The ironic thing about being a project manager is that if you do your job right, you make yourself obsolete. Unfortunately, it’s often that fear of becoming a redundant resource that makes localization managers avoid new, innovative workflow management ideas. Instead, they stick to tired old standards for their translation project management that stall progress.
Every company wants employees to do more with less money. The whole purpose of the project manager centers on that fact. When we eliminate our focus on job security and, instead, take a solution-focused approach, we can create a seamless, efficient workflow that makes projects easier and better for everyone involved. That kind of skill will ensure that managers in charge of localization never have to worry about their value to the organization.
Common Mistakes in Translation Project Management
Common misconceptions cause project managers to make mistakes when it comes to customizing their workflow. They can get pulled into three standard pitfalls:
Personalization might be a huge buzz-phrase right now, but that can cause people to go a bit too far. Yes, it’s good to have a program that’s designed specifically for your organization, but you also need to consider what happens in the event of expansions or additions. If your localization strategy is so customized that there’s no way to adjust it for emerging needs, then you’ve gone too far in personalizing the experience.
Typically, this happens when the creator focuses too much on a specific platform. For example, you might create something that’s perfectly optimized for mobile apps specific to your organization, but then, when you want to link in Kentico or AEM or something similar, you find it’s too mobile-app focused for making the transition.
Creating segmented systems
Overly segmented systems are often a result of excessive customization. You create a strategy that’s so focused on a specific platform that you must implement entirely new systems for others. Soon, it builds up. All the software products do things in specific ways, which employees must learn and adhere to. It increases the chance of mistakes, and expenses go up. Often, the things we do to try to simplify processes make them far more complicated overall. Any steps that create information silos, whether the information is restricted to a certain department or a platform, increase the risk of additional expenses.
Focusing too much on features
“Feature-rich” is a positive phrase in the workflow management industry, but features do not a tight workflow make. Just because a system can integrate every program from Drupal to Zendesk doesn’t automatically make it a front runner. One of the big problems with these feature-rich programs is that they create the same level of segregation as a bunch of separate programs would. Individuals still have to follow different processes to complete a given task, making these features more work than they’re worth.
Keys to Success in Localization Workflow Management
A successful localization workflow is clean and centralized. It accounts for all the types of content your organization needs to ensure an optimized, streamlined system. Specifically, you should focus on programs that:
Automate the right parts
Often the translation and localization systems we choose focus on the beginning and end of the process without facilitating actual content production. Smart automation ensures that a machine completes the tasks that are unnecessary time wasters and that require little subjective input. That allows translators and product managers to focus on the more subjective parts of translation and localization that machines can’t handle. Smart automation works in the middle of a project, as well as at the beginning and end.
An optimizable program is a necessity in workflow management because of the domino effect. If one person does something wrong early on in the process, all subsequent steps will build on that faulty product. By the time it reaches the end of its journey, the product will be rife with mistakes that are difficult to fix.
Accountability breeds quality. When someone has to sign off on their work, they are far more likely to go the extra mile to ensure it’s perfect. Any strong workflow management system must include a level of transparency that shows who handled what, and when. This allows your team to catch mistakes while they’re still fixable.
Focus on solutions, not features
An ideally customized system is optimized based on the pain points in your organization. This should not be confused with feature richness. Features often create more problems than they solve. Solutions ensure that small issues within a system are automated and streamlined. A good example comes from the accountability question: In an ideal program, the actions taken in a specific system are time stamped and initialed based on user credentials. This is automated quality management—in that no one actually needs to hit buttons for tracking or go out of their way to sign off on actions—and it solves the accountability pain point with a reliable, streamlined solution.
The manager who knows how to customize workflows for their translation project management will never have to worry about job security. The ability to streamline work will always be in high demand. By ensuring your process avoids common errors and adopts best practices, you can build workflow management that makes the organization more profitable and rife for expansion into new markets.
Bureau Works aids in your translation project management by providing the tools you need to localize every program effectively. We guide your LocOps team with a focus on solutions. For more information, contact our team.