What consumers should expect from Remote Design Professionals–Part 6
With consulting estimating firms the adage “one size fits all” certainly doesn’t apply. Be sure your consultant is an expert in the field of estimating your project needs. A great estimator in one trade may think he can cover others, but is your project the one he learns the truth on? Are you willing to take that risk?
The key to any organization of any type is the team members. Certainly the team must believe in the company’s vision, yet even more important than their belief is management’s belief in them. It is every manager’s responsibility to provide each and every team member with a magnitude of professional development resources to allow the individual to reach their full potential. Why should your team invest in you if you will not invest in them?
- Technical Knowledge
This seems like a “given”, right? Well guess again. “Technical Knowledge” means something different to everyone. There is no clear-cut definition. When you relocate someone, there is a period of time where learning takes place. Why “settle” for someone, just to have them at your location? There is no reason to have less than your company deserves in quality knowledge, unless you fear loss of control. The real question is: Doesn’t your customer deserve the best available to them?
What innovative techniques is the design professional using? Are they willing to share them with your staff members? These days, information is a few mouse clicks away. Your design professional should be more than willing to share any “tricks of the trade” with your staff. Every conversation is a chance to learn. Beware of someone who will not share concepts and ideas. Would anyone alive today be successful without sharing techniques?
What length of time has the design professional been practicing? Will the design professional be around when you need them? Some folks have given Remote Design a bad name, due to poor work ethics or “bailing out” on a job at the first sign of trouble. Tenure as an independent will raise the red flag when you need to see it. More importantly, was the tenure consecutive?
Is your design professional thankful to be associated with you? Do not overlook gratitude. If your design professional is not saying thank you on a regular basis, you must ask yourself why. Do they value the relationship?
The timeliness and scheduling factor can be a deal-breaker. Does your design professional have the resources in place to meet the demand that you expect to send? How “deep” is the staff? Do yourself a favor and test the timeliness avenue before you actually need it.
How transparent is your design professional? Do they have a mission statement? Vision statement? Value statement? Is there a written code of ethics? A company that has these things available to you reflects an admirable level of transparency. With just a few minutes, you can decide if the direction of your design professional’s company matches yours. Are you willing to take the risk on a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” type?
The relationship between a design professional and its client is like a marriage. The level of trust that goes into this union must reflect the highest level of integrity, with each party giving an equal share. If your design professional feels more like a used car salesman, the level of trust is probably very low. Are you willing to sacrifice trust for price?
Unfortunately, this is a word that few people truly know the meaning of. Are you one of them? Click here, for the definition from Merriam-Webster, or here for a definition from Wikipedia. Then ask yourself if you are truly getting the most value for your dollar. Sadly, there are many folks that “milk the clock”. Do you have any of these types? The value of your design professional should be measured by the willingness to “go the extra mile”. How many of these types do you have?
Does your design professional have proficiency in more than one type of software? Are they familiar with more than one region? Versatility is extremely important in this day and age. Remember, your design professional must be willing to undertake the burden of learning and adapting to your needs, not the other way around. If you sense otherwise, keep looking. Your customer deserves better.
Unfortunately, viability is often taken not at the top of the list, which is extremely confusing. Would you hire a new employee without checking references? Why would you consider outsourcing work to a design professional without testing the waters of viability?
What is the design professional’s vision? Is it in plain sight for all to see? All companies should have at least 3 of the following 6 items: Company Slogan, Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Value Statement, Marketing Statement, Business Code of Ethics. How is the consumer to know what to expect without a clear-cut vision?
Does the design professional have a current, active and informative website? Is there an active blog? If not, beware! What type of company has no website or blog in this day and age? Better yet, why would you consider one that doesn’t? What type of blog content are they posting? Value-driven design professionals will spend time educating you, the consumer, via blog posts that provide quality content.
Is the design professional willing to adapt to your criteria and specifications? To what extent will they adapt? Willingness to mold to your requirements is absolutely essential for meeting performance expectations. The customer must
How much workload can your design professional handle? Any viable source will have established, qualified team members to compliment them. Beware of the “one-man-show”, because no matter how hard they try, they can never do more than 100%. If your company is seeking a resource to handle excessive workload, be sure that your design professional can also.
Your design professional should have a symbiotic relationship with you and your team members, regardless of where they are located. This is not only possible, but required, in order to maximize your bottom line. Technology plays an immeasurable part in this relationship’s success. I encourage you to put this hypothesis to the test with experimentation. Your customer is counting on it.
It is my wish that each and every one of you who read this 6-part series found extreme value in the ideas expressed. I truly believe in the concept of “Pay It Forward”. If you are not familiar with this concept, I sincerely encourage you look it up. With just one candle, a room full of darkness can be brightened.
Christopher Gould – President
Gould Design, Inc.