Handwork and Brainwork

Innies and outies have a lot in common. One thing they share is the need to distinguish whether a project is handwork or brainwork.

Handwork is when the hiring team knows what they want; they just lack the right number of hands to get it all done. Let’s say the team needs new screens designed. They know what the screens are and how they should work. They’ve built many screens before, quite successfully, so it’s not a problem of knowing what to do.

The problem is they don’t have enough hands to get the job done. All of their internal resources are otherwise occupied, thereby stalling the screen-production piece of the project. In this case, they hire a contractor—someone who will come in and help them crank out more screens. This is handwork.

But there’s another way the project could go down. What if our hypothetical team doesn’t know what the screens are or how they should work? What if they don’t have the experience of building screens before and lack the confidence and skills to get started efficiently?

In this case, they need someone to help them come up with a strategy for identifying which screens need work and how to tackle them. In fact, once that strategy is set and they understand what the project needs to be finished, they may have, internal to the team, all the resources necessary to complete it.

This is when they hire an outside consultant; someone who will bring in expertise and skills the team doesn’t otherwise have. This we call brainwork.

via The Hands vs. the Brains » UIE Brain Sparks.