The Challenges of Managing Global Projects

Global projects are an increasing reality for those working in a Multinational environment. It is commonplace to work with people in far-flung corners of the world, across different time-zones, united by the goal to deliver the project on time. There are lots of advantages to global teams, eliminating the need for shift-work, giving access to niche expertise, and facilitating lower project cost through use of a blend of near-shore and far-shore locations.

It’s not all plain sailing once the global project kicks off. Everyday tasks are more challenging, trying to get everybody across different locations to reach consensus can be like herding cats – a challenging pursuit. A few months into the project and the initial positive outlook can be a distant memory, with cultural differences and mixed messages causing distrust and negativity within the team.

We at Aspira have the capability and experience to cope with these challenges and set up a global project team to be successful. Our experience of working on international projects with a team spread all over the globe helps us to assist and manoeuvre around obstacles in a proactive manner – we have learned how to gather up those cats.

“Building up trust between team members requires that you demonstrate consistency between what you say and what you do.”

Managing the Global Team

Trust is an important element for any high performing team. It takes time to build up, but can be easily lost. Poor communication and mixed signals can cause some parts of the project team to feel superfluous to requirements and exposed. Then defensive behaviours set in and the circle of trust gets broken. It’s downhill all the way after that.

As with some many things in life, the key to successful management of global projects is to have strong channels of communication. Communicate, communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more. Building up trust between team members requires that you demonstrate consistency between what you say and what you do. That means communicating clearly and then living up to what you’ve said.

It also helps to be mindful towards the others working on your dispersed team – be aware of the different time zones in which the individuals operate. It will not always be possible to get that perfect time slot that suits everyone, but having consideration for the team is important so that the same people are not expected to climb out of bed to join conference calls each week – the pain should be shared. There are various online tools which are available to help you to quickly work out timings for cross-time zone meetings.

Our experience is that global teams will appreciate you simply asking the team at the start of a project what their time zone is and explaining you will do your best to ensure that any online conferences or calls with take this into consideration. You explain that there may be the odd occasion where calls need to occur at an inconvenient time for someone, somewhere. Variation in the times is key as everyone will feel like their individual time zone is being taken into consideration.

“We are all guilty of pinging off emails and forget sometimes that we have a phone.”

Religious and National Holidays

Not as easy it sounds. If you are a global manager, understanding your team’s background is crucial. Being aware of local custom and events is definitely an important part of successfully managing a global team. National holidays can easily be picked up off the internet, it is always a good idea to put these into any project calendar, and then ask the individuals to check the project calendar to ensure these are correct. As religion is always a personal subject, a private email or message is recommended to ensure inclusion without prejudice. We use www.timeanddate.com which has both time zones and holiday information collated in one place for easy access.

Collaborate Effectively

Checking in with team members and occasionally using the phone is a great way to encourage collaboration. We are all guilty of pinging off emails and forget sometimes that we have a phone. If you have a long list of questions, firing off emails might seem like a good idea, however we suggest that the occasional call , and sometimes a little bit of chit-chat goes a long way to getting the best out of the team. Speaking on the phone can often help to convey a complex message which might otherwise be misconstrued over email. It is good practice to encourage team members to do the same. Remote working can sometimes feel a little like you are disconnected with head office or others in the team so this small gesture can go a really long way.

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Unless something absolutely impacts results, it’s important to try not to get too worried about people’s individual approaches to their work, or their unique work style. Everyone communicates differently and each person has their own style. There are many different ways to get the job done; one way isn’t always the only way and some of these variations might be because of cultural differences. At the end of the day, the project is about getting the right results, it’s about achieving goals.

Aspira announces Rebel Army sponsorship

Aspira, the Cork-based enterprise IT project specialists, is to become a principal sponsor for Cork City FC for the much-anticipated 2016 season.

Aspira provides end-to-end IT enterprise solutions, including supply and installation of IT hardware and software licensing and support, expert consultancy, design and implementation of bespoke IT solutions and project management.

The company has been an avid Cork City supporter since its establishment in 2007, and has watched the Leesiders go from strength to strength as its own business grew. The sponsorship deal will see the new Aspira logo adorn the back of the players’ jerseys.

Aspira is a wholly Irish-owned and has its headquarters in Little Island. The company experienced accelerated growth of 65% in 2015 and in February 2016 announced the creation of 50 new Irish jobs, as well as the acquisition of an IT services firm.


“We are delighted with this show of support from Aspira, a company that has always been steadfastly behind our team. ” Tim Murphy, Cork City FC CEO

Speaking about the new sponsorship deal, Aspira CEO Pat Lucey said: “Aspira has always been a huge supporter of Cork City and the club was a natural choice for us to sponsor. We see many parallels with our own company, particularly their resilience through the tough times and determination to succeed – which has paid off in recent years.”

He continued: “Like Aspira, Cork City also had a great 2015 and were serious contenders for the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title, narrowly missing out. We know they will give another stellar performance in 2016 and we will be proud to see our new logo on their backs as they ‘aspire’ to win the League this season.

Cork City FC CEO Tim Murphy added: “We are delighted with this show of support from Aspira, a company that has always been steadfastly behind our team. We have started the 2016 season on a strong footing with an impressive win over Dundalk to clinch the President’s Cup and we will continue to build on this success – and on our record in the Airtricity League for the past two seasons. With Aspira on our jerseys, we hope we can reach the top this year.”

Cork City kick-off their campaign this Friday against Bohemians at Turner’s Cross.

Aspira expands with acquisition of B-TEC Solutions

This month, Aspira announced the acquisition and merger with B-TEC Solutions, the IT services and support firm. This will expand both companies’ range of offerings and provide a complete, end-to-end enterprise IT solutions service. The merged entity will operate under the Aspira brand and will include supply and installation of IT hardware and software licensing and support. This is in addition to Aspira’s expert consultancy, design and implementation of bespoke IT solutions, project management and enterprise IT services support.

Pictured above are Luca Santos and Bobby Murphy of B-TEC Solutions with Pat Lucey and Colum Horgan of Aspira.

Irish Enterprise IT Company announces 50 new jobs

Aspira, the wholly Irish-owned enterprise IT project specialists, today announced the creation of 50 new high-level jobs. The award-winning company experienced accelerated growth of 65% in 2015, due to a number of new project wins. In addition, Aspira announced the acquisition of an IT services and support firm, B-TEC Solutions, which will expand the company’s range of offerings and provide a complete, end-to-end enterprise IT solutions service.

The 50 new jobs, which will be based primarily at the Cork headquarters with some in Aspira’s Dublin office, will be rolled out over 18 months and will include project management, business analysis and software development roles. The Dublin office was opened in 2015 in response to the rapidly expanding client base in the region.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has officially opened Aspira’s new state-of-the-art headquarters in Little Island, Cork today.

Speaking about the job announcement, An Taoiseach said “This announcement of 50 new jobs is very welcome news for Cork. The Government wants to keep the recovery going by ensuring strong job creation in every region of the country. These pro-business policies need to be maintained in order to continue to allow companies like Aspira to grow and create jobs.”

“These pro-business policies need to be maintained in order to continue to allow companies like Aspira to grow” An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny

Aspira CEO, Pat Lucey said: “The new roles we are announced today will strengthen our delivery capability and our management team at a time when we are bolstering our service offerings, and preparing for expansion to international markets. We forecast overall sales to more than double over the next three years, with international sales growing faster again.”

Aspira, which has refreshed its brand from AspiraCon, was established in 2007 and currently employs 28 people. Prior to its accelerated growth in 2015, Aspira was averaging consistent annual growth of 50% – earning it a Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award for the past two consecutive years.

Mr Lucey continued “For nine years we have consistently provided best-in-class enterprise IT solutions for our clients, designing and building several highly innovative database applications. We will continue to offer a world-class service that will address our clients’ growing needs for deep database knowledge, data analytics and a mix of Hybrid and Cloud based systems.”

Aspira has also committed over €1.5 million to acquire the IT services and support firm, B-TEC Solutions, and invest in Enterprise IT Services over the next two years. The new IT service will include supply and installation of IT hardware and software licensing and support, in addition to Aspira’s current package of expert consultancy, design and implementation of bespoke IT solutions, project management and enterprise IT services support.

“We will continue to offer a world-class service that will address our clients’ growing needs ” Pat Lucey, Aspira CEO

Aspira caters for a diverse, international client base, including leading players in the IT, financial services, pharma/med devices, healthcare and energy sectors.

Aspira is supported by Enterprise Ireland, the state agency for developing Irish business globally, which has provided the company with export and international market entry assistance and will work closely with the company to accelerate its position in global markets over the next phase of its growth.

Aspira is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, and the only company in Ireland whose training services have been endorsed by both the PMI® (Project Management Institute) and IIBA® (International Institute of Business Analysis). Employees are multiple-certified, with each member of the tech team having on average over 16 years’ industry experience.

Avoid Project Pot-Holes

Have you ever wondered why so many new roads get dug up within a few months for new pipes or cables to be laid? Then the nice new road becomes a patchwork quilt, covered with a lump of tarmac punctuated by pot-holes. Why can’t they just get their planning right and do all that work at the same time – surely it would save them money?

Of course you are right – and you are describing one of the biggest challenges for Project Managers worldwide – how can we get a full set of requirements and then build a coordinated plan to deliver those requirements in an efficient manner. In the real world we find that people “forget” requirements or discover requirements later on, so we have to do the equivalent of digging up the road and re-doing some of the work that has already been done.

At Aspira, we have developed an approach called Project Kick-Start, where in two weeks we complete a detailed initial analysis of a project, identifying all the assumptions, dependencies, risks and constraints that apply to the project. It’s our way of avoiding project pit-falls and pot-holes.

Aspira wins again at Deloitte Fast 50

It’s a welcome double for the Aspira Consulting and IT Services team, featuring in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 for the second year in a row and achieving accelerated growth in 2015. AspiraCon was established in Cork in 2007 and opened its new Dublin office in the past 12 months to cater for the rapidly expanding client base in the region. The company is now rebranding its range of services as Aspira and will be moving to a new state-of-the-art Headquarters in Cork before the end of 2015.

Announcing the winners of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 programme, Joan O’Connor, Partner, Deloitte said: “The awards showcase the agility, innovation and strength of the industry. The winners epitomise these characteristics.”

“It is an exciting time for the Aspira team and we are delighted to be recognised again by the Deloitte award for our sustained growth in a competitive environment”, says Pat Lucey, co-founder and CEO, “As an Irish company that delivers Project Management Consultancy, Software Solution Development, Project Resourcing and IT Services to enterprise clients, we are competing with major international organisations and we need our team to continue to out-perform those competitors and form strong partnerships with our clients.”

The company is regarded as an industry leader in provision of these services, being the only company in Ireland certified by both the PMI®and the IIBA® International Professional Bodies. Emma Daly, Director of Project Services, emphasises “Aspira Consulting provide the IT solutions and People that businesses need to deliver their projects. As our clients have enjoyed their own success and growth, they’ve required us to expand and scale up our range of services on offer. This has created its own momentum, bringing a lot more clients on board and driving our strategy to invest in future growth.”

“It is an exciting time for the Aspira team and we are delighted to be recognised again by the Deloitte award for our sustained growth in a competitive environment” Pat Lucey, CEO Aspira

One noteworthy aspect of Aspira’s growth is their impressive list of clients across different industry sectors, Pat Lucey explains, “A huge advantage of Project Management expertise is that it allows us to deliver value to different sectors that face similar project challenges Whether it is IT, Utilities, Financial Services, Medical Devices or Pharma, the challenges of managing resources and risk and being efficient and organized are all Project management challenges. We use those skills to manage our deliveries to clients – we have to practice what we preach.”

Lucey elaborates “In this way we have helped a wide selection of enterprise clients, from indigenous companies, Fortune 100 Multinationals to major Governmental and Semi-State organisations. By meeting their IT and Project Resourcing needs in a professional, flexible manner, clients quickly become comfortable dealing with us. A guiding principle since 2007 has been that if we commit to doing something – it gets done. This makes a refreshing change for organisations who just don’t have the time to micro-manage their suppliers”

It’s a principle that is working for Aspira Consulting and IT Services.

AspiraCon win at the Deloitte Fast 50

AspiraCon are proud to announce that it ranked number 11 in the 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 50, a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in Ireland. Rankings are based on average percentage revenue growth over five years.

The Fast 50 programme, now in its fifteenth year in Ireland, ranks the fastest growing technology companies in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This year, there are 13 companies from Northern Ireland in the ranking. The average growth rate of the Fast 50 companies named in this year’s ranking is 276%.

AspiraCon’s CEO, Pat Lucey, credits innovative services and unwavering customer focus with the company’s growth over the past five years. He said, “I am delighted with this recognition of our team’s success over the past five years. As our first time in the Deloitte Fast 50, coming in at number 11 is a great achievement, and we are accelerating our growth with the opening of our expanded Dublin office and expansion of our range of service offerings.”

Announcing the winners of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 programme, Richard Howard, Partner with Deloitte, Dublin said: “I am continually enthused by the hunger, drive and capacity to innovate that the winning companies, as demonstrated by the close competition in this year’s ranking. The Fast 50 awards really do demonstrate the very best of this important sector, and we are delighted to be able to recognise them with these awards.”

The Deloitte Technology Industry Awards took place in Dublin on 7 November 2014. Keynote speakers on the night included Eric Openshaw, Deloitte Global Sector Leader for Technology and Chris Watt, Partner, ECI VC. Media sponsors included the Sunday Business Post and Ulster Business.