Interesting Characteristics of International project management

There is some or other difference in the ways in which project management is practices across the world; just few examples - if you are a project manager based in United Kingdom, typically you would be more familiar with PRINCE 2®, if you are a project management professional based in US, or Asian country, you would be more familiar with PMP®. There are different project management methodologies like waterfall methodology, agile methodology, etc. Here are some interesting characteristics how project management is practiced internationally with certain differences.

Project Management practiced by British vs. Arab][2]

A study points out an interesting difference in behavior exhibited by project managers from UK and from Arab country. Culturally, project managers from Arabian country emphasize more on Key Performance Indicators, reports, sharing information, and communication plan. On the other hand, project managers from UK emphasize more on institutional, planning aspects such as use of a Project Management Office (PMO), change management, monitoring, work breakdown structure (WBS), Gantt chart and program evaluation and review technique (PERT).

Difference in project management capabilities - Israel vs. Japan[3]

There are considerable distinctions in the way project management is practiced in Israel and Japan. It could be attributed to cultural differences or management style. E.g. Japanese are known for Six Sigma, Kiazen, Kanban. Japanese project managers emphasize on measurement of key performance indicator in terms of cost, quality, they strive to lower cost difference between budgeted expenses and actual expenses. On the other hand, Israeli project manager pursue higher performance indicator in terms of customer satisfaction and technical performance.

Japanese believe in team work and effective communication and information sharing are result of effective team work.

PMP and PRINCE2 Project Management Professional (PMP) is project management credential offered by Project Management Institute (PMI). PMP certification is the most dominant accreditation in the world today, with the highest concentration of PMP certified professionals in North America; whereas PRINCE 2 method and certification is endorsed by UK government and it is dominantly adopted in UK, Western Europe and Australia[1].

Of course, there are obvious difference how projects are managed in different sectors/industry like construction, Healthcare, Information Technology, Education, Engineering, Manufacturing, etc. e.g. professionals in construction and manufacturing industry significantly emphasizes on risk management; in engineering industry, project management professionals emphasizes on minute details of scheduling, etc.

Zilicus Experience

Apart from these finding from research, our team at Zilicus have made certain observations, carried out analysis (split A/B testing, cluster analysis) to understand behavior of professionals who intended to manage projects using ZilicusPM, online project management software offered by Zilicus.

Based on our interaction with ZilicusPM users and the trend we have observed in terms of visitor behavior on Zilicus website

  1. Attention span: Initially, the patterns showed that visitors from European countries have greater span of attention than that of US visitors
  2. Impact of visuals: When we enhanced visual elements (video, images, icons, logos) on Zilicus websites, the attention span of US visitor improved significantly
  3. Difference in online behavior: Users from European countries look for deeper project planning and use of comprehensive features to manage projects whereas US based users tend to look for task/calendar scheduling and social
  4. Agile or Waterfall: European (UK, Ireland, Netherland, Italy, Sweden) project managers appeared very keen to use agile project management methodology along with waterfall model whereas on the other hand, many project managers from North America (US) are either using or some of them have expressed their strong interest in using advanced practices in Waterfall methodology
  5. Use of smartphone: There has been considerable adoption of smartphone to manage project management activities in European countries especially - UK, France and Germany. On the other hand US based project manager exhibits significantly high adoption of smartphone for business management.
  6. Adoption of project management software: US based project managers certainly understand the value of information management system to manage project; hence adoption of project management tools is very high among North American businesses; not just enterprises but also in small and medium businesses. The next country that represents highest subscription and adoption of PM tool is UK followed by Canada, Australia, Netherlands, and Mexico among others.
Have you observed any interesting trend/characteristics in project management, do let me know.
[2] National cultural differences in project management: Kelly Rees, et al.
[3] Cultural differences in project management capabilities: A field study Image source: