I’ve been testing the waters to outsource some of the more tedious programming work I do. It’s been a stretch for me to release the details to someone else – especially someone I don’t personally know. In the past few months, the experience has been rewarding. With a little bit of supervision, the programmer relieved me of hours of work. However, this week, I didn’t have that same rewarding experience. In fact, it was frustrating. In hindsight, I found three mistakes I made.
1. Don’t give too much time to accomplish to task
My project was simple. For a good programmer, probably only a few hours of work. I asked it to be done over the weekend and gave about four days total to get the work done. My selected programmer didn’t even start on the project until the night BEFORE it was due. There was no room for correction (which was needed).
2. Don’t choose the lowest bidder for the task
Yes, I choose the lowest bidder. I did review her past work and responses. She seemed responsible and capable of doing this small project. However, she was significantly below every other bid – by more than 50%. This should have been a red flag, but since her past work looked so good, the red flag didn’t get my attention.
Best recommendation is to find a worker in the middle of the bids. Not the lowest and not the highest. My successful experience with outsourcing came from the middle.
3. Be flexible, but don’t give away the farm
When the outsourced programmer couldn’t make final changes before the deadline, I was more than happy to give her another day. After TWO more days passed without any responses to my emails, I opted to cancel the entire project. Unfortunately, I didn’t delete the temporarily accounts quick enough for the programmer to delete part of what she did to leave my site a complete mess. Being wishy-washy ended with me losing an entire week of work and having to FIX the mess.
Outsourcing is a great method for adding support to the work you are already doing. Considering these three things NOT to do should help reduce your chances of just wasting your time.