Working with people billed hourly can be tricky. It creates a conflict of interest where the "worker" wants to work longer doing as little as possible, while the "employer" wants to get the most bang for their buck.
At Parallax, I collaborate with a bunch of folks billed hourly (designers, consultants and, the most expensive of them all: lawyers). As the “employer”, I’ve collected tactics to create the best experience on both sides for working well with these folks.
My main goal: high ROI — get the work done, as efficiently as possible.
- Be extremely specific about the task.
- Review a template vs. create from scratch.
- Set a max amount of time to spend.
- How long do you expect this to take? … Okay, let’s not go beyond that X# of hours.
- Do not spend more than X hours/minutes on this task. If you are close to meeting this time limit, let me know and we can make the decision on whether to continue or not.
- Please don’t go over X dollars on this project.
When I needed a vendor agreement reviewed, I didn't ask our lawyer to go through the whole thing. Instead, I asked for their opinion on four specific areas that were most important to me.
Same goes for designers - I like to give them really detailed requirements and specific tasks. But I also want to encourage their creativity. So, I usually say something like "The user needs to be able to do X. Here are a few ideas on how we could make that happen...”
No need to reinvent the wheel. For example, instead of asking our lawyer to write a brand new employee offer letter, we ask if they can instead review a template we found for them.
With designers, I sometimes give them examples of design elements I like from other products. That said, I balance this with caution — copy/pasta isn’t always the best tool for innovation.
I often state or ask 1 of the following when engaging on a new task:
Overall, this helps set clear expectations on both ends.
Hope that helps!