We typically use a blend of internal and external people to fulfill a project. The DRI should be aware of the relationship we have with each person on the project so they can optimize to their particular needs and balance project costs out.
All staff must have signed paperwork in order to work on our projects. This is especially important for external people.
- Team members: our regular, permanent staff (the folks you see on the team call every week)
- Consultants: Freelancers or other small companies who come in to work on specific projects under our guidance, performing design and development work.
- Vendors: Companies providing services outside of the scope of what we normally handle, in order to expand our offering for the client. For example, copywriters or video editors. Vendors sometimes invoice the client directly, and sometimes "pass through" their billing through Cantilever. The DRI should facilitate this choice being made between us, the vendor, and the client.
When we are allowing for “Pass through” billing, we may charge a 10-15% premium on the vendor cost, in order to compensate us for the time spent creating invoices and scopes. For larger projects where the vendor is a minor part of the project, there is no need for this, but if a project is more than 50% vendor, consider it. All such premiums should be transparent to the client and agreed upon by them.
Consultants should have Harvest and Basecamp access (Here is how to onboard them: ). Vendors should typically not have Harvest access, but sometimes can have Basecamp access when warranted.
The DRI is responsible for ensuring that we have the right staff in place to fulfill the scope. Normally the Head of Production will select a DRI, and then the DRI and HoP will collaborate to fill out the project team. After accepting accountability for the project, the DRI is then responsible for ensuring that we have the right staff in place to fulfill the scope on time and on budget.
Sometimes, there will be gaps. For example, someone may need to take vacation at a key time in the project lifecycle. The DRI (and their PM if any) must see and work around these kinds of issues well ahead of time, by scheduling additional internal staff or recruiting a consultant to help.
When no internal staff is available to fulfill a certain aspect of a project, we need to bring someone in. DRIs are responsible for alerting the Head of Production when we need a consultant to help. The Head of Production, in collaboration with the Executive Team, should maintain a database of our trusted freelance relationships and should help the DRI find someone suitable and set up a contract. A great DRI should also build a rolodex of freelancers from past work experience and networking opportunities.
When bringing in consultants, the DRI must consider their rate relative to what we are making on the project. Generally, we try to maintain a reasonable margin between what we are paid and what they make on an hourly basis, so that we can cover our project overhead (for example, sales time). However, when a certain consultant is a perfect specialist for something we really need, we are willing to forgo our margin for some part of the project. For example, if a project demands great data visualization, it can be worth it to hire someone with no margin for Cantilever, because we still maintain our margin on the rest of the project hours, and delivering the project at a high standard will lead to future opportunities.