Yesterday I was talking with some friends about working teams. The people involved in the conversation were as follows: the director of an airport, a high school music teacher, the director of a nonprofit, and me.
We’d been reading articles by Stephen Graves and Marcus Buckingham, and we were considering the value of being well-rounded and ready to jump in and do whatever needed doing, versus the value of choosing the right team members for a project.
Naturally, I began thinking about the websites I’m writing right now:
- Over the weekend, I wrote content for a company with a tech team of their own. I wrote the thing and shot it over and now — though I’m still getting cc’d on the error logs — I’m through until they get back to me.
- I’m working on two with a designer/ developer/ web host for which I’m content writer/ SEO/ linkbuilder.
- I’m working on two for which I’m the content writer and there’s also a designer, a project manager, a linkbuilder, and a webmaster.
- There’s one with a content writer (that’s me), a graphic designer, a web designer/ webmaster, and a linkbuilder, all working sequentially rather than together.
- I’ve also got one with me as content writer, a designer, and a webmaster.
So I’m working with teams ranging from two people to — well, I don’t really know how large that first example’s team is. Projects like that tend to involve some faceless group of people known as “the boys,” “the guys,” or “the lads,” depending what country you’re in. There could be two of them, or thirty-five, for all I know.
I have clients who built their websites all by themselves or have their site build by an individual, and then just call me in for marketing. I also have some clients who assemble their websites by going to a variety of different companies or individuals for different things. They don’t have a team, since the various groups or individuals aren’t working together, but just get each item — content, logo, design, hosting, etc. — from a different source.
Which is the better approach?
There are advantages to teamwork:
- You can choose each member of the team, or spread out the assignments to the members, according to the needs of a given project. Here at Haden Interactive, we have an excellent in-house team, plus some excellent contractors for highly specialized work.
- You have people doing the things they do best.
- Work can be dovetailed for maximum efficiency.
- Team members support and inspire one another.
- You can choose to communicate with just one team member, and still keep up with everything.
- You don’t need to know the best people for all the tasks — you just need to find the team.
- That saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none” has merit. The best developer isn’t also going to be the best writer.
- You can develop an ongoing relationship and expect to have your future needs covered.
- You can sometimes get the best price this way, since the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
There are advantages to piecework:
- You can manage the entire project yourself, according to your own ideas.
- You can choose an individual or company for each element of the job without concern about the synergy among them, or matching up their calendars.
- You can sometimes get the best price this way, choosing providers from different circumstances at different rates.
There are advantages to the one man band, too:
- You can control the entire project by doing it yourself, or choosing one person to do everything.
- There’s a single point of contact, rather than multiple workers with whom you might need to communicate.
- There’s a single vision, rather than multiple inputs.
- One person has responsibility for everything.
- You can develop an ongoing relationship with an individual for future needs, though that individual may not be able to meet all your future needs.
- You can sometimes get the best price this way, paying only one person a fixed price.
Consider how you like to work, who you know, and what your goals are. Do you want to be able to order your website and then attend to your business until launch date? Then you don’t want a piecemeal arrangement where you have to oversee everyone. You want a team. Do you want to be able to check in every day? It might be hard to reach all the members of a team each day. Do you like brainstorming sessions? More heads can be better than one.
In yesterday’s conversation, the other people I was talking with didn’t have the luxury, as I do, of working with a carefully chosen team, or of bringing in new team members when needed. Neither did they have the experience I have, of being brought into different teams all the time. I like that, but not everyone would. For your website, you can make your choice.