Like most junior localization project managers, you may think that project management is all about people skills. You could have heard that a million times. But, when you actually start working on a localization project, you will realize that people skills are not enough. There is something more important than your ability to deal with people, and that is your number skill.
I know you don’t believe it. So here are the 5 reasons that will show you how important your number skills are as a localization project manager:
1. A start date, an end and the duration
By definition, a project manager is one who is there to manage the project basically – from start to the very end. If you take a closer look, you can see that there are two dates – when the project starts, and when it finishes. If you are a localization project manager, you have to take a close look at the numbers when you start your project and pay even more attention when it’s time to finish or deliver the project.
Between the start and the end, you have project duration. The project may last one day, three days, five weeks, or one year. That doesn’t matter. The point is you have to deal with a number that also depends on other numbers. If you get one number wrong, the whole equation will change.
You may feel overwhelmed after reading the word ‘number’ multiple times here, but the truth is – you have to get your numbers right, else your whole project will suffer. And there is no one else to blame – you are the captain in the crew.
2. The project scope
The most important part of the project is the scope. Don’t argue that it isn’t a number. The scope tells you what outcome you want at the end of the project. The outcome demands a list of tasks completed in order. And also, to bring some order in your process, you need to deal with numbers.
Let’s say you are a localization project manager, and you have to translate 1000 words. How would you do that? You need to come up with a deadline based on the budget, the scope, the number of people involved to move the project forward, a list of tasks – DTP, review, quality check, and the list goes on. Did you get the idea? Perfect!
3. More people have to work as a team
What happens if you have to delegate your project to your team of two or twenty-nine? Once again, you have to get your number right.
You have to break the project into small tasks with a clear timeframe. You must know what all tasks to be completed and when. And if anything interrupts your numbers sheet, you can make adjustments to keep the project moving.
If more people are involved, you may think you need to learn some fancy people skills. But the truth is you can do it without such skills. All you need to do is avoid messing up with your numbers.
4. The Records of how money flows in your business
Let’s talk about money now. Many gurus may have told you money is energy or money is this or that. But, you need to know a practical truth – money is a number game. And if you are a localization project manager, you can’t argue against that. Your client has to pay you a certain amount of money to get the project done. The amount your client pays you is a number that plays a key role in your organization’s financial success.
With every task you do yourself or delegate to someone else, there is a price attached to it. You can split your project into small tasks as long as you get the math right. Remember, your job as a project manager is to bring more money, earn more profit, and deliver extraordinary results for your clients. All this needs your numbers playing in sync.
5. You have to deal with surprises
There are bumps on the road for a project manager. Even if you have got your math right, things may change, and you might not be able to do things the way you have planned. Well, you must learn how to adapt to interruptions.
Shit will happen during your project, and you will have no one to pass the blame on. You must take responsibility and adapt to the change as quickly as possible.
If the client changes the scope, or they want something done in less time, you need to think about its impact on the schedule. What is the impact on the scope? Do you do less? Do you do more? Do you need more people? Do you need fewer people? And how does this all impact the budget? These are the questions you have to answer before moving forward.
With experience, you will know that project management is a lot about processing and dealing with information. That is, of course, a number skill rather than people skill.
Now, after reading about number skills multiple times here, you might be thinking that you need some kind of miraculous mathematical tricks to be good at project management. But that’s not true!
You don’t have to be a calculus ninja to be a good localization project manager. With just basic math skills, you are ready to rock. And remember, don’t get scared out of numbers, but play with your numbers. It’s fun.
Develop your people skills as well
As a localization project manager, the first thing you need to do is get your numbers correct and then work slowly building up your people skills. You need to get your execution of project planning, adapting to changes and sharing the information, and being good with the numbers right first.
And then, on top of that, you can build with your excellent persona, communication skills, leadership, and whatever you wish.
Have you found this blog helpful?