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This post is from the CollabNet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Dec 14, 2009 — Enterprise Agile Planning expert

How to Build a World-Class Distributed Workteam Over the Web

Enterprise Agile Planning

Guest blogger Orie Zaklad, Sr. Manager at oDesk, shares tips on how to build a distributed workteam by hiring, managing, and paying experts online.

Codesion and oDesk are very focused on making distributed development affordable and seemless. In fact, oDesk has recently migrated Subversion customers to the Codesion Platform, while Codesion  regularly turns to oDesk for website and development work.

As a Codesion  user, you’re set-up to support a distributed development team and there is a good probability that you already have team members working from far-flung locales.  On oDesk you can hire, manage, and pay professionals ranging from web developers to customer service and SEO specialists. One of the most frequent questions we’re asked is…

How do I get started?

post a jobGreat Job Description. A successful relationship with an online worker start with writing a killer job description. Don’t skimp on the details – a specific job description will deliver you a more refined list of quality candidates to choose from. Also, remember to spell check your work, and be professional in your posting; qualified contractors, or service providers, are drawn to professional companies. Take the time to examine the profiles of those who apply for your position; provider profiles in marketplaces like oDesk are structured to convey a significant amount of information that often equals or surpasses what you might learn in a traditional interview, all without even sending one note to the candidate. Of course, you’d never hire someone sight-unseen, so once you have a short list of top candidates, you can move to the interview process (detailed below).

Expert Tip: Over 40% of oDesk hires are candidates that were invited by the employer to interview for the job. Just search the marketplace and use filters to target providers that are a good match for your job and work style.

Selecting the right contractor

Email communications are the preferred method to begin the interview process. Aside from the convenience factor, provider candidates generally offer more information in an email format. Since you’ll be drawing from a worldwide talent bank, time zone considerations or language barriers aren’t an issue. Email also serves to keep the conversation on track, and it gives each provider an equal chance to shine.

Common questions to ask a candidate in the interview include their availability for your project, experience with similar projects, client interaction, potential setbacks, and – if you’re looking for a long-term provider – how committed they are to the work relationship. For some, email communications alone are enough to make a decision, but scheduling a real-time interview (over telephone or a video chat) at least one time is usually a good idea.

Taking the test drive

Some savvy buyers take their top candidates for a “test drive.” We know because we do it ourselves. If you want to take the test drive route, hire your top candidates to your team room, and give them a short task that is indicative of the work they will be required to do. Because they are in your team room, you can limit their work to roughly 2-3 hours and leverage the oDesk work diary to gain full visibility into what they are doing, how they are thinking about the assignment, and what they are spending their time on. This will help you decide who is the best fit for your job and then you can keep that provider on board for your full assignment.

How about a $25 credit?

So, you want to give online work professionals a try? Tap hard working, highly qualified online contractors, oDesk, the leading marketplace for online work. We guarantee to buyers like you that every hour billed is an hour worked, and to providers that every hour worked is an hour paid. In a special offer to you Dudes, join oDesk and get a credit for the first $25 you spend there! Take advantage of this special deal by signing up today!

If you have any questions about building a world-class distributed workteam, I would be happy to answer them below.

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