1 Page
Managing a Diverse Team - Project Manager‟sChallenge & Pain - A real One!!  Neelam Pandey – Assistant General Manager, Suz...
Contents 1. Abstract ........................................................................................................
1. AbstractThe world is becoming smaller every day, advancement of the technology in communications havecontributed to the...
The team members are spread across the globe, with different national, religion, gender, geography,and dialect and too div...
The Definition and Impact of globalization on the project TeamThe definition of global project management emphasizes the n...
3. Cultural DifferencesFig:5: Cultural Teamwork Style difference between US & ChinaCultural competency is not only a matte...
Fig:6 : Cultural Body languages difference in greeting   Sensitivity to time and tolerance to time pressure, in which the ...
charismatic or compelling,   value-based; one who takes into consideration the core values of the organization as part of ...
Way Forward: Create a Communication Plan to Manage Geographical LimitationsThe most common problem faced by the Project Ma...
openness and straightforward coordination. This comes with the understanding that the competencyof the global project lead...
These programs help to:   Develop trust across multicultural workforce   Develop better communication with the teams   Con...
profits. Risks are high because there are few customers, and if the major airlines of the world shun anew plane, there are...
This change in team composition was a significant departure from the way in which previous projectshad been managed. It ch...
[5]Edward Godfrey Ochieng, Andrew David Price, “Frame work for managing Multicultural Projectteams”, 2009[6]April H Reed, ...
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  1. 1. 1 Page
  2. 2. Managing a Diverse Team - Project Manager‟sChallenge & Pain - A real One!! Neelam Pandey – Assistant General Manager, Suzlon Energy
  3. 3. Contents 1. Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... 4 2. Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 4 3. Cultural Differences ..................................................................................................................... 7 4. Communication Gaps .................................................................................................................. 8 5. Absence of a Unified Goal ........................................................................................................ 10 6. Un-Nurtured Trust ...................................................................................................................... 10 7. Lack of Training Disciplines to Work as a Team ................................................................... 11 8. References : ............................................................................................................................... 14 9. Author‟s Profile: .......................................................................................................................... 153 Page
  4. 4. 1. AbstractThe world is becoming smaller every day, advancement of the technology in communications havecontributed to the shrinking of Global market. The Project teams are not limited to the companypremises but are geographically distributed.As companies are becoming more and more diverse it‟s becoming more and more important forcompanies to understand and manage the diversity. The people of different background, races,religion creates diverse workforce. Today Project teams are too large, too dispersed, too diverse, andjust plain too complex to manage using typical project management techniques alone, Managing andtracking the Project work and getting the work done through the diversified team is one of the mostimportant area, and Yes a Pain area too for today‟s Project Manager.Applying the effective team management practices to diverse groups at the right time is in itself acomplex endeavour. Successful teams are the result of many elements coming together, includingadaptive team leadership, optimal team structure, right team composition, a disciplined culture, co-location of core team leaders, effective collaboration, communication, and coordination, and patienceto steer the groups as each evolves from a collection of people, into a great team. The projectleadership role becomes as much about team leadership and group development, as about projectand requirements management. To conclude today‟s Project team are Complex, diversified, having integration challenges and toovercome this a PM has to do the Group development by becoming a true team leader andleveraging team potential Using team collaboration, communication and coordination tools andtechniques.2. IntroductionAs the businesses are exploding across the global, the team in today‟s corporate are not confined tothe four walls of the offices. Now days with the boom in the communication and IT industry theconcept of the virtual team has become a reality.Fig 1: Diversified, Multicultural Project Teams4 Page
  5. 5. The team members are spread across the globe, with different national, religion, gender, geography,and dialect and too diverse. Making such diverse team aligned to the Company strategic goal andthen to the Project objectives is a difficult task for Project Manager‟s.Alignment to Project goals is important for any project success, and thus it is rather more importantthat the whole team get aligned and be at same level of understanding. But Managing a diversifiedteam is indeed the biggest challenges a Project Manager‟s faces in managing any project teamManaging diversity in project team as thus becomes so important in the interest of the project.What is Workplace Diversity?Diversity encompasses all the ways in which people differs. Individuals differ in both ways, based onpersonal and the organization characteristics. Fig shows the three majors ways of diversity Personal Characteristics Organisation related Characteristics Primary Secondary Work Place DiversityFig 2: Components of workplace diversityThe complex interactions of these characteristics gives rise to workplace diversity and provides thebasis upon which to leverage the bottom line benefits .A diverse team will operate differently to ahomogeneous team –Difference in the communication style, the mix of mental models and value setsand a tendency towards in group out group behavior and social categorization all affects the waysdiverse team develop and function.Fig: 3: Work force diversity5 Page
  6. 6. The Definition and Impact of globalization on the project TeamThe definition of global project management emphasizes the need for company leaders to recognizethe cultural implications of mixing skilled workers from many nations, along with the tactical stepsrequired for teams to collaborate effectively.Globalization rules the business world today. Organizations work on onsite-offshore model to makeuse of the labor market effectively. This model brings in talents from various geographies in lowerrates. Expanding the business by opening offices in different locations is reason organizations preferworking on globalized model. Project managers are put in a situation to handle projects from theselocations which requires handling people from different backgrounds. Managing widely spread teamsin harmony is not an easy task. Different time zones also need to be considered. This has been anarea of concern for most business enterprises in todays world.Pain areas of Managing a Diversified Virtual distributed Project Team and its way forward:Decisive issues need to be addressed in order to draw together diverse individual competencies intoa unified set of knowledge and skills, all working for the attainment of a common goal. Hence knowingthe most common and critical challenges that confront the global team leader is of great relevance intoday‟s project management trends. These are: Cultural differences Communication Gaps Absence of a Unified Goal Un-nurtured Trust Lack of Training Disciplines to Work as a TeamChallenges of Globalised teamThe graph depicts the challenges faced by the Global virtual disbursed teams Sense of Isolation 66% Difficulty seeing the whole picture 77% Difficulty Establishing Rapport and trust 81% Absence of Collegiality 85% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%Fig4: Shows the challenges faced by Virtual team members6 Page
  7. 7. 3. Cultural DifferencesFig:5: Cultural Teamwork Style difference between US & ChinaCultural competency is not only a matter of knowing the influences of traditions and racial heritage. Itis also about the ability to distinguish individual differences acquired as personality traits from thosethat were borne from a collective set of cultural experiences and upbringing. Its important tounderstand that culture is basically the development of socialization processes that were embeddedin a person‟s mind and form part of his thinking and behavior.Studies made by Eva Razvigorova and Gottfried Wolf-Lauden ("East-West Joint Ventures: The NewBusiness Environment", 1991 Blackwell Publications) revealed that 70 percent of failed cross-culturalventures are attributable to the seriousness of cultural differences. Accordingly, seven out of tenfailures were attributable to the behavior patterns of the leaders or managers.One of the challenges that a Project Manager faces is the ability by which he can best use his trainingand the technological tools at hand in navigating a global virtual diversified team in real-worldoperations. Some examples of cultural difference include but are not limited to: Giving weight to family values as a metric for gauging the level of trust that is given to arelationship. Body language to show respect or disrespect in addressing or communicating with others. Wherebowing and avoiding eye contact is a show of respect, it can be misconstrued by most westerners asa sign of insincerity in a culture of “looking into one‟s eyes” as a manifestation of openness orhonesty.7 Page
  8. 8. Fig:6 : Cultural Body languages difference in greeting Sensitivity to time and tolerance to time pressure, in which the person at work is likely to multi-task or a have a tendency to mix work with pleasure, often with a mindset that his skills are enhanced by the adrenaline rush experienced when there is little time left. This, however, may not always be an individual trait but borne from a collective cultural habit of being late at meeting appointments or deadlines.Way Forward: Learn How to Take an Advantage of the Cultural & Regional BarriersGlobal project managers often get into trouble by not knowing how to manage the cultural andregional differences. If you learn how to make better use of these differences, it will be highlybeneficial to the project improvement. It is an opportunity for each member to grow personally as wellprofessionally by adopting the cultural intricacies. Associating with global teams means working inpartnership with people who has the required skill levels and experience that is necessary to be a partof the project, but use different languages and possess various cultural values. This differencecreates a major hurdle for the teams to bond in a personal level or develop a professional bonhomie.Conducting sessions to understand different cultures and the business jargons used in each regionwill be very effective. Not only it creates an opportunity to learn new cultures but also develops a teamspirit. Respecting the values each culture and region bring in and making an advantage of thesedifferences to the project is very important. A high level of understanding and a support system canbe created by using the cultural differences. For example, sending a message to those work fromIndia on a festival day like Diwali (festival of lights) or Holi (festival of colors) will help in creating apersonal touch among teams in this region. If you are conducting a meeting around that time,encourage teams from India to talk few words about how they celebrate that particular festival. Themajor advantage in adopting the cultural values is the spirit it creates among the teams.4. Communication GapsLeadership competency in communicating with a global team is largely different in a team settingwhere the members are co-located. Lack of skills for discerning the appropriate communication styleand technological tools can break down trust. Trust is an essential component for maintainingproductive networking activities and for spawning other development processes.A Project Manager‟s skill in communicating includes the ability to project a role model who possessesthe universally accepted traits of a good leader:8 Page
  9. 9. charismatic or compelling, value-based; one who takes into consideration the core values of the organization as part of a culture Emotionally intelligent, which is described as the ability to overcome the stresses of cross-cultural interactions and recognize the factors to be nurtured for adaptation and growth. Team-oriented humane or caring participative in the sense that he or she involves the members in decision-making processesInstinctively, team members measure the leader‟s competency and style against his method andmanner of communication. The clarity and timeliness of conveying instructions plus the suitability ofmedium used in transmitting instructions make up for the limitations of not having non-virtual face-to-face meetings.Fig 7: Indicates what can lead to communication failure in a projectConflicts arise from the uneven distribution of information, and may further be interpreted asdiscrimination. Basically, project management problems in a global context are hurdled by one‟sability to communicate effectively and can be assessed by following areas of intercultural sensitivity: If the leader experiences positive feelings toward interacting with members coming from different cultures; If positive responses or reciprocity of interactions toward the global leader are elicited from people of different cultures; If there is successful attainment of a goal and eventually, successful completion of a project; If cross-cultural barriers are managed without suffering from culture-contact stress.9 Page
  10. 10. Way Forward: Create a Communication Plan to Manage Geographical LimitationsThe most common problem faced by the Project Managers with global, Diversified, Virtual teams isthe lack of personal touch. The physical presence in the work environment makes a great differencein real time projects. The clarity lagging in the important tasks is common among globally distributedproject teams as the project managers often fail to address the communication issues. Thegeographical differences and various time zones often limit the progression. It is important for theproject managers to create a communication plan appropriately. The correct communication helps agreat deal in managing the project teams that work from different locations.5. Absence of a Unified GoalFailure to overcome cultural and language barriers contribute largely to the inability of team membersto comprehend the exact goal or mission of the global team. This can lead to lack of agreement andcohesion on ideas being explored or being creatively developed. It can likewise result in overlappingof ideas and redundancies.Lack of unity in achieving a common goal often leads to participations that are based on differentperceptions on why the project is being carried out. Others may view a project as a humanitarianmission while another sees it as a political agenda.Most often, building trust among team members is difficult to achieve since there is an incompletebasis on which to measure the degree of dependence or reliance placed on each other‟s integrity andability.To be effective, a navigator of a global team project should possess the competency to steermembers of diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal. This can only be done byencouraging everyone to assume a participative stance in order to be aware of the values of differentcultural perspectives and approaches.Way Forward: Each member is given an opportunity to highlight significances or explain thepracticality of adopting a particular stance based on the relevance of his or her knowledge, e.g., thelocal market and its buying public or international laws for standards of safety. The main guideline incoming up with ideas to broach or courses of actions to take is the overall agreement that it is thebest set of solutions to adopt for the purpose of achieving a common goal.6. Un-Nurtured TrustTeam members may start out as optimistic and all too willing to contribute their best to achievesuccess. A Project Manager may be charismatic enough with his communication methods toencourage team participation as well as put values to what is practicable and logical. However, theleaders inability to show genuine concern is tantamount to insincerity or lack of integrity. Often, theindicators surface once the pressures of culture-contact set in.Way Forward: The Use of Technological Tools, Internet Portals and Messaging Devices: Lackof trust as one of the Project management problems can be addressed by converging collectivecompetencies via online sharing of documents. The ability of a Project manager to employtechnological tools for planning, organizing and monitoring project developments and status brings10 Page
  11. 11. openness and straightforward coordination. This comes with the understanding that the competencyof the global project leader includes reviewing the measures in place for data security and theobservance of international laws that pertain to sharing documents online as well as outside ofterritorial jurisdictions. Fig:8: Importance of Trust in a Project environmentThere are no hard and fast rules to follow in nurturing trust among team members, but often they starton a personal level. Online collaboration often compels team members to do their best behavior andput their best foot forward. Learning the culture of team work via online collaboration can virtuallybuild a global team‟s trust among team members, leading to the attainment of effectively convergingvarying global competencies.7. Lack of Training Disciplines to Work as a TeamThis aspect is often overlooked once team members have started to work together as a team thatrelies on cross-cultural competencies. Team members acquire basic training as individuals and theirexpertise includes managing the drawbacks in their fields of expertise. A global virtual team isdifferent since there is now a set of collective efforts dispersed in remote geographical locationscoupled with cross-cultural adaptations.Training initiatives cover the operational environment by which the group will share information andassumption of responsibilities in ensuring data security, privacy policies and compliance with territoriallaws for exported or imported data.Way Forward: Get Help from Global Project Consulting ServicesSome organizations choose to take the help of consultants who conduct specialized, short-termtraining programs. Bringing together the key project team members from different locations to attendthese sessions will be highly boosting.11 Page
  12. 12. These programs help to: Develop trust across multicultural workforce Develop better communication with the teams Control errors associated with translation of critical documents Segregate work responsibilities among virtual teams Minimize animosity among team members when meetings are held Realize the issues created due to dispersed working environment Develop strategies to make vastly-distributed teams to be more productive Deploy processes to meet work deadlinesTools used in these short-term training programs include real-life exercises, discussions,presentations, simulations, and project-based activities.Rounding Up the Drawbacks and Their Solutions:To summarize this problems within the global setting, global project leaders should possess teammanagement capabilities for discerning which cultural traits, traditions and knowledge create positiveimpacts as well as knowing when and where to draw the line. The key elements to address are thebarriers that prevent the entire team from reaching out and understanding the language, traditionsand norms regarded as non-universal.The use of technological tools should take into consideration the applications, resources, traininginitiatives and security measures that allow intercultural participation in the most straightforwardmanner. The objective is to converge all skills and talents into a single set of collective competenciesgeared at working toward the successful completion of project goals.Case Study: Project Success: Boeing 777Project Success – Case StudiesWhen Boeing approved the 777 project, they knew that their design and manufacturing processeswould have to change. The ones used in the past produced good but not great project results, andmost would not score well when measured objectively against a CSF test. If Boeing was to designand build a significantly different and competitive aircraft, and if they hoped to score higher on theCSF scale, they would have to change their project management culture. And this is precisely whatthey did. Perhaps the most significant change was the creation of a new and collaborative approachto team work. The changes were successful and the 777 proved to be one of the most successfulaircraft in the history of commercial aviation.Boeing 777Today, commercial aircraft manufacturing is dominated by Airbus and Boeing. It is an industrycharacterized by intense competition, high product development costs, high market risk, and deferred12 Page
  13. 13. profits. Risks are high because there are few customers, and if the major airlines of the world shun anew plane, there are simply not enough smaller airlines to rescue the project from failure.Indeed, development costs are so high that hundreds of planes must be sold before the fixed costs ofdesign and development can be recovered. For example, Airbus needs to sell 420 of its new A380planes to break even, a milestone that will take many years to achieve..Boeing Approves the 777 ProjectIn 1990 Boeing made the decision to develop a new family of aircraft. Designed to bridge the gapbetween the 767 and 747 family of planes, the 777 (also called the „triple seven‟) would be a long-range wide-body aircraft capable of carrying between 283 and 368 passengers and with a range from5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,372 km).The 777 would be designed using the latest three dimensional digital imaging technology. It would bepowered by lighter twin engines, the most powerful ever built, and designed to be 20 percent morefuel efficient than its predecessors. The airframe, some of which was constructed with new compositematerials, would further add to its efficient use of fuel.The budget would be over $6 billion US and more than 10,000 people would be involved in theproject. To appreciate the size of the project as well as the size of the aircraft, manufacturing facilitieswould cover an area equivalent to over 70 football fields.Risk MitigationBoeing would take several steps to spread the financial and marketing risk. While they wouldmanufacture the flight deck and forward section of the cabin, the wing, tail and the engine nacelles intheir own plants, they would subcontract 70 percent of the project to suppliers throughout the world.Subcontractors would include Alenia in Italy, ASTA in Australia, BAE Systems in UK, BombardierShorts in UK, Embraer in Brazil, Japanese aerospace companies, Kaman in USA, Korean Air,Northrop Grumman in USA and Singapore Aerospace.Second, Boeing would involve eight of the world‟s largest airlines as strategic partners: NipponAirways, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Japan Airlines, Qantas,and United Airlines. It was an approach that would prove instrumental in designing an aircraft thatwould not only appeal to passengers but provide the airlines with a more flexible plane to meet theirchanging markets. For example, the interior of the aircraft was designed with curved panels, largeroverhead bins, and indirect lighting. And the dimensions of the windows were increased to becomethe largest of any current commercial airliner. Then "Flexibility Zones," were added. Water, electrical,pneumatic, and other hook-ups were placed throughout the cabin in such a way that the airline couldquickly move seats, galleys and lavatories when it was necessary to reconfigure the cabin.Open OrganizationBy involving outsiders, Boeing changed the way in which teams were configured. Now, they wereopen to wider participation and included engineers, procurement staff, manufacturing staff, customersand suppliers. It was a strategy that made it difficult to ignore internal and external recommendationsover the project life-cycle.13 Page
  14. 14. This change in team composition was a significant departure from the way in which previous projectshad been managed. It changed the culture of the organization, away from a closed organization, thatwas dominated by union work rules and high power distance, to one that was open and encouragedcommunication both up and down the hierarchy. In the past, relationships with suppliers werecharacterized by competition, suspicion, and distrust. This new approach involved suppliers andsubcontractors as strategic partners and critical participants in a customer-driven design,development, and manufacturing process.This open organization also radically changed the way in which the workforce was expected to workwith management. Regardless of where problems occurred, team members were encouraged to bringtheir concern to management. If they failed to receive the satisfaction they expected, they wereencouraged to bring the problem to the next highest level and continue moving the problem higheruntil they were satisfied that their concerns were addressed.What effect did these changes have on project success?This is, of course, always difficult to isolate and conclude, however, as of 2009 more than 780 planeshad been built, making the 777 one of Boeing‟s best selling models. Further, a more balancedperspective between the customer and engineering design efforts apparently did not compromisequality standards since there have been no fatalities since the plane‟s introduction in 1995.Lesson LearnedThere is one very interesting lesson that seems to stand out from 777 project. Developing an openteam concept, one that involves representation from many functional areas of the organization andone that involves customers and suppliers, may not only reduce project failure risk but may also proveto be instrumental in changing the basic project management culture of an organization.Involving the customer over the life cycle of any project does not come without its problems. Conflictsfrom competing interests emerge, delays are inevitably introduced, costs often increase, and scopemanagement can become a very real challenge. Yet opening the project management process tocustomers and suppliers can be advantageous because it focuses the project squarely on businessobjectives8. References :[1] Andre Sammartino, Jannie ö”Flynn ,Stephan Nicholas, “Managing diverse work team , a businessmodel for diversity management”,2002[2] Lynn Anderson,” Global Project Management--5 Tips to Manage a Global Team”www.nuwave-tech.com,Feb 2011[3] Kathleen B. (Kitty) Hass, “How to Manage the Complexities of Large, Diverse Project Teams ”,Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.[4]Michaela Driver , “Diversity and learning in groups: The learning Organization- Vol 3”, 200314 Page
  15. 15. [5]Edward Godfrey Ochieng, Andrew David Price, “Frame work for managing Multicultural Projectteams”, 2009[6]April H Reed, Lindaa V Knight “Project risk differences between virtual and Co-located teams”,March 20109. Author’s Profile: Author‟s of the paper is PMP Certified , a BE Mechanical from Pune University, India , has the Project Management Experience of 11+ years in the core Manufacturing Industries. Worked with India‟s two leading auto majors viz Tata Motors and M&M for more than 10 years and currently working with Suzlon Energy Limited as the AGM in SCM Purchase. Email – neelam.pathak@suzlon.com neelampandey2011@gmail.com15 Page

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