Online business is full of grey area. It’s almost never black and white, but as a manager, that’s what you need to push for. A project is either done or it’s not. Your goal is to funnel that mentality down through your organization, and the best team members will accept that challenge.
I developed the below flowchart to visually lay out my expectations to my team. In short, my expectations are that I get a product that is working 100% before I see it (this is only possible if the project itself is well documented for the contractor). Here’s my post on how to lay the groundwork of sign off and documentation.
There are a few high level processes going on here that I believe are great lessons regarding how to manage a virtual team.
- Testing / 100% Language – You can see that everything leads back to the contractor or employee testing their own work. This is important because I don’t want to see a project until the contractor considers it 100% done. That’s how I judge the good from the bad contractors. Good contractors will give you a product that works out of the box. You don’t have to edit it. That doesn’t mean that it works 100% for them the first time. It simply means that they test and edit the product on their end. Poor contractors do the opposite. They get it to work to about 85% and then hand it off. That’s unacceptable in my organization.
- Manager Review – The manager or owner of an organization is ultimately responsible for making sure that the product is 100%. The contractor hands off the project to the manager after it’s tested. At this point the manager is looking for changes that need to be made regarding the small stuff. And in general, the more specific the manager was when handing off the project, the less changes are needed at this level. At every stage of communication it’s important to make sure that
You state clearly that you are always available for questions up front via multiple communication methods. You state that you expect things to be working 100% before you see them, and if you request changes those changes are to be tested by the contractor. This process minimizes the grey area.