Have a clear understanding of your project requirements to ensure you get the most out of your freelance developer
The purpose of this post is to ensure that you know precisely what you need to do in order to get the most out of the freelance developer you’re about to hire. You need a complete understanding of what you want to achieve before even looking at the Freelance for Hire pages. Seriously. Otherwise you will waste time and money and nobody has an endless supply of either.
Here’s a great example…
You are an expert teddy bear maker. You love them. You know that your particular brand of bear is exceptional and you want to build a business out of them. You contact a developer and you say, “I want to sell teddy bears online.”
While an admirable plan, this is too vague and will require a lot of work to fine tune into a final requirements list. Instead, look at developing a breakdown of your requirements that outline every aspect of your business, your needs, your requirements and your customer deliverables.
Something like this…
– I would like to build an eCommerce store that can help me to sell my teddy bears
– The store needs to support a product gallery that can showcase each bear
– The store needs to support a short product description for each bear along with a list of specifications such as fur used, type of eyes etc.
– I would like to accept credit card payments along with EFT and possibly Snapscan or another app payment platform
– I would like the payment gateway to support both international and local credit cards
– I need to add shipping to the order after it has been placed as these will differ depending on the product purchased and the location of the customer
– I would like web hosting options
– I have a domain and email accounts that are linked to that domain, and I think the domain and emails are managed by my internet service provider
– I would like my store to be built with WordPress and WooCommerce
This level of detail really helps both you and your freelance developer to assess the job and what will need to be implemented to make it work. And what underlying technologies will need to be used. We will be exploring the process of clarifying these requirements in greater detail in a later post/chapter as they will help you with pre-hire and with how to harness the help of a freelancer in the scoping and investigative phase.
Have you ever tried to explain a complex concept to a child? As the parent of two very inquisitive young boys I have learned a lot about how to take something complex and breaking it down into pieces that their brains can understand. To achieve this, you need a solid understanding of the concept yourself. There’s little point in explaining the concept of why the wind blows unless you understand high and low air pressures (I was a geography nerd at school).
The same theory applies to your product or service. Understand your product and its requirements intricately before you move into a relationship with a freelance developer. You can’t brief something unless you know it really well. This also ensures you have a clear vision and will inform all your engagements with your freelancer.
Another bonus is that it will also refine your vision and you will potentially identify any loopholes or issues before it is too late.
CASE STUDY: The successful client/freelance relationship
Craig from Seriously Simple Podcasting
– He understands the concept of podcasting really well
– He was able to define the value of Seriously Simple Podcasting and how its add-on services delivered value to customers
– Already had a viable customer base
– Understands what his clients want
– Has completed some programming tutorials and has some understanding around the basics of web development and the concepts that define it
– Works with his freelance developer to define scope, determine project goals and discuss possible solutions to any problems that arise
CASE STUDY: The flexible partner
Melinda from Agency Of Creativity*
– She is a designer and owns her own agency
– She uses a popular page builder plugin to build her client’s websites
– Each client has a common requirement that she has to build from scratch each time and she realises that this could be developed as a plug-in
– She isn’t clear on the underlying technologies required to make this a reality but she is happy to hire a coding expert who can work with her to achieve her goals
– She provides clear and concise instructions
– She knows exactly what her clients need and is the ideal person to test what is built along the way to ensure it meets specifications
CASE STUDY: The client that can’t
Dawid from Services R Us*
– He has a vague idea of the service listing he would like to provide but isn’t sure about implementation
– Assumes that the process is as simple as ‘just add this field to this page, it should be quick’
– Rambles on about different ideas that pop into his head without actually getting to the point
– Doesn’t send a clear briefing email but rather wanders with his thought processes
– Can’t provide a detailed list of requirements but expects a clear and fixed cost/time estimate
– Constantly contacts the developer, asking them to fix other technical issues that are unrelated to the project. He expects freelance support for free just because of the project
The first two projects are a development success. The last is a time and energy vortex that leaves both client and freelance developer gasping. The best way for your project and your vision to succeed is to have a clear vision and to be open to the reality of what is required.