10 golden rules for managing international projects


10 golden rules for managing international projects

Is managing international projects a uniform role, consistent across sectors? Certainly not. It diverges significantly across cultures and countries. The operational nuances of each country and company vary, demanding a nuanced approach to ensure seamless project execution when navigating international borders.

How do you effectively manage international projects, ensure successful collaboration, and overcome potential challenges? While the recipe for success in international projects may differ based on specific objectives, a set of fundamental principles consistently emerges as vital for ensuring triumph on the global stage.


Below, Nicolas Nesme, VP at VISEO China, offers some tips on international project Management Success and provides recommendations to get ahead of the curve.


1. Establishing clear objectives

Clearly define the objectives of the project, including the desired outcomes and deliverables. This will help guide the project team and stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.


 2. Establishing effective communication

Communication is crucial in international projects, as team members and stakeholders may be located in different countries and time zones. Establish effective communication channels and ensure that all team members have access to the necessary tools and resources. It's also important to be mindful of cultural differences and adapt communication styles accordingly.


3. Cultivating cross-cultural competence

International projects involve working with people from different cultural backgrounds. Developing cross-cultural competence is essential for understanding and respecting cultural differences, building trust, and promoting effective collaboration. This includes knowing different communication styles, decision-making processes, and business practices.


4. Exemplifying Strong Project Management

Effective project management is critical for the success of international projects. This includes defining the project scope, developing a detailed project plan, setting realistic timelines, and managing risks and issues. It's also important to have a project manager who is experienced in dealing with the complexities of international projects.


 5. Fostering stakeholder engagement

Engage with stakeholders throughout the project to ensure their expectations are understood and managed. This includes involving key stakeholders in decision-making processes, providing regular updates on project progress, and addressing any concerns or issues that arise.


 6. Optimizing resource allocation

Allocate resources appropriately, considering factors such as expertise, availability, and cultural considerations. This includes ensuring that team members have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their roles effectively and providing support and training as needed.


 7. Addressing risk management

Identify and assess potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. International projects can face additional risks and challenges, such as language barriers, legal and regulatory issues, and geopolitical factors. It's essential to proactively identify and address these risks to minimise their impact on the project.


 8. Embracing flexibility and adaptability

International projects often require flexibility and adaptability due to changing circumstances, cultural differences, and unforeseen challenges. Project teams should be prepared to adjust plans and approaches as needed to ensure project success.


 9. Promoting knowledge sharing and learning

Encourage knowledge sharing and learning within the project team and across different stakeholders. This can help to foster innovation, improve processes, and enhance collaboration.


10. Ensuring continuous evaluation and improvement

Regularly evaluate the project's progress and outcomes to identify areas for improvement. This includes conducting lessons-learned sessions and capturing best practices to apply to future projects.


By combining these strategies, organisations can create a strong local buy-in & adoption (or involvement), communication and collaboration framework that spans across borders, ensuring the success of both the HQ and its international offices. In essence, a successful international project mirrors the dynamics of any meaningful relationship – it thrives on the bedrock of shared empathy, understanding, respect, and trust. By prioritising these principles, international projects can not only weather challenges but also emerge triumphant, meeting and exceeding their objectives.