Importance of Cultural Awareness When Managing Distributed Teams

SERIES ARTICLE

Program Management Commentary

Importance of Cultural Awareness When Managing Distributed Teams

By Russ Martinelli, Tim Rahschulte & James Waddell

Program Management Academy

Oregon, USA


As an organization embarks on a strategy of growth, it often employs various tactics to expand beyond its current national boundaries.  Some of the most common tactics include acquiring or merging with companies, forming strategic partnerships with other companies to share and distribute portions of the development delivery system, and expanding operational components of its business into other geographical regions of the world.

Regardless of the strategy and associated tactics, one of the results is common – the organization expands its pool of resources to include people from other cultures, thus becoming a multi-cultural entity. When doing so, it therefore must undergo various forms of transformation to effectively and efficiently create a new organizational environment that embraces, encompasses, and leverages its new cultural diversity.  This will require changes in the organizational values, norms, assumptions, and how individuals within project teams interact with one another.

The job of blending and aligning national, company, and functional culture many times falls upon the project team leaders. Successfully managing and completing product, service, or infrastructure development efforts likely will become significantly more complex and difficult as one begins to manage over widely dispersed company sites.

People from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences will bring different behaviors, routines, values, and ideas about the work of the team.  The team leader must embrace this diversity of people on his or her team as individual members that make up a collective work unit, and act as a coach and role model for the rest of the team to help them embrace the value of diversity.  What the team must learn is that there is great benefit to having differences in personality, values, opinions, and ideas working toward an optimal business solution.

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To read entire article (click here)

About the Authors

Russ Martinelli

Co-Author                    

Russ Martinelli is co-founder of the Program Management Academy and co-author of Leading Global Project Teams and the comprehensive book on program management titled Program Management for Improved Business Results.  As a senior program manager at Intel Corporation, Russ has many years of experience leading global product development teams in both the aerospace and computing industries.  Russ can be contacted at [email protected]

Tim Rahschulte

Co-Author

Tim Rahschulte is co-author of Leading Global Project Teams and an executive director at the Program Management Academy. Tim is also responsible for international management and leadership studies at George Fox University in Oregon.  He consults with state governments in the USA on matters of organizational change as a business transition architect.  Contact Tim at [email protected].

Jim Waddell

Co-Author

Jim Waddell, former director of program management for Tektronix, is a co-founder of the Program Management Academy.  He is an experienced management consultant in his fields of expertise: program management, mergers and acquisitions. He has held a variety of management positions, has been a speaker at numerous conferences, and is a co-author of Leading Global Project Teams, and Program Management for Improved Business Results.  Jim can be contacted at [email protected].

Systems Thinking and Planning Interdependent Projects

Program Management Commentary

Systems Thinking and Planning Interdependent Projects

By Russ Martinelli, Tim Rahschulte & James Waddell
Program Management Academy

Oregon, USA
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In our prior article published in the August 2012 edition of PM World Journal, we explored the relationship between systems thinking, program management, and how to structure a program into a set of interdependent projects. In this article, we begin to explore the set-up of those interdependent projects in a fashion that supports the objectives of the program.

Planning a project that is part of a program can be strikingly different and more complicated than planning an independent project.  The complications come from the fact that the project is part of a larger system that has many interdependencies.  The projects therefore must first be set up within this context before detailed planning can be performed.  At a minimum, the project manager must understand two critical pieces of information:
1.    How the project fits into the whole solution and what it contributes to that solution, and

2.    The interdependent relationships with other projects associated with the program.

There are many steps in the development of the program plan; however, there are three steps that effectively utilize systems and integration thinking that help to successfully perform the high level set-up of a program   These are:
1.    Creating the whole solution

2.    Developing the program level WBS (PWBS)

3.    Completing the program map
In last month’s column we shared with you that the first documented example of program management in the U.S. dates back to 1957 and the development of a complex underwater missile system.  The figure below simplistically illustrates the program and some of the projects that made up that program.

More…

To read entire paper (click here)

About the Authors

Russ Martinelli

Co-Author

 

 


Russ Martinelli is co-founder of the Program Management Academy and co-author of Leading Global Project Teams and the comprehensive book on program management titled Program Management for Improved Business Results.  As a senior program manager at Intel Corporation, Russ has many years of experience leading global product development teams in both the aerospace and computing industries.  Russ can be contacted at [email protected]

Tim Rahschulte

Co-Author

Tim Rahschulte is co-author of Leading Global Project Teams and an executive director at the Program Management Academy. Tim is also responsible for international management and leadership studies at George Fox University in Oregon.  He consults with state governments in the USA on matters of organizational change as a business transition architect.  Contact Tim at [email protected]

Jim Waddell

Co-Author

Jim Waddell, former director of program management for Tektronix, is a co-founder of the Program Management Academy.  He is an experienced management consultant in his fields of expertise: program management, mergers and acquisitions. He has held a variety of management positions, has been a speaker at numerous conferences, and is a co-author of Leading Global Project Teams, and Program Management for Improved Business Results.  Jim can be contacted at [email protected]

Systems Thinking and the Program Structure

Program Management Commentary

By Russ Martinelli, Tim Rahschulte & James Waddell

Program Management Academy

Oregon, USA

________________________________________________________________________

In two articles recently published in PM World Today we explored the relationship between program management and systems thinking. Taking a systems approach to program management involves four critical steps:

  1. Envisioning the whole solution  to be created and delivered;
  2. Architecting the whole solution into a program;
  3. Structuring the program into an effective team;
  4. Managing the program to deliver the whole solution and achieve the desired business results.

We began with the need to first view the desired outcome of a program and its associated projects as a whole solution that meets the expectations of one’s customers and end users.  We then demonstrated how a systems approach is employed to structure the whole solution concept into a program made up of a set of highly interdependent projects.  In this column we take the systems approach to program management one step further by exploring how to effectively structure a program team to create and deliver the whole solution.

In a previous series article we mentioned that the first documented example of program management in the U.S. dates back to 1957 and the development of a complex underwater missile system.  The figure below simplistically illustrates the program and some of the projects that made up that program.

More…

To read entire paper (click here)

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Russ Martinelli

Co-Author

Russ Martinelli is co-founder of the Program Management Academy and co-author of Leading Global Project Teams and the comprehensive book on program management titled Program Management for Improved Business Results.  As a senior program manager at Intel Corporation, Russ has many years of experience leading global product development teams in both the aerospace and computing industries.  Russ can be contacted at [email protected]

Tim Rahschulte

Co-Author

Tim Rahschulte is co-author of Leading Global Project Teams and an executive director at the Program Management Academy. Tim is also responsible for international management and leadership studies at George Fox University in Oregon.  He consults with state governments in the USA on matters of organizational change as a business transition architect.  Contact Tim at [email protected].

Jim Waddell

Co-Author

Jim Waddell, former director of program management for Tektronix, is a co-founder of the Program Management Academy.  He is an experienced management consultant in his fields of expertise: program management, mergers and acquisitions. He has held a variety of management positions, has been a speaker at numerous conferences, and is a co-author of Leading Global Project Teams, and Program Management for Improved Business Results.  Jim can be contacted at [email protected].