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India Business Culture: Tracking Time in India Based Projects

by Brandi Moore on June 21, 2010

Time is not money in India

Time is not money in India

In India, time orientation differences delay progress and completion of projects in ways American Project Managers are unprepared for. India’s business culture has long term orientation where in the US short term orientation is preferred.  These preferences have major impact on how things get done inside India’s outsource and regional offices.

In India’s Business Culture:

  • Time is not managed, it’s experienced.
  • Time is not money, its fluid and available for use without being wasted.
  • Time is a cycle not a straight arrow.

“Time management is a critically important skill for any successful project manager” writes  About.com Guide to Project Management The problem is that most Project Managers in the US who must be focused on time to be successful are not sure how to do so with India counterparts.

The differences in time orientation in India’s Business Culture impact Project Managers as they try to track projects to completion and flag possible delays to management.  Delays in the US culture are called risks, highlighting the importance and negative impacts.

American project managers need to come up with new ways to track timing that will extract the necessary information from Indian teams.  Employing clear tracking tools to engage the India based team helps to track progress.  One solution is to use a version of your project plan using Microsoft Project or Excel removing any data you do not want to share with remote teams.  Share your data file during a webinar and mark off each item and its timing while India teams are on the phone.  By using formulas in Microsoft Project India that automatically adjust when new dates are entered will illustrate how how one week of delay impacts the entire project. This is critical–include the big picture when having this discussion.  Why? Remember that power distance in India will prohibit some teams from really understanding what a delay means to the whole project.  The India based team may only see their portion of the assignment and not know how their delay impacts the larger picture.

We are in the middle of the Summer of Power Distance at IndiaThink.  Visit us at indiathink.com and sign up for the video series to learn more about how Power Distance impacts conference calls, project management, people management and negotiation.

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