Best Practices for Hiring a Remote Developer with Class
With only a limited number of hours in a day, we are all stretched for time in many aspects of our lives. If fixing a car or painting a house is beyond our knowledge, or we simply cannot fit these tasks into an already busy schedule, it is time to ask for assistance.
The same scenario can happen in our professional world. Below are a few reasons as to why you may want to consider outsourcing a job to an expert: –
- Perhaps you have agreed to take on a project, but the client has made some changes, and the work has now become more complex than you expected
- You have a deadline that must be met quickly and want help in finishing a task
- One of your loyal clients has a new request that is beyond your knowledge, and you have decided to find answers for them to continue to build upon your relationship
- You are a smaller agency and don’t have enough resources to cover a larger project, so require some extra help
- A problem that you don’t know how to solve has arisen at work, and you need to find a solution
- Your website crashed, and you are frantically Googling fix my website.
The Project Brief
When thinking about communicating and outsourcing your work with developers or designers, you need to explain to them exactly what you need, what the timescale is and how much money you have available to spend. In other words, it all boils down to a well-planned, clear and effective brief.
1. Define the Project Goals
Imagine your desired outcome and have a clear picture in your head of what you would like to achieve. If you are not certain of the type of technology or tools you need to reach your goal, simply describe your aim and add some examples to assist your peers so that they can propose the best solution.
2. Define the Budget
When considering your budget, you should already have an estimate of how much money you want to allocate to a specific task. By writing down your costs, you will have a much better idea of how much you have available to spend when outsourcing your work. Putting a price on your project will also make it clear to prospective developers how much you are willing to pay, and this will also mean you are more likely to attract the right person for the job.
3. Define the time frame
As well as setting out your budget, you also need to agree to a realistic timeframe of when the project must be completed by, as this sets out clear expectations from the outset for both parties. Be prepared to allow the developer a reasonable amount of time to complete the work, as demanding too much in too little time could result in mistakes.
4. Define the target audience
When outsourcing your work, you are asking someone to create something new for you, be it an online shop or a new website, for example. A critical piece of information that will help a developer weave their magic is to know who your target audience is. By understanding the type of people who will visit your website, the design and type of technology used can be developed accordingly, subsequently creating the best experience for potential customers.
5. Define the preferred aesthetics (with examples)
By giving examples of the end result you want to achieve, you can avoid any misunderstandings from the get-go. Provide links to existing websites, sketches, books or other relevant items to show a potential developer exactly what you are looking for. After the project commences, it is also best to check in with your peer regularly to ensure that he or she is on the right track.
6. Define success criteria
After your project is completed, how will you measure how well it has gone and if you have met key performance indicators? (KPIs). Perhaps the client you are working for wants to gain more traffic, increase website subscriptions or promote brand awareness. Being able to compare metrics before and after a project will confirm if it has been successful or not.
When communicating and working with online peers, it is especially important to keep your discussion focused and clear. The following tips will help you communicate effectively.
1. Be specific
Ensuring that you understand one another is key to the success of the task you are working on. Define the project’s scope and aim by using checklists and keep all your conversations on the subject at hand.
2. Avoid misunderstandings
After the task begins, the developer may ask questions so that they can ensure they have understood your needs correctly. If both of you share your thoughts and comments in a tactful but precise way, your project will move in the right direction.
3. Don’t use subjective comments
It is best to use an objective approach when you are not certain as to why a developer has come up with a particular answer to a problem. Try saying “That’s an interesting solution, why did you use that approach?” Rather than, “I don’t like what you have done” which is far too direct and personal. Perhaps there is a viable reason as to why an outcome is slightly different to what you expected, so explore that first before making comments that are difficult to retract. If after an explanation you still aren’t convinced, have some examples or data ready to back up your argument and always remember to consider the other person’s point of view.
4. Be Polite
It can be hard not to react adversely when something doesn’t go as you expected, however, you must keep control of any strong emotions and keep as calm and polite as possible. If you are feeling annoyed, take a moment to center yourself and write down notes before questioning your expert. This will stop the situation getting out of hand and prevent any delays.
5. Respond quickly
Because your developer is working remotely rather than being in the same office as you, it is even more imperative that you respond quickly. By being active with feedback and answers, your outsourced expert will have a far better chance of being able to complete your project within the required deadline.
6. Have a checklist
Write down a list of questions and ensure that you can answer ‘yes’ to all of them. If not, take action: –
- Is my project clearly defined?
- Have I provided my expert with everything that is required to complete the task effectively? (mock-ups, links, timescales, etc.)
- Have I carefully considered my budget?
- Does the expert know my emergency contact details if there is an issue that needs resolving quickly?
- What’s my freelancer’s timezone?
When dealing with remote peers, the secret lays in great communication and effective management. If you are implementing both of these key skills correctly, your outsourced project will be successful while giving you time to focus on your company’s core strengths.