The success of a business project relies heavily on a number of factors: individual and collective expertise of the team members, budget, resources, communication, and productivity among other things. Productivity, however, is becoming a serious concern for many project-based firms.
According to a recent productivity survey by VoucherCloud that interviewed nearly 2,000 employees, the average office worker in the United Kingdom is productive for just 2 hours and 23 minutes. This study pertains to employees who do office work such as typing documents, taking calls, printing files, and setting appointments.
A separate research on work-life balance by RescueTime, this time focusing on US-based knowledge workers (those that work with information), echoed an almost similar result. Knowledge workers in the US are productive for just 2 hours and 48 minutes.
Unproductive workers and lost hours form a problematic mix for any business organization and its clients. Team members who slack negatively affect the overall efficiency of the group. Aside from the huge financial setback, this concoction of problems results in multiple delays, poor quality of work, and dissatisfaction of clients.
But with the right project management software, firms have a solid answer to many productivity issues and can further empower their workers to deliver their best work at all stages of the project from planning and execution to realization and delivery.
1. Plan With Quality
To make your team members productive from start to finish, you need to establish a project plan right from the beginning. And that plan has to have a high degree of quality. You have to sit down with your team members, upper management, and your clients to discuss thoroughly the details of the project.
The goals of the project must be established from the beginning. Together with other involved parties, you can perform various project estimation techniques such as analogous estimating to create viable estimates for costs, resources, and schedule.
As the plan becomes more defined, everyone involved in the project will have their roles and responsibilities established and made known to other team members, superiors, and stakeholders. All project information, goals, schedule, roles, and protocols are centralized in the project management software that members can access securely whenever needed.
Solid planning coupled with absolute transparency empowers employees. They become extremely motivated and, therefore, productive.
2. Document Every Development
One of the many benefits of project management software is that it allows you to set and document every change made to the overall plans and goals. Majority of project plans, if not all, undergo several changes and adjustments as they progress. Changes to plans occur for several reasons, including delays due to late approvals, internal reorganization, additional tasks, and new goals.
It is critical for project managers to keep all these changes documented and members notified. Documentation makes it easy for members to review the new information. It also simplifies the auditing process as it helps create an audit trail. Documentation of project developments allows project managers to perform and/or repeat several critical processes such as project cost estimation and justify requests for additional funds, members, and extension.
3. Focus on High-Priority Tasks
An employee can be highly protective at the individual level. But if he is working fast and furious on less important tasks and oblivious to the scheme of things, he can cause bottlenecks that seriously hamper the overall performance and efficiency of the entire team. In such situations, the importance of project management tools can’t be stressed enough.
A reliable project management solution helps boost team productivity by helping team managers create effective workflows and regularly notify members of which tasks take priority attention. The software automatically notifies members when a milestone has been achieved or when a deadline is fast approaching. Thus, it motivates them to be not just as productive as individual operators but also work with a keen awareness of the big picture.
4. Find and Eliminate Wasteful Activities
Megan Holstein, a former software company CEO and currently a personal development and productivity coach, is no stranger to productivity issues. In a 2018 Medium.com article she wrote, Holstein emphasized that being productive is not just being able to finish more tasks; rather it’s being able to free up more time by decreasing the amount of time expended on wasteful activities.
Thus, project managers, leaders, and employees must not only focus on trying to finish more tasks. They must work together and dig deep down into their workflows and practices to identify and root out activities that gobble much of their working time to become truly productive.
One effective way to do that is to block sites and apps that impede productivity. Most popular project management software solutions are equipped with productivity tools such as site blockers and random screen capture to keep workers focused on their tasks and prevent them from spending working hours unproductively.
Pick the Right Project Management Software
Project management solutions have proven to help increase productivity in the workplace. Investing in a project management software is a big decision that, when done right, will pay handsome dividends almost immediately.
It is important that you start your search by doing extensive research, reading reliable and updated project management software comparison articles from trusted websites, and asking for recommendations from your peers. Once you have a grasp of what your organization needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with software vendors and know more.