Team Leadership for Virtual Teams in a Global Delivery Model
This Interview with me was recorded by Cornelius Fichtner from The PM Podcast. Here is what Cornelius wrote about our discussion:
Global delivery models have changed the way IT services are delivered and many organizations use them. They are the way of the world. The significant benefits include the ability to provide round the clock services, ensure business continuity, level the playing field through best-in-class consulting, and finally provide key cost advantages for all organizations alike.
But there are also challenges, because we have now have virtual teams with its members around the world and we may never meet them. So what’s a project leader to do?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan (http://maximisepotential.
blogspot.com/, https://www.linkedin.com/in/ shyamsundarramanathan ) says that first of all, the key to success of this kind of delivery model is communication. And then he has seven specific recommendations that will help. In our interview we will define what the global delivery model is, briefly discuss DevOps and then get going with his recommendations and how they will help improve your effectiveness as a project leader of such a global team.
Shyam would like us to mention that the views he expresses in this interview are his own and not those of his employer.
About The PM Podcast: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a project management trainer who helps his students with their PMP Exam prep, and since 2005 he has published hundreds of interviews with project managers from around the world. The interviews are free on www.project-management-podc
Episode 349: Team Leadership for Virtual Teams in a Global Delivery Model (Free)
About The PM Podcast: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a project management trainer who helps his students with their PMP Exam prep, and since 2005 he has published hundreds of interviews with project managers from around the world. The interviews are free on www.project-management-podcast.com.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #349. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I'm Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you for listening in.
Before we start, I wanted to remind everyone that we are listener-supported podcast so if you enjoy the interviews then please visit www.pm-podcast.com/premium. Your subscription will help to keep us going. Thank you!
Global delivery models have changed the way IT services are delivered and many organizations use them. They are the way of the world, you might say.
The significant benefits include the ability to provide round-the-clock services on sure business continuity, level the playing field through best in class consulting and finally provide key cost advantages for all organizations alike. But there are also challenges because we now have virtual teams with its members around the world and we may never meet them. So what's a project leader to do?
Shayamsundar Ramanathan says that first of all, the key to success of this kind of delivery model is communication and then he has 7 specific recommendations that will help.
In our interview, we will define what the global delivery model is, briefly discuss dev ops and then get going with his recommendations and how they will help improve your effectiveness as a project leader of such a global team.
Before we start the interview, Shyam has asked me to specifically mention that the views he expresses in this interview are his own and not those of his employer.
And now, can you manage another interview? Enjoy!
Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Shyamsundar Ramanathan, Director of Software Quality Assurance.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, Shyam! Welcome to The Project Management Podcast™!
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Thank you, Cornelius! It's a pleasure to be here.
Cornelius Fichtner: So tell me, what is a global delivery model?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yes, so the global delivery model is a combination of onshore and offshore development and it is also one of the most preferred methods for the delivery of IT services and solutions globally.
It also promises top quality development, onsite delivery and faster project cycles and this is the key selling point - refreshingly affordable rate. So that's very important for a lot of customers and that's why more customers are going towards a global delivery model at this point.
Cornelius Fichtner: Is this a model that is used exclusively to deliver IT services or do other industries use this as well?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yes, so based on my research and mostly my 15 years of experience has been in the IT industry, so I think the global delivery model overall did come due to the IT services. But I also recently read that in manufacturing sector, there are of course a lot of operations being done in China and other Asian countries as well. So some of the manufacturing systems could come into play in this. But I would still say the majority of the global delivery model applies to the IT services.
Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah! You said "refreshingly cost-effective". I've never heard that term, beautiful. What are some more benefits that you can give us on this model?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yes, the first is obviously the speed of the delivery, faster time to market and the key selling point is the round-the-clock services to the customer. So in my case, let's say that I have granted an automation test case, I can have my offshore team run in the night and when we come in the morning, the client sees the results and the development team can take actions if there are defects. And absolutely, it's also a cheaper way without compromising much on the quality, which is very important. So those are some of the benefits of this model.
Cornelius Fichtner: Whenever we have benefits, there are also challenges. What are some of the generic challenges in the model?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: So one of the key challenges is because of the diverse locations, getting everyone on the same page is not easy and you know sometimes with the noise, some of the things that you said are subjective may not get through to the end team but that is something which is a challenge. The next is cultural challenges because of the various cultures involved, different countries and everything else. Cultures come in to play and certain things have to be done differently depending on the culture.
And another thing, technical thing is in terms of security, right? If you are going to outsource or going to have a large organization or delivery center, do your development or testing, then they need to ensure that their firewalls are protected and ensure a lot of your organization security concerns are addressed. So these are some of the challenges that are part of the global delivery model.
Cornelius Fichtner: Who is using this model today? Do you have some examples for us, maybe some companies we might know or projects we might have heard of?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yes, all I can say that all IT companies that I worked for, as I worked for around 4 IT companies, all of them have used the global delivery model and I have worked both offshore in India and I also worked…a lot of my years have been spent in the onsite delivery manager role as well. So I worked on both sides. So I would say, all IT, big IT companies like Direct Consultancy Services, Cognizant, were just some, all of them use the global delivery model and they've been successful.
Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah and I can tell you from personal experience, it doesn’t have to be a large company. My own company, we have fewer than 5 people working for us here in the United States and we use a global delivery model. In fact, our software development happens in Belarus, former Russian Republic.
Dev ops is also another term that goes hand in hand with this. What is dev ops and how does it relate to the global delivery model?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: So yeah basically, dev ops is basically it's a practice of ensuring that an organization's development environment, physical environment and processes are set up to deliver new built-in to production as rapidly as possible. So that's obviously a great thing for everyone, right? We want to get new builts as fast into production as possible.
And one of the key things is it requires tight integration of what have been typically different functions like QA and IT. So basically, it removes the silos and the IT companies are incorporating their best practices. They get more implementations and deploy quotes more frequently. And it has cross functional team members with diverse skill sets and from various disciplines like development, QA, database engineers and business analyst. So that is the main premise of dev ops and benefit as continuous service delivery, quicker problem solving and faster delivery times and more stable environment and faster time to market.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. So far it sounds like we've only talked about IT and software development but this of course is The Project Management Podcast™. So how does project management play into this? How do we as project leaders come into play? How do we fit into this model?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yeah absolutely, that's a great question! So project managers are very important in this model because whatever happens, there's always a need for people who have excellent soft skills who understand the requirements clearly and who can articulate that to a global team.
So what we have to understand here is due to the diversity of locations in a global delivery model, sometimes teams who are not interfacing with the client may not have the complete picture. So the project manager plays a key role in setting the expectations clearly and projecting what the end customer wants. I think that's one of the key things that a project manager does. It's basically setting the vision and also it requires a lot of relationship-building skills.
And at the same time, the project managers ensure that they communicate the needs of the end customer to the team performing the functions and as we have read in our PMP, communication is the number one thing that the project manager should do and I think communication is where the project manager comes into play big time here because they will have to make sure it's seamless and it also ensures that any gaps in understanding are addressed and they serve as the interface between the end customer and the overall global team, and making sure the projects meet the schedule within the allocated budget is also one of the key areas where the project manager will come into play.
Cornelius Fichtner: So communication important as always. Are there any other key success factors that we project leaders need to know about?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yeah, I think two things which I always think is needed are trust and transfer. What I mean teams are in diverse locations, so not everyone can get to understand what's happening at the ground level at times or what's happening. So I think the responsibility of the project manager is to coordinate and also to give the end picture on what the demands are, what are the results needed so that communicating clearly to all the stakeholders and to the team and keeping it transferred in the communication channels I think is one of the key success factors for global delivery model.
And you know there are many bottlenecks in global delivery model especially in the beginning of an engagement because you know you have to get a lot of things like simple things like getting in to access, getting people on board, making sure that they understand what the customer wants. All this requires the project managers to really answer while they make sure that the project is a success.
Cornelius Fichtner: You wrote an article about how we project managers can improve our leadership for teams who operate in this global delivery model and that article is just full of tips and tricks and what we want to do for the rest of our interview here is to go through these and talk about each of these tips.
First you recommend that we establish rapport. What do you mean by that?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yeah basically unless you establish rapport, you can get the work done with everyone on your team. What I mean by establishing rapport is once every team member understands that you respect them, you value them then automatically the work gets done and I think the whole point of as a project manager, my responsibility is obviously to make sure that the cost, schedule, cost, all that is done. But that's one side of the equation.
The other side is to make sure that people are happy coming to work. I think that is one of the key responsibilities of a project manager and how does a project manager enable that is by establishing rapport, giving people importance, showing them how their work is impacting the customer so that way, you bring the best out of your people and that can only happen if you establish rapport. That's why I think rapport is important because then people will want to do the work because of the vision you have set.
Cornelius Fichtner: Yes, I fully understand the importance of this but there is a big difficulty because these people are at the other side of the world, right? What are some ways that allow me as a project leader to establish rapport with somebody who's maybe on the other side of a Skype conversation, of a phone line, of an email conversation? How do I do this?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: I've been dealing with these diverse geographical teams for well over a decade so I think the first thing which I generally want to do is I want to show interest in each person's career giving them a reason to be at their best.
Now one of the things is I make sure that I have a regular call with the people who are delivering from a location that I'm not at. But I want to make sure that I have a regular call. So there's a person to person interaction. There's an open-door policy and I want to give them accurate feedback as well because that's very important. If you're not giving feedback, they don’t know how they are performing.
And then asking questions and listening. These are two key factors for establishing rapport. Asking questions means as I said: Why would you like your career to go? What are the things that you want to do with your career? How can this project help you in your career? You know I even recommend things which have helped me like if there's a book which I read or if there's a podcast I've listened to or if there's a blog that I like, I share it with the team. So these types of things establish rapport. Showing interest in them developing as leaders or project managers are even contributing to the team helps. And you know encouraging them to take certifications and sharing them industry knowledge, all these types of things help establish rapport.
But I think one thing I want to say about establishing rapport and this is the key is to really give importance to the person and one of the things is once you start establishing this rapport, you know you can't talk about business all the time. So you should be ready to sort of get in to some of their interests and once you start doing that, there is a rapport established. And one of the ways is obviously I don’t want them to be working all night. I want to be considerate of their time. So these are some subtle things that can be done to establish rapport.
Cornelius Fichtner: Next on your list, you recommend to set boundaries. Tell us a little bit about this.
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: So the boundaries basically because if we don’t, it will lead to a lot of chaos. In order to ensure smooth functioning because a lot of people have different views on how to do a global delivery model and sometimes people think that if it's offshore, then they are expected to stay late. They'll have to work more hours. But I think when you set boundaries and say that: "Hey, this is the time that I'm going to be around. This is the time that you need to call me. These are the types of things we are going to do on this project." It's basically laying the ground roots.
Now one of the reasons I've done this is do an operating model. Basically, what that does is that it creates a strategy on where the project is going to do and it also lays our ground rules on when meeting should be held, what is the frequency of the meeting, basically setting a communication channel than having a lazy chat and mentioning the results, rules and responsibilities. All these things help in setting boundaries.
Cornelius Fichtner: When exactly do we set these boundaries? Is this something that you said early on or is this something that you said as it comes up during a project?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Ideally, we would want to set it early on to give a measure but obviously you have to do some cost corrections. You don’t want to set anything in stone unless it's really working. So the thing you have to do is make sure that these boundaries are something that works and you only if it works when you practice it for some time.
And at same time be ready to get some feedback to change it as needed and then get agreement. So I think one of things you can do is get the team together. Find out what they would like to do and what the ground rules are and then change goals as needed. But I think bottomline is doing all this is only one thing. To make sure the team is happy and you have eliminated the friction and they are ready to deliver. That is the whole point of doing all these.
Cornelius Fichtner: Setting common objectives is next on your list. What are some of the objectives that you use?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: So one common objective across a lot of my projects which I've done is zero defects in user acceptance testing. What does means is when we do our testing, we want to make sure that when it goes to the end users, they should find as less defects as possible. There's a metric called 'defect removal efficiency'. Basically, it just tracks how many defects were caught after your phase of testing. So we want the least defects.
Now some other objectives that can be set like financial objectives. You can set something like in sales: "I want to grow this account by this." So those are some of the objectives.
And I also have some objectives for a growth perspective. This quarter, you can take a PMP certification. Of course, it requires that the other person accept. But you can give ideas on setting those types of objectives as well growth objectives or if you in the insurance industry, I have worked with an insurance client as well so I did certifications in insurance like Associate in General Insurance, Associate in Associate in Commercial Underwriting. So those are some of the types of objectives that we can set.
Cornelius Fichtner: And how exactly do these help me as a project leader? I understand that we can set them but what do they do for me? How do they help me in leading the team?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yeah basically, it gives a track. So once you know what the objectives are, of course there is a project objective which you as a leader have to execute and that is for an end result that you have to achieve no matter what and that is the direction that each team is going through.
But the other part is you also have each person subjective and once you know that, you can see where they are going in that direction. If they are not, you can tell them that: "Hey, your objective was this that you agreed upon and you are going in this direction so I think we need to change direction." So basically one objective help in is making sure that as a team, you are moving towards a common goal and at the same time as a project leader, you have more control on what is expected and you are monitoring process of same proofs.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! The next, you also recommend that we establish good processes internally. Do we project managers even have the power to do this? I mean internal processes, they are often dictated by other departments and we project managers often don’t have the power to change this?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yeah, I think this is a part powerless communication. Just joking. No, the point is project managers, it depends on the level of autonomy that is given by the organization. So in my case, I've been really lucky with all the organizations I've worked with. I've been given autonomy to decide on how to establish internal process.
Now there's a distinction. I totally agree with you like if there are some audit standards or federal standards that have to be met, you are not going to change that. You will have to align your process to make sure you meet those standards. But you can become creative on top of that and putting your own thought process and becoming creative and say: "Hey, these are some of the additional points I have done." I see one of the things that project managers have to learn to do is how to become more persuasive. So this is one challenge for you to become more persuasive. It tests your persuasion skills.
But I think if you have a really great idea and it can help improve the process, I'm sure that most organizations would agree to it: If you have any data to show the value of what you are doing. Or you can do it also as a pilot phase. If you are going to test it out on this project, we are going to follow this and we will show you the results in a small way. If you do that, you show results which will help in making sure those processes are incorporated.
Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah! And one thing that I've personally learned is: Don’t ask for permission. Ask for forgiveness after the fact. That usually worked out quite well in my projects. So we just changed the process around because we realized the process was hampering and hindering us so we changed the process around and we made it work for our project. And later on, I went to my supervisor and I said: "Hey look! I know I didn’t follow the standard process because it wouldn't work for us. Here is what we did. It worked out perfectly. Is it okay if we keep doing this going forward?" and more often than not, they are like, they slap my hand saying: "You should have come here and asked for permission first but since it's already working, yeah, go ahead. Keep doing this." Similar experience from you there?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: I have had both types of experience. I have not gone too much out the way in terms of some checklist like what you said. But I have made it differently in the sense I've been more upfront in getting some changes and then creating it and then going ahead. That's what I've done.
Cornelius Fichtner: The next item on your list is you say that we need to manage the team's focus. What focus do you mean exactly here?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Again, the whole point is the focus is on the overall goal of the project. Without that, we cannot really make progress. So the whole point is this: As project managers, one of the things you do is making sure that your schedule is on track and you make sure you communicate the risks on a regular basis with all the relevant stakeholders.
What I'm trying to say is sometimes we communicate this to the overall, your boss. You communicate to all the stakeholders. What I'm saying is you have to communicate everything to your team and then focus them on the goal that: Hey, this is bad. We are lacking because these are the risks. We need to focus on this area right now because we need to achieve our overall goal. That's what I mean by focus here.
Cornelius Fichtner: Manage key skills is your next recommendation. Are there any particular skills that you mean or is this project dependent?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: I think in a global delivery model, I think the number one skill you need is communication. So I think we have discussed that before. But I think that's a common skill.
Now you don’t even have to be a project manager even if you're an individual contributor. If you want to work in a global delivery team, you need to have strong communication skills and interpersonal skills because right now, the number one quality required to success is basically ability to work in a team.
Now, the other things are project dependent because if I want to execute, I have to use this example. If I want to execute a Java project, I would need a Java developer. If I want t execute a particular language and that I would require specific type of skills. So there are lots of project-dependent skills. But some skills that you absolutely require like communication, you need to have project management skills or leadership skills, all these will still be common. So it requires both. You need to manage both these skills. You have to have project-dependent skills and you need to have your oral skills and when they both match, you become a better team player.
Cornelius Fichtner: On many of my projects that I had, resources, they were just assigned to me. Okay, Joe is available. Susan is available. Here, use them on your project. So that means, I had very little control over the people that were assigned to my project and I also had very little control over developing their skills and I had no development budget. What do I do now?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: That is an excellent question! But I think…
Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, that's reality, right?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: That's reality but I think it's also changing now because you know the point is none of us want our projects to fail and I think the key thing first is if you have the right people in the projects, then your projects get delivered without much first because you have the people with the skills.
Of course when you get people without skills, you should first of all probably have other people who are extraordinary. That helps in balancing the team and training them and bringing them up to speed or you have to make a strong case on why the project didn’t work because of the lack of skills so that your next project, you make sure you take ownership.
One of the responsibilities of project managers I think is to make sure that you get the right thing. So I think this is again something you have to go upfront. In fact, I would say that if you get a person who does not have the skills, I would rather not have the person itself than actually have the person. So you just have to learn to reject and say that: "Hey, give me someone else with these skills." Be clear on your job description. Until then, I'll have to go without but it's going to affect the project but at the same time, I don’t want to just have someone for the sake of having someone and that person cannot deliver. So I think that's how the communication has to go.
Cornelius Fichtner: Before we move on to the final recommendation that you have in your article, there is something that I noticed when I looked at this here. Let me just throw this out here at you. Establish rapport, set boundaries, set common objectives, establish good processes internally, manage the team's focus and then manage the key skills. These were the recommendations we looked at. This sounds like something that applies to pretty much every team, not just a team in the global delivery model. I think the big challenge that we are faced is not that we have to do this because we as project leaders should know to do this. I think the big challenge is for us to do this with a team that is distributed globally and do it well and be able to apply these practices. Is that right?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: No, absolutely, you're right that this is just a play, obviously if you do all these, you're going to succeed global delivery model or not. But I think the key in a global delivery model is again, I can give you an example. One of the things which I've done is I've made sure that my offshore team doesn’t have to stay late for me. So I usually get up early and I just call the team lead and I just find out, are things going okay today? Is there anything you need? One of the things which has been my thing is to respond fast. So I've been very quick in responding. So that way, they don’t have to stay back for me and this help establish a lot of things. So they knew that I would not ask them to stay back for me. They are very much autonomous. They know how to get the work done. So that is one thing.
And the other thing is if somebody has to come late or if they have to work on a weekend, I in fact, I remember doing this probably a couple of years back with one of my team members at offshore site called them and said: "Hey, really can you come?" He would even say: "Hey, common! If you tell to come, I'll come." I said: "No, that's not the way. I want to make sure that you're comfortable coming and I want to make sure that you have transportation and everything." So what I'm trying to say is these types of things are very important in a global delivery model is to make sure that you understand what are the things, there could be problem with transportation. There could be problem with so many other things and you need to make sure that you take care of all those things even if you are not there. Make sure you contact their project manager and say: "Hey, I need this cab to be arranged for this person at this time." And things like that. It shows your concern for the team and it also shows you value that person.
Cornelius Fichtner: Your final recommendation is that we need to foster mutual respect. Why is this important?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Again, I think the way we give respect is obviously if you have someone in offshore then you start off to have a distance that cannot be really covered easily. But the way you can do that as we already discussed a lot of the things. If you establish rapport, set boundaries and everything, finally you get the respect from the team that you are looking after them. And at the same time obviously, you respect them. So that's what I mean by mutual respect. And when you respect each other, it's very easy. If you send an email, there is not going to be any thoughts from them that: "Hey, this guy has any other agenda?" "No, there's no other agenda." So that's the point of fostering mutual respect.
And also one of the things I think in a global delivery model, you need to make sure that team members for offshore are introduced to the client. You know the phone. That way they feel exactly what the client wants and they also feel important. So I think that's where this helps.
Cornelius Fichtner: I love the idea of introducing the offshore team to the client. Do you have any other recommendations of how we can foster mutual respect? What are some other things that you did in order to foster mutual respect among the team?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: The first thing again is to understand what they want from their career. So if they have some questions on how they can…obviously if I've come through some things, I would have understood what has happened in offshore. So what does help me is I worked in offshore environment. So that is an advantage for me because what goes on and how things are. So I can put myself in their shoes and ask them that: Hey, what type of help you need from me? Whatever training do you want? What type of other resources do you need? Do you think we can do this?"
You know ask a lot of questions and get them involved. I think that's the key. And once you get them involved and get them thinking about their career and how this project will help in their career, it really generates a lot of respect and it's just respect which comes automatically when you do all these things. You don’t demand it. It just happens automatically when you do of the other things to make sure that their career is one of the topmost priorities for you as well.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! Those were your 7 recommendations from the article. All these tips, they really seem easy to implement but I think they are very hard to follow all the time. How do we make sure that we don’t forget them and that we keep them going all the time throughout the project even in the moments when things get difficult and hard and just impossible to deal with?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yeah, absolutely! I think you're right. Most of these ideas are simple. A lot of it is common sense. We obviously want to establish rapport. The only thing is sometimes in the busyness we forget it. Sometimes a deadline comes and we just expect it to be done overnight and things like that. So I think the way I learn is I do repetition. So if I'm reading a book, some books which I like, I read it like at least 8 or 9 times to really internalize what I want. So I take notes.
So I think the way you can do this if you're a visual person, you can probably take a print of the article and post it or as I often do is I just have it in my notes. You would see a lot of notes on different things which I've learned. So I make sure that I just revisit whenever I have time. So basically, you need to set a process where you can remember it. Everybody remembers differently but I think this line helps: "The palest ink is better than the most retentive of memories" because if you think you will remember it, it never happens. So you just make sure you write it at some level that you can see it.
Cornelius Fichtner: Right! Is there anyone of these that you have found to be more effective than others?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: I think two things. One is establishing rapport and setting clear objectives. These two things are being the most effective because once you have those two, the other things take care of themselves.
Cornelius Fichtner: And do you get more pushback anywhere like you know the team is easily convinced that setting boundaries is important but you know? Manage key skills, I always get pushed back here. Is there something like that?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Absolutely, that's the main thing. Because the problem is sometimes you might be a great programmer or you might you have done something in your previous project. I think this is the problem, right? When you do a previous project, you've been successful, you think that: "Yes, that's it! I'm going to do the next project easily." But that doesn’t happen because the new project requires a different type of skill set and it requires you to learn some new things and you have to get out of your comfort zone and that's where the problem starts. So I think that is the biggest concern for me as well as the establishing key skills. Even it's not only about the team, even in the individual level, we also have to do those changes in ourselves and so it's not that easy.
Cornelius Fichtner: We've looked at these tips separately. Can you give us an example of how you have implemented this, how your teams worked together on your projects with this sort of a holistic view of everything?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Yeah, so the first thing is have regular checkpoints with each member of your team. Have a weekly meeting. Now it's important the team size is right. If you have a team size of 7 or 8 people obviously having the entire team on a regular basis is a good idea, probably a weekly basis and you go around and find out what each person is doing, what are their achievements, whether they have bottlenecks. And what I do is also have monthly one-on-one sessions with each of the team members. So those are good.
If you have a very large team, let's say you have sometimes 50, 60 people then you need to form multiple teams within the team and then you have one meeting your team leader and then they have multiple meetings and then you can probably have something like all-hands-on deck once in a month where you talk through all the achievements, what is happening and where things are going and what the client wants, where we are with respect to what the client wants. So that is how we can establish these things.
And as I told you one of the things which I like is the operating model because it lays down what your strategy is, how you are going to execute the project, what is the schedule, what are the resources, what are the risks, what are your assumptions, what are the roles and responsibilities? So if you have that in place even if a new person would join the team, you can just look at the operating model and then follow what is there and it becomes easier for everyone to implement the project.
Cornelius Fichtner: My final question for you, I'm being selfish here because I have a global delivery team right now. So I want to learn from you. What are your top three recommendations here, for well, first of all for me but also for our listeners in regards to implementing this leadership approach on our global delivery projects?
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: So the first thing is to establish trust and as we have gone through each of the items which I've mentioned, I think once you establish the trust and your team starts to work together then the global delivery model will be a success and as I told before, one of the key points is you need to make sure that the team was delivering as introduced to the client. They understand what the end needs are. The next thing you need to do is to communicate objectives on a regular basis and also track it against what is happening. So track progress against the objectives, communicate it, share the risks and finally praise regularly to maintain the spirit.
So one of the things which I have been lucky enough to have as always are great teams, but I also make sure that I kept them happy by praising them whenever it's needed and I made sure that I won't miss any chance to praise them whether it is by the customer. If the customer said something out, I immediately email it and say: "Hey, the customer mentioned this and they said you did a great job here." Or they might have worked hard, I would immediately send an email and say that: "Hey, you guys worked hard and continue this." So I think the praising is something which is really important and sometimes we do overlook it. But I think it's very important.
Cornelius Fichtner: Wonderful! For those of you who are interested to learn more about Shyam, please stop by at www.maximisepotential.blogspot.com. Maximise Potential one word and it uses the British English spelling with an "s" and not with a "z" so the word 'maximise" is spelled with an "s".
Shyam, thank you so much for stopping by today and helping us with leading our teams in a global delivery model!
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: Well thanks a lot, Cornelius, for having me on and I have to tell you that The Project Management Podcast™ I've been listening to it for the past 5 years. It's been excellent and I think you do a really great service.
Cornelius Fichtner: Thank you!
Shyamsundar Ramanathan: I got my PMP in 2006 July so it's been like a renewed it 3 times. And I think one of the best resources I've come across is your podcast, so thank you!
Cornelius Fichtner: And that was our global leadership interview with Shyamsundar Ramanathan.
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And finally, we have this quote from movie A Bug's Life:
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Until next time.