Increasing the productivity of your IT and development teams allows you to maximize the value of each of your team members. It will lead to better overall performance as well as better usage of your staff’s time.
To achieve greater performance, here are ten best practices you can implement to ensure improved productivity.
1. Establish your team’s current baseline.
First, you must determine what your team’s current output levels are. You can’t improve if you don’t know how well (or poorly) you’re currently executing. You should also determine the various schedules and working habits of all your team members.
Productivity is only valuable if it leads to superior performance. Understanding your team’s current productivity levels – as well as how efficient they’re being with their time – is the first step in the road to improvement.
2. Meet with your team – collectively and individually.
You should schedule one-on-one sessions with each member of your developer team to talk about their current workload, productivity, and output. Ask them what challenges they face or what’s causing them stress. Determining their pain points will help you remove or improve them.
Once you’ve finished your one-on-one sessions, review the feedback you’ve received. Identify any recurring issues. Make a list of these then schedule a meeting with your developers and your IT teams as a group.
3. Keep track of how your developers currently spend their time.
Once you’re in a group session, make a note of how the majority of your developers spend their time. Also, determine any roadblocks or challenges that seem to keep appearing.
Once you’ve identified the problem areas that appear with multiple team members, you’ll know these are the ones to tackle first.
4. Establish your team’s goals.
Shooting an arrow is pointless without having a target in mind.
Having clearly defined goals for your team works the same way. If you don’t have well-developed goals, your team can’t assess how productive they’re being.
Define your team’s desired end state and communicate it clearly to the team. That way your team can eliminate or at the very least streamline any work that doesn’t move them towards achieving this bottom line.
5. Define key performance indicators.
Identifying goals is important, but you also need to agree on triggers along the way that help your team know whether they’re on track to complete those goals.
That’s why a great way to increase productivity is to provide your team with key performance indicators, or KPIs. These are indicators that your team needs to hit to achieve their goals.
If your team is on the road to better productivity, think of KPI as a compass that lets you know if you’re heading in the right direction.
6. Evaluate your team’s metrics.
Your team is all on the same page with your goals established. You’ve defined the KPI that will help them know how well they’re achieving their goals. Now you need to evaluate their performance.
By regularly evaluating your team’s metrics to see how well they’re hitting their KPI, you’ll help them focus on what’s working and what isn’t. If a team member isn’t performing well, you can evaluate how productive they’re being.
7. Maintain consistent communications going forward.
Once you’ve implemented your steps to increase productivity, it’s important to maintain reliable and consistent communications with the team. Encourage them to contact you freely via phone, email, or in-person visits to your office. Maintain an open door policy. Schedule regular meetings to review their work and hear their concerns. Frame these get-togethers not as performance reviews, but as opportunities for you as their leader to identify any problem areas and work towards addressing and overcoming them.
You won’t know there’s a problem if your team doesn’t feel comfortable communicating with you. You can help improve both their productivity and yours by maintaining situational awareness of their daily responsibilities and performance.
8. Remember that each team member is human.
When a team looks to increase productivity, it may seem like a code for getting your team to work harder for longer. That isn’t necessarily the case. To maintain consistent productivity levels, it’s important to remember your team members are human. People get tired and they also have different techniques for getting work done.
Schedule breaks into your team’s day. Encourage them to take fresh air breaks and to leave their workspace to help clear their head. It may also be helpful to schedule the occasional team building activity during or after work hours to get to know each other on a personal level. These can be fun, relaxing, and a great way to build team camaraderie that increases the individual members’ desire to get the job done.
9. Account for various working styles.
Productivity isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” approach. Be flexible in the way you allow your team to get the job done. Remember that it’s more important for them to perform and execute than to adhere to a set of rules that have little to no impact on their end product.
If some team members work better collaboratively to solve problems, encourage them to seek out others to work with on a particular task. If others work better independently, allow them the freedom to do so with appropriate supervision.
10. Look into flexible working arrangements.
Every member of your team likely works differently and may even prefer a different physical space for where they work. Some prefer the structure of an office while others can find it distracting. According to one study, 65% of workers believe they would be more productive working remotely. It’s a particularly attractive arrangement for IT workers and developers who need only a phone, laptop and working internet connection to make it happen.
If you have the ability to do so, adopt a flexible attitude towards your team’s working arrangement. While the traditional way of thinking may dictate that all workers need to be in the same office to optimize productivity, this isn’t always the case. Allowing your team to skip a long morning commute and dedicate more time to completing their tasks can help increase their output and performance. Plus they may be happier, which also helps productivity.
By focusing on the steps outlined above, you can help increase productivity while also making your team happier and more effective at doing their jobs. All it takes is clear communication along with keeping an open mind to your team’s thoughts and concerns.