The Foundation of Global Development Management
The growth of offshore outsourcing is a steady trend that is estimated to result in over 3.1 million information technology (IT) jobs being sent offshore from the United States over the next three years. As this trend continues, development organizations will face new challenges because they are held accountable for delivering business value with a global diverse workforce. Managing global development risks will be the critical skill that project managers (PMs) must master to be successful, essentially having their current skills evolve to become true global development managers (GDMs). Global development will require mastery of core project management principles such as budgeting and estimating, resource optimization, and measuring and tracking productivity combined with cultural awareness.
To be successful, GDMs must learn to apply new tools along with the techniques to engage all development team members. The GDM must be a skilled practitioner who can monitor metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to keep projects on track. They must understand and track service level agreements (SLAs) in new ways to drive performance. GDMs must enhance their communication skills and be cognizant of cultural differences that will often cloud effective communications. They must understand the political and cultural environment of the service providers so that issues are escalated appropriately. If this sounds a bit daunting, we assure you Managing Global Development Risk will prepare you to succeed. Throughout this journey, we will help you anticipate the challenges, putting you in the position to succeed. We provide a roadmap and tools to help you successfully manage your global development project.
Role of the Global Development Manager
Why the focus on the GDM? If the world is quickly moving to an outsourced model and the offshore firms are praising CMMi Level 5, PCCM, ITIL, Six Sigma, ISO 9000 certifications, and a host of other certifications to help sell their services, then why would the GDM make a difference? Wouldn't the GDM be just one more outsourced position? The answer surprisingly is no and can be substantiated in multiple surveys.
Consistently, the majority of IT executives have selected staff augmentation and project-based consulting as their primary vehicles for integrating offshore into their organizations. With both of these models, offshore vendors perform various tasks, but the implementation responsibility and the risk remain with the customer. Your organization's primary interface with the global service provider is going to be you and your peers: GDMs executing numerous parallel development activities.
The GDM is responsible for setting the course, managing the scope, tracking the project, and ultimately for the project's overall success. In a globally sourced development environment, the role of the GDM is even more critical because as we have already seen, many companies initially select the global outsourcing route to save development cost through lower labor arbitrage. However, what these organizations do not do is make internal adjustments to prepare existing staff and processes for the new global model. What quickly becomes evident are the significant challenges, unanticipated management costs, and the simple frustrations associated with the global delivery model.
When problems occur, which they will, senior management looks to the GDM to solve the issue and still deliver the project. If you are unlucky enough to be with a company that is moving offshore with the goal of dramatically reducing their expenses to show profitability, then you will have the added challenge of management "helping" you move the project along at a quicker pace. The management team may begin to focus on integrating the teams faster and accelerating the learning curve, which often shifts the focus from capacity to cost savings.
GDMs must demonstrate their capabilities in each of the following areas: leadership, communication, negotiation, problem solving, and organizational understanding. Each of these skills outlined in Table 3.1 is an important management function, but becomes even more vital when layered with the added dimensions of culture, individual personality, communications content and style, combined with distance and time. In addition, in an outsourced environment, the GDM must be able to establish these capabilities with fellow employees as well as supplier personnel.
Table 3.1 Essential Global Development Management Skills
|| Essential Global Development Management Skills
||Establishing direction: developing the vision and strategies
Aligning people : communicating the vision
Motivating and inspiring : helping people energize themselves to overcome barriers
||Ensuring the message is clear, unambiguous, and precise
Ensuring information is received in its entirety
Having strong written and oral communication skills
Having listening skills
Choosing correct media (written, verbal, formal, informal)
||Managing the scope, schedule, and budget of project
Adjusting to changes in scope, schedule, or budget
Negotiating contract terms and conditions
||Defining the problem- distinguishing between cause and effect
Analyzing problem to determine viable solutions
Selecting the "right" choice
|Influencing the organization
||Getting things done
Understanding formal and informal organizational structure
Understanding the mechanics of power and politics
Core technical skills have the least influence on a PM's success. It is the soft skills that ultimately determine success. How would this apply for a globally dispersed team featuring a combination of employees and contractors? Do you see the challenge? Project management core skills are not in the areas in which developers are typically comfortable. We have found that the area developers will gravitate to when uncomfortable is talking technology, the common language.
What we mean by this is that over the years we have observed U.S.-based PMs visit their development facilities in India and truly miss the opportunity to engage the global team. During these visits, the PM will focus on technical issues such as processes, implementation of new technology, quality assurance, break-fix, and the like. Little is actually focused in the other five areas identified in project management: a managerial approach other than what the global service provider has scheduled to welcome their valued customer.
Ignoring these areas or not taking the time to become sensitive to the issues has a direct impact on productivity. As you will learn, there are simple activities and techniques that can be applied to fully leverage your time at the global development center. Understanding the importance of soft skills and combining these with standard technical management capabilities will determine your success. Successful GDMs are skilled at combining all these important core skills. An interesting study was conducted by Andrew Dainty, Mei-I Cheng, and David Moore. Their research was based on behavioral event interviews that examined the
attributes that differentiated superior and average performing PMs. Their study identified six major groupings and 13 core competencies, which we have highlighted in Table 3.2
Table 3.2 Essential Global Development Management Skills
| Core Grouping
|| PM Competencies
|Achievement and action- oriented competencies- focused on actions toward task accomplishment
||1. Achievement: concern for working well toward a standard of excellence (completeness of action, achievement impact, degree of innovation)
2. Initiative: taking action and seizing opportunities; higher degree of self-motivation, sustained periods of performance, ability to involve others in accomplishment of key tasks (effective delegation)
3. Information seeking: underlying curiosity to know about things, propensity to seek first-hand information on issues, innate ability to scan for wider information that could be of future use
|Human service-oriented competencies - related to meeting others' needs
||4. Customer service: Strong desire to meet customer's needs, propensity for seeking information about the real, underlying needs of a client; responsible attitude toward dealing with problems rapidly and efficiently
|Impact and influence-based competencies - effect on others and organizational behavior
||5. Impact and influence: ability to gain support for a course of action, leading or directing a group, breadth of understanding, and influence within organization
6. Organizational awareness: ability to understand the power relationships within an organization (getting buy-in and political astuteness); ability to understand client's needs and articulate those to other team members; ability to rapidly assimilate organizational information; ability to expedite decisions
| Managerial competencies
||7. Teamwork and cooperation: genuine desire to work cooperatively as part of a team (fosters teamwork and engages others in team activities)
8. Team leadership: intention to take on the role of a leader and desire to lead others; strong desires to lead others, improve teamwork, and foster cooperation
9. Directiveness or assertiveness: appropriate use of positional power; not as prevalent with client PMs and employed less often by high-performing PMs; implies that project management requires a more diplomatic or conciliatory management approach
| Cognitive competencies - intellectual version of initiative that helps the PM understand the situation or task; ability to apply intelligence to resolve a problem
||10. Analytic thinking: ability to understand a situation by decomposing it or tracing the implications of a situation in a causal way; ability to analyze complex problems
11. Conceptual thinking: ability to see the bigger picture through the identification of patterns or interconnections between situations that are not obviously related
* Provides strong support for importance of emotional intelligence among PMs, which is the ability to recognize feelings of one's self and those of others, for managing one's emotions, and for self-motivation
|Personal effectiveness - reflect intellectual and behavioral maturity in relation to others and to work
||12. Self-control: ability to remain composed, restrain negative actions, and cope well, even when confronted with stressful situations; ability to remain calm and not be easily provoked, a cross-cutting theme that underpins all effective management behaviors, high levels of competency in this behavior being particularly predictive of superior performance; proves to be a fundamental requirement for PMs (to remain reasoned and composed, even in high-pressure situations)
13. Flexibility: ability to adapt approach or behavior in a variety of situations
For global development perspective, the above findings provide a foundation on which additional dimensions or competencies will need to be mastered as you evolve into a GDM (see Table 3.3). These competencies are covered in detail throughout Managing Global Development Risk providing the tools, templates, and suggestions.
Table 3.3 Essential Global Delivery Competencies
| Core Grouping
|| Global Competencies
|Achievement and action
|| GDM 1: Proactiveness. Proactively identifying, tracking, measuring, and improving KPIs that drive global projects.
GDM 2: Collaboration. Collaborate with service provider to resolve issues versus escalating issues
|| GDM 3: Team building. Nurture and build team interaction at all levels; create multiple integrated teams
GDM 4: Recognition of individual. Observe, guide, and advise on
|Impact and influence
||GDM 5: Decisiveness. Understand the individual, team, and corporate dynamic; quickly determine supplier key decision makers to effectively resolve issues; do not dwell on decisions; collect data, know decision makers, and move forward
||GDM 6: Service levels. Establish processes and procedures to manage service levels.
||GDM 7: Analytical thinking. Continuously learn new skills and collaborate with supplier to improve offshore effectiveness
| Personal effectiveness
||GDM 8: Flexibility. Embrace cultural differences and challenges and work with internal teams and the supplier to develop new processes and new ways to address issues
Global Development Manager Leadership Requirements
Global outsourcing will introduce complexities that even the best PMs will struggle with. Numerous leadership books have identified three overarching characteristics that strong leaders possess:
- Vision: the ability to see solutions in chaotic situations
- Influence: the capability to effectively engage your offshore team and business partners in a way that doesn't depend on the power of your position
- Execution : the bottom-line ability to deliver time and again
Vision, influence, and execution are just as critical for the GDM as they are for the chief executive officer (CEO) or the chief information officer (CIO). Your ability to articulate the global delivery vision, see solutions where others don't, negotiate and manage interactions with the global service provider, and deliver projects in a global model will set the stage for success in future endeavors.
Global Software Project Management Methodologies
Continued in the book.
From Global Software Development Handbook by
Raghvinder Sangwan, Matthew Bass, Neel Mullick, Daniel J. Paulish and Juergen Kazmeier. New York: Auerbach Publications, 2007.