5 Tips for Directing Outside Contractors

Last Updated Aug 18, 2009 9:53 AM EDT

Steven DeMaio once directed contractors, now he is one. Both perspectives are on display in his valuable tip sheet on How to Give Feedback to Contractors.
For example, when giving positive feedback, don't stop at "Great job," DeMaio says.
"Telling the contractor precisely why you found the work to be of high quality -- emphasizing especially the unexpected value she added -- will ensure that she maintains it. You should also identify what elements were not as important even if they did no harm, for then the contractor can shift time from them to the higher-value items. And, of course, you should be specific about what you didn't like and why, so that the contractor can make adjustments in her future work for you."
Read his post on Harvard Business Publishing for four other tips. Here are the top lines:
  1. Giving feedback to contractors saves you time.
  2. Don't assume that a contractor's work is immutable.
  3. Give feedback when the work is still fresh.
  4. Quickly acknowledge receipt of the work.
How do you communicate with contractors?
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.