The Way We Work

Show off your skills!

July 31, 2006 by

oDesk is proud to announce the beta launch of oDesk Skill Tests. Providers on our network can take the more than 100 technical and business skills tests for FREE. After a provider has taken the tests, he/she can add the scores to their oDesk Profile and leverage the test scores to get jobs on oDesk. The test scores are included in the profiles, allowing a person looking at the profile to objectively measure the strength of the provider’s skills. For e.g., take a look at Jeff K’s beta profile here . The tests are prepared by experienced professionals with several years of experience in their technical domains under ISO 9001-2000 specifications. The questions have been through several rounds of analysis by experts to help build well balanced, comprehensive, and meaningful tests. 5 reasons fo Providers to take oDesk Tests: Make more money. Buyers use test scores to make hiring decisions. Having oDesk Tests on the Profile increases chances of getting a job and get higher rates. Show off skills. oDesk Tests cover a wide range of skills including ASP.Net, C, C++, PHP, Java, English language and many more. All tests are developed under ISO 9001-2000 specifications. See a full list here. Taking tests is simple. Most tests take 40 minutes to complete and are automatically added to the oDesk Profile. The entire process is streamlined through the oDesk website, no need to go to other websites or create extra logins. Retake tests. Provider can retake any test after 14 days. If the provider’s skills improve, he/she can retake the test to show the best score for each test on the oDesk Profile. Complete control. After the provider completes a test, he/she has the choice to add the score to the Profile, or not show it and retake the … Read Full Article

How about a raise?

July 31, 2006 by

An oDesk provider posted a comment on the last entry about bonus payments stating that he would prefer a raise in his hourly rate instead of a bonus. I’m glad he asked this question. Many oDesk buyers have also rewarded providers with raises. Here’s how the numbers stack up for 2006: 245 raises awarded in 2006 Average raise: approx. $2.10 per hour Average raise (percentage): approx. 20% Average oDesk hours on assignment before raise: 145 hours As everyone knows, it’s hard to hire and retain top talent. Bonuses and raises are 2 of the mechanisms a buyer can use to retain top talent. For buyers: I recommend treating each oDesk provider as you would treat one of your own employees. If you decide that a raise is in order, you can issue a raise on an active assignment by going to the My Assignments tab, clicking View next to the active assignment, and then select Increase Hourly Rate. You can then issue a raise to that provider. Thanks, Josh Breinlinger … Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Bonuses. How and how much?

July 28, 2006 by

Many oDesk buyers have rewarded providers with bonus payments for exceptional work. A few statistics on bonuses: Biggest bonus payment: $1,200 Smallest bonus payment: $20 Average bonus payment: $250 When bonuses have been awarded: Early completion of project Exceptional contribution to project Annual bonus Birthday gift How bonuses have been used: A bonus awarded to an affiliate was used to have a dinner party for the team A bonus awarded to a freelance provider was used to buy a new computer A bonus awarded to a freelance provider was used to buy his child some birthday gifts If you’re a buyer and would like to give your provider a bonus, submit a help ticket (click Help in the upper right of any page) and oDesk will process the bonus along with the provider’s next monthly payment. Please include in the help ticket the provider’s name and the bonus amount. There is a 10% payment processing fee added to the bonus amount. Thanks, Josh Breinlinger … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Hourly Rate vs. Fixed Bid Projects

July 27, 2006 by

oDesk is based on an hourly pay rate model rather than a fixed-bid project model. We have had a lot of debate about which model is better, both in the Community and in many conversations with our Buyers and Providers. Below are the results on the topic from our latest Provider survey: Would you like to add a “fixed bid” or “minimum commitment” component to the oDesk hourly model? Response Percent No, I am happy with hourly pay + bonuses 52.7% Yes, I would like to add minimum commitment from Buyers 12.4% Yes, I would like to add fixed bid projects from Buyers 9.1% Yes, I would like to add both minimum commitment from Buyers and fixed bid projects 22.5% Other (please specify) 3.3% Sitepoint Tribune has a good article in their newsletter about the dangers of fixed-bid internet projects, arguing that although clients may think fixed-bid is less risky, contractors should be on an hourly basis to align their incentive with the client’s. The relevant portion of the newsletter is pasted below. You can read the entire newsletter here. – Abid Mohsin The Danger of Fixed Bid Fixed bid projects are the scourge of the Internet industry. It’s well known that most estimates prove to be highly inaccurate, and most Internet projects fail to come in on time, or within the original budget. Internet projects are notoriously difficult to estimate, and most clients require a specific budget for the project. Amazingly, most small business managers will turn around and require a fixed bid from their contractors, thus incurring the very same risk they exposed their clients to by accepting the fixed bid arrangement in the first place. Think of it this way: if you offer your client a fixed bid, and something goes wrong, you … Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Screensnaps. The best collaboration tool that nobody’s using.

July 21, 2006 by

Since I’m in the business of remote collaboration, I’ve attempted numerous different ways to collaborate with remote teams over the past year and a half. These have included a variety of both synchronous and asynchronous methods including voice calls, Skype calls, Yahoo Messenger, Jabber, Webex, oDesk Share, chat conferences, email lists, webcams, and screensnaps. Screensnaps (or web-based screenshots – see example here: http://url.odesk.com/y0ut ) have become one of my favorite tools for communicating with remote individuals. What I’ve found interesting in the last few months is that it’s become the tool of choice even for communication within our own office. They are extremely efficient in quick communication of bugs, ideas, spreadsheets, documents, UI designs, and more. I’ve found that it’s a great replacement for emailing files around for feedback, since often I just need feedback from a peer on one particular aspect of a spreadsheet. I can take a screensnap, ping the URL to my colleague through chat, and get the feedback immediately through our chat conversation. It’s also the best tool that I’m aware of for reporting bugs – I could of course take a full-size screenshot, turn it into a .jpg, and email it to QA; but it’s much faster and easier to take a screensnap and send just the URL. Another important metric that we track at oDesk is the usage of all of the tools within the suite of management tools that we provide. Within our own company, screensnaps have gone up in usage more than any other feature over the past several months. This is nice confirmation that it is indeed one of the most effective collaboration tools out there today. Check out our usage statistics over the past 6 months. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the least used features by our other users, … Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Score Matters

July 13, 2006 by

First, I want to thank all of the oDesk users for your active participation in the launch of our feedback system. We’re proud to make the system fully public for the first time starting today. To go along with the launch, I thought I’d share with you some of our interesting findings from the first two months of feedback scores submitted through the system. We’ve now been collecting feedback at the end of each assignment on a 1 to 5 scale (5 being the best) in six different categories including skills, quality, availability, deadlines, communication, and cooperation. One of the first things we noticed is that there is a high correlation between feedback on assignments and the average pay rate for that provider. See for yourself. I also wanted to show you a distribution of all of the feedback scores collected to date. Notice that a number of providers have perfect scores on feedback. If the above chart is any indication, these providers with perfect 5s may have very lucrative opportunities ahead of them. One last important note. I would like to remind all users to be thoughtful when leaving feedback. Your rankings and comments will have a profound impact on the person you are evaluating, and it’s important that you provide careful assessments of performance. Josh Breinlinger … Read Full Article