Staffing

We typically use a blend of internal and external people to fulfill a project. The PM 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.

We try to have consistent client teams that span all projects with that client. This makes it easy for people to get in a good rhythm with a client and develop a rapport. It also helps people be more efficient when they can get to know a given client really well.

Staff Options

  • 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 PM 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 and show that on the client invoice, in order to compensate us for the time spent creating invoices and scopes. Or if the client has a Strategy retainer, the retainer size should be calibrated to account for management of third parties within the fee.

Consultants should have Harvest and Basecamp/Asana access (Here is how to onboard them: ). Vendors should typically not have Harvest access, but sometimes can have Basecamp/Asana access when warranted.

Staffing Process

The Strategist is responsible for ensuring that we have the right staff in place to fulfill the scope. They may need help from the PM to reach out to people and make sure schedules line up.

Sometimes, there will be gaps. For example, someone may need to take vacation at a key time in the project lifecycle. The PM is responsible for seeing these kinds of issues ahead of time and working with the Strategist to resolve them.

The first choice is someone who is already in the client team. Then we would look to other internal staff to come in and fill the gap.

When no internal staff is available to fulfill a certain aspect of a project, we need to bring someone in. We maintain a database of our trusted freelance relationships and should help the Strategist find someone suitable and set up a contract. A great Strategist should also build a rolodex of freelancers from past work experience and networking opportunities.

When bringing in consultants, the Strategist 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.