If you don't know how to manage outsourced projects properly, you'll end up with a headache, missed deadlines and low-quality deliverables.
To ensure that your outsourced projects run smoothly, you should know how to manage your commissioned deliverables and the virtual staff that creates them. There are many projects you can outsource to boost your productivity. I'm going to share with you the tools that I depend on to make sure everything arrives on time and is exactly what the clients need.
The most common services outsourced are writing services, linkbuilding services and website development services. For the sake of simplicity, I'll talk about outsourcing articles from writers. I use this process to track a ton of articles every week. It is a simple process that I started using when I was handling just 10 articles a week. It's proven very scalable and simple to use.
Here are the tools that will ensure your outsourcing supremacy.
- The Google-ization. After selecting your staff, make them get Gmail accounts. This is to give them access to your shared Google platforms. Google Docs is where you can place your writing guidelines, work guidelines and FAQ sheets. In Google Docs, you can share different documents, which you and your staff can update. Article writers will update the spreadsheets upon submission of their assignments. Linkbuilders and Web Developers will be updating their website checklists. Your shared documents are also a nice venue to commend a particular staff member or team when they perform well. Giving praise to an individual or team publicly tends to flame friendly competition between your staff members. It can motivate and raise productivity amongst your outsourced staff. Bonuses help too.
- It's A Date! Google Calendar is another app you need to utilize. This is where you update everybody about the project schedules and meetings. Outsourced staff workers are more efficient when they given structure with their projects. Start of projects, deadlines and milestones that they can see every day makes sure that they know what they have to do. Plus, it also gives you grounds to remind them when they're not working efficiently. Make sure that you state in your guidelines that consulting your group calendar everyday is mandatory.
- The Skype Is The Limit! Communication is key to any outsourcing project. Make sure everybody has a Skype account, which they must use during work hours. There are other Instant Messengers available, but Skype saves your messages and allows you to access previous conversations in one click. You can also use the Ctrl-F command to find what you talked about concerning a certain topic anytime. Schedule group conferences, and have an open forum concerning work issues every few days or a couple of times a week. You (or your team leaders) can confer with the outsourced staff members at the start and at the end of their day.
- Do You Copy? Concerning articles for online publication, copying is not allowed. Plagiarism is never okay when it comes to website content. This can lead to site penalties and lower Search Rankings. To ensure that you aren't penalized, Copyscape your articles before publishing. Copyscape is an online plagiarism detector application. It is a paid service that costs about $0.02 per check. This check goes far in ensuring that you won't fall victim to a Google Panda update. You may have written everything in your own words, but the World Wide Web is a big place. What if somebody else thought the same thing and wrote it in a similar manner? Just a few words or phrases can raise a plagiarism hit. Make sure this doesn't happen to your site.
If you know how to leverage these online tools, you're ready to conquer any outsourcing project. There are other platforms online, which can help you manage your outsourced project. Check out Basecamp, a managing platform. You can also look into SugarSync and Dropbox for cloud storage.
The fifth and most important piece of the whole system is YOU, the project manager. You have to make sure that everyone delivers. Check if your people are stable and efficient. Successful outsourcing means progress and growth for your business. If you become too busy and need help managing your projects, consider hiring a project manager to direct the staff.