How to Maximize Your Project Team’s Productivity
By Kerry Wills
These days it seems like there is way too much work to do. Therefore as professionals and leaders, it is our job to look for ways to maximize the team’s productivity. Here are a few examples of techniques that I have used to organize my teams and improve their productivity.
- Set the context – When there are nebulous discussions or decisions that need to get made I find that oftentimes there are countless meetings where a lot of dialogue is made, but not much progress. Therefore I find that setting the context for the decision is really helpful. This includes using decision tools such as a QFD where criteria are documented and then each option is weighed against that. Other techniques can include facilitating the team to focus on relevant facts and not discussing other things.
Clear accountabilities – Identifying who owns pieces of work can avoid duplicate work where many people ‘own’ something and perform similar tasks. The irony is the more people who own something the less that gets done (“if everyone owns it then no one owns it”)
Clean meetings – Keeping meetings clean means uninviting people from the meetings who don’t need to be there. Often times we want to invite everyone just in case but usually ancillary people only get a few minutes of value from the meeting vs doing work back at their desks. It also means keeping meetings focused so you don’t need more follow up meetings.
Take your laptop – I find that bringing my laptop to meetings helps for me to document decisions and templates as we speak. It is inefficient to (1) write it down and then (2) document it.
Non-value time – Find those activities which your team are doing that are not directly helping the team to progress and get rid of them. This can include not doing them, moving them to less critical resources or finding easier ways to meet the goals.
As project managers our primary goal is to make sure that we maximize the effectiveness of every team member to meet our shared commitments. We need to remember this as we focus on our daily project administration. It is amazing how being organized and thoughtful as a leader can result in hundreds of project team members being more productive. We need to recognize that we have this impact and influence.
Kerry Wills is a proven Program Manager/Portfolio Manager with an extensive background in Project Management, consulting, and application development. Kerry has consistently demonstrated the ability to plan and implement large and complex projects on time and on/under budget. Kerry runs a blog, Adventures in Project Management.