4 Ways to Ensure Cost Effective Project Management When Working With Freelancers

4 Ways to Ensure Cost Effective Project Management When Working With Freelancers

Cost effective project management is key when managing any outsource project. Outsourcing is largely regarded by business organizations as an effective cost-saving strategy, and its economic benefits extend to the freelance service providers as well. However, this type of work-for-hire arrangement also has its disadvantages, which could result to costly delays on the part of the outsourcing employers. Planning, scheduling, monitoring and controlling should still be maintained to efficiently manage the work of freelance employees.

The most common problem encountered in dealing with independent service providers, is when they take on more work that they can personally and efficiently handle. In such cases, the assigned tasks are subcontracted to other freelancers, but are not closely supervised and could result to poor quality of work and delays in submissions. Hence, the business organization being the principal outsourcer, will likewise be unable to complete the entire project within the allotted timeframe; especially if there are task-interdependencies involved.

However, most outsourcing employers have learned from their past experiences. They have instituted proper measures that will make the task of managing freelance employees more effective and at the same time less stressful. Hence, you may want to consider the following as a way to enhance your own management skills:

  1. Be Selective with the Type of Work to Outsource

    When drawing up a plan for a project which you intend to partly outsource, it would be best to first create a process map, in which the flow of work activities can be easily discerned for task dependencies. That way, you can evaluate and determine how a particular task can be impacted by delays, in case you’re contemplating on assigning some portions to a freelance employee. As much as possible, assign only those tasks that are free from dependencies, unless you’re completely sure that the external service provider is fully committed to deliver as scheduled.
    If in case outsourcing a critical task cannot be avoided, be sure to incorporate a penalty clause in the work agreement. This condition could serve as a form of deterrent against any laxity in carrying out and completing work assignments.

  2. Estimate Realistic Timeframes

    After determining the work processes involved, estimate the timelines by basing the duration on how long each task can be completed, instead of approximating based on the entirety of the project. In project management, it’s always a good practice to assume that your manpower resources will be available by only 80% of the projected time. This is in view of unexpected time constraints such as weather disturbances that can result to power outages and loss of communication lines, illness, accidents and equipment failures. In fact, these are situations that even a regular team member may offer as reasons for delays; hence, it would be best to set deadlines that provide time allowances for these factors.

  3. Choose the Service Providers Wisely

    Hiring a freelance worker can be a bit tricky, since problems concerning their work performance may surface only after a number of days have elapsed. Usually, these are when you get to see how they are making progress with their work assignments. It would be best to choose those who are affiliated with well-managed freelance portal sites, since this denotes that the self-employed worker is likewise governed by the site’s rules and regulations.

    Here, you will be able to get a fairly good amount of information on how the freelancer handles his job assignments, by going over the reviews of past employers. A freelance site can even provide a workplace where the outsourcing employer can view the task currently being worked on by the service provider. Generally, a well-thought of freelance portal has a built-in application that allows members to communicate, from point of selection to point to of project completion.

  4. Make Use of Project Management Tools

    There are freelance contractors who are quite successful in outsourcing their own projects, since they are actually experts in their own fields. They are well aware that their reputations are also at stake, and can therefore affect their relationships with their employers. Rather than risk losing their well-paying clients, they harness their own skills in maintaining a system that will allow them to efficiently manage their own set of freelance employees.

    Those who have the technological capabilities to develop a basic management program, create computer automated tools and applications for monitoring and supervising their outsourced projects. Others, who are still new to the business but equipped with
    project management skills, make use of free online templates, calendars and spreadsheets for collaborating and tracking the accomplishments of their subcontractors.

  5. On the other hand, business organizations simply invest in web-based project management solutions or software that can provide their project managers with the best tools and applications. That way, overseeing the entire project will be more effective and less cumbersome. Yet, aside from the basic time-tracking, scheduling and file sharing features, there are other useful tools and applications included in project management software that can increase one’s efficiency in managing freelance employees.