Projects Across the World
Nine months ago I was assigned to manage a project with a team composed of members based in the US, Switzerland and Japan. I'd had experience working in international teams, however I had not worked with our Tokyo site before.
In preparation, in the UK we undertook a cultural awareness course, which focused on the Japanese culture, and I read a few books for example; Culture Shock Japan by Rex Shelley. It was/is fascinating and was good preparation for the project.
The time difference is challenging for our team, with the West Coast of the US and Tokyo involvement, the videoconferences are scheduled for 06:00 UK time and 22:00 (the day before) in California. It is these challenges that bring the team together more.
A major challenge for global teams is scheduling teleconferences, videoconferences and even telephone calls!
Do not use idioms.
Ensure frequent communication.
In order of preference, meetings should be 'face to face' or videoconference.
Ensure common understanding at all times. Consider different methods to determine whether this has been achieved.
Ensure all members of the team have the opportunity to contribute, and are encouraged at all times.
Our team members in Tokyo are about to go on a cultural awareness course.
I am intrigued to hear their feedback.
Michelle Bryant
Welwyn, United Kingdom