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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Admerix Case Study: Struggling with ISO, QA and Project Management Issues

“Investing in ISO and Quality Assurance cannot be effective if you try to economize on project management at the same time."

The Situation/Problem

A mid-tier localization company in Europe struggled with systemic quality issues. These consisted of linguistic consistency, quality assurance problems, and customer dissatisfaction due to repeated process gaffes. The company implemented ISO standards, checklists, and other bureaucracy, but the problems persisted.

The European localization firm had begun to view project managers as a unnecessary overhead cost against their projects and downsized the project management department, replacing experienced project managers with recent graduates and interns with training in project management concepts, but no real experience. Many localization companies have adopted this same tact as they became overleveraged in recent years through mergers and the is great demand to improve profits.

Not only did this lessen the company’s ability to handle inevitable project challenges, but it also led to their salespeople to overpromise to clients in the absence of reliable feedback on what was possible coming from a seasoned production department. Admerix analyzed the situation with the client and advised that the problems could be addressed by investment in project management and that this tact would also build client trust and loyalty.

How Admerix solved the problem

The company felt that recruitment of top level project managers (if they could be found locally) would impact the profitability of their company at an unacceptable level given current economic conditions.

However, no amount of checklists and process definition allowed the company to substitute young and inexperienced workers for experienced project managers with first-hand knowledge of best practices at every part of the localization workflow process.

The solution was to reintroduce industry experience through Admerix project managers. They would be able to guide decision making, enable feedback to sales, and advise clients on best practices.

On top of these benefits would be the impact on direct labor costs: their novice project managers hired in Europe as a cost-saving measure were still much more expensive than using experienced Admerix production capabilities.

How competent project managers help companies keep clients

The introduction of a new model for handling their project management was not the only change. An accompanying shift was needed in the philosophy of successful project management and how it impacts sales and client confidence.

The nature of dynamic projects means that every project will necessarily have multiple issues, challenges, and changes. These include everything from technical engineering hurdles to a company CEO suddenly demanding changes that impact the entire scope of the project. So instead of focusing on “eliminating problems,” a more realistic approach was taken.

We brought together management, sales, and production to participate in setting a new goal of customer satisfaction for the company. With Admerix project management backing up their team, the goal becomes not how projects are run perfectly, but how we are able to cleanly handle the inevitable challenges that arise—scope changes, assess the technical difficulties arising through working with legacy files, on-the-fly changes dictated by upper management, etc.

How a company deals with these issues is the ultimate yardstick of success. The process of dealing with inevitable project issues provides the ultimate client confidence at all levels of an organization.

This is the heart of consultative sales—making your end client turn to you as a knowledgeable consultant to navigate the treacherous waters of a major project.

Have questions?

We welcome your feedback and look forward to working with you and troubleshooting your problems.

John Wyatt
Senior Project Analyst

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