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Proven Ways to Improve IT Development Teams Productivity

07 September, 2021

Technology

Productivity has historically been an IT problem in many organizations. In fact, revolutionary IT business strategies have failed just because their IT development teams were inefficient.

Low productivity can be far-reaching and can cost your business a small fortune. 

Conversely, high productivity IT teams benefit companies with increased employee engagement and motivation, streamlined customer service, accelerated development, improved business outcomes, and more.

Having said that, it seems reasonable for IT leaders to take steps to improve their teams' productivity. 

To help you get started, here are proven ways to improve your IT development teams' productivity.

Use a Data-driven Approach

To reach the desired level of productivity, organizations need to identify loopholes in their IT team’s day-to-day operations.

It's going to be difficult to raise your productivity levels if you don't know what your levels are in the first place!

As such, it's critical to collect and analyze data around your IT team to understand where your team is at, to understand the areas that need improvement the most, and to have a benchmark for future efforts.

From there, you can start addressing the most pressing ones. Leverage engagement surveys that are relevant, actionable, and promote anonymity to get data.

If you can't identify your productivity roadblocks, it will be challenging to improve and sustain productivity.

Set Clear Goals and Assign Roles

It's easy to overlook the value of writing down business goals, objectives, and vision. 

Doing so, however, is a critical business strategy that enables clarity, direction, and purpose within IT teams. This process should be done with your team.

Define your SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) for your whole team to work in collaboration. 

You'll also need to break down this big goal into smaller milestones, outline the priorities and requirements, assign tasks, and brief each team member on how they can contribute. 

Every team members' roles and responsibilities must also align with their areas of expertise. Additionally, team members should set individual goals as you progressively undertake new projects. 

Having a personal goal that everyone can work towards greatly boosts productivity because it gives them a task to focus on. 

Implement Flawless Communication 

Productive IT development teams have a first-rate communication and collaboration ecosystem where information flows seamlessly within the team.

If your company is to reach new productivity benchmarks, your team must master the art of clear business communication. 

This calls for a central platform that organizes team projects and facilitates the different forms and categories of team communication. 

Of course, we're not talking about email but communication and collaboration tools like Slack, Trello, etc.

Ensure that everyone is kept updated with relevant information and that all communication is heard and understood. 

Equip Your Team With Tools and Resources They Need to Succeed

Effective team performance also comes down to equipping your team with the latest technologies and tools. 

Your IT development team is only as effective as the tools, resources, and systems at their disposal.

Lackluster or outdated tools will limit your enterprise's ability to operate efficiently, meet set goals and expectations and lead to a path of failure. If you want to maximize your IT team's output, investing in the right mix of tools is essential. 

Organizations must embrace modern approaches and methods like Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, DevOps, etc., to boost IT performance and navigate today's complex operating environment.  

Enterprises should deploy secure, user-friendly quality and rapid delivery solutions like automation, monitoring, management tools, or DevOps strategies like CI/CD to help your organization eliminate repetitive manual tasks that waste their time and irk them. 

Tools like Jenkins, Bamboo, Docker, Kubernetes, TeamCity, etc., help with automation while Jira, Microsoft Teams, slack, etc., help with team collaboration. 

That said, IT leaders should also involve their teams in the toolset decision-making process while leaving room for reviews and change.

Monitor IT Performance Levels

Even with solid planning, experienced teams, proven tools, and reasonable goals, many IT dev teams struggle to reach acceptable productivity levels. 

Often, this is due to failure to monitor the overall IT performance or focusing on the wrong KPIs. 

Let your KPI tools stick to evaluating critical success factors aligned to your organizational goals and customer needs as a general rule of thumb.

This approach also helps identify IT risks that can weigh down productivity and overall business goals.

Avoid Micromanagement

Organizations can only be highly productive and successful when every team member can embrace trust and accountability. 

This ensures that everyone focuses on doing their tasks to the best of their ability without needless oversight or support.

The fact that each individual is on your IT team means that you trust them. Micromanagement and unnecessary oversight are productivity killers. What's more, they limit creativity and self-esteem and allow subpar team performers to be overlooked.

 IT leaders must know how to actively assess and correct performance issues while not coming off as micromanagers. Slight oversight and supervision could cause your team to feel unsupported, lost, and unproductive. 

On the other hand, excessive micromanaging also results in unfruitfulness and friction.

Watch Out for Team of Burnout

Burnout is a reality that threatens team productivity. According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress costs U.S. companies over $300 billion annually due to accidents, absenteeism, diminished productivity, employee turnover, among other factors.

While diligent and dedicated team members are an asset, exhausted members, be it one or several, have a significant impact on the overall team productivity. 

To improve your chances of success, IT leaders should recognize and address burnout in themselves and their teams. They should also:

  • Monitor workloads and scheduling while avoiding short-notices
  • Provide employee assistance programs
  • Provide off-site working 0ptions
  • Promote work and life balance
  • Prioritize workplace wellness and fairness 
  • Encourage teams to go for vacations 
  • Abolish arbitrary rules 

Organizations that fail to recognize and tackle burnout, stress, or dissatisfaction among their teams risk low productivity and team member turnover— which negatively impact all business outcomes.

Provide and Welcome Feedback 

Feedback is essential to help your IT dev team stay on track. Ensure you check in with them when every milestone is reached to exchange feedback. 

This includes what they found difficult, your opinion about their work, what can be improved, areas that may need improvement, etc.

Providing feedback will ensure that workers don't lose their purpose in the bigger picture and accurately track their progress. In addition, leaders must know when to reward, celebrate or praise their team's accomplishments and failures.

Importantly, feedback is always a two-way process. IT managers must be open to receiving feedback. Some team members hold revolutionary ideas which may prove useful.

Offer Development Opportunities

Smart IT leaders motivate their workforce by offering skill development and advancement opportunities. When team members expand and deepen their knowledge, it trickles back to your organization. They can rise to the occasion and excel in their roles.

Organize scholarships, training, conferences, and professional events to align the individual's skills, knowledge, and behaviors to the business objectives. 

Create a Distraction-free Work Environment

Think about it. Every organization has different distractions that drive down productivity. Unfortunately, a UC Irvine study showed that it takes up to 23 minutes to recover from a distraction

While you can't completely avoid every distraction, you can greatly reduce your team's exposure to things that diverts their attention away. 

Restrict unnecessary movements, device communication, and meetings across your IT team members and other departments. 

This helps everyone focus on what matters with lesser periods of work interruption, which soars team productivity. You may also consider hybrid office spaces, which are ideal for catering to your diverse workforce instead of open spaces.

Eliminate Unimportant Meetings 

Approaching meetings differently is a top priority for IT teams that want to boost their productivity. Meetings that are unclear, repetitive, or seemingly endless lead to time wastage and team frustration.

To ensure productive communication while addressing the issue at hand, each meeting should:

  • Have an agenda and time limit
  • Be reserved on everyone's calendar except for emergencies 
  • End with an action plan for each team member

Actionable steps mean you only spend time discussing everyone's project progress and possible hindrances within your current undertaking. If you can, reduce the number of meetings and replace some with daily standup meetings.

Partner With a Trusted IT Support Company 

Increasing workplace productivity isn't about having your IT team doing more work. It's a journey aimed at creating positive and stimulating work environments.

Many times, this also means that you surround your team with external IT support. Partnering with experienced IT development specialists like Pronix provides an extra set of eyes to help recognize and crack productivity roadblocks that often go unnoticed.

You also get access to top talent, powerful tools, insights, and the latest industry trends designed to promote optimal team performance.

Want a head start? See how Pronix can help your companies address business productivity challenges through modern solutions.


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