One of the major challenges in the management of projects in the gig-economy is the identification, assignment, tracking, compensation, and evaluation of a diversified and/or blended workforce, (e.g., direct employees, contractors, temps, part-timers, etc.). We define “representative” as individuals of a blended workforce, contracted or employed, to perform work for the company responsible for managing a project. Representatives will include multiple worker types: employees (full-time, part-time, temps), independent agents/contractors, sub-contractor agencies, field service representatives, partner agencies, and sub-categories of any of these types. Each representative type has unique attributes, constraints, and requirements in the way they must be managed. Also, representative types, and related sub-categories, will have unique temporal, physical, communication, documentation, tracking, and reporting constraints. Therefore, laws, guidelines, regulations, competitive business practices, working group norms, and other constraints associated with each representative type must be considered and supported by the project management system.
The first thing a project management company and/or system needs to manage work using a blended workforce is the ability to know the skills and availability of each representative registered to do work for the company. This “representative registration” must include an “representative profile” which outlines representative type, skills, licenses, contact information, citizenship, working region, past performance, availability status, assignment constraints, compensation levels, associations with other organizations and/or operations and other information needed to support the assignment of work. Note that the representative profile does not include sensitive personal information like social security numbers, bank account numbers, health insurance ID, etc. The project management system stores these representative profiles in a database that allows real-time queries and updates, with links to other information services to support workforce assignment and analysis.
A key element needed to support effective and efficient assignment of work to representatives is the link between the representative profile information and their existing scheduled commitments. Tracking a representative’s scheduled commitments can be complicated by the laws governing management of certain types of representatives. For example, representatives registered as 1099 contractors are limited to how detailed their assignments can be scheduled. Other representative types must also manage their own schedule of work items. Therefore, a project management system must provide representatives of all types a secure and private means of communicating their scheduled commitments to the project management team. This may include the ability to pull information from a variety of calendar applications and services, as well as providing an optional integrated calendaring function to representatives and project managers. An integrated calendaring function designed to support all types of representatives and scheduled activities, must be flexible enough to allow management to schedule activities for some representatives (e.g., W2 employees) and allow other representative types to schedule and communicate their activities/commitments (e.g., 1099 contractors).
Finally, one key to an effective project management system is to give project mangers the ability to identify, assign, and track representatives based on their skills and the constraints governing their working relationship to the project management company, e.g., representative type. The representative registration function must support assignment and tracking of representatives across projects, be secure, adhere to privacy laws, and protect the project management company from violation of laws governing employment management of a blended workforce. The project management system must also support analysis, AI, visualization, automation, and concurrency capabilities to allow project managers to accurately and efficiently assign representatives to work items and track their progress. Automation and visualization of the representative assignment and work item tracking process will be important to allowing infrastructure services companies to scale their business and maintain an operationally efficient gig-workforce management system. Also, real-time monitoring, analysis and reporting functions will help management track status of projects and identify areas of which need immediate attention to keep projects on track.