I understand the premise: Tasks are essentially outsourced to a large group of people through a call to action. (For more, see "The In Crowd" in the June 2009 PM Network®.)
This seems like a project manager's worst nightmare. The requirements and quality management alone must be a huge undertaking:
- How do you ensure a team of people who aren't getting paid remain focused enough to see your project through to completion?
- How do you ensure no one is trying to game the system?
- How do you reward those contributing more than others?
With many highly visible crowdsourcing projects, for example, there seems to be a lot of press about individuals within the "crowd" who ultimately feel cheated or used for their skills, having been inadequately compensated -- or not compensated at all.
It looks like you take a big chance when you sign on to these projects, given that there's usually no contract to fall back on. I imagine this risk goes both ways.
I hope this will serve as a conversation starter. What does your organization think about crowdsourcing? Have you ever participated -- or managed -- a crowdsourced project? I'm very interested in hearing the challenges and victories out there around this approach.