Dec 10, 2011

Managing from offshore - lessons

I am currently the PM of a project with the following profile.
  • The customer is a state government of a State in Mexico in the Central - North of Mexico
  • The Customer has given the contract to a Mexico Company. The Project Manager is working out of Mexico City which is to the Central - South of Mexico
  • The DBA is working out of Chile
  • I am working out of Bangalore, my SCM team is in Bangalore and the Fin and Development team is in Hyderabad.
  • My team speak English, the customer speak Spanish
  • True example of On-site - Off-site - Offshore model
While working on the project, we learnt some interesting lessons.
  • Plan for more time. For example every communication should go through English - Spanish - English cycle making the communication to take more time than normal. So plan for more time in your project plan.
  • Communicate as much as possible in English. Let the translator worry about communication.
  • While reading mails from the customer, be aware that the original communication was in Spanish and that the translator could have made some errors while translating the same to English
  • Ask for and deliver screenshot based communication always. More the pictures, less the confusion !!
  • Stick very closely to process. For example, if you have decided that once a report moves to Production, any errors should be handled by customer, always stick to this. Do not compromise on this. In a normal project, you can take these things in a one-off manner. However, in a project of this nature, you will never know what is the kind of expectations that you are building into, once you move out of the process.
  • Visit On-site at least once to understand and build rapport with the customer and the On-site PM. Budget this into your proposal.
  • Since Latin America is 12 hours behind India, ensure to set in place a process for working at customer's timeline. You may have to give shift allowances to your team. Factor this in upfront in proposal.
I will add new lessons as and when I remember them. In the meantime, the floor is open as always. Any other relevant comments or experiences that you want to share?

1 comment:

Ramaswamy VK said...

Update: I completed this project with 100% Customer Satisfaction rating...