Yesterday I talked about some of the cultural and strategic matters a company needs to get right before going global. Once those are taken care of, it can begin tackling the legal and technological issues at hand.
It can start here:
International customer agreement (ICA)
An ICA can be utilized to ensure that most variables known at the time of contract negotiation are covered in the goals and objectives outlined for the successful implementation of the project. Where necessary, the ICA should be structured to reflect each participating country’s role in the project. This should be done against the backdrop of a consistent view of the overall mission of the solution being deployed. Each country’s project should be clearly defined to ensure that execution is aligned with anticipated outcomes.
Federal, state, and local laws vary. When a company commits to deliver products and services to a customer with a global presence, they should also pay close attention to legal guidelines for conducting business in-country.
In addition to providing legal guidance and administrative support to ensure that KPIs (key performance indicators) are being met, The Global Project Management Office is also responsible for issuing progress reports and deploying technological solutions.
Creating a global standard
The company offering a “global” product/service portfolio should spend the time required to create a global standard. This requires easily understood and clearly defined terms and conditions associated with the offering. This offering should be consistent across borders.
Labor, equipment, and transportation are constant variables in every project. Whether it’s manufacturing cars or computers, trans-shipment of components and finished products is part of the solution landscape. From design and manufacturing to final product delivery at the client site, employees involved with the project should be properly trained to perform their specific tasks in the chain of events.
The project leadership team should also agree on the key items to be reported on and the frequency of these reports. One caveat often included in the customer agreement is a clause that allows responsible parties to conduct impromptu meetings to address any anomalies that may impede successful completion of the engagement. Status reports are often consolidated before submission. It is also considered a “best-practice” to include individual project managers/administrators’ reports as supporting indices to the summary report.
Billing and finance
The GPMO constantly reviews financial records to ensure that all cost is properly captured and that billing and payment are timely and accurate.
At the end of every engagement, the leadership team should conduct a project review. This is an opportunity to evaluate how well the project was executed and to highlight “lessons learned” to be included in the company’s intellectual capital repository.
Customer satisfaction survey
When possible, the project leadership team should coordinate solicitation of a referral from satisfied clients. Upon getting a positive response from a satisfied customer, the GPMO should work closely with the company’s marketing division to create a mutually agreed message that informs current and prospective customers about the company’s ability to meet and exceed customers’ expectations.
The bottom line is that a properly structured and efficient Global Project Management Office can be the difference between success and failure. With success comes new revenue streams and more efficient operations. Failure could result in a public relations nightmare as well as lost revenue and cost overruns. A CIO looking to take his business global has a lot of things to consider, but then again, we’re talking about doing business on a scale you’ve never done it before. No one said it would be easy. But if you follow these guidelines you’ll see it can be done.