How to remotely monitor project execution. About remote interaction with developers.
Online is firmly embedded in our lives through leisure and entertainment. Almost everyone is in the social network. Of course, everyone has a phone and Internet access. We are available online almost around the clock.
But in terms of business, oddly enough, everything is going a little slower. Not every customer is ready to work remotely. There are also web studios that work in their own city. There are also many industries that are very poorly represented in the network.
It is very likely that the 2020 pandemic will eventually force the transition to working online. Most companies will be fully digitized by 2030 and conduct business with contractors through their online information systems.
Imagine a world where every company is a small information state-a system that has its own rules, its own interaction protocols and processes. These digital States can interact with each other. Paper is no longer used for fixing documents. Employees can work from anywhere in the world. Most of the operations can take place virtually in an Autonomous mode, when a controller just controls how the system performs self-surgery.
Here we will talk about more mundane things: how you can interact with a counterparty remotely at the moment.
On the one hand, you can immediately see a lot of benefits from this, but it is somehow scary and afraid to send money to people you have never seen, and suddenly they will disappear, etc. Let's look at these aspects in more detail.
Aspects of distance interaction
I can physically control the contractor
Many people believe: "If I meet with a contractor in person, I have tight control over him. If a person is sitting in my office, I know what he is doing."
This is a false sense of control. The fact is that a specialist can always come up with some complexity and "objectively" tell you why he can't implement this or that. In most cases, the customer's qualification does not allow them to carry out control. It does not depend on the fact that the person is right next to you.
It is necessary to control a person by the result.
It is necessary to formulate the exact required results and milestones, and check them. At the same time, you do not need a person nearby. He could be anywhere. It is important that it gives you the desired result at the appointed time.
The network is full of scammers
This is really true, in other things, as everywhere. However, most of these scammers use very primitive methods (you won 1 million - follow the link). The main weapon here is vigilance and common sense. In terms of working with a remote supplier, the main point is gradual cooperation. A little paid, got the result. Still paid - still the result, etc. That is, you do not need to immediately send the first comer the entire amount of the project, so you greatly increase your risks of being thrown.
Manage your risks
Dividing into small stages is a very good strategy (for both customers and contractors).
Do not believe, do not be afraid, do not ask - a good motto for working in the network. You don't need to take a word (at least those with whom we had no relationship, regardless of his reputation in the network), do not be afraid to claim their rights and observance of the agreements (Treaty and the job is everything. All work is based on it and large deviations from it usually lead to a bad result).
And do not get into a situation where you need to beg for something-act strictly according to agreements and do not rely on "friendly" relations.
Advantages of remote interaction
No need to waste time on long trips, general conversations.
You can spend time doing useful work or moving anywhere. All important issues can be resolved face-to-face on Skype. At the same time, such interaction will be even more dense, since you can call up much more often than you can meet in person (especially when you are from different cities).
If you are looking for a specialist of a narrow profile in your city, there is a high probability that the choice will be very small. If you're looking all over the country, there's already plenty to choose from. If you are looking all over the world, the choice may be even wider.
The situation is similar for service providers. You can find the customer you need on the other side of our planet, and in your city your services may not be in demand at all.
Acceptance of the result without personal emotions
You need a result.
When you accept the result anonymously, you will be more objective.
In the case of close work in personal contact, interpersonal relationships arise that may interfere with the objective acceptance of the result. The measure of project success is the result obtained. If it suits you, it doesn't matter who made it (an unpleasant guy sitting in his underwear at home somewhere in Bangladesh, or a pretty designer from Chicago).
Lower the cost
There is more choice, competition is higher among suppliers, and therefore the price may be lower. You can find a very good deal if you are looking all over the world. You can formulate your job offer on job portals and find a person who is ready to work according to your requirements.
Advantages of working with a personal contact
The ability to understand and see a person more subtly
When you communicate with a person face-to-face, you see how they are dressed, what their habits are, how they respond to questions, their facial expressions and gestures. Using these attributes, you can get additional information and understand whether it is suitable for you or not according to your personal qualities.
Communicating with a person live, it is still easier to understand whether he is lying or not (and it is easier for him to lie when he does it online when calling or texting).
It is easier to establish contact, sell, agree
Communicating with a person face-to-face, it is easier to convey your wonderful ideas to him and motivate them to work together. If you are a supplier, it is much easier to sell your services live.& nbsp; When we work online, a person feels some doubts, fears about the interlocutor: who he is, whether he really is who he claims to be. When communication is live, these fears usually pass very quickly.
Although on the whole why?& nbsp; By the way, human appearance can be very deceptive. If a person is well-coiffed, in a suit, with a pleasant voice, sweet speeches - as for me, this is more a sign of a fraudster. But a person dressed like everyone else and stammering on tricky questions, causes more confidence.
It is possible to work closely together and create a tight team
Still, it's not easy to assemble a team remotely. It’s got to be a special kind of people, and it's very difficult to find them. On the other hand, it is not an easy task to assemble such a team in one room with a suitable composition.
If you find such people, they will work more effectively together in the same room than remotely. In this case, each team member will be powered by the team's common "electricity", creating a synergistic effect. In the case of remote work, each team member works alone and does not feel the partner's shoulder.
Our experience of remote interaction
We initially only worked remotely. Customers are located remotely, and contractors are also located in different cities.
Search for contractors
Of course, the implementation of such a contractor does not happen immediately - first you need to understand who is who and test the person in practice.
First of all we check for personal qualities. Technical qualities can always be adjusted.
It is almost impossible to develop personal qualities (it is very difficult to develop them for yourself, but for other people it is an impossible task).& nbsp;Therefore, our first task is to filter people by personal qualities. And then teach technical skills.
The easiest way to search for contractors is through job search sites. You must specify the path of the person in your system.at a minimum, it should include a test task (to test personal qualities), practical implementation of the task in close contact, training, and adaptation in the system.
Accounting for interaction through the system
We have our own project management system, which records all the time for tasks, comments, statuses, and other artifacts. In other words, the system is the main tool for recording all human activity.
It is better to create your own system, rather than take a ready-made one. This is more expensive, but gives more flexibility for future development.
The system has to go hand in hand with your business.
The approach that uses a bunch of disparate systems, it seems to me, is inconvenient and complex. Ideally, it should be a single system that is gradually supplemented with new modules (Projects, CRM, HR, Finance, Customer service, Procurement, Repair, etc.). Some of these systems can be viewed in our demo.
Monitoring of people's work
As I have already said, it is better to control the result. We write all the time in the system for tasks with a timer. The person completes the task and starts the timer. Payment is based on the actual time spent. However, it doesn't matter when it will do the task - there are no special restrictions in this regard. At the input, a person has a task and its evaluation, at the output - the result of the task and the actual time of completion.
Some might say that it's wild to lead all the time in the system. Yes, this is wild for people who are used to working in the office for 2-3 hours a day at most, and the rest of the time is occupied with conversations with colleagues, coffee, go for a smoke, take/bring papers somewhere, sit in meetings. As a result, if such people keep such a journal, it will turn out that the exhaust of their activities is close to zero.
Remote interaction is convenient, but it is important to set up control so that you can analyze costs and optimize them in the future.
Monitoring the work of the contractor
In our case, when we act as a contractor, we give the customer the following control mechanism:
- Work in stages - each stage is formally handed over to the customer and signed by the act. Thus, the customer controls the intermediate result and understands what they are paying for.
- Interim acceptance is a weekly call with the customer to show current developments. This does not oblige the customer to immediately accept them or give a list of improvements, but allows you to keep your finger on the pulse - see the current result, make your oral comments to correct the course.
- Permanent access to the test project. The customer can independently view the test stand at any time and give their comments on its condition.
Conclusion of contracts
It is very risky to work without a contract and technical specifications. And here it is not a matter of compliance with the laws, but rather in terms of avoiding misunderstandings with the customer.
The contract should be as precise as possible, and each technical task should be specific and understandable for both partners.
The exchange of documents we do through the mail of the Russian Federation. In order to speed up the process, we send scans of signed documents forward by email.
The contract must contain a clause on the legal validity of scans of documents (and possibly correspondence) received at such email addresses, received from such an address to such an address.
Payment of invoices
Ideally, choose a Bank that requires a minimum of offline Bank visits. We use Tinkoff Bank, in this regard, they have quite well done everything and in principle there is no need for any physical participation - everything can be done through their personal account on their website.
All interaction takes place through messengers: Skype, Vatsap, Telegram.Credentials (projects, tasks, finances, etc.) are stored in our system.
There are no personal meetings (rare exceptions: the first meeting with the customer, which is generally not necessary for the essence of the project. This is only necessary for the customer and their peace of mind).
At the moment, we have almost achieved that a person's workplace is just a browser and messenger. Development on the Falcon Space platform is done in the control panel (in the browser), the accounting system - in the browser. Communication is via messengers. Thus, you do not need any special programs for human work.
How to turn on the remote collaboration mode?
The key point is gradually.
No need to cut from the shoulder-everything, tomorrow we all work from home. You need to make this transition gradually.
First, make sure that the person's workplace is as universal as possible. Ideally, make sure that the person can work from their personal PC.
Next, give the most smart person the opportunity to work 1-2 days a week from home with strict reporting and track the results. Find out his problems, what points were not taken into account initially. How comfortable it is to work in this mode.
If the results are good, then expand your practice. If they are bad, then analyze and look for problem areas.
Tools to help
Use these tools to get started on the web.
- Google Drive is a file storage with the ability to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, graphs, etc. This is more than enough to get started. There are also many other Google services that are useful for business (mail, calendar).
- Yandex. disk is also a file storage. Ability to keep notes, take screenshots.
- Trello, a Kanban Board. They allow you to conduct small projects together with other people.
How do I know the budget / timeline for my project?
1. Create a project concept
2. Send us your concept paper
3. We will prepare a commercial proposal with details by modules
Falcon Space Platform
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