7 Tips for Outsourcing WordPress Development Work Effectively - ManageWP

7 Tips for Outsourcing WordPress Development Work Effectively

Even if you’re an experienced WordPress developer, there are times when you’re better off focusing on the core mission of your business and outsourcing some development work becomes necessary.

There are huge risks associated with outsourcing work. If you outsource your development efforts to a company or freelancer in line with your goals, then you’ll reap the rewards of a product that further enhances your online profile. However, if you go in the wrong direction, you could end up with a mess on your hands.

Here are seven tips for outsourcing your WordPress development to ensure you get the best possible people for the job.

1. Share Your Mission

Before you do anything else, make sure that you clearly explain the mission of your business to the development team. It’s your responsibility to ensure, as much as possible, that everyone understands why you’re in business.

The reason you want the development team to be familiar with your overall mission is so that team members can keep it in mind as they work. That way, if they have to make certain coding decisions on the fly, they can ask the following question: “Which alternative is the best choice for the business mission?”

That is exactly how you want developers thinking as they touch your code.

2. Write a Crystal Clear Job Description

It’s not only important that you make sure you explain your mission to the development team; you’ll also need to create a job description that properly identifies what you need in your WordPress development.

To do that, you start by explaining a clear set of goals and how functionality can be tested. Then, you set a budget for the development work so that the team knows if the effort is worth the income (note that if a lot of teams are deciding that the income isn’t worth it, you might have to set a higher budget). Finally, you’ll also want a deadline, so the team knows when the finished product is expected by.

When you write a job description, explain what you need from a usability or functionality perspective without getting bogged down in the technology that’s required. You’re outsourcing work so that you don’t have to focus on these types of details – the development team will suggest the best technology for the job. Just explain the requirements and let the team decide on the best tool to use.

Finally, don’t burden the development team with non-essential information. The people you’re outsourcing your development work to don’t need to hear about external problems your business is facing, political infighting, requirements not related to the current project, or financial pressures. Just keep the team focused on the development efforts.

3. Communicate Effectively

When outsourcing, keep in mind that communication is a two-way street. Once you’ve made your company mission clear and explained your goals for the current development task, be prompt in responding to queries. It’s not likely that you’re going to answer every possible question up front.

If your development team reaches out to you with a question or concern about the project, respond as quickly as possible so that you don’t put pressure on your own deadline.

4. Start Small

If you’re unsure about outsourcing, feel free to smart small. Outsource a small change to a development team with a great reputation, and see what results they produce. The investment should be minimal.

Once the team has completed its work, evaluate it. Did the team follow the instructions clearly? Was the project completed on time? Was the team prompt in its communication during the development process? Did the team practice outstanding customer service the whole time?

If the answer to all of those questions is “yes”, then congratulations, you’ve found a great team of developers. Hire that same team for a larger project and repeat the evaluation process.

5. ‘Chunk’ Tasks

Another great reason to smart small and work your way up to outsourcing larger projects is because it trains you to look at small units of development effort rather than larger initiatives. However, once you’ve found a great company and are ready to move forward with a large project, you’ll do yourself and your team a great favor by breaking the project tasks into smaller sub-tasks.

This will not only make it easier on the development team, but it will also make it easier for you to check the finished product. Effectively, you’re creating a checklist that you can use for quality assurance purposes.

6. Query ‘Snagging’ Services

Once your development team has completed the project and turned it over to you for review, you might find that the team has done everything exactly as you expected and the new software works perfectly. The team’s work is done forever, right?

Wrong.

Software development is never finished. There is always some unnoticed bug in the system, some use case scenario that nobody considered, or some feature enhancement that will inevitably be requested. In short, you’re going to need a team that not only delivers the goods up front, but is also responsible for ongoing maintenance.

Keep that in mind as you evaluate candidates for outsourcing. Ask each team leader about maintenance issues. Is there some level of maintenance provided for free? How much does the maintenance cost? This comes back to time management – you’re outsourcing work so that you don’t need to focus on these little maintenance issues.

If you’re checking references, ask about the team’s reliability, cost, and quality of service when it comes to maintenance. Otherwise, you could end up with a great website up front but the inability to update it in a timely fashion.

7. Choose Your Trade Wisely

Finally, remember that when you’re outsourcing your WordPress development efforts, there is a difference between development and design. Make sure that you hire the right party for the job.

The design of a WordPress site involves its look and feel. It’s usually an artistic representation of your brand that’s presented on the web. The design is often created by people who are experts in user experience and the latest trends in web presentation. In short, these people are the artists, not the techies.

The development of your WordPress site involves taking the design and turning it into a technical reality. Developers look at the layout presented by the designer (often in PSD, or PhotoShop, format) and write the necessary code to make that vision a reality.

This is an important point to keep in mind, because it’s rarely the case that a developer also has the skills of a designer.

Wrapping Up

If you’d rather focus on the mission of your business and outsource some of your development tasks to somebody else, be sure that you exercise the required due diligence to find the right team. Remember, your website reflects your brand online, so you want to make certain that the quality of the work that your team produces leaves people with a good impression.

What steps do you take when looking to outsource work to other teams? Let us know in the comments!

Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is the founder of WordCandy.co. He has been a huge fan of WordPress since he first laid eyes on it, and has been writing educational and informative content for WordPress users since 2011. When he's not working, you're likely to find him outdoors somewhere – as far away from a screen as possible!

16 Comments

  1. wasonga

    Thank you for sharing this informative post,it is in class by itself! This is a noteworthy guideline for both entrepreneurs and freelancers whose services are in demand! It gives you an edge in knowing what the client or your employer expects from you! Great work!

  2. Fernando

    Make sure you have a good screening process so that you only work with people who meet your requirements. TestDome has some good WordPress coding tests to filter out those without the necessary skill level.

  3. Eric Johns

    Hey Tom,

    Nice share.. great tips for the employers & for freelancers.. Thanks

    Eric

  4. Edgar Raymond

    You’re absolutely right, at some point in your life you’ve to out-source your tasks to someone not because you don’t know how to do that task, but because you’ve more important business tasks to focus on. No idea can be better than out-sourcing your task to someone else and focus on business development and other important tasks rather than WordPress development.

  5. Mokter Hosain

    This really awesome guideline about Outsourcing profession. This post will very helpful to me.

  6. Anne Mackaway

    This was much needed info. Clients shouldn’t only say “manage my website”, but they need to provide a crystal clear JD, whether on a freelance portal or any other Chanel and what expectations they have from a managed service provider !!
    Many thanks ! i’ll refer this post to some of my “PIA” clients !! :)

  7. Muzzammil Bambot

    Hi Tom,

    All the above are great tips in relation to outsourcing. I would only want to differ on the first point about sharing the mission as Matteo from Codeable rightly mentioned. With outsourcing as the concept, it’s always a requirement-fulfillment scenario that is being played out with the goal that both parties win.

    Usually client’s will get it outsourced for two reasons:

    1. They want to Save money

    2. They lack the expertise for doing it

    Depending on the option selected – It’s either a price or time negotiation

    Ideally if I put myself in client shoes, the first step should be checking communication and then starting small. With these two parameters taken care of, all the other points usually get placed out properly.

    Another point that gets missed out in outsourcing is expectation vs reality. Even with the most clear job description ( specially in design) you can find caveats. Setting up proper expectations makes it a firm ground for a good outsourcing relationship, else it can go completely haywire a couple of weeks into the project.

  8. Rodney

    Hey tom, as usual always a great an useful tips here.

    I’ve been out-sourcing WordPress projects and I understand the importance of writing task description clearly and the communication between me and the client. If my client don’t agree with everything at first, then there will be a lot of problem during the process of finishing tasks. I also ask them not to ask for any revisions while on the development stage.

    I also often tell my clients to provide me complete details, contents, graphics, screenshots, diagrams to explain the idea and the logic better for faster development. Sometimes they also give me links to the model websites that show exactly what they need their site to look like. And if there’s any confusion, I’ll ask them to email for documentation purposes. Chat over Skype and other project management tool online (trello) sometimes makes communication a bit faster.

    thanks,
    rod

  9. Ben

    I would recommend making sure your client understands that you may be outsourcing parts of their project, have that in their contract, and make sure there’s a meeting of the minds. I’ve had more than a few clients complain that they hired another developer, and they outsourced parts, or their entire thing. It does not make them happy.

  10. vanesa

    Thanks for sharing this informative post really usefull

  11. David Markus

    These are great tips. After development the major part is Internet marketing and i want to share about my personal Internet marketing strategy, it might be helpful for readers.

    Internet Marketing Beliefs:
    Always add value.
    Google wants to deliver the “best” result so be the “best”.
    A website visitor is a renewable resource to be cultivated not something to be mined once.
    Enjoy what you do online and keep sharing with readers.

  12. Michael

    I would recommend making sure your client understands that you may be outsourcing parts of their project, have that in their contract, and make sure there’s a meeting of the minds. I’ve had more than a few clients complain that they hired another developer, and they outsourced parts, or their entire thing. It does not make them happy.

  13. Kaushal Patel

    Great Tips Tom.

    This kind of tips can help someone to hire a good wordpress developer or company. With this tips i would like to include that one should check the existing wordpress client portfolio too. One can get idea from the portfolio that how much complex projects the wordpress development agency or the developer can handle.

  14. Helen Anderson

    These are really great tips, I have a dream of being an entrepreneur, I had only a dream now I got a new set of strategies to make my dream come true. Thank you for your article.

  15. Anh Tran

    Hi Tom, this is a great post. I’ve been doing out-sourcing and I understand the importance of writing task description clearly, communication as you said in the post. If client and the developer don’t agree with everything at first, then there will be a lot of problem during the process of finishing tasks.

    I often tell my clients to provide me screenshots, sometimes screencasts, diagrams to explain the idea and the logic better. Sometimes they also give me links to the example websites that show exactly what they need. And if there’s any confusion, we chat immediately. We are using Slack for fast communication, we don’t use emails which always have long time response.

    I hope you can post a next article for tools for outsourcing effectively like management tools, communication tools, etc. It would be very helpful for other people and me.

  16. Matteo Duò

    Hey Tom,
    useful tips here and nice work!

    Rather than “mission” I’d suggest to share your desired outcome because, if I’m outsourcing my task/job, I don’t need my outsourced expert to be aware of something abstract like my business mission. I just need them to clearly understand which things I want to be provided with.

    Communication is key here: crafting a great job/project description, sharing feedback “the right way” with the outsourced professional like removing misunderstandings, keeping away subjective words, etc. I too wrote about this topic at Codeable: https://goo.gl/g6xvXc.

    I’m totally with you when you say that if your outsourcing efforts take a wrong direction, you could waste money, time and end up with a mess on your hands. That’s why I listed 6 questions that anybody starting with outsourcing should ask themself to get the most out it. Here they are:

    + Is my task/project clearly explained?
    + Did I provide additional resources to get the outsourced expert a better idea about the desired outcome (mockup, visual sketches, links)?
    + Did I provide the expert with all information needed to complete the task?
    + Did I talk about hosting, maintenance, and future updates?
    + Did I share the login credentials to access my staging website (or other tools)?
    + Did I share one other communication channel other than my email (Skype, Google Hangout, phone number) for emergencies and misunderstandings?

    More here: https://goo.gl/XFr5tu

    At the end of the day, outsourcing is an entrepreneurial practice that can really empower your business but it take some time to fully leverage its potential. Don’t you think? :)

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