Thomas Friedman famously argued “the world is flat” by citing globalization and technological advances as the main drivers behind leveling playing fields amongst economies and companies. And if we take a look around us, we know it’s true. Today, diversified teams and projects that aren’t defined by geography are the norm and trends predict it to remain that way. But without having an employee management tool, globalization has also put stress on traditional project management practices. Global project managers have to deal with issues that a domestic project manager doesn’t. What can we do to combat the challenges frequently encountered in a global project scenario?
In this article, we’ll not only examine specific resource-centric challenges that global project managers frequently face but also provide resource management solutions that one could implement. But before we jump into that, let’s understand the importance of resources in project management.
A project can be termed successful when it meets its deliverables and stays within budget. But who makes the project happen? It’s the people — the resources. If the right person is not assigned to the right task (skill mismatch), a project can get delayed or there can be an error that blows the budget and requires reworking. This is especially true in global projects which are spanning different time zones and cultures. Therefore, we can confidently say that a project’s success depends on how resources are identified, allocated, and utilized within the budgeted time and cost.
Effective resource planning and employee management tool are the biggest obstacles resource managers face. But what are situations that are unique to global environments? We take a look at that next.
Even minute time zone differences can add another layer of challenge to global projects. Why? Everyone’s working hours and holiday schedules are different, and in one case or another, a team can end up working longer hours. While these extra hours are okay to accommodate once in a while, constantly long working hours or on public holidays because another team member or client is from an alternate time zone or country can result in employee dissatisfaction, burnout, and attrition. Without a multidimensional view of resources and varying time zones, the chances of scheduling inefficiencies increase.
In global projects and organizations, recruitment is often taking place simultaneously, across scattered locations. While hiring the right resource from lower-cost regions can help improve costs, all these expected savings can be nothing if there’s an adequate view of ALL talent available.
What often happens in global projects is that a project manager is just aware of the talent pool at one location, thereby creating silos. If one continues to operate within this silo, they won’t have access to updates about resources profiles, skills, experience, and availability. There might be a qualified person for a job that the manager might not even know of because they might be operating remotely. Eventually, such lapses in information can lead to discrepancies, resource crunch, incompetent allocation, and over/underutilization of resources.
Operating in silos also can create further divisions without the organization. In this scenario, a project is being completed in Department Y but requires additional competencies. The required resource is actually available in Department X, but the Department Y manager isn’t aware of them. The poor visibility of resources can restrict organizational growth and lead to unnecessary hiring, which further increases costs.
How does one measure what an employee is doing during their workday? In a physical office scenario, this task becomes slightly easier because you can physically see the employee and check on the work status, but in a global or hybrid work scenario, what tracking methodologies are relevant? Constantly calling or requesting email updates can create additional administrative burdens and might not be feasible.
But without real-time updates and productivity tracking a global project manager has no insight into how the project is progressing or if there is an issue that can be resolved before it escalates into something bigger.
A recent study by Gartner shows that 80% of employees lack the skills needed for their current and contemporary roles. Without productivity tracking, a manager is clueless about whether the assigned workload is a match for the resource’s skillset and preference. If a task is taking longer than expected, they can intervene and identify if it results from a skill gap or some other issue.
Without comprehensive tracking, there can be instances of over or underutilized resources, resources sitting on benches, lower billable hours, and employee disengagement (as employees might not be getting to work on tasks of their interest or there is a skill mismatch).
Each country has its own specific labor laws and regulations. These laws can stipulate what the maximum working hours can be, how many holidays are allowed, or what even the official work days are.
As a global project manager who works with and utilizes resources from various countries, they must adhere to these compliance laws and employee-centric regulations. For instance, in countries like Iceland, Belgium, and UAE, employees work 4 days a week. Therefore, if a resource is used from one of these countries, they need to be scheduled appropriately to avoid lawsuits, penalties, and other legal issues.
An employee management tool is an answer to solving these resource-centric issues. Need a bit more explanation? We got you!
These are the top features an employee management tool brings to the table:
Power Your Projects to Success - Use A Global Employee Management Tool
Looking for an employee management tool that can power your projects? Why not test out eRS, eResource Scheduler – one of the top enterprise resource management software ? The software is easily customizable, features simple drag-and-drop scheduling, and provides all the top management and financial reports at your fingertips. The software will help your managers stay proactive, informed, and equipped to solve the tiniest of issues that occur in global projects
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