PMNC 2017 : Invited Speakers : Respect Culture Or Face Failure: Leadership Lessons From Four Continents
PMNC 2017

The reasons behind project failure are many, and can be categorized into the four buckets of scope, time, cost, and miscellaneous (risk, supplier, quality, and communication).

The last bucket, which is about people and culture, tends to be overlooked and could lead to unpleasant surprises. The husband-wife duo, Mr. Ramamurthy and Ms. Narayanaswamy, presented some common cultural issues that today’s multi-locational teams face, and recommended a six-step process to overcome them. “Culture issues could arise due to people of different ages, languages, regions, and critical value systems being part of a team,” explained.

Project management instils discipline and accords a distinct structure to the project, he added. He called for highlighting the efforts that go into building heavy industries and not just focusing on the announcement of a project. “China gives importance to infrastructure and heavy industry. They highlight the efforts that go into building heavy industries. While the Western world is moving away from heavy industries, we are dependent on them,” he said.

On risk management, he cited the example of Médecins Sans Frontières, the international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that is stressing on project management to ensure its workers do not get killed while carrying out their services.