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A client has approached me with a rather unusual request.

Instead of hiring my services as a freelance web developer, they already got a small team working on their first product, they have decided to hire me as their project coordinator.

Since the client doesn't have the necessary knowledge to analyse the work being created by the small team in question, they have asked me to act as their project coordinator, meaning, my role would be to supervise this team's activity and make sure everything goes according to plan and that the team is creating a good product (in terms of code and style), and additionally, not being liable for any delay from the part of the small team.

I think this would be a good opportunity to learn a lot from a different perspective and ways to work and dealing with a team, and, since this would be my first time on this role, I would like to ask if any you fellow designers/developers would have any tips about it?

The point I am really struggling to get to a conclusion, is about the rate that should be charged in for performing such role.

Should it be less or more than my rate as a freelance web developer? — due to its responsibilities and managing more people than only myself?

Any advice would be highly appreciated.

  • Hi zanona, welcome to Freelancing.SE! This question reads a bit much like an opinion-gathering question, which would not be a good fit for the Stack Exchange network. Can you edit it to ask for advice on a specific, clearly defined problem you are experiencing? Thanks. – Canadian Luke Oct 20 '15 at 23:00
  • Hey @CanadianLuke, thanks so much for your reply below. You are right in the format of the question. I think it's difficult sometimes because you guys can really help out but it's not a matter of right or wrong, but still all the advice is valid and valuable. Would you have any suggestion on how could I edit the question so it fits best within SE scope? Thanks once again. – zanona Oct 21 '15 at 11:24
  • Don't ask us such an open ended question based on opinion. Check out How to Ask for more information – Canadian Luke Oct 21 '15 at 14:34
  • @CanadianLuke that's a bit tricky, most questions here on Freelancing SE seem to have opinion based replies. (Just checking the related question tabs here) where in most cases, something might work for one but not for others, hence, opinions? The only thing I know if I haven't asked it here, I wouldn't get both really insightful replies from you and Harry Cover. :) But I think I understand what you meant and will try to keep it more on target for the next one. – zanona Oct 21 '15 at 17:55
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It is likely that this client has two goals:

  • ensure the quality of the work (as you say in terms of code and style),

  • ensure that the team communicates when necessary to avoid misunderstandings and inefficiencies.

Achieving these goals requires that you be in sufficiently close contact with the team, exchange with them frequently, and get their trust. They should see you as adding value to the team and helping them in their daily work rather than as a spy/punisher (don't get me wrong, you're no going to do the work in their place, you will help them by having a more global view of what is going on).

For better "comfort" you will need to understand where you are landing: is this a healthy project that is growing and where the customer anticipates that more structure becomes necessary, or are they busy switching to emergency mode because the house is on fire ? Truth must be somewhere in-between.

Other remark: "not being liable for any delay": don't take that for granted.

  • Thanks Harry, I completely agree with you. I see the team is a bit lost at the moment in the middle of so many tasks to achieve, no achieving much after 1 whole year. So they are not being as productive as they could due to that. Since I have had experience with this kind of situation in the past, I believe I could be able to help. The team seems to have a good knowledge on what they are doing, but could use some help, so I would try to be more of a guiding hand than a dictator for sure. Interesting about point the liability, I will keep this in mind. – zanona Oct 21 '15 at 11:34
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Absolutely, you will need to charge more than normal, if you are taking on more responsibilities!

Congratulations on being trusted enough to lead everyone, and welcome to the world of being in charge - kind of. Now, the baby-sitting part...

You will need to know, clearly, what the goals and objectives are, as well as how to get it done. If you're the boss, you should be the only one the company goes to, before talking to your team. You will need to get the authority to make decisions that affect your areas of responsibility. This is what you need from your client.

From your team, you will need to be able to trust them, and help remove roadblocks in their way. One issue many new managers make is to micro-manage; do your best not to. Give a clear picture of what the outcome you are looking for is (actually, what the customer wants), and let them get it done. Explain that you are there for helping them get their jobs done, and that you need the communication lines open for anyone to ask for you. If you spend your time micromanaging, and telling them how to do their job, then either they are not the right person, or you are not the right person.

Do not be afraid of giving gentle guidance, and keep it light. If you start doing it too much, they will feel micro managed. If you do it just right, you are just showing you care about the quality, and know they are working hard. If the team needs changing, you should be able to make the call, or at least make recommendations with the people who can do so.

  • As OP is developer and may be does not have experience as project manager even though is it fair to charge higher than normal? He may be expert as developer and in development but for project manager it seems he is fresher. – Helping Hands Oct 21 '15 at 8:49
  • Really insightful advice — Thank you. It's great to know about micro-management and how it can negatively affect the team. I certainly wouldn't like that done with me. In regards the rate, I am indeed on a dilemma and how @HelpingHands mentions, I am a fresher on this, but I understand that coordinating a team can use a lot of my previously technical knowledge in addition to new ones I don't currently own. Hopefully I can find a balance of instead doubling the rate I actually charge, trying something like x1.5 instead? – zanona Oct 21 '15 at 11:30
  • I doubled my rate the first time, but I had managerial experience before. Do what makes you feel comfortable, and Google around for rates of other people in your area with your kind of expertise – Canadian Luke Oct 21 '15 at 14:33

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