The distance- how close are you?

May 29, 2012 | |

I came across this new term while doing the research on offshore project management= Perceived Distance.

A study by B. Aubert from his paper Information Technology and Distance-Induced Effort to Manage Offshore Activities talks about how “Perceived Distance” is considered the most imp influence when analyzing the effect of “distances” in the much hyped domain of IT Outsourcing.

It is obviously the space that parties in business feel amongst themselves. It might or might not be related to the real geographical distance between them. It has also been proved that sometimes inspite of the distance (location); some parties have had relative notion of “perceived distance” mush lesser than what reality was.

And it’s true. I had clients (in New York) whom I worked for from India and with the passing months the “perceived distance” decreased as the understanding and communication became much clearer. However the path to the decreased distance had some work put behind it.

Here’s how you can do as well:

  • There’s a person behind the job title- with today’s technology it’s much easy to know about the other person. Social networking sites especially Linkedin will always give you a little background. 
  • Understanding the business- know your role in the business side of things. How what you are doing will affect the bottom-line is an important consideration. This increases the chance to a better conversation and the fact that both parties (onsite and offsite) are emotionally involved in the delivery. 
  • Are they right or left brained- Graphics or numbers? See what they like and present your reports accordingly.
  • Why do they want from you?- Is there a gap and where is it? If you are aware of an issue and yet haven’t been able to pin point it- ask.
  • Are they micro managers- Do they like to know your every move? If they do, send reports as often as you can or simply call them up and give updated. This is more of a trust issues and will gradually lessen as they understand you more. They are simply trying to keep a tab on the cost.
  • What can you do to earn the trust-This is the most important of all. Learning what you can do to earn their trust can allow you to sleep better at night. Listen between the lines in meetings or read their emails carefully, you will find what you need. Provide the required, listen well, ask questions, don’t assume and you will be allright.

By the way, I did meet my client finally in New York in a coffee shop 1.5 years later and we are still in touch, though I have changed jobs and she is not my client any longer.

So, here are some updates in the PM world: