Crowdsourcing : Role of the Project Manager and Risk Minimizing Strategy Abhishek Basavesh
School of Information Systems and Technology
University of Wollongong
Wollongong, New South Wales
More and more companies nowadays are looking into the possibility of doing projects by sourcing the crowd for their solutions. Crowdsourcing projects enable companies to tap into a cess-pool of varied skill-sets and resources by taking the project to the consumers. But as is with everything significance should be given to the researching the topic before taking a plunge. This paper gives an in-depth introduction into crowdsourcing projects and also answers the important research questions such as what are the potential risks and benefits and also the significance of the role of project manager. Also, we discuss some of the steps which could be used to minimize risk. Finally we conclude with the message of the way forward with such projects. Keywords
Crowdsourcing, risks, benefits, project manager, minimizing. Introduction
‘Crowdsourcing’ is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers (Merriam-Webster 2014). In simpler terms it could mean outsourcing but, instead of outsourcing to a specific company or individual it is outsourced to a larger more diverse group of people who will be working for the project as more of a hobby usually for minimum-to-no monetary returns for their work. The term was first coined in 2006 by the author of Wired magazine, Jeff Howe in an article titled “The rise of Crowdsourcing” (14.06 edition). In the article Howe suggested that crowdsourcing encouraged the best qualified and most creative participants to join in on a project. Crowdsourcing has become the option of choice when it comes to answering the most puzzling innovation and research questions. There are multiple examples of small and large scale crowdsourcing projects that have provided solutions to complex problems. Some examples of crowdsourcing:
One of the earliest possible examples of crowdsourcing is the collection of words for the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The Philological Society is said to have contracted over 800 individuals to collect words from all available literatures and document their usages. One of the biggest online encyclopaedias, Wikipedia was launched as a collaboratively written and edited online encyclopaedia in January 2001. It is multilingual and with free registration, it enabled anyone to submit an entry or edit an entry. It has several million entries in various languages. Car manufacturer Toyota’s logo from 1936 to 1989 was derived from a competition in which they called for logo designs for their corporation. Galaxy Zoo, an astronomy project asked for help in classifying more than a million galaxies. Within an hour of launching the website, volunteers were submitting more than 70,000 classifications per hour. These are just a tip of the iceberg, crowdsourcing is applicable in every field that could use external or additional resources in an in-efficient way. In the area of information technology projects, crowdsourcing usually means using business and IT services from a mix of internal and external providers, which could also include the general public. And in this era of cloud based services there are a number of web-based collaboration platforms that have helped improve the implementation of crowdsourcing projects. Some of the popular products and platforms developed to help with crowdsourcing initiatives are OnForce, SmartSource and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. And to better understand how these products and services work let us take the example of amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Mechanical Turk is a service from Amazon where you can complete simple tasks for money. It is a crowdsourcing...
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