Project Management in Translation and Localization businessesis becoming more and more challenging. That is due to a wide range of factors, most of them driven by increasing competition and evolving market requirements. Buyers are asking for a diversified approach to quality, making the “one size fits all” approach unsustainable. The expectations for increasing project turnover are rising, with budgets not necessarily following suit. Easy access by all participants to the concepts of globalization and the use of technology help start-ups and freelancers increase pressure on the retail side of the market. A changing world requires from us, a major translation and localisation company, the ability to adapt. But such implied flexibility is only possible when grounded on a strong management base. Identifying the key components of any management process facilitates controlling the situation and indicates the possible paths towards improving it.
Back to basics: The Three Pillars of Project Management
The notion of the three pillars of Project Management is a result of the years of experience in the localization and translation fields by our company. Naming these elements has helped us identify and address the most important challenges that we were facing. The three critical components are Processes, Resources, and People – as follows:
Processes are to be defined and then followed. They need to be adaptable to any changing circumstances. Overly strict processes can be as hurtful as sloppy procedures. Having control here means both applying predefined processes and knowing when to deviate from them.
Project management means resource management. In the translation and localization business it is all about the proper handling of hundreds of files, versioning them, storing them and analyzing them. It is tracking all the changes and distributing them to all interested parties. Anyone who has lost a file can appreciate the importance of that aspect.
Finally – it should be obvious that people are essential to any project being successful. If we have this notion uppermost in our mind at all times, it means that, for all parties involved, we use and share every communication means available, with them as equal participants. It means facilitating the dialogue between vendors, clients and co-workers at all times. It means that all parties have access to the communication history and are in a position to give adequate and relevant feedback if needed.
Project Management is based on these three pillars
The important point here is that successful project management relies on these three pillars. It is about managing schedules, where proper PROCESSES are applied to the RESOURCES in hand, with the proper PEOPLE involved. Project Management is where all those three aspects of the business come together.
Why should I care?
If any one of the three pillars is weak, then the system as a whole is unsustainable. Get one pillar wrong and the structure will crumble. Matching vendor availability with deadlines, matching specific requirements with offered services, and matching budgets with rates, are all very difficult if one of the three components described above appears to have been neglected in relation to the other two. Staying ahead of the competition, maintaining high margins and delivering the required services will be successful if we base our thinking on the strong foundation that these three pillars provide.
Having the three-pillar concept in mind as we manage our projects will help in addressing the challenges ahead.