Smooth team communication and fast decision-making are among the most important success factors in project management. But this can quickly become a challenge, especially for international teams that work in different countries and time zones. In this article, you will learn what you should consider when communicating with an international team.
Fluent Team Communication Is a Must
With increasing globalization, the importance of international projects grows. Even if remote teams bring decisive productivity advantages and multicultural employees enrich the dynamics of a project and at the same time can be the basis for creative solutions, cooperation across national borders can quickly become a problem. You’ll need good planning, clear project goals, and smooth communication to successfully manage distributed teams.
If you try to carry out an international project based on emails and constant meetings and phone calls, you will quickly find that this is hardly possible. Modern forms of work require new management approaches and methods. Collaboration solutions promise a remedy. Because they enable distributed teams to clearly define responsibilities and requirements, communicate goals, and shorten decision-making processes.
Below we present a number of useful tips that everyone who wants to successfully lead an international project team to their goal should keep in mind.
Define Work Responsibilities
Good communication starts with good planning. Many of the discussions that arise during a project often revolve around just a few basic questions that keep repeating: who needs to do what? How? By when? Special collaboration solutions for project and task management focus on the efficient and quick answering of such questions. International teams, in particular, need clear instructions and a well-planned work schedule.
Instead of sending countless emails back and forth to clarify questions of responsibility – which, by the way, can quickly scale into a problem if the project does not go as well as expected – the team can organize the work ahead, create tasks in a central location and delegate to team members. You can specify due dates and other details. Through clear responsibilities, framework conditions, and deadlines, which are visible to every project participant at any time, international teams can save countless emails and avoid unnecessary meetings.
Structured Team Communication
Modern collaboration solutions like XELOS offer structured team communication, which is an interesting advantage. It is completely automated, so it doesn’t represent an additional effort for employees. The highlight: In XELOS, the discussion and exchange of documents take place directly on the respective document.
Tasks can also be commented on in a simple manner. This also avoids unnecessary emails on a topic and involved colleagues can follow the discussion at any time. At the same time, the search for important project documents is simplified.
Employees not only find all project-related documents in a central location, but can also easily use the discussions and comments that have been added to the tasks and documents to track which ambiguities, problems or questions have arisen in the course of the process, which decision was ultimately made and Why.
Team Communication Tools for Every Need
Such asynchronous forms of communication are particularly important in international teams that work in different time zones, because the working hours of colleagues may not overlap. For example, think of a project where some employees work in San Francisco and others in Berlin. Due to the time difference of nine hours, you can hardly meet at regular working hours. While the Berlin colleagues arrive on time at 9:00 a.m., California is still sleeping. And when the Americans enjoy the first coffee of the day, Berlin will be done again.
Often, however, a direct exchange between those involved cannot be replaced. It is important to use the right communication medium in every situation. Audio and video chats with Skype, Google Chat and Co. are not only cheap because you can save yourself expensive calls abroad, but also particularly practical if you want to discuss a topic with several colleagues. But simple text chats can also be particularly helpful for international teams. With the help of Slack, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangout Chat, for example, you can coordinate in real time and answer questions quickly and spontaneously.
Automatic notifications inform users of new messages that have arrived in their mailbox so that no important updates or information are overlooked or ignored.
TrackingTime is ideal for remote and international teams! Track worked hours, organize tasks and projects, and keep your team productive. Give it a try!
How to manage international projects
- Keep team communication fluid and structured
- Use collaboration tools that adapt to your team’s work habits
- Define responsabilities and work on a schedule
- Organize the work ahead and define deadlines
- Estimate and plan projects based on previous experience