Engaging a Worker for your Site
Today’s post was generously submitted by Jason Frazer.
Let’s face it, we all know a little HTML and we’re smart enough to figure out how to make changes to our websites, but is that the best use of our time? How do we engage someone else to make changes to our ‘baby’ and get what we want, whilst doing what we do best (creating)?
After working in the IT industry for eight years as a training consultant, I’ve developed a fairly good approach in finding out what the ‘user’ (us) and workers (coders / programmers etc. or ‘them’) need to get what we want. With these things in mind, the following is a list of points that will help when interacting with a worker in the future.
Where do I start?
Let’s start with a ‘spec’. What is it you would like changed? A ‘spec’ (specification) is essentially a set of guidelines / instructions that can be given to a worker that outlines what you want. On website/coding jobs, it also acts as a contract/agreement between you and the worker for the work to be done. It is important to know exactly what you want and that the worker is clear on what you want.
- BE SPECIFIC. Vague instructions can cost you time (which may cost you money). If you are unsure how to describe what you want, find another website that behaves in the same/similar way and provide a link.
- Anything requested outside of the spec once it is agreed upon is considered ‘out of scope’ and the worker is within their rights to refuse their request (if the request is small, some may do it for you). If this happens, you may need to negotiate an additional fee.
- If you’re still uncertain how to explain what it is you want, draw a picture (it’s what we do!). Sometimes a little Ms Paint / Photoshop work goes a long way to getting your project underway (“Oh I never knew you wanted THAT THERE!”)
Sample screenshot mock-up and instructions
Let’s choose a worker. Choosing a worker can either be a simple or difficult choice depending on your requirements. Websites like vworker.com and elance.com have hundreds of thousands of workers available to complete a range of work for small to large projects. An account is created and your spec is posted in appropriate categories so it is seen by those relevant. Once ‘live’ workers will ‘bid’ for the work/project (like eBay). Workers have a rating system and a job history that assists you in finding the person right for you.
Vworker.com – Sample project page
Selecting a worker is different for everyone. You may have a small budget but lots of time, or a large budget with little time.
- Do you take a chance on a worker with little or no history, but are charging a very small price?
- Do you select a worker with an excellent overall rating but whose last five jobs have gone to mediation?
- Do you choose a worker with a low bid from a non-English speaking background knowing you will spend a large amount of time managing their work (this has happened to me on a number of occasions!)?
The choice will be different for every project.
I’ve selected a worker, now what?
- Treat your project like any business relationship – act professionally and polite (even if your worker doesn’t!). This may be the start of a long term working relationship.
- Document everything. If there is a discrepancy, the project can be placed into arbitration and a mediator assigned. Anything not written in the project is dismissed.
- Rate your worker. This helps others who are looking for someone to complete their project (and they will rate you as a worker).
Is this my only option? Of course not! There are a number of excellent workers in our very own community here who can help (and have helped) with your project. All the above points will provide you with a nice little roadmap.