So, I wasn't sure if this was the place, but I have faith the mods will move it if necessary.

I'm about to leave on a trip to another country with the management team for a new project. It's my first introduction to a new industry and we will be attending a conference on the industry of the new product we're building and also meeting with our new clients.

So let me share my concerns: I'm generally new to this. I've be promoted recently, and so I'm just trying to wrap my head around a process for being ready for this entire experience.

So, what are key things I should be focusing on? What are things I should be keeping an eye out for?

I'm going to be doing some analysis and I'm generally comfortable with that process, however, it seems we will be doing a LOT of things in very little time. So I'm just trying to prepare myself to absorb as much information as possible (I'm open to tool suggestions for this. For a phone or tablet)

What I would like is a sort of checklist of things to do or prep for or look for. Also any advice outside of that checklist would be nice. I've never done a trip like this so I'm not sure what to expect.

Thank you all in advance.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not a software-specific question. Not sure where the right place to ask this would be or if there is one. – Blrfl Jan 25 '19 at 20:38

I have done this for years myself. I guess you need to follow the same rules you would normally do in any local job. In addition here are few points to consider:

  • Understand that each country has its own style and pace in doing business. In some countries to get a connection to the internet may take few days. Also, sometimes people are not eager to learn or put extra effort in the job. So, don't expect that everyone will do the impossible for your project to succeed. Don't assume that people will work extra hours without overtime.

  • Respect the people differences and avoid to look as if you think you know lots more even if this is the case. In some countries "age" must be carefully dealt with regardless of the experience, as it is sometimes associated with seniority specially in government positions.

  • Request that at least one person be the direct contact to the customer, this person better know the language very well. Clearly define who is who in your project and establish a clear problem escalation mechanism.

  • Communicate using the customer tools, maybe Email if they so desire. Not every one is willing to learn your tools from day 1.

  • Think of how the system will support the native language, date formats, accounting rules, fiscal year, etc.(where applicable).

  • Don't assume that the entire country has fast communication infrastructure.

  • As with any kind of system, the objectives must be communicated clearly. Engage different management level to explain what the system can and can't do. In some countries top management are well educated in IT. Explain and demonstrate in detail if you feel they are not sure.

  • You may be assigned a team to work with whom not all are competent. Make sure you deal with this risk carefully without offending people.

  • Pay attention to offend anyone regarding religious believes etc. In some countries, even the smallest remark will be offensive.

  • Clearly write and have the customer approve commitments after explaining the details.

  • Understand that some people simple don't like outsiders. Be tolerant.

  • Understand that even though some people know some English, your language may still not be clear. Talk slowly and use clear terms as much as possible.

  • In some countries dealing with other gender is a very sensitive issue. For example, you should not sit alone with someone from opposite gender alone in an office, elevator, etc. Be very careful to behave very formally with the opposite gender in such contrives.


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    Re: point 4: the customer liaison described here should also be very familiar with the rest of the people on the team and what they do. I've not been in the OP's situation, but I've been in the reverse situation, where we had one vendor contact who could speak English and five engineers who couldn't, and we were only saved from their visit being a complete waste because one of our team members knew a little of their language to realize that their liaison was only talking to one engineer, who was making the decisions, while the other 4 were kept in the dark... and 1 of the 4 knew the answer. – Ed Grimm Jan 26 '19 at 7:15
  • @EdGrimm, good point. I once encountered the situation where I worked with a team that had several people from india. I was surprised that one of them did not know English. I was more surprised to know that no one knew his native language since there are many native languages in India. They all were technically competent but communication was hard. – NoChance Jan 26 '19 at 7:19

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