Author: Jacob Wilson

4 Ways to Improve Your PM Efforts When Expanding Your Business

Running a company nowadays has become a fairly seamless process, especially if we rely on a number of digital, automation tools that help us stay on track with our chores and responsibilities.

We have email notifications, alerts for social media, analytics and reporting tools that collect and analyze relevant data for us, and we use cloud-based storage solutions to share data across borders with all of our clients and employees. When it comes to expanding your business, however, even with access to a vast number of tech tools, your ability to put them to good use will greatly shape how successful you’ll be in the process. 
Too many growing businesses fail to contain and streamline their growth and development through proper project management systems, and end up returning home defeated and wondering what went wrong. Sometimes, your local operations will suffer when the time comes to allocate funds and expertise to a new market, while at other times, you take a leap of faith without fully understanding the legalities and intricacies of any new market you’re about to penetrate. This is where optimal project management can make all the difference, when you know how to utilize it to your advantage.

Define your projects based on the market

No business chooses its new targets haphazardly. You already know how to recognize markets with great growth potential and spot where your brand fits well so that you can have a strong position in that new market. However, your projects will not be defined in accordance to the same old goals and key metrics you’ve automatically used for your local endeavors. It’s time to do some research and understand what makes this new market tick, and treat it like a unique project that it is.
Perhaps a project located abroad will require a greater budget (or a smaller one, for that matter), or maybe you’ll need to go through a series of projects before you can even start launching your business abroad. Have you adapted your logo and your brand voice to the new market? Is your team ready and trained to deliver work based on these new parameters? Expectations change based on each new market you wish to enter, so it pays to understand all the fine details you should take care of before you start creating automatized projects that have worked for you in the past. 

Choose the right tools for international operations

Not all project management tools are created equal. They might not be inherently better or worse, but they do fit certain criteria and certain business models, depending on your needs. In the case of companies looking to expand into new markets, you should look for scalable project management solutions that are easy to integrate with other technology you use. Not sure where to look for reliable PM tools that fit your needs? You can follow in the footsteps of companies that have similar needs and priorities. 
For example, Netflix uses Confluence for their project management needs, and we all know just how vast this content platform is, and how many ongoing projects they have on their plate. Maybe this particular example is too expansive for your taste, but researching what the world of PM has to offer will greatly help you find the finest solution for you. 


Include your local partners

Expanding your company often means that you need to find and work with on-site partners of those new markets you wish to impress. Whether for legal, organizational, or resource purposes, partnering up entails changing your own internal structure so that you can exchange relevant information and collaborate effectively with your new partners scattered across the globe. 
For businesses eager to enter the Asian Pacific market, wanting to set up a local office may pose unique challenges from the perspective of legal ownership. In such instances, working with partners such as Invest Islands means you can get the right information on available real estate options, your legal rights, and how to proceed in terms of establishing yourself in Indonesia. In order to avoid delays in communication, missing files, and misunderstandings, using scalable PM tools in which you can include at least one representative of your partner can be useful in your endeavors to expand your business abroad. 

Monitor and reallocate your resources on the go

Although most well-established companies focus on deliverables almost exclusively when working on their projects, entering a new territory means that you cannot be certain your old project management approach works best. A certain level of flexibility within your project plans is a must. As the project unravels, you can see which teams need more resources, intellectual as well as financial, which deadlines are breached, and which tasks pose the greatest challenge for your employees. 
  • Refine your project goals depending on the market needs and your resource capabilities, and leave some “wiggle room” to make changes as each project moves forward.
  • Empower your employees to make changes when they see an opportunity, since micromanagement will not work in a growing business environment much like it never did even in a smaller business you once started.
  • Consider adding certified project managers to your teams, since running an international operation will always pose a far more complex challenge. 
  • Add post-project assessment, so that your analysis can benefit your future projects within the expansion. That is the only way you can tweak your PM efforts and educate your employees on how to be more productive and more efficient with their work. 

Project management may be an established, well-oiled routine for your existing structure, but when the time comes to penetrate new markets and expand your reach, you’ll need to think beyond your current scope even in terms of project management. Use these tips to improve your PM skills and your expansion will be much more efficient and streamlined for it. 

5 Ways Your Company Culture Affects Project Management

A brand’s culture is the personality and identity behind the company.

It is the set of values, rules, and commitments that the employees live by at the office, and employers use to build an appealing brand image both internally and externally. So naturally, you can expect your company’s culture to influence and affect every process in every department, and thus effectively shape the future of your brand as a whole. When you’re managing a new project or several projects, though, your company’s culture will have avital role to play.

Not only will it help you assemble a crack team of professionals, but it will also help you delegate roles, ensure healthy and continuous communication and collaboration, set your goals and objectives just right, and ultimately deliver on the projected results ahead of time. With all of that in mind, here are the five ways your company culture can affect project management, and how to use it to take your projects to new heights of success.

Incentivize employees to increase productivity

At its core, your company’s culture serves the purpose of incentivizing your employees to love their job and the brand they work for. Through numerous employee-oriented rules and routines, the causes your company supports, and the values your brand stands for, you’re building a friendly work environment where people can live, laugh, and work with a positive attitude and a clear goal in mind – to give it their best on each and every project.

This is why it is important to find ways in which your company’s culture can directly influence and elevate the productivity of the individual, before you can start optimizing it to positively impact the team as a whole. Be sure to find out what moves your employees as well as the values they stand for, and try to weave them into the narrative in some form in order to inspire them to care for the project and its outcome.

Ensure accountability and boost collaboration

In order to manage a successful project from inception to finalization, you need to build accountability among your team members. Your employees and colleagues need to hold themselves and each other accountable for their actions, as well as the actions of the team as a whole in order to keep the project moving forward at all times, react to mistakes and setbacks effectively, and even predict possible pitfalls to avoid them successfully.

When you have accountability, you can also boost collaboration and co-dependence easily. Through a positive company culture that nurtures accountability and collaboration, your employees will lean on each other for support, you will be able to spark innovative thinking and decision-making, and of course, you will have an easier time running a tight ship with minimal risk of error.


Bringing diversity to the team and the project

It’s no secret that one of the keys to an efficient and successful project is diversity. But beyond the project itself, your company’s culture should emphasize the need to attract, bring in, and retain diverse talent from numerous communities and demographics in order to improve the brand’s image, and bring value to the company in terms of skilled and loyal employees. This is a solution favored by Australian business leaders, so let’s take a look at their example.

In Sydney and other highly-competitive business hubs, project managers will source diverse talent from agencies such as atWork Australia in order to bring people with disabilities into their ranks and tap into a lucrative talent pool that resides within this community. Likewise, they will use AI-software and specialized HR recruitment programs to eliminate all bias from the recruiting process, in order to give all applicants a fair chance at proving their worth to the company.

Following the same mindset, be sure to bring people from all walks of life to your project in order to spark creativity and innovation, improve collaboration, and gain loyal brand members.

Define leadership roles and strengthen organization

Another way in which your company’s culture can help you manage your projects and deliver on the desired results is helping you assign leadership roles, structure communication, organize workflow, and organize your employees individually. Now, this requires you to combine your own leadership skills with the insights your company’s culture brings to the table in order to help with delegation and workflow.

Using your skills as a leader, be sure to analyze how your team members respond to the values of your brand and the governing rules that shape your culture, and then proceed to pick out the individuals best suited to run the team. Assign complementary personalities to your leaders, people you know are devoted to the cause and passionate about their work, and of course, find the right “contrasting” figure that will serve as the counterweight to the team – in order to improve the decision-making process and ensure critical thinking.

Carrying the project with shared values and passions

And finally, keep in mind that a positive company culture builds passionate mindsets. When your employees and team members are in love with their job, and when they resonate with the values of your company, they will invariably become more committed to the project, and they are likely to become passionate in the process. Through this shared passion, your team members will carry the project to fruition.

Final thoughts

Project management is the driving force behind long-term business success in the modern corporate world. Be sure to act on these insights and work on your company’s culture if you are to fine-tune the PM process, and create a diversified and passionate team that will take your brand forward as a whole.