If you work with a freelance team, it’s quite possible you’ll greatly benefit from hiring a project manager. You can delegate plenty of tasks to him or her while you focus on the big picture and grow your business for real. Let’s have a look how a project manager can save you time and money in the long run.
Let your project manager manage and coordinate your freelance team
When all your workers are freelancers all over the world, coordinating their efforts might be especially challenging but still crucial for your project success. This includes (but may not be limited to):
- controlling the workflow
- accommodating individual team members’ questions and needs
- meeting deadlines
- ensuring smooth communication between departments
- coordinating the overall work process, etc.
Let me give you an example. If the designer does not finish his job on time, the front-ender, the back-ender, the QA-tester and all other team members will not be able to complete the website on time either.
This in turn leads to delays in the marketing campaign for the website release and related promotions, events, and so on.
You may even end up with an angry crowd of users who don’t have the product they pre-ordered so long ago which means a PR crisis, more funds needed for damage control, etc.
And all of that because your designer had a bad week. Having a trusted project manager on your freelance team lets you sleep better at night and not worry for such a scenario. It’s part of their job to notice your designer is having a bad week and take precautions way ahead of time.
Your project manager can recruit new members of your freelance team.
If you have more work than your team can handle, the project manager is the one who will know that first, before it has even become a problem. And he or she is the one to know what kind of people you need and do all the related work, like:
- Writing a good job post
- Filtering the candidates
- Addressing questions in the preliminary conversations
- Interviewing the short-listed candidates
- Hiring the right fit.
If you are thinking “hm, recruiting freelancers ain’t that hard!” – think again! The above tasks can easily amount to over 20 hours, depending on your project needs. And that’s just for 1 hire.
The beauty of having your project manager do this for you is that they will do it with a single goal in mind – to find the right fit who will help them complete your project on time and within budget.
After hiring a new freelancer, here comes the training!
This of course doesn’t mean your project manager will have to know the ins and outs of coding, designing, writing, marketing and everything else your project requires. The project manager will not teach the new hires how to do their job.
However, it’s your project manager’s job to introduce the new hire to the company and to make sure the new team member has everything they need to really do their job – e.g. explain what the structure of the company is, hierarchy specifics, internal relations, what programs are used for what, communication model and process, and so on.
You shouldn’t waste your time showing your new team members around, right? Remember – your job is to grow your business. Your project manager’s role is to facilitate that. In this case – by helping your new freelancer fit in your existing virtual team.
And finally – monitoring, analysis and control of the project and your freelancers’ work
Coordinating your freelance team is not all your project manager will do. Part of their job can also be analyzing, evaluation and improvement of each team member’s work. To give you a few examples, the project manager is the first to know if:
- A freelancer doesn’t communicate well with the rest of the team
- Someone lacks the attention to details your project requires
- Poor time management skills of a team member slows down the project completion and reflects poorly on the overall team performance
- any other problem you might have in your team.
And my favorite aspect – the project manager will be the one to notice if you hired a social media marketer who isn’t good at inspiring your social following but will do greatly as a contributor to your blog. Why lose the team member if you can simply use them differently and better, right?
A key role of your project manager can be to suggest firing a team member or transferring them to a different department, hiring more freelancers or assigning additional training to a specific freelancer in the context of your project.
There are some tasks I’ve noticed a project manager often doesn’t take on in the online freelance world.
I am mentioning this because a project manager often is involved in budget planning, risk analysis and assessment, crisis management, strategic and business planning, etc. However, in the realm of online work, this is often not the case.
You can hire a project manager only to manage your team and the overall work process on a specific project. It will still save you time and money in the long run and will keep you in the loop for the important business issues.
What’s your experience with project management in the context of a virtual freelance team?
Both clients and freelancers are welcome to share their insights in the comments 😀