Operation 24/7

Effective Project Management in Different Timezones



By Steven Haywood

Illinois, USA



Every project manager’s goal is to streamline the workflow as efficiently as possible. There are, of course, dozens of tried and tested strategies to refer to. However, in practice, projects cannot always be managed based on the theory of these trusted methods. When a company expands or outsources work, the most challenging responsibilities fall into the hands of the project manager. With diverse teams located in different time zones, there are factors such as cultural and time differences that have to be taken into account. For the project manager, the risks may only magnify. Still, companies don’t seem to stop employing diverse teams as it leads to acquiring new talents and cutting off the costs.

However, if you ask any project manager working with global teams, they will say that the pros do not always outshine the complication. My experience associated with running global teams is along the same lines as well. Regardless of my opinion, business trends prove that global projects are here to stay. What is left to do for project managers is to find ways to tackle the issues, and make the global projects work in favor of you as well as your employees.

The Issue – Constraints of Time Zones

Imagine the case when your side of the organization is facing an emergency, and you need someone to solve it right away. But the team that attends to a certain department has already packed up for the day.

The Solution

Addressing the time zone issue starts even before your collaboration does. The first step is to ensure that both teams have an overlap in the working day, even if it is only for one hour per day. However, it might not necessarily offer a solution to an emergency described. There will inevitably be delays that occur in these cases. The upside is that with another team working during your off-hours, the problems could be fixed overnight. In effect, you will get an uninterrupted workflow as teams are essentially working in shifts throughout the day, although this might not work positively to manage team building or motivation aspects.

The Issue – Communication Barriers

Depending on your outsourcing team, you might be working with people whose mother tongue is not English. In some cases, the team members might still be fluent in the language, which diminishes the issue.

The Solution

Even without language barriers, a global workforce needs to have an effective communication system in place. Using simple language is the most vital step to facilitate communication with non-native speakers. Using business jargon and technology might make it easier. But you want to first establish common reporting strategies for all the teams. Collaboration tools might also be productive in order to exchange reports. Define expectations, the formats, and the frequency of communication right from the start. This would help to develop a standardized communication strategy. You can also assign someone who has the right language and interpersonal skills to be in charge of the correspondence.


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How to cite this article: Haywood, S. (2020).  Operation 24/7: Effective Project Management in Different Timezones, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VII, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/pmwj95-Jul2020-Haywood-operation-24-7-advisory.pdf



About the Author

Steven Haywood

Chicago, IL, USA


Steven Haywood is a Project Manager at Essay Pro, a leading academic writing service. His experience in the industry has exposed him to working with diverse teams in different parts of the world. Over the years, Steven has developed project plans and strategies that have helped him coordinate successfully with multiple remote teams. His career ladder began as a trainee in a marketing firm, where he learned the ins and outs of marketing, outreach, and project management. He specializes in carrying out all aspects of project management, from conception to execution and feedback. Today, Steven Haywood  is the head of a project management team with individuals working from several remote locations.