25 January 2011

How to manage expectations across borders and cultures?Hoe verwachtingen van verschillende culturen te managen?How to manage expectations across borders and cultures?Wie verwaltet man Erwartungen über Grenzen und Kulturen hinaus?

About Hugo Messer

Hugo Messer is a Dutch entrepreneur, distributed agile team specialist, and author. He is the founder and owner of Bridge Global, a software services provider, and ekipa.co., an agile coaching agency. He has been building and managing teams around the world for the past several years. His passion is to enable people that are spread across cultures, geography and time zones to cooperate. Whether it’s offshoring or nearshoring, he knows what it takes to make global cooperation work.

7 thoughts on “How to manage expectations across borders and cultures?Hoe verwachtingen van verschillende culturen te managen?How to manage expectations across borders and cultures?Wie verwaltet man Erwartungen über Grenzen und Kulturen hinaus?
  1. Excellent points Hugo, both on the issues and the methods you offer for solution. One common pit fall I see also is in terms of our understanding of communications. In an Indian cultural context, communication skill is often linked to the skill of the English language. While language certainly is important, it does not encompasse the entire communication. And for that to happen in an orderly manner, process is key and the same applies to quality and mechanisms to control quality.

    I enjoyed reading your blog, looking forward to more.


  2. You already mentioned it in your intro, I think it’s critical to meet each other in person at least one time. If you meet in person it means one of the two parties takes the time to travel to the other part of the world, making it easier to claim time and set the process, responsibilities, discuss the project, deadlines, etc. Also it creates some familiarity, it’s easier to work together with people you met in person, specially when you were also in a non-formal, outside of the office setting. I wrote a blog post on that some time ago: http://tomvanlamoen.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/offshore-visits/

    So my advise: when starting a long term cooperation: meet each other in person.

  3. Great article, Hugo! I can think of one more item to add to the solutions: Make sure that the team has all the tools in place that they need to be effective and efficient, and deliver the output. You may assume that the team has a similar work environment, and access to infrastructure, websites etc. but that may not be true. Discuss up front (or in the process description) if certain pieces of infrastructure are necessary or expected, to catch any gaps early on. Set the expectation with the team to communicate those gaps. I’ve seen teams deliver what they thought was the next best option, without letting me (the client) know that they just didn’t have the necessary tools to create the output.

    Simple example: if you expect the output as a PDF file, the team will need some software to print to PDF. In a very security-conscious and cost-conscious environement, having Adobe Acrobat Professional or downloaded freeware may not be the “default”.

  4. very interesting and practical observations. I would like to add another diemnsion which the foreign companies working in India often take for granted and that is – How does the foreign team think, the Indian team understands them or their project objectives, and more importantly how does it align with their career objective. I have often seen Foreign companies come and hire people in India who have no idea about the company objectives and ends up losing them quickely.

  5. Excellent points and a good starting point for future initiatives with companies with offshore locations or are outsourcing. Even people talking the same language can have misunderstandings and with global or outsourcing companies, they are learning to combine different means of communication to convey thoughts and ideas outside of simple means, as well as learning to consider other factors that they would not normally be exposed to.

  6. Pingback: If offshoring doesn’t provide the desired results, what do you focus on? | Bridge-Blog

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