This is a guest post by Tomaž of Codeable with some useful tips on putting together a job description for your next WordPress project.
WordPress is a hugely scalable system with a wealth of documentation and WP extending tools available – use it as “just” a blog, or expand it with various plugins to become a powerful CMS, API endpoint or anything in between.
Many WooThemes users are WordPress power users, capable of developing their own custom sites, but there are plenty of WordPress users who require expert guidance or help. Whether that be because they lack WP experience, technical or design skills, have tight deadlines, or other work priorities – these are all contributing factors in your decision whether you decide to outsource parts (or all) of your project.
Finding communities of developers that can help you with WordPress is easy, there are a number of outsourcing portals, mailing lists, IRC channels and whatnot. But getting members of those communities interested in helping you out is another story, despite the fact that you’re more than willing to pay good money for their services – which you are, right?
Here are some pointers to consider when writing a job/task/project description and I think they apply not just to WordPress but any other development-related job that you decide to outsource:
- Take your time
- Include details
- Break it down, if possible
- Set deadlines
- Don’t forget your budget
- No NDAs please
- Don’t be a scope-creeper
Take your time
Most of the projects we see coming in on Codeable have a tendency either to be too short or too long, both of which can be problematic. If the description is too short it usually doesn’t include any details so developers have a hard time assessing how long the job will take or how much it’s worth. On the other hand, if the description is too long they don’t even want to read it through, since it usually turns out the client is overcomplicating things. So when writing a description be short and…
Include all possible details
This may go against the previous point but it’s perfectly possible. Include all the details, links and examples, which will indicate to developers you’ve done your homework and more importantly you understand the scope of a particular project. All further steps will be much easier and shorter if you do. And there’s less margin for error.
Break it down
If your description still comes out as a long chunk of text and includes many steps needed to complete the job, break it down, because not only the developer, you will understand it better. It’s hard – well impossible – to accurately estimate a task if it includes everything, from server setup to WordPress installation, theme/plugin modification, etc. This will also have another positive side-effect. In case of a dispute, it’s much better to lose, say, $200 on one step and go with another developer, than thousands of dollars because the whole job gone haywire.
Set (short) deadlines
If you follow the previous point, then this shouldn’t be too hard, since you now have a smaller scope and thus a better feeling of how long it should take. Even if you can afford the developer to take as much time as they want, you really should set a fairly short deadline. Doing so will result in faster completion of your task, so the developer can focus in their (or your) next ones. This is important, because it can be very stressful if a developer needs to work on multiple projects at once.
Don’t forget your budget
Budget is one of the most important aspects of any project brief, yet many clients don’t include it, for various reasons, all of them bad; They think the job is too small, they don’t have a clue how much work there is, they don’t have a budget, hoping someone will do it really cheap. You shouldn’t treat developers like that, after all, they are experts at what they do and it took them years to get there. Including a budget will let them know you value their work, you’ve given it some thought and most importantly, you have money allocated – the greatest incentive of all. There’s one caveat though, if your budget misaligns with the amount of work greatly, chances are developers will run away. So if you really don’t know how much a job is worth (even approximately), let them know.
No NDAs please
Developers loathe DNAs (Non-Disclosure agreements). To most of us they signal that client is either too beaurocratic and thus a potential scope-creeper (more on that in the next point) or they don’t trust the people they work with. In either case we tend to avoid those clients to prevent possible headaches later on. Plus, we like to write code, not documents. Granted, in some cases NDAs should be signed, but that’s usually the first indicator you should really go with an agency instead of a freelancer. Just Googling the term can reveal many developers’ opinion on the matter, and it’s all negative.
Don’t be a scope creeper
Scope creep is actually the biggest source of disputes between clients and developers. In case you don’t know, a scope creeper is a client that increases scope while the project is underway. In development, there are rare occasions where that doesn’t happen (the scope increase), but a scope creeper usually insists that additional work be done for free, saying the developer is expensive enough as it is, changes are really too small to pay for them or some other, quite insulting reason. Don’t do that – if you need more work done, prepare to pay more, it’s that simple.
Get your WordPress tasks done!
I hope I’ve successfully highlighted the important parts of describing the work you want to outsource, because really good WordPress developers usually have a ton of experience and can filter good clients from bad ones based only on project/task description. So if you want to win them over and get your stuff done in a timely manner without headaches, follow the points above and you should be all set. If in doubt, feel free to contact me or contact me on Facebook and I’ll provide more pointers or help you in any way I can.
What is your experience? Have you ever had trouble with a client or a developer when outsourcing online? Leave comments below.
About the author
Tomaž is the co-founder of Codeable a Denmark-based premium online outsourcing service for WordPress.
Codeable is all about quality, so they hand-pick and invite only the best WP talent to perform tasks for clients all over the globe!