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Differences between a Traditional Project and an International Project Management?

Differences between a Traditional Project and an International Project Management

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Differences between a Traditional Project and an International Project Management

<Differences between a Traditional Project and an International Project Management>

The corporate world is becoming more and more interconnected than ever before. You can be starting your day off by liaising with the procurement lead in Singapore, have an afternoon zoom call with the financial controller in China and end off your day with a Google Hangouts meeting with your colleagues back in Germany. Simply put there are no borders for business in today’s interconnected world. For project managers, this means that there are no boundaries for projects. It is a global project now.

Managing a global project has obvious differences to a standard project. Hence, it requires project managers to have special expertise in global project management. A survey by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore reveals that the top challenge that Singapore companies face when internationalizing is difficulty finding a competent manager with the ability to manage global operations.

To be a competent global manager, it is important to understand the crucial differences between a Traditional Project and International Project. Let’s find out about the 2 crucial differences, Legal and Cultural, and how you can better manage these differences.

2 differences between a Traditional Project and an International Project Management

  1. Legal
  2. Cultural

The legal aspect of a business can oftentimes be daunting to handle. To simplify the legal expectations between businesses and projects, a commercial contract is useful. Commercial Contracts clearly state the legal obligations and duties of the different parties involved in a business project. With regard to a traditional project, the project manager should be equipped with knowledge of local laws.

However, with regards to an International Project, in additional to the knowledge of local laws the project manager should be equipped with knowledge of international laws as well. Classification of contract terms and conditions, enforcement and liabilities vary from country to country.

Hence, to prevent a contract from being nullified by Force Majeure, it is imperative for project managers to determine which set of laws would be applicable to the agreement. It is a common practice for a master contract to be drafted according to a single country’s law. Subsequently, supporting notes would be documented explaining the legal significance and impact for all the other countries involved in the business.

With a clearer understanding of the legal obligations across the different judicial systems of the countries involved in the project, you can better manage the legal obligations of the global project.


When managing a traditional project, the issue of culture doesn’t usually cross our minds. Most often, members of the team members are of the same culture. Even in culturally diverse countries such as Malaysia, the team members have already been living in the same geographical area and speaking similar languages. Hence, they may have already broken down many cultural barriers.

Unlike this, in international projects, team members have only met remotely and are not familiar with one another’s cultural environment. Therefore, when managing global projects, project managers should be sensitive to team members’ cultural needs and working style. The Lewis Model, a cultural model which was developed by a cross-cultural specialist, divides countries into 3 categories.

This model helps us to understand how the working style differs across cultures. Countries such as Germany and Swiss are classified as Linear-Actives as workers generally like to plan and organize their work and pursue one goal at a time. Countries such as Italy and Saudi Arabia are classified as Multi-Actives as workers generally are more fluid in planning their priorities and pursue multiple goals at a time. Countries such as Japan and Finland are classified as Reactives as workers generally prioritize courtesy and respect and respond carefully to their business partners.

Statistics report that poor communication accounts for almost 30% of the reasons why projects fail. By understanding how different cultures approach work, you can have a clearer understanding of their negotiation and confrontational styles. You would be able to avoid communication problems within your team. This would be essential in preparing you to manage culturally diverse teams as collaboration in global business is essential for the success of managing the project.

Managing a project is a tedious task. On top of that, managing the differences arising from an international project takes additional skills and responsibilities. To equip you with the necessary skills to confidently manage an international project, an international project management training course will help to enhance your project management skills and distinguish yourself as a competent global project manager.

Blog - 5 Benefits of being a Certified International Project Manager

<Blog – 5 Benefits of being a Certified International Project Manager>

The International Project Manager is a 3-day training course which would be held from 23 – 25 November 2020 at Kuala Lumpur. The course focuses on enhancing the delegates existing knowledge and experience in the field of international project management. Delegates will learn how finance, project costs, risk management, culture, purchasing, supplier selection, inventory management and contracts matters and differ in managing international project work. Delegates will be able to grasp the intricacies involved in liaising with international stakeholders and learn how to lead and manage a geographically dispersed team. At the end of the course, delegates would be equipped to deliver projects successfully anywhere.

Feel free to contact us for more information or if you would like to view our training schedule for alternative dates or for more information at

The International Project Manager 23-25 Nov 2020 KL

<The International Project Manager 23-25 Nov 2020 KL>

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