The Three Pillars of Adaptive Project Management
Project Management in translation and localization businesses is becoming more and more challenging. That is due to a wide range of factors, most of them driven by increasing competition and evolving market requirements. Buyers are asking for a diversified approach to quality, making a "one size fits all" approach unsustainable. The expectations for a growing project turnover are rising, with budgets not necessarily following suit. Globalization and technology help start-ups and freelancers to increase the pressure on the retail side of the market.
A changing world requires of us the ability to adapt. But flexibility without loss of control must be grounded on a strong base. Identifying the key components of the process allow for better control of the situation and direct guidelines for improvement.
Back to the basics: The 3 pillars of Project Management
This notion of the “three pilars of project management” is the result of years of experience in the localization and translation field. Naming those elements helped us to identify and address the most important challenges that we were facing. Those three critical components are the following:
Processes must be defined and then followed, but they must also be able to adaptat to changing circumstances. Overly strict processes can be as hurtful as sloppy procedures. Having control here means both applying predefined processes and knowing when to deviate from them.
Project management manages resources. In the translation and localization business it is all about the proper handling of hundreds of files, versioning them, storing them and analyzing them. It is tracking all the changes and distributing them to all interested parties. Anyone who has lost a file can appreciate the importance of that aspect.
And last but not least, people are key in every successful project. Having this pillar right means possessing and having control of the communication between all parties involved. It means managing the dialog with vendors, clients and co-workers. It means having access to communication history and being able to give adequate and relevant feedback.
Project management is all about managing schedules where proper PROCESSES are applied to the RESOURCES in hand, with the proper PEOPLE involved. Project management is where all those three aspects of the business come together.
Why should I care?
If any one of those pillars is weak then the system as a whole is unsustainable. Get one pillar wrong and the structure will crumble. Matching vendor availability with deadlines, specific requirements with offered services, and budgets with rates is nearly impossible when one of the three components is failing. Staying ahead of the competition, maintaining high margins and delivering the required services must be based on the strong foundation that those three pillars provide.