Project Management in translation and localization is becoming increasingly challenging. For the most part, this is driven by increasing competition and evolving market requirements. Buyers are asking for a diversified approach to quality, making a one size fits all philosophy unsustainable. Expectations for increasing project turnover are rising, with budgets not necessarily following suit. Globalization and new technologies mean both start-ups and freelancers are now competing for work with direct clients, increasing the pressure on more traditional businesses in the industry.
This changing world means we, as a major translation and localization company, need to be able to adapt. But such flexibility is only possible when accompanied by a strong project management foundation. Identifying the key components of your project management process enables you not only to take control of a situation but also to identify room for improvement.
Back to basics: the three pillars of project management
Based on years of experience in the localization and translation industry, we’ve developed the concept of the three pillars of project management. Naming these elements helped us identify and address the biggest challenges we were facing. The three essential components of project management are Processes, Resources, and People.
Processes must first be defined, and then followed. They need to be adaptable to any changing circumstances. Overly strict processes can be just as detrimental as unclear or vague procedures. Here, being in control means both adhering to predefined processes and knowing when to deviate from them.
Project management means resource management. The translation and localization industry revolves around the proper handling of hundreds of files. They need to be securely stored, analyzed, and versioned. All changes must be tracked and distributed to all interested parties. If you’ve ever lost a file, you’ll appreciate the importance of this!
Last, but by no means least, are people – the human resources. It should be obvious that people are key to the success of any project. We need to remember the importance of each member of a project team and bear this in mind throughout the project. This means including them as equal participants in every relevant conversation. It means facilitating the dialogue between vendors, clients, and colleagues. It means that all parties have access to the communication history. Consequently, not only are they better informed, meaning they can perform their job more efficiently and effectively, but they are also in a position to give adequate and relevant feedback if needed.
Successful project management is based on these three pillars
Most importantly, successful project management, and ultimately, the success of your business, relies on these three pillars. This includes managing schedules, applying thorough processes to the resources in question, and using the most appropriate people. Project management is where all three of these aspects of the business converge.
Why is this important?
If there is a problem with any one of the three pillars 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, or matching budgets with rates, can be almost impossible if one of the three components has been neglected in favor of the other two.
Only if we maintain the strong foundation that these three pillars provide, will we be able to stay ahead of the competition, maintain high margins, and successfully deliver for our clients? What’s more, having the three-pillar concept front and center in our day-to-day work will help us address the challenges lying ahead. Therefore, these three pillars can help ensure the success of our businesses, not just for today, but for tomorrow and hopefully, for years to come.