Unmanaged Developer Guide

We’re delighted that you’ve chosen to work with a Command Media developer for your WordPress development needs! Our unmanaged engagements are designed for the business owner or hiring manager who has the vision for what they want to create, and just needs an expert WordPress developer to make it happen. Here are some tips for working successfully with your developer.

Schedule a Call With Your Developer On Day One

The first step to a successful and productive engagement is an orientation call on the developer’s first day of work. In this call, make sure to discuss:

  • Your brief and the first, most important items they should work on. Discuss these items in detail with your developer. Make sure to confirm their understanding, and ask if they have any questions, no matter how small, about what to do.
  • The accompanying technical guidance for the project. Command Media will provide some guidelines on how to handle project infrastructure like deployment strategy and source control, which you should go through with your developer. These guidelines are based on the best practices at our agency but occasionally need minor adjustments depending on the project.
  • Make sure to clarify which tasks the developer should work on first — we suggest identifying at least two major priorities so that if he gets blocked on one, he can work on the other while he waits for an answer from you.
  • Your expectations for communication — more on that in the next section.

We recommend holding the call via our Google Meet platform (see more below).

Communicate Regularly and Make Sure They Have What They Need

We’ve arranged for your developer to be available during your working hours. Take advantage of it!

Make sure to set specific expectations around when they should communicate and when they should escalate an issue to you. We find that a good rule of thumb for most engagements is to hold 2-3 calls per week, plus a daily written check-in via Slack where the developer reports the following:

  • What they accomplished in the last 24 hours
  • What they plan to accomplish in the next 24 hours
  • Are there any potential issues (red or yellow flags) which might block or slow down their work?

Your developer should answer every one of these questions every day.

Feel free to adjust this approach based on your preferences. In particular we find that more frequent calls (even daily) at the start of an engagement are advisable, and can be tapered off once a routine is established and the initial deliverables are out the door.

Use Command Media’s Tools

Command Media provides a variety of tools for helping managing your engagement, at no extra charge.

We encourage you to use the following tools. You’ll find them linked from our Client Portal — your one-stop shop for managing all aspects of this engagement.

  • Slack: You’ll receive an invitation to a dedicated channel on our Slack instance for your project. This channel is monitored by Command Media staff so it’s a great place to chat with your developer and have them post daily updates.
  • Google Drive: Your brief has been uploaded to a Google Drive share along with other documents related to this engagement. When other documents are needed (for example specs for certain features), store them here.
  • Email: When emailing with your developer, please use his Command Media email address (@commandmedia.net or @commandmedia.dev).
  • Google Meet: While entirely optional, we encourage clients to hold calls with their developer via Google Meet, where we can record and archive the call for future reference. Recordings will be stored in your Google Drive project share.
  • Reports: Have questions about exactly when your developer was working and how much he worked? You’ll receive weekly and monthly reports via email which contain this information. If any issues arise related to your developer’s timesheets, please email [email protected] — we’ll take care of it!
  • Advanced PM Tools: If you and your developer are juggling many tasks at once, or if multiple people get involved in the work, you may want to use a project management tool to assign tasks, track their status, organize discussions, and generally keep things moving forward.
    Our favorite tool for small engagements is Trello, and for small teams, it’s totally free. Contact us if you’d like some help setting it up.

Keep in mind, you’re free to use any tools you want to communicate with and manage your developer. However if an issue arises with the engagement and the communication is happening on a platform other than the ones listed above, we may not be able to help you.

Give Them Some Time Off

Unmanaged engagements typically operate on either a 20 hr/wk or 40 hr/wk commitment, with no time off written into the contract.

So while it’s not required, we encourage you to give them a little paid time off now and then, especially if they’re on a 40 hr/wk contract. Ask them what a typical time off schedule in their home country looks like. Usually employees do their best work when they’re happy, well-rested, and feel like they’re getting a fair deal.

If you approve paid time off, the developer will simply log the approved number of hours in the system. They’ll show up with a “PTO” note in your weekly and monthly reports.

Ask for Help!

If you encounter issues with any aspect of your engagement, or just want a little advice, don’t hesitate to reach out! Just shoot us an email and we’ll be happy to assist.

Thanks again for choosing a Command Media developer for your WordPress needs. We’re looking forward to working with you!