08 Aug Is Hiring An Offshore Project Manager Effective For Your Business?
Today, we’re leading increasingly global lives: From the food, we eat to the way we work and socialize, borders are melting away, leaving us with a wonderful array of choices. Businesses, in particular, are reaping the rewards of this paradigm shift: Through building strongly international teams, they can both reduce costs and access a much wider talent pool. Nowhere is this truer than in the field of project management. An offshore project manager can handle all of the same duties as an onsite project manager (i.e., the management of the financial, operational, strategic, and technological aspects of projects) for a more reasonable fee. They may also confer additional benefits, such as having local knowledge and multiple language proficiencies—essential skills if you’re coordinating a project with more than one offshore element. (A Sri Lankan offshore project manager can, for example, liaise much more effectively with a Sri Lankan offshore development team.)
Not all offshore project managers are created equally, however, and international projects often require a high degree of organizational skill. Read on to discover what you should look for in a project manager and which advantages and disadvantages you’ll need to weigh up before hiring:
What Kind Of Skills And Qualifications Should An Offshore Project Manager Have?
An offshore project manager will need to have the same level of qualification as an onsite project manager, e.g., PMP Certification, at least several years experience managing international projects, and any industry-relevant degrees necessary. An offshore project manager will also need some additional assets, such as those mentioned above (cultural literacy and multiple language proficiencies) and the willingness to travel. He or she will need to be fluent in both your own native language and the language of the country in which the project is being coordinated.
In order to effectively handle an offshore project, your project manager will need to be able to coordinate teams spread across multiple time zones and ensure deadlines are met. He or she will need to handle details related to working in multiple currencies, where applicable, and be aware of local customs (such as holidays) that may impact the project. He or she should proactively plan around these obstacles to ensure that projects are completed in a timely fashion. This is in addition to handling standard project management duties like managing costs and resources and interacting with clients, vendors, etc.
What Kind Of Industries Are Suited To Offshore Project Management?
Project managers are required across a diverse range of industries, such as the IT, biotech, construction, real estate, communications, management consultancy, and oil and gas industries. The vast majority of offshore project managers, however, work in IT or communications. Offshore project managers can be found doing everything from coordinating web development teams to managing Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) projects.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hiring An Offshore Project Manager?
The advantages of offshoring the role of project manager include:
- Reduced costs. Because wages are lower in many popular outsourcing destinations, you will save a great deal of money when you choose an offshore project manager.
- Faster project completion. Because wages are so low in outsourcing nations like Sri Lanka, you can hire more professionals in order to complete your project more quickly. (You can, for instance, hire three or four Sri Lankan engineers for the cost just one Australian engineer.) Your offshore project manager will keep this large team effectively coordinated and ensure that language barriers do not become disruptive to the project.
- A wider talent pool. Many developed nations are facing a shortage of IT and engineering expertise, whereas this is absolutely not the case in South Asia. South Asia produces a high number of skilled IT and engineering graduates, meaning that you have an increased chance of finding a project manager in South Asia who is technologically adept.
- More resources. When a company does everything onsite, they’re constrained by the limits of their own resources. When a company outsources, on the other hand, they can combine their resources with the resources of their offshore partners. The result? More resources for everyone to work with and higher overall project quality.
The disadvantages of offshoring the role of project manager include:
- Coordination difficulties. The more spread out your team is, the harder it will be to coordinate. Projects that require a lot of close collaboration may be difficult for even an experienced offshore project manager to handle. Choose wisely based on the nature of your project—a highly localized project, such as one in the construction industry, is probably better managed onsite. Most IT projects, on the other hand, lend themselves to working remotely.
- Reduced control. When you outsource project management, you surrender some degree of control over your project as it’s no longer being managed by someone within your own company.
- A higher risk of team conflict. Different ideas about working styles and clashing cultural values can lead to conflicts between team members unless you choose a project manager who is culturally sensitive.
- Security leaks. When you choose offshore professionals, you inevitably have to share some of your project and business secrets with people outside your company. Make sure to create an airtight contract and get the right legal protection to prevent intellectual property (IP) theft.
The bottom line: The best way to maximize the aforementioned advantages (while minimizing the disadvantages) is to avoid IP theft and business fraud hotspots like China and India when offshoring/outsourcing. Choose a country like Sri Lanka where the government strongly supports and regulates the outsourcing industry as a whole.