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Read the additional reading A Parallel WBS for International Projects provided in the Additional Resources folder of this module. Identify any additional typical concerns encountered by an IPM (international project manager) when defining Scope and developing WBS for a global project.
What suggestions do you have for preventing scope creep in global projects? What did you think about the approach Northwest Airlines used for improving user input and reducing scope changes on their reservation system project (refer to Textbook Chapter 5 for case info)?
Which advice given in the textbook and/or discussed in class you think is most important for developing a good WBS for a global project? Why? Any additional good suggestions?
Do you think it is difficult to find good examples of WBSs? If you do find a good example WBS from a similar project, why can?t you just adopt it ?as is? in a new project?
What do you think about Microsoft Project? What do you like and dislike about it? Do you think it would be useful for managing all projects, or just some? Which ones? Comment/compare to any other PM software you have experience with?A Parallel WBS for International Projects
A list of typical, time-consuming concerns encountered by an IPM (international project manager) might include matters such as the following:
?Arriving team members from abroad face difficulties in acquiring housing.
?Using metric specifications proves far more difficult than anticipated.
?Dismissing an unproductive local worker runs seriously afoul of local law.
?Government functionaries perform at a snail’s pace. . .unless “compensated.”
?The local JV partner has a distressingly flexible view of the contract.
?Local workers remain unmotivated by pay-for-performance schemes.
?Training events that “worked” well at home yield poor results here.
?The key local manager is enraged. . .and the IPM can’t figure out why.
The first four items in this list are “cross-border” challenges: obstacles grounded in the logistical necessities of relocating employees, and in unfamiliar governmental policies and regulations, legal structures, and business practices. These are easily recognizable because they have a certain “in-your-face” quality (including, in some cases, official sanctions for non-compliance).

The final four items are “cross-cultural” challenges: obstacles grounded in the differing assumptions, values, habits of thought, and patterns of behavior of the various national/ethnic groups cooperating on the project. These are not easily recognizable because they are outside of people’s conscious awareness.

Comprehending and overcoming hurdles such as these is rarely mentioned in an IPM’s job description. Yet, experienced IPMs will attest that the efficiency and effectiveness with which projects are completed is definitely affected by their success in handling cross-cultural and cross-border challenges.
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We propose below a parallel WBS.?This generic model can be adapted for use with a wide range of international projects.
Work Breakdown Structure for?
Cross-Cultural & Cross-Border Challenges


1. “Culture Risk Management (CRM) Team” Identified, Assigned, Funded, Charged
??? 1.1 Responsibilities of “CRM Team” specified –?See 2 through 9 below
??? 1.2 Structural and functional location of CRM Team in project unit addressed
??????? 1.2.1 Budget and charge number allocated; reporting relationships determined
??????? 1.2.2 Manager and members’ assignment conditions, rotations, determined
??????? 1.2.3 Formal status reports from CRM Team: timing and dissemination planned
?
2. Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Information Collected
??? 2.1 Identify means of collecting relevant information
??????? 2.1.1 Existing means within firm: HR, T&D, Library, Legal Department, etc.
??????? 2.1.2 Published materials: books, journal & magazine articles, websites
??????? 2.1.3 Informants: host nationals, “old hands,” cross-cultural consultants
??? 2.2 Collect and catalogue relevant information
??????? 2.2.1 Business, regulatory, legal, international trade
??????? 2.2.2 Religion, family, education, economics, politics, etc.
??????? 2.2.3 Work-relationships and -styles, incentives, communication, decision-making, etc.
??????? 2.2.4 Technology transfer issues related to local trainees and larger society
??? 2.3 Study and evaluate the most relevant collected information
??? 2.4 Disseminate selected information across entire project team, translating if necessary
?
3. Project Plans and Company Business Practices Risk-Assessed
??? 3.1 Assess cross-cultural/border risks in project objectives, WBS, budget, timeline
??? 3.2 Assess risks in company’s business, quality, personnel practices when applied abroad
??? 3.3 Prepare a formal risk-assessment statement
?
4. Strategy Developed, Recommendations to Project Manager Delivered
??? 4.1 Develop strategies, including specific WBS, for avoiding/reducing major perceived risks
??? 4.2 Recommend specific risk-reduction strategies to senior management
?
5. Foreign Project Personnel Oriented and Supported
??? 5.1 Determine difficulties commonly faced by foreign assignees at project site(s)
??? 5.2 Determine sources of cooperation and aid within, and external to, the company
??? 5.3 Develop and deliver supportive services to assignees directly or via consultants
??????? 5.3.1 Create and distribute orientation handbook
??????? 5.3.2 Deal first-hand with assignees’ practical relocation and settling-in concerns
??????? 5.3.3 Provide pre-departure and in-country cultural coaching and language training
??????? 5.3.4 Develop procedures for health/safety, R&R, crisis support, emergencies
?
6. Host National, Foreign Assignee, Home-Office Personnel Integrated
??? 6.1 Compare work-style and work-relationship patterns of foreigners and host nationals
??? 6.2 Assess home-office / field-site relationships and communication hurdles
??? 6.3 Compare social and entertainment traditions of foreign and host cultures
??? 6.4 Develop working arrangements and events to gradually integrate different groups
??????? 6.4.1 Work-style and colleague-relationship expectations, reporting arrangements
??????? 6.4.2 Home-office / field-site relationship, communication facilitation
??????? 6.4.3 Welcoming events for newcomers; milestone events to celebrate successes
??????? 6.4.4 Social and holiday events drawing on different cultural groups’ traditions
?
7. Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Training Delivered
??? 7.1 Determine pressing cross-cultural and cross-border concerns of project personnel
??? 7.2 Compare training and education traditions of foreign and host cultures
??? 7.3 Develop and deliver training and/or coaching for project personnel
?
8. Culture-Conflict Damage Containment Strategy Developed
??? 8.1 Predict most likely cross-cultural conflict/misunderstanding situations
??? 8.2 Develop strategies for CRM Team’s response to ameliorate conflicts
?
9. Organizational Learning Based on CRM Team’s Experience Realized
??? 9.1 Include cross-border/cultural risk-reduction in Quality Assurance reviews.
??? 9.2 Prepare and periodically disseminate CRM Team formal status reports
??? 9.3 Rotate high-potential personnel as Culture Risk Manager and CRM Team members
??? 9.4 Debrief by senior policy-makers of manager and team members
??? 9.5 Disseminate widely a summary report of CRM overall effort