Cultural impact on your project

Have you thought about cultural impact on your project? Have you considered the culture of other teams or groups of people that you are working with in order to deliver your project?  Is there culture different to yours and what is the impact of that?

What do I mean, well you will have created a culture for your project team by bringing people together to work on it. ‘Culture’ is the characteristics of a particular group of people bought about by what they bring to the group. So, in the context of a project team it will be the values, skills, knowledge, communication style, etc of each and every member of the team.

Have you thought though about what happens when you have one culture interacting with another? What if you are working with an external vendor who is providing services as part of your project. What if part of your project team is an external customer who will own part of the outcome of your project?

These ‘outside’ groups have their own cultures too and it is important to realise that there will be differences in the culture which, if not understood, and worked with, could mean that you’re project isn’t successful.

What if your organisation has strict guidelines around project management governance. You are required to report and provide evidence in documented form of your achievements, include change requests etc. But, the other organisation has more of an informal way of operating. They prefer to ‘just get on with it’ and for them you are holding things up by wanting to do things in a more formal way. Consider how you would deal with this cultural difference, in order to get the best outcome for the project?

It is important as the Project Manager to be aware of cultural differences between groups working as part of the broader project team. Be mindful of the differences, and carefully consider how you are going to work with those differences in order to make everyone feel a part of the team and happy with the outcomes.

If you don’t you are likely to end up with unhappy customers, or a service provider who isn’t delivering – not what you want on your project.


Written by Karen Munro

*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at