As a localization project manager (LPM), I find my profession fascinating, dynamic and challenging. I manage a variety of localization projects and interact with diverse clients and translation professionals worldwide. Each new project offers insight into other languages, cultures and business processes.
A LPM is tasked with all project management processes, which can be complicated and must be strictly managed and controlled, regardless of the size of the project.
A LPM faces scoping, planning, budgeting, risk managing, monitoring, controlling, and communicating with different stakeholders on each project.
Below I have outlined important fundamentals to follow as best practices for successful localization project management.
It is very important before any new project starts that the LPM has a clear project scope by answering: what, who, when and how?
What are the exact client requirements? For translation projects, this would include questions like:
- What is the project type? Document, software or website translation?
- What tools, resources, subject matter expertise will be used?
- What are the languages needed as part of the project and the specific requirements for each?
- What are the deliverables, the delivery method and QA process?
Depending on the type of project, additional questions will also be applicable.
Who are the project stakeholders? This includes both external and internal stakeholders, like the client contacts, decision makers and the localization teams including engineers, desktop publishers, linguists and subject matter experts.
When should the project be completed? In other words, what is the project timeline?
- When will the project start?
- What is the schedule for each task?
- When should it be finalized?
How should the project be executed? At this stage, the LPM should have gathered all the project requirements and need to decide the best way to execute the project and achieve the intended goal. In this phase, anything that is left unclear could turn into a risk as the project progresses.
The LPM should set a budget before the project begins. The budget needs to be carefully monitored over the life of the project so the expenses do not exceed the budget.
Clear and direct communication of the budget with the project stakeholders will ensure transparency of the project expenses. Having a good line of communication will be helpful if the budget needs to be adjusted at any point during the project.
The LPM should rigorously watch for any potential risks and address them immediately. That also involves a thorough and rigorous QA process to maintain quality across all project areas.
The LPM should also be prepared to anticipate any risk before it happens. Certain protocols need to be in place so risks can be recognized ahead of time and fixed before they lead to any problems with the project.
A plan for when the LPM should communicate project information and updates needs to be addressed at the beginning of any project. Should it be communicated daily, weekly, or monthly? Update frequencies depend on the project duration, complexity and the stakeholder requirements.
In the project communication plan, the LPM should indicate which communication method will be used with each stakeholder. Should project details and updates be communicated by emails, posts, or phone calls?
Monitoring and Controlling
The LPM should monitor the project execution and be alert for any deviations from the timeline. Deviations can be expected and accepted as long as they are within the contingency plan for the project. Otherwise, they should be addressed immediately and the project plan should be adjusted accordingly.
Localization project managers are in charge of managing all aspects of complicated localization and translation projects. These projects have many dynamic pieces that need to be effectively controlled and managed. Having a solid understanding and plan for the fundamentals and best practices mentioned in this blog will allow projects to be successfully and efficiently managed and executed.
Additional Resources for Localization Project Management
You can optimize project management on your next project, by reading two of GPI’s previous blogs on translation project management: Project Management for Translation Projects, Part 1 and Project Management for Translation Projects, Part 2.
Translation and Localization Resources
You may gain further insight into global e-business, global SEO and website translation and country specific cultural facts and related topics by reviewing some previous blogs written by GPI: