Cultural project management
why the Japanese are first to market with high-tech products
The Japanese got their foot into the U.S. economy with fuel-efficient cars following the 1973 oil embargo, and since then, have increased their trade surplus with the United States to nearly $60 billion. This article suggests that one of the major reasons why Japan excels at managing high-tech projects is because their culture emphasizes consensus building, whereas American culture is individualistic, and embraces authoritarian hierarchies. Although there are no easy ways to consistently and successfully manage complex projects, teamwork, communication, and collaborative decision-making are key elements. A five-step plan for improvement is offered: organize the project; structure the process model; optimize resources; gain commitment; and manage for success.