How to meet halfway?
Every year in January we decide to be a better version of ourselves, to reduce stress in our lives, to improve our working methods in order to be more efficient. Easy to say – but how can we make these resolutions work in real life? As a project manager I always face challenges concerning my projects and sometimes it is hard to stick to the usual plan or to well-tried practices. What happens when the client’s workflows are different from ours? What if we have to work under time pressure? How to ensure that each other’s work is efficient and both sides are happy, in the end? How to meet halfway?
Last year we began a great and successful cooperation with a client (https://www.aboca.com/) that produces medical products and I have become their dedicated project manager. We receive Italian-Polish translation requests on a daily basis for various kinds of materials. The language combination is remarkable in itself!
At this point more than 130 projects have been completed successfully, and I can say that these projects are my personal favourites, full of challenges and lessons.
Based on these experiences I have collected a few tips to make our projects successful, even if they are not easy to beat:
#Tip 1: Identify risk factors and reduce them
When we receive a project, we always go through the details to gain a clear view of the risk factors. It is very important to check all the details with the client, so that we are on the same wavelength. What they expect – how we can meet their expectations. If we speak the same language from the very beginning and we clarify important details, our cooperation will be smooth.
#Tip 2: Create a workflow that pleases both sides
Naturally every company has its own workflows and when we start our cooperation, we need flexibility to work out methods that will help our collaboration. Our job is to observe and analyse all the factors to be able to come up with perfect processes and solutions. For this, we also need the help of our clients. I remember the first projects of this particular client, when we faced challenges to implement all their needs into our workflows. But after a couple of projects we created a workflow that works flawlessly, even after over a hundred projects.
#Tip 3: Organising materials
Let’s say that the client has a huge campaign with diverse materials: labels, product descriptions, leaflets, website materials, books etc. With these projects, consistency is very important and the key to that is organising materials that consider our needs and goals. When the client has the opportunity to send us all the materials together, this can help to create unified and consistent campaign materials that will serve the client’s needs better. Also, if we take into consideration the financial side, this can result in a smaller project budget, since we undertake one large project instead of many little ones at minimum fees.
#Tip 4: Time management
If someone were to ask me, what is the key to a successful project, my answer would be time management. The ideal delivery date is: as soon as possible. Of course, we always try to meet the client’s needs but we need to see realistically what can be done in a given time frame. If we want translations to be delivered under unrealistic circumstances, it can lead to stress, mistakes, and unsatisfied expectations. Meeting halfway concerning delivery dates is also part of the cooperation. Guaranteeing high quality and agreeing on a reasonable time schedule go hand in hand. And what can help to achieve it? Get ourselves organized and think ahead.
#Tip 5: Thinking ahead
If we know that we will have a large and important project and we also know the details and time schedule in advance, we can communicate this to our language service providers. Why is it good for everybody? We can prepare our team to be ready for it. We can reserve the most suitable linguists for the job and we can also organise our processes accordingly. This way we can save time and stress for both sides.
By Zsanett Kórik, Project Manager at Eurideas Language Experts
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