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Projects Without Boundaries by Tim J. Rahschulte, James M. Waddell, Russ J. Martinelli

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CHAPTER 7LEADING A MULTICULTURAL VIRTUAL TEAM

As he sits on the bullet train, Jeremy Bouchard watches the skyline of Tokyo grow smaller by the minute. It is a familiar image now, as this is his fourth trip to Japan since taking on project manager duties for the Sitka project, a project that is entirely virtual and includes an automotive partner company located in Japan. As he sits on the train taking in the sights and sounds, he realized he can even understand some of the things being said around him. The Japanese language is becoming less foreign to him.

Being able to understand some of the Japanese language is one of many ways life has changed for Bouchard since becoming a virtual project manager. It is also the result of one of the biggest changes: He now spends much more time on business travel, connecting with members of his geographically distributed team. He realizes travel is necessary to establish social presence so he is more than a voice on a conference call or a name on an email message. His name now represents a person, a person who is the leader of his project team.

Another significant benefit that has come from his travels is that Bouchard has become much more culturally aware now that there is an international component to the project. He can attribute much of that cultural awareness to one of his core team members, Takashi Kido. Kido is a Japanese expatriate who is the subcontract manager of the Japanese supplier and serves as the liaison between the two companies. ...

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