaptability

Adaptability is a crucial skill required in international project management since it determines whether the project manager can easily change when in a new or different working environment. This skill involves an individual being flexible; that is, can work in many different situations without experiencing difficulties. Project managers should easily adapt to their new systems and work environments since they are associated with working internationally; that is, across borders. This skill enables them to comprehend the different cultures and practices of other countries regarding business operations; hence, effectively managing the assigned projects. Project managers should quickly adapt to changes since the business practices in their countries vary with the practices of other countries where they operate in which might be complex. Adaptability also ensures the managers form strong working relationships and bonds with the team members since they all strive to achieve a common goal and objective. Therefore, this skill enables the manager to get used to his team players; hence, the project being successful.

Communication

Communication is also a crucial leadership skill which must be possessed by a project manager for he or she is expected to regulate and control all business activities regarding the project. In the management of a project, information is passed from the manager to the workforce involving the roles and responsibilities of the individuals and how work should be performed. Therefore, effective communication enables the project manager to inform the employees on the crucial matters of the project; hence, business activities being conducted efficiently (Koster, 35). This skill involves the manager learning the foreign languages used in different countries to ensure that he or she speaks the same language as the team players and clients of the organization. Therefore, effective communication is a critical leadership skill which project managers should strive to obtain to facilitate the success of their international projects.

Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is a leadership skill associated with the creation of effective strategies that aim at eliminating the challenges experienced during the implementation of a project. This skill is based on the project managers being analytical where they should analyze and assess the different issues affecting the project’s performance and generate solutions. International project management experiences some challenges that affect the project managers such as language, time, and roles and responsibilities. It is their duty to solve these problems and create opportunities that are favorable to the team and the project. For instance, the challenge involving employees not comprehending their roles and responsibilities should be catered to by the project manager where he or she collaborates with the top management of the organization to effectively communicate with the team players.

Selection of the Project Manager

The top management of an organization should utilize effective means of choosing a project manager to ensure the individual selected has the leadership skills required to perform the duty. The selection process should be based on merit; that is, academic qualifications should be considered to enable the management to identify an individual’s literacy levels. This is important since a project manager is expected to have knowledge in languages that add value to his or her communication skills. The selection process should also be based on experience; that is if the individual possesses knowledge regarding the field he or she is expected to operate in. The level of experience of a project manager will depend on the previous encounters regarding international project management. A highly-qualified or experienced manager is one who has previously conducted projects that became a success for an entity.

Issues in International Project Management

International project management involves the regulation and controlling of business activities by an entity across borders; that is, in the external market. This is due to the increased rate of globalization where firms have expanded their operations to the foreign market. International project management is associated with some issues that explain how business activities are conducted by organizations to promote the success of projects.
Project life cycle involves indicating the existence of a project; that is, its introduction by an entity to its closure. The life cycle of most projects occur in four phases; that is, initiation, planning, execution, and closure (Khang and Moe, 75). The initiation phase is the starting point of the project where planning and execution involve preparing and conducting the work to ensure the project is successful. Closure is the last phase which is associated with closing or concluding the project. Project management processes, on the other hand, are the activities that promote the effective running of the projects’ phases. Some of the activities, in this case, are conducted by the project manager where they include, controlling, planning, and team management. Project integration management is a crucial issue since it is associated with coordinating the processes to ensure the activities of the project are effective. Therefore, the integration ensures processes such as planning, and team management are well-coordinated by the project manager to facilitate effective management (Kerzner, 52).
Project scope management involves the supervisors and project managers evaluating the amount of work required to be conducted by the employees to ensure the project is completed successfully. The techniques utilized in scope management enables project managers to effectively allocate roles and duties; hence, ensuring all the work is conducted. Project time management involves the managers planning and scheduling the duration expected for the project to be executed. This means that they are expected to plan when the initiation phase will begin and the duration each phase in the project’s life cycle will take to its closure. Lastly, project risk management is associated with the managers identifying the possible uncertain events that may occur during the operation of the project. The uncertain events may have a positive or negative effect on the project’s performance; hence, the managers should create effective strategies that ensure the possibility of their occurrence is either minimized or maximized.

Conclusion

Therefore, from this study, one can understand what international project management involves and the challenges and opportunities experienced by project managers. Globalization has enabled organizations to expand their operations to the foreign market; hence, promoting international project management. Project managers are expected to regulate and control the activities of projects being implemented in foreign countries. Some challenges are experienced by the managers such as language-barrier, time, and roles and responsibilities. The managers are expected to create effective strategies that seek to eliminate these challenges. For the international projects to be a success, the project managers should possess some skills such as communication, problem-solving, and adaptability.

Works Cited

Atkinson, Roger. "Project Management: Cost, Time, and Quality, Two Best Guesses and A Phenomenon, Its Time to Accept Other Success Criteria." International Journal of Project Management 17.6 (1999): 337-342.
Kerzner, Harold. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
Khang, Do Ba, and Tun Lin Moe. "Success Criteria and Factors for International Development Projects: A Life‐Cycle‐Based Framework." Project Management Journal 39.1 (2008): 72-84.
Köster, Kathrin. International Project Management. Sage, 2009.
Lientz, Bennet, and Kathryn Rea. International Project Management. Routledge, 2012.

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