You say, “Last month, when I wanted those apples re-shot, it only cost me the price of the shots!”
He replies, “Yes, but to find exactly what you needed I had to drive round the eastern part of the state behind the foothills for four hours; then rent a front-end loader to move four old hay bales to a spot in front of the building. There’s a one-hundred-dollar-an-hour minimum for location-seeking in non-studio shots, remember? Plus the cost of the front-end loader…”
That’s scope creep – and that’s something you need to be aware of, when dealing with virtual employees and contractors for your project-based business. You don't need someone else running off with your hard-earned money!
What you should hear from the potential team member you are interviewing is that they have concrete methods of allowing for and dealing with scope creep, such as:
1. A set number of (revisions, words, re-shoots, tweaks, redesigns);
2. A set of protocols she follows and questions she asks;
3. Failsafes in place, such as Contracts, Client Questionnaires or Project Sheets;
Failing that, she should ask you what your protocols are for dealing with curveballs such as scope creep. And you should have an answer! If a potential team member says, “What’s scope creep?”, don’t hire him!
Next, it’s a good idea to consider three or more people for the same task. When I was hiring a video editor, I found 5 that I liked and I gave them all the same task. It was to edit a video clip of Alisha that was just about 1 minute and 25 seconds long. I set the budget expectation and told them each that they were competing against others.
I was looking for the perfect team member who could complete the project with a minimal amount of questions or problems and still do a great job at a reasonable price in the given time frame.
When I received the work back from the applicants, I then showed the results to my advisors and got their feedback. Together we decided on the ideal person to join our team as the video editor.
Step Two: Set Up Your Team
No matter which type of virtual team model is best for your business, you do have to make sure everyone knows their roles, as well as what they are accountable for. Even if you prefer to keep your team members isolated and unaware of each other, it’s a good idea to let each team member know how their role impacts the production line – and your launch date. If you have a production “line”, send each member a mind-map or chart, showing how each one’s fulfillment affects the next person along the line. Let them know what the consequences are if one member fails to fulfill.
When you are interviewing members (especially web designers) ask them how they manage scope creep. This is a phenomenon that affects any project in which (a) several members are involved (b) client parameters cannot be exact.
Section 10: Your Virtual Team
Step 2: Set Up Your Team
As you can see in the table above, knowing that you want no more than 750 written words helps your writer plan and deliver on time. She is able to accurately predict how long this will take, based on her writing experience.
If you are vague or imprecise in directions (“I want this photo to show the sky with ragged clouds over a building”) you may waste your own and the photographer’s time demanding reshoots. It might be because you forgot to tell him that you want the photograph to be shot with old, decaying, round hay bales in front of the building; and that the latter should be abandoned, as well as surrounded by encroaching forest.
Make sure you understand what you are asking, too. Not understanding the process your photographer has to go through to create what you specify can be a major source of scope creep. For example, he comes back with the exact shot you need, and you get angry because he’s billed you an extra $650.
Here are some common examples of scope creep:
You decide that you want more revisions to that 750-word blog post you ordered. Since your virtual assistant specified “one rewrite only” included in her services, you now have to pay her far more than the job is worth.
You want “one small little detail changed” in the website you asked for. That small detail costs you more time and money, and impacts the entire production deadline.
Your virtual assistant doesn’t tell you she had to put in fifteen extra hours to set up your shopping cart, because you chose one that doesn’t integrate with your Autoresponder without major tweaking. You choke at the bill.
And you can see the result of their work in the videos that are in each lesson. That person got months of work. And we found the perfect team member for our budget.