Having discussed what international projects are, we can explore differences between standard projects and international or more complex projects. A number of topics will be discussed. This discussion will then be summarized by a table.
One good way to understand the difference is to examine a simple chart. A spider or radar chart is given in Fig. 1.1. In a radar chart each axis represents one dimension. This type of chart is useful in showing multiple dimensions. Keep it in mind and use it as you manage and work with international projects. Let’s look at the chart. First, consider the dimensions. There are eight of these. They can be divided into two groups. The first
Number of locations
Extent of purpose
Range of project
Number of organizations involved
Dependence of the organization on the project
Risk and complexity
Cost of the project
Figure 1.1: Comparative Scope of International Projects
Consider the graph. Note that the international project totally dominates the standard project. We recognize that this is just an example and that you have to draw up your own chart. When you look at the chart, you see that there are differences in each dimension. Here are some comments on each factor.
Number of locations
. International or regional projects have more locations. They can be in different cities, states,
Extent of purpose . You may take on many small projects in the traditional mode. However, there is typically an overriding purpose when you work on an international level. The purpose tends to be wider and more complex.
Range of project . This is also the scope of the project. There are typically more things to change and do in an international project.
Number of organizations involved . In a standard project, there is often only one department involved. The situation is more homogeneous.
International projects are almost the direct
Dependence of the organization on the project . In a standard project, if there is failure, the people and the organization go on. However, international projects tend to be more visible. The project is much more important and more at stake with the international project.
Risk and complexity . International projects have much greater risk and complexity.
Potential benefits . The benefits of an international project are often spelled out at the start much more than a standard project. This is probably because of the following factors: (1) there is more at stake; (2) it takes more management attention to manage the project.
Cost of the project
. While many standard projects can be large and expensive, an international project almost seems to always cost more. There is more transportation, communication, and coordination. Greater complexity
How can you
A summary of differences appears in Fig 1.2. Some
Figure 1.2: Comparison Summary of Standard and International Projects
While technology has advanced as we stated earlier, there are often still many legacy systems and individual systems in different locations. The only people who understand and can work or modify these are the staff at each location. This makes work on systems in the international project more complex.
Culture can be
In a standard project, you can get people focused on the project. Management is right
Self-interest is one of the most powerful factors in projects. People get turned off on a project if they perceive that they will get nothing out of it. This is a prime reason for the failure of many ERP installations. To be successful, an international project must address the local self-interest of the managers and employees at each location.
Regulations and laws are often taken for granted in many countries. The law is the law. However, in much of the world, this is not the case. Laws and regulations are subject to interpretation. Look at China. In one study of the application of twenty laws, it was found that each