Topcoder Connect is a web application that makes it easy to tap into the power of crowdsourcing to get more work done faster. Below you’ll find answers to some common questions about Connect.
What types of crowdsourcing projects can I complete through Connect?
Connect is ideal for projects that include application design and/or development work. You can crowdsource the entire application development lifecycle or just the specific stages where you need help. Common deliverables include application wireframes, UI/UX designs, prototypes, MVPs, and production-ready apps for any kind of device—mobile, wearables, or the web.
How do I create a Connect account?
It takes less than 30 seconds to create a Topcoder login, and no upfront payment is required to create a project, add requirements and specifications, and even invite team members to collaborate. Once you submit a project, a crowdsourcing expert will review your requirements and provide a quote and timeline to complete the work.
How do I start a new project in Connect?
Click the New Project button at the top of your screen and choose the option that best describes your project: App Design and Development or Other Work. Give your project a name, enter a brief description, and enter your referral code if Topcoder or one of our Powered By partners provided one to you. Click the Create Project button to save your new project.
Connect automatically generates a notification with a link to your project, and a message with helpful information on next steps is posted to the Dashboard tab within your project.
How do I add requirements to my project?
Click on the Specifications link within your project to describe your project requirements, upload documented specs, and/or add links to related websites or documents. Keep in mind that you can invite other members of your project team to help define requirements before submitting your project for review by a crowdsourcing expert.
Required sections of the Specifications tab (based on the type of project you selected when creating the project) are highlighted with orange labels. The Submit for Review button is enabled only after all required sections have been completed.
How do I add team members to my project?
Navigate to the Dashboard within your project and scroll down to the Project Team section in the left column, and then click the plus symbol to add a team member. Each team member first needs to create a Topcoder login as described above, and you’ll need to know team members’ usernames to add them to your project.
What happens when I click the Submit for Review button?
A crowdsourcing expert from Topcoder reviews your project within two business days and may contact you if he or she has questions about your requirements. During this stage the status of your project in Connect changes from Draft to In Review. You can always check the current status of your project on the main Connect project listing or the dashboard within your project.
Next, you’ll receive an an email with an estimate for your project. Once you approve the estimate you’ll receive a notification that a Topcoder copilot has been assigned to your project, and the status of your project in Connect changes from In Review to Reviewed. Your copilot will contact you to introduce him or herself and discuss next steps.
How do you estimate the cost for my project?
All estimates are based on pricing guidelines for common types of work crowdsourced through Topcoder Connect. Your quote is based on the deliverable(s) for your project and the amount of work we estimate will be involved.
For each type of crowdsourcing challenge (e.g., UI/UX design, prototype, and code challenges) included in your project, we have three standard price points based on scope and size of work. This way we can accurately and consistently estimate the work effort and draw the level of participation from the Topcoder Community needed to complete your project.
Does the total cost get paid only to the challenge winner?
No, the total amount is broken up into several categories:
- Prize money for crowdsourcing challenge winners
- Fee for the copilot that will help write up the challenge specification and manage the challenge lifecycle
- Reviewer payments for members of the Topcoder Community who review the specification as well as review each submission in detail and score it against a scorecard
- Challenge fees, which is the cost of using the Topcoder platform
How do I receive estimates for projects I create in Connect?
An estimate for the cost and time required to complete your project will be developed based on your specifications. You'll receive an email with the quote, a summary of the game plan outlining the crowdsourcing challenges to build your deliverables, and an app strategy document detailing the approach to your project and key assumptions. Contact your copilot with any questions about the quote or other documents.
If you're satisfied with the quote, simply notify your copilot that you’re ready to put the Topcoder Community to work on your project. If you choose to not approve the quote, notify your copilot of your decision and your project will be halted. There's no charge for projects that are not approved.
How and when will I be billed for my project?
If you’re already a Topcoder customer with an active subscription, or if you’re working with one of our Powered By partners, you’ll be billed per the terms of your current agreement. Contact us to learn more about subscription options.
If you’re new to Topcoder, you’ll be billed for 50% of the project estimate before work begins, and the remaining balance is billed as crowdsourcing challenges for your project are completed. Accepted methods of payment include check and wire transfer. Credit card payments are also accepted for smaller projects (under $15,000), and 100% is due prior to the project start.
What is a copilot?
Copilots are elite members of the Topcoder Community who manage the crowdsourcing process to turn your project requirements into high quality application designs and code. Copilots lead the way, act as your process manager, work with Topcoder Community members competing on your project, and answer any questions you have along the way. Your copilot is your primary point of contact throughout your project, and you can contact your copilot anytime questions arise.
How do I communicate with my copilot?
As soon as a copilot is assigned to your project you can begin communicating through the Connect messaging system. Click on the Discussions tab within your project to view or send messages. Note that all messages posted to a project are viewable by all members of the project team in Connect—your copilot as well as any team members you added to the project.
If you and your team are using a separate messaging system (like Slack or Basecamp) for the project and prefer to communicate with your copilot there, simply notify your copilot and invite them to the project group or channel. You can also add a link to the group or channel to the Home tab of your project in Connect.
What happens when work begins on my project?
Once your estimate is approved and payment is processed, the status of your project in Connect changes from Reviewed to Active. Your copilot works with you to finalize any outstanding requirements and prepares your crowdsourcing challenges to be launched.
You’ll receive periodic updates from your copilot throughout your project, including status reports on progress and upcoming milestones. Status reports also include attachments or links to deliverables as your project progresses.
How many contestants do you expect to join my crowdsourcing challenge(s)?
Different types of crowdsourcing challenges are structured differently to generate the right number of participants and submissions from the Topcoder Community.
For instance, visual design challenges are priced and structured to generate multiple designs for you to review and choose from. We typically have 30-60 members register for a competition like this, and we expect to get 6-12 checkpoint review submissions and 3-6 final submissions.
Code challenges are priced competitively and structured so that we don't get too many submissions. The more submissions we receive, the longer (and more costly) it is to review them all, so we aim for two high-quality submission. We typically have 30-60 members register for a competition like this and expect to get 2-3 submissions.
F2F (First-to-Finish) challenges are smaller and are used for fast, small iterations. For these challenges we accept the first working solution that meets the requirements.
What happens when visual designs are received?
Projects that include Application Visual Design go through a “checkpoint review” stage, during which you have an opportunity to review preliminary designs and provide feedback to the Topcoder Community. Your copilot will let you know ahead of time when to expect the checkpoint review.
Once preliminary designs are submitted by Topcoder Community members competing on your project, your copilot compiles them into an interactive InvisionApp prototype. You and your project team can add comments directly to the InvisionApp prototype, and your feedback is immediately visible to the copilot and designer. At the end of the checkpoint review stage your copilot condenses the feedback and delivers it back to the Topcoder Community to guide their final design revisions.
What happens when code is received?
Projects that include Code Development can result in variety of different deliverables ranging from proof-of-concepts to clickable prototypes to production-ready applications. Your copilot will work with you to establish the best way to deliver your code deliverables, whether posting to a shared drive or committing to a repository.