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Crowdsourcing Versus In-house Project Management

Updated on January 24, 2018
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, an industrial engineer, a mother of two, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Who Is the Manager in Crowdsourcing and In-House Projects?

For crowd-sourcing projects, the project lead is often a small business owner who manages the whole project. The project lead is sometimes a freelancer themselves, further outsourcing tasks for his or her portion of the project.

For in house projects, the team leader or project lead is the manager. For projects kept in house, the project manager is generally a separate person or in a different division than the financial department paying for the work being done.

The Manager's Job in a Crowdsourcing Project

Crowd-sourcing – The manager’s job is to break down tasks to their smallest possible bit or very niche tasks for a subject matter expert. The manager probably posts the tasks as well.

In-House – The manager’s job is to create a specific goal and then help team members work together to create detailed task lists and then see them to completion.

Managing a crowd-sourced project may mean managing people whom you will never meet in person.
Managing a crowd-sourced project may mean managing people whom you will never meet in person. | Source

Management During the Project

Crowd-sourcing – Management during the project consists of making the initial submission to crowd-sourcing workers, answering questions that may come in via a call or email, review of completed work, accept completed work and authorize payment to crowd-sourced workers. When working with a large crowd, management focuses on task definition, task creation and quality reviews.

In-House – Management during the project involves tracking status of project and reviewing it as it is completed. Engaging other departments like legal, purchasing and marketing may be required, but almost all resources are within the building or managed by other departments. Management focuses on helping employees identify and complete the next task and resolve problems that may occur.

Task Delegation

Crowd-sourcing – Task delegation involves highly detailed tasks assigned to specific individuals. Tasks are very specific as to the action and are frequently repetitive or very low skill.

In-House – Task delegation can consist of handing out general tasks or detailed assignments. Work may be assigned to the most qualified or simply the first available team member.

Cover of the Book "Wisdom of the Crowds"
Cover of the Book "Wisdom of the Crowds" | Source

Employee Selection

Crowd-sourcing – Employee selection for crowd-sourcing permits a wide selection of individuals but rarely ever meet face to face. Credentials are based on online profiles and portfolios. Crowd-source employees are specialists or very generalist.

In-House – Vetting and referrals are not required. Managers use in house individuals or use Human Resources to hire a qualified contractor. Employees are somewhat specialized in their field but can perform any task in that area. For example, someone from finance can generate receipts, travel budgets or purchase orders. However, a manager would not ask the same employee to perform basic assembly work.


Crowd-sourcing – Quality can be as good as that done by employees when work is done by a well-paid expert. In every other case, the resulting work from crowd-source workers is lower in quality because they are working in a job-shop environment. Quality tends to be good enough to get paid but not so low as to hurt their reputation on a crowd-sourcing website.

In-House – Quality tends to be higher if done by someone with the right skills sets. They do a good job because their job depends upon it.

Quality is always a concern with outsourcing.
Quality is always a concern with outsourcing. | Source


Crowd-sourcing – Crowd-sourcing means low hourly rates can be achieved but often at the cost of quality. Niche subject matter experts can command a premium rate higher than using on staff talent.

In-House – Managers deal with salaried employees, contractors and anyone else on the project. The same rate is paid per position regardless of work done in most cases. However, if productivity is high, cost per task and project are low.


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