By Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder
At 10x Management, we always strive to keep our engagements clean and simple, and have found that problem solving is a crucial skill in keeping a project on track. The difference between good and great problem solving can be the difference between 6 weeks and 4 months of work on a project.
Work in Waves
Good companies set an end delivery date of the project.
Great companies set deliverable goals throughout the course of the project as benchmarks for progress.
If your project is solely based on one final outcome, it is likely that problems will add up. At 10x Management, we recommend breaking down the task into smaller, manageable, measurable and deliverable tasks during the project.
When you set intermittent goals, problems can be dealt with in real time. Progress feels more attainable when you break down the project into separate tasks, and you and your freelancer will feel good about future prospects.
Find Creative Solutions
Good companies ensure that their end goals are met on a project.
Great companies adapt their needs to be technically practicable.
When a freelance developer goes in to do the work, they might find that the desire to integrate an app with Instagram is not feasible for the real world because Instagram’s API does not allow for it. Or that the design you had your heart set on for a new website confused a lot of people in practice.
The first goal is to always deliver what was requested and please the customer. However, sometimes a great idea is better in theory than in practice.
Great companies will accept that some ideas are not feasible when they are actually put into practice, and accept creative solutions from the freelancer. If the app your company wanted to build could not be integrated with Instagram, a great freelancer will build another feature that attempts to achieve social interactivity and meet those same goals.
Don’t Be Afraid to Move On
Good companies will work with a freelancer to see a project through.
Great companies will know when a fit is not right, cut losses and move on.
There is no sense forcing a relationship that does not work. We have learned that not every freelancer is right for every engagement. We also relish in the fact that in these rare instances where the fit is not right, we usually have a second option at the ready so the customer doesn’t lose precious time.
Have an End Goal in Sight
Good companies will have a freelancer continue to improve a product.
Great companies will have an agreement about a specific number of revisions so that the project can end.
If you want your project to be perfect, you could spend a lifetime working on it. Great companies know that projects with end dates in mind are more practical for the real world.
10x Story: We have experienced a number of customers request revision after revision making the project seem never-ending. We are happy to provide these revisions, but at a certain point they fall into the category of perfect getting in the way of excellent. It is always a best practice to release the product and see how users react and interact. There will always be more versions in which to make additional tweaks and changes.
The Difference Between Good and Great
The value of great problem solving in freelance engagements is tremendous. It can turn a potential disaster into a minor inconvenience and save you and your company hours and days of extra hassle.
Using tips like breaking down tasks and being practical about your vision will minimize problems the engagement faces. When our engagements encounter problems, our customers are always calling to thank us for solving the problem in a timely manner.
If you like this article, you might enjoy reading Understanding How to Manage Freelancers