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Helping virtual task work be successful for both Client and Freelance Members

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  • Helping virtual task work be successful for both Client and Freelance Members

    Greetings, future TASKBASE.COM members.

    Both Freelancers and Clients, alike.

    I searched for the subject "SCAM" here at the discussion board and found over 3,000 Forum Posts and Replies in one popular virtual work management site.
    This is a very important topic. I believe all of us are concerned about or have experienced being scammed... or "near scammed". Not getting the delivery expected and/or working hard and not getting paid.

    I have been on both sides of the process... both hiring freelancers for hourly as well as fixed price work ... and also as a freelancer.
    From my perspective ... working "virtually" with unknown requirements and people who have only met "online" at TASKBASE provides both risk and rewards.

    So, what very simple action can we take and/or can TASKBASE take to help smooth the waters and increase the level of "trust" between the members ?

    1. Scope - it would be good to indicate and agree upon the scope for an assignment. Is it only to produce clearly defined output (like editing a document)? Or is there artistic design involved?

    2. Requirements - we talk about requirements.. but what does this mean? Mock-ups? Drawings? Prototypes? Documentation? And, in most cases, the requirements are not fully known .. and are discovered and "hardened" as the project progresses.

    3. Design - outline of the work, diagrams, visualizations, process flows, data models, conceptual architecture.

    4. Increments - small clearly defined delivery segments that can help keep the project on track, and reduce risk for both freelancer and client.

    5. Change Management - difficult to define and manage, but important. New ideas or changes to the original scope should be identified and communicated as "nice but not included". Helps to have a method or tool to capture these new ideas like a "parking lot".

    6. Testing - proof reading documents, or running programs, or reviewing drawings. There needs to be a clear step in the project for testing and feedback. Need to assume there will be errors or missing functionality discovered during testing.

    7. Documentation - for technical projects, this might include diagrams, notes, or programmer comments.

    8. Earned Value - this is a way to measure progress. Sometimes 80% of the effort only returns 20% of the visual results... while the remaining 20% of effort returns 80% of the visual results. This is important.

    9. Skills and Experience - This is key. Freelancers should have experience with the same skills and tools that are needed for a new job. Clients should have experience managing virtual projects.

    10. Funding and Budgets - It would be good for both sides (freelancers and clients) to understand the budget. Is the project funded for $100 with $900 more available for followup work? or is the total funds available only $100 and the client needs everything done within that fixed price?

    11. Communication - the most difficult area to improve. Sometimes it helps to begin a project with casual topics just to open the communication channels. Most of us speak and use English. Drawings and diagrams are also useful communication tools.

    12. Trust - the KEY to virtual teamwork. Trust is earned... slowly.. but can be lost quickly. This includes trust between TASKBASE members as well as the Member's trust for the TASKBASE system.

    These are just a few ideas that might help clients, freelancers and TASKBASE improve their virtual work experiences.

    Perhaps there are other ideas out there?


  • #2
    I have 10 projects under my belt ... and have a 9 out of 10 success with 1 bad "scam" (or better put ... an unprofessional member that took my money and did not deliver anything).

    Here's the model that I have started to use.

    1. TRUST must be established. If you TRUST the worker, and get burned ... then you need to change how to measure TRUST. Make it more difficult to TRUST a worker.... so your TRUST assumptions become 95%+ accurate.

    2. If TRUST with the virtual worker is NOT yet established ... then SMALL FIXED PRICE INCREMENTAL PROJECTS is the best way to go. Start with a simple $25 deliverable.. then, $50. then $100 .. build up the TRUST along with the REWARD.

    3. Once you have TRUST with the virtual worker, then you can begin to increase the SIZE of the project rewards. And, can determine if HOURLY charges are appropriate.

    I have worked with professionals who charge $30 to $50 per hour ... and I have used both the FIXED PRICE and also the HOURLY RATE methods.

    Go slow... learn the ropes of virtual project management.

    The end game is that TASKBASE provides a virtual marketplace where project managers can meet with and do business with virtual workers.

    If you walked down the streets of a real marketplace... would you TRUST the vendors (workers) ? Most likely no.. not until you got to know them and the quality of their work ethics and deliverables.