“Freelancing” has become somewhat synonymous with “independence.” And to a large degree that’s true of freelancers. We generally have the final say in what type of work we do and who we work with, but much of what we do is usually part of a bigger picture. Our work is often one element of a larger project that involves multiple people and many moving parts. And of course, we’re usually working for multiple clients at once. We have to be organized and we need to know a thing or two about project management.
Even if you’re a new freelancer, you’ve probably already discovered that although you might not be directly responsible for seeing projects through from start to finish…
- Your work affects that of others involved in the project.
- The work of others involved in the project affects your work.
If anyone on a project team doesn’t understand…
- what needs to be done.
- when it needs to be done.
- who is supposed to do it.
…you could end up with a dissatisfied client.
You might be thinking, “But that wouldn’t be my fault.”
Who cares. You’ve got an unhappy customer because someone dropped the ball.
Just because you’re not in the official role of “project manager” doesn’t mean you can’t facilitate smooth sailing.
Keep these project management principles in mind for your freelance projects:
- Learn about the entire scope of the project and who will be involved.
- Know what the deliverables are and who is responsible for them.
- Get clarity on your role and tasks.
- Know when your deliverables are due.
- Find out which tasks other project team members need to accomplish before you can start working on yours.
- Plan ahead – Reserve time on your calendar for working on your tasks. AND reserve time on your calendar in advance to get status updates from anyone who owes you information or needs to complete tasks before you can start yours.
- Give updates about your progress to the client and team members.
As simple as it may seem from the outside looking in, there’s more collaboration and complexity to working as a freelancer than people realize. While generally the responsibility to keep everyone on the same page will land with someone else, not everyone manages projects well. That’s when it’s time to proactively put your own project management skills to work to bring clarity and direction.
What about you? Have you worked on project with multiple people with little or no direction? How do you break down the silos so projects run more smoothly?
By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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