Project management: Innovating a more human approach

Roman Zelenka

Roman Zelenka

27. 10. 2017

ZELENKA Events: Bringing our VIP clients, translators and well-known industry experts together to share experiences and make the translation process smoother for everyone.

This year we went “back to basics” with 70 industry experts, colleagues, vendors, and VIP clients from some of the world's top brands (Google, Lenovo, Adidas, Continental). This meant dividing into 5 groups, each focused on exploring the human-to-human approach in a specific aspect of the language industry. And what did we find?

 

"Sometimes you have to look to the past to redefine the future." - Roman Zelenka

 

This expert group, led by Daniel Zelinski, focused on Project Management and is the inspiration for our second article in this five-part series. Here's what we got out of it!

 

Innovation and creativity in project management

We challenged Daniel’s group to explore and discuss the key elements of increasing effectiveness and productivity as a project manager. Rather than relying on specific equations, methodologies, formulas, or diagrams, the focus here was going beyond typical practices—we wanted to drill down to the essence of.

To get started, the group was quick to agree on the traditional checklist when dealing with new jobs:

  • Word count
  • Deadline
  • Quality and expectations
  • Encourage the client to provide more context about the project
  • Using the latest CAT tools, translation memory, terminology and machine translation software to help facilitate the process

 

Innovation: Could this be a solution?

Today’s translation industry is slowly but surely seeing more and more large projects divided up into smaller pieces and distributed to multiple vendors. This effectually makes the job less interesting for LSPs and vendors alike. Small daily projects at a minimum rate equate to less billable work for the time invested.

When an agreement has already been reached on a fixed rate, how do we go about optimizing the process so that these mini-jobs become more profitable for everyone involved? Here's what the group came up with:

  • Develop smart tools that integrate with existing content creation and management systems to smooth out the process and eliminate the manual element of this process.
  • Automate basically everything. Assign it to a pool of trusted translators and automate the invoicing system.
  • An automated translation interface that starts parceling out a translation as the writer creates the text, completely removing the need for a PM in smaller jobs.
  • As for HR solutions, remove the PMs from situations like these entirely. PMs are irreplaceable on a broader scale but not when trying to make small projects with a minimum word count more profitable for your company.

 

Creativity: A myth in project management?

Not many people immediately associate creativity with project management, and that’s no surprise. After all, creativity is most strongly connected to other departments like sales, marketing and even IT. That said, there are still some ways that creativity can find its way into the PM process:

1) Simplify instructions for vendors using visual aspects like colors, symbols or even images. This will make it easier to designate various instructions to certain parts of a text.

2) Take your meetings to the client. Spending an hour with a client can save hours of digital communication and it opens so many doors for a more personal relationship.

3) A project manager’s job can often start to feel like a tedious routine that can rub off on vendors and clients, too. Here are some creative ways to add some spice to the process and maintain closer relationships with the people you work with:

  • Find small ways to reach vendors, team members and clients on a personal level
  • Offer constant support (IT, CAT tools) and always be helpful
  • Check in with a vendor when offering a job, follow up with them about something personal they’ve told you about in the past
  • Keep track of important dates in their lives and let them know you’re thinking of them (not automated emails)

 

Don’t miss the other four articles packed with knowledge from language all-stars on how to improve your business! -> http://www.zelenka-translations.com/news/complete-series-of-straight-to-the-point-zelenka-event-2017-articles