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For the past few weeks, we’ve been reviewing the various stages of the Project Management Maturity Model (PMM) and how it relates to the localization maturity levels of clients that require localization services. We’ve now come to the final phase of the PMM. In this post, we’ll discuss strategies for managing globalization with transparent clients. For a refresher on our recommendations for localization management with clients at earlier phases of maturity, please take a look at the previous posts in this series:

The PMM Phase 1: Reactive Clients

The PMM Phase 2: Repeatable Clients

The PMM Phase 3: Managed Clients

The PMM Phase 4: Optimized Clients

The PMM Phase 5: Transparent Clients

Understanding ‘transparent’ clients

According to the Common Sense Advisory (CSA), companies at the transparent phase of localization maturity have internalized globalization so that localization is part of the corporate DNA. This means their globalization strategies are fully aligned with broader corporate strategies. The primary goal of transparent clients is to meet the needs of their global customers in a truly authentic – seemingly unlocalized – way.

Project management at the
transparent stage

Project managers (PMs) must be consultative, facilitating, and specialized when it comes to working with transparent clients. PMs will need to tap back into their consultative side because transparent clients are once again looking for recommendations on process improvements as they relate to technology and global engagement. They may be interested in value-add services outside of translation language services, such as global market research, international paid search capabilities, and technology consultancy.

To support this new range of needs, successful PMs will have developed a broader knowledge base/capability set and will be able to oversee the projects related to a wide range of traditional and non-traditional localization services, coordinating with in-market resources and internal teams as necessary.

PMs will need to continue to facilitate rather than actively manage projects for transparent clients. As with their optimized counterparts, transparent companies will commonly request regular, quick turnaround localization work and won’t need heavy PM involvement. According to the CSA, since the ‘localization machine’ is practically running itself by this point, localization management tends to be a bit more decentralized in transparent companies. Stakeholders get what they need when they need it, with little PM effort or overhead.

Automated agile processes

The internationalized systems and content typically found in transparent companies result in lean localization projects. PMs will find that agile processes are required by these clients – whether in the agile development sense of the word, or in its original meaning.

Localization processes should be primarily automated and intricately linked with the client’s systems. As such, as a client’s systems evolve and change, PMs must ensure localization processes are adapted as well.

Global resource models with trusted partners

The CSA finds that transparent companies often end up working with fewer language service providers (LSPs) than managed or optimized clients do. They are ‘trimming the fat’ and choosing to work with only their most dependable partners who can keep up with their globalization needs and continue to deliver quality. This likely means transparent clients put a great deal of trust into localization PMs and their ability to successfully manage projects with little to no client intervention. Trusted localization partners may even be allowed to self-police their work.

PMs working with transparent clients may consider partnering with other vendors to provide clients with the additional non-traditional services they need. For example, Wordbank partners with a number of organizations who are looking to provide their clients with international digital marketing capabilities.

Technology considerations at the transparent stage

At the transparent stage of maturity, technology enhancements are often focused on internationalization and replication for scale to meet new global needs. PMs must bring the right people to the table to facilitate innovative and productive conversations in this regard.

Content quality is top priority to transparent clients – not just localized content but source content as well. As such, PMs should be prepared to oversee the enhancement of terminology management tools to enable them to account for source content management and quality assurance, in addition to localized content management.

If it hasn’t been done already, tools should be improved to support in-market content creation rather than always forcing a source English localization workflow, and PM recommendation or influence can help ensure this critical enhancement. In practice, this need transcends the capabilities of localization delivery tools and models offered by many LSPs, so PMs should be prepared to discuss transparent clients’ needs to seek customized solutions or establish technology-neutral partnerships as they develop their own technical solutions for global content workflow.

In the final post of this series, we’ll walk through the business benefits of the Project Management Maturity Model.