5 Ways to Improve Team Productivity Each Project Manager Should Try [Guest Post]
As a project manager, it can be a huge challenge to keep the team motivated and on schedule. That is why one of the most important skills a project manager can learn is how to boost productivity and get the job done quickly and accurately.
There are many different techniques that can be used, and it would be near impossible to mention all of them.
Instead, here is a selection of five different ways to improve team productivity. The list purposefully covers quite a broad spectrum of ideas since every team is different and what works for one may not work with another. Some of the ideas are fairly basic such as observing your team to find out their preferred working environment while others are more elaborate, incentive-based techniques designed to motivate the team.
Which style do you think fits your team? Let’s take a closer look.
5 Ways to Improve Team Productivity
1. Learn How Your Team Works Best
One of the best ways any project manager can boost productivity in their team is to learn how they work best. This means figuring out how they prefer to communicate with each other, what collaboration tools they prefer to use, or even the hours they like to work.
Some people are more productive if they can start a little later in the mornings so making those kinds of allowances for your team could drastically increase their work output.
You may notice team members may occasionally need a distraction-free environment, so providing a quiet room or some good noise canceling headphones could be the answer!
There are many different ways to find out what makes your team tick. Why not try an informal chat over a daily snack break or weekly team lunch?
2. Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management strategy created by Francesco Cirillo. It is a useful technique project managers can share with their team to help limit procrastination and increase productivity. To get the most out of the Pomodoro Technique, project managers should encourage everyone in the team to follow the same core guidelines. The basics of the technique are as follows:
- Choose a task from your to-do list
- Work steadily on that task for 25 minutes solid
- Take a short 5-minute break
- Work for another 25 minutes before taking another short break
- Once 4 full 25-minute bursts of work have been completed take a longer 30-minute break
- Start the process again from the beginning.
The idea behind the technique is that scheduled breaks encourage employees to work faster and more productively during their work periods. The longer break is an opportunity for them to restore energy and refocus on a new task.
The Pomodoro Technique has been proven to cut down on time-sucking distractions and those who use it often achieve more in their work day than when they don’t use it.
It is also a great way for project managers to monitor how their team is working, allowing them to pinpoint areas that need improvement.
3. Encourage Communication and Teamwork Through Activities
One of the biggest obstacles when it comes to productivity is poor communication. Often this lack of communication can stem from team members who are not cooperating or who do not have trust in their colleagues. If this is the case, then you may find it beneficial to organize team activities to try and build up a sense of camaraderie in the team.
There are lots of different team building activities to choose from, but to truly increase productivity it is best to choose activities which reflect the areas that the team most needs to work on. For example, athletic activities can foster a more competitive spirit within the team, while social activities will help them get to know each other on a more personal level which can, in turn, build a more close-knit team.
Team activities or outings can also be used as incentives to encourage the team to reach targets. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something big like a team golf outing.
Even simple treats and rewards like buying everyone pizza when they work late to meet a deadline or making sure there are coffee and donuts available during a difficult phase in the project can be enough of an incentive to push your team to be more productive.
When people feel appreciated at work they are more likely to give it their all.
4. Outsource Time Consuming Tasks
Another great way to boost team productivity is to outsource some time-consuming task, leaving your team members free to continue with other parts of the project. For example, once a team member has drafted a report, you could send it out to a professional proof-reader or editor to polish it to perfection.
Your team might be experts in their particular field, but perhaps they are not the best writers. Thankfully, there are lots of reputable online providers, like Essay Tigers, who offer these services.
Other tasks you might want to outsource include data entry, general admin, and research tasks.
5. Lead by Example
Finally, if you want your team to be more productive, then you may need to lead by example. Many project managers fail because they set themselves too far above the rest of the team. The hallmark of a great leader is a willingness to get their hands dirty. If you want employees to be productive and efficient then show them what is expected of them by doing it yourself.
A project manager who can inspire a team to learn from them will always get more out of their employees than one who simply barks orders at them.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that once you snag that managerial position, your days of hard graft are in the past, but this is not the case. In fact, this is when the hard work really starts! What can you do to inspire your team today?
In conclusion, these are just a few of the strategies that project managers can try to give their team’s productivity a boost. However, if you find that these are not getting the results you had hoped for, do not lose heart – there are many other techniques that we haven’t mentioned here. Every team is different, and it could take a little bit of trial and error to find what works best for you. Once you hit on the right combination of techniques you will be able to maximize productivity, so it is well worth taking a chance on trying some of the options that have been mentioned here.
Guest Author Bio
Stacey Wonder is a content marketer who manages the team of bloggers and copywriters for Essay Tigers, the writing service. Stacey puts in much effort to educate the members of her team and help them develop their professional skills. She believes that each employee is able to complete tasks correctly and before the deadline, if the PM provides him or her with accurate and clear instructions.