What You Should Consider BEFORE Hiring Someone for a Tech Project

[Video Transcript]

Hey, everybody. It’s Lindsay here, and today, I’m going to talk about some different things that you should consider before hiring somebody for a technical project. The reason I’m talking about this today is because recently I’ve been having quite a few people come to me after working with somebody on a project, some type of system implementation project, and they’ve been very unhappy with the results of that implementation. And there’s definitely some things that, if you are a non-technical person and you are looking to hire a technical person to do work for you, that you should be looking for within that person that you may not know that you don’t know. So I’m going to talk about some of those things today. The reason we talk about this is so that you can ensure that your project gets done in the way that you want to, that it’s efficient, effective, and that you stay on track and on budget, because staying on track and on budget is really important.

So the first thing is looking at the person’s certifications but also their experience. This could seem really obvious, but I’m going to tell you a little bit about certifications. There are many certifications out there that look really good, fancy, even popular, but often those certifications are really just something that somebody has to buy into, and it really means nothing to the person’s actual competencies itself. Even if they had to take a class and maybe pass a test, a certification does not always prove that somebody can implement in the way that you want them to.

So you also, apart from their certifications, you want to look at projects that they’ve implemented. If they aren’t able to show you projects that they implemented, which is really common … As someone who does implementation myself, I have very few projects with clients that actually allow me to showcase them. So what I can do instead is show approach, theory, models, workflows, diagrams, things like that in order to prove my competency. So that’s something that you want to look for.

The next thing that is really important when you’re hiring a technical person is the contract. Again, it’s amazing to me how many people do not have clearly written out and planned contracts of the work that they’re going to be doing. So you want to make sure that you have agreed upon tasks, timelines. If you’re doing things that are hourly, estimated hours, stuff like that, going into the project. And this can be really challenging if you don’t understand the technical aspect of the project, but ask the person who you’re looking to hire to walk you through it in a way that you understand.

You can also run different contracts and projects, plans, that people give to you … Run them by other people. So, for example, if you were hiring me to do an ActiveCampaign project, I would give you a project plan, and I would tell you, “Go check with your ActiveCampaign account manager and see what they think about my project plan.” I tell my clients to do that all the time, and that way, they can get validation that what I think we should do makes sense through ActiveCampaign. So if you have that opportunity, always go that way.

The next is to, also in the terms of getting a contract, you want to make sure you have an NDA so that your content is protected, and then also, get a W-4 from the person. If they’re a US employee, you should be making sure that they have a W-4 and they also have insurance.

Okay. Next, into communications. When you’re working with someone on a technical project, they are likely going to be an implementer, and this means they probably have multiple technical projects. You might not be their only customer, and making sure you have clear communications outlined beforehand will help save you a big headache. I can’t tell you how often that I hear that someone started a project and then they didn’t hear from the person for two months, and they don’t know what the status is. They don’t know what’s going on. I always encourage that there should be a weekly email status update on the project so you know exactly what’s being worked on, any issues that are there, and you just have an idea of what’s going on with your project.

In addition, depending on the size of the project, you should be having regular check-in calls. There’s no reason for these to be hours long. It can be 15 minutes. Hop on a call, and just go over the project status and what’s happening. These types of communications should be outlined before you even start a project.

Okay, next thing. We’re almost done here. Next is to ask for what type of documentation is going to be provided on the system, and this is a big one. It’s very unusual that you would hire somebody to do an out-of-the-box implementation on a system because if it was out-of-the-box, you could probably just purchase the software and do it yourself. So when you’re hiring somebody, you should make sure that you have documentation on any special customizations as to how your system is set up, and there are multiple reasons for this.

Number one is to ensure that your system setup makes sense. Again, going back to certifications, just because someone has certification doesn’t mean they have any idea what they’re doing or that they can do it in an organized way. So having that documentation helps you make sure that you know what’s actually being done. In addition, the documentation, if you ever did not work with that person again, maybe you go back to them for a project, they’re not available. Maybe you don’t like them. Maybe you just hire somebody else. That documentation will make it easier for the next person to get on board with the project. When you don’t have documentation and you bring someone new into a project, they are going to need ramp-up time, and that’s going to cost you more money. Get the documentation.

Last thing that I want to cover on this video is training. When you’re doing a system implementation project, make sure that there is some type of line item for training for you and your team. So this follows up on documentation, but you want to make sure that you understand what was being done, and that needs to come from the developer themselves. So ask for your team to have some type of training. You can determine the level, if it’s just going to be system overview training versus you being able to take over the system and manage it yourself. But that training piece is so important so that you understand what’s going on. Otherwise, what’s going to happen is, whether you like it or not, you are going to get wrapped into an ongoing contract that you’ll never be able to get out of, and if you don’t have the documentation, you’ll never be able to find someone else who can easily take over the project.

So I hope these tidbits help you on your next system implementation project with finding the right person and hiring and getting started. And if you have any questions, let me know below. Talk to you soon.

  • a few months ago
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