In this article, we examine the complexities and challenges of localisation project management, looking closely at the role of Localisation Project Managers (LPMs).
LPMs are responsible for executing an organisation’s localisation strategy on a tactical level, a role that is absolutely vital to the success of any project.
What does a localisation project manager do?
Localisation Project Managers oversee the entire localisation process, collaborating with team members across the organisation to move projects smoothly from start to finish.
They are responsible for handling several diverse elements and phases of the project, from technical and linguistic aspects to effective communication among the stakeholders. As such, they must possess very strong skills in communication, time management, decision-making, delegation and resource allocation.
LPM duties can vary greatly from company to company, but can include any or all of the following:
- Managing the localisation team, including translators, QA engineers, content managers, and others in departments who may be involved in the projects
- Prioritising individual tasks within the project
- Helping to build the localisation strategy
- Continuously improving internal processes
- Managing the budget for each localisation project
- Organising and running QA processes
- Managing software and systems
- Creating status updates
- Reporting to stakeholders
The above list shows that the role of a Localisation Project Manager covers a wide range of tasks and duties, and it also demonstrates the variety of challenges that each localisation project may raise.
What are the challenges for localisation project management?
Localisation projects can be extremely complex, with many moving parts and obstacles to overcome.
Here are some of the most common challenges faced by LPMs:
Localisation project scope creep
Scope and/or mission creep is always a possibility with any project, but it is more likely to occur when goals and objectives are not clearly defined from the outset.
Clients who do not have absolute clarity about their goals tend to change their minds as the project progresses, leading to disruptions, delays and of course, frustration for the project manager and the localisation team.
Another common cause for scope creep (and many other issues) is poor communication skills. If the project manager doesn’t provide the team leaders and members with clear expectations, directions, and continuous feedback, productivity suffers and the overall success of the project can be at risk.
Therefore it is essential that the client, project manager and localisation team are all on the same page at every stage of the project timeline.
Poorly defined goals can also cause problems when it comes to project planning.
Without a clear overview of what needs to happen at each stage of the project timeline, Localisation Project Managers can inadvertently set unrealistic deadlines and later have to face the consequences of failing to meet them.
Budget limitations or resource deprivation
Budget and resources are two of the most important aspects of any project, but they can also be the most problematic if the client or company falls short.
Budgets need to be clearly defined before the project starts and tightly controlled throughout the process since failure to do so can result in serious financial losses and/or derailment of the entire project.
Inadequate risk management
Even the most carefully planned projects can be affected by factors beyond the project manager’s control. Because there are so many variables involved in any localisation project, there are lots of things that can go wrong.
Mistakes are inevitable, but they can quickly turn into disasters if the project manager has not taken adequate risk management and contingency measures.
Lack of individual accountability
Everyone who is involved in the project must be accountable for their own actions and responsibilities, including the project manager. If even one person is not performing at their best, this can have a domino effect on the rest of the team’s productivity and the project’s outcome.
Lack of stakeholder engagement
Stakeholders play a crucial role in the success of any project, so it is up to the project manager to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to their responsibilities and expectations.
Poor team skills
There are times when a project manager may encounter a skills shortage within their team, which can be a serious issue if it is not addressed quickly.
If the team members cannot perform their duties or complete the assigned tasks on time, this will affect the timeline and potentially put the entire project at risk of failure.
Supporting Localisation Project Managers
For over 20 years, International Achievers Group has been working closely with many of the world’s leading localisation companies, providing project managers with the talented team members they need to plan and execute their projects successfully. Our success is built on our long-term relationships with both our candidates and clients, and it’s these relationships that allow us to create the best marriage of skills for our global positions.