How to Increase Productivity When Managing Projects in IT
Productivity is critical to a business's success. With companies racing to be the fastest to market, efficiency is more important than ever for software development teams. Capable and proficient teams will release more features, with better code quality, and at a quicker rate than their competitors. This is why it’s so important for product managers and tech leads to constantly strive to increase the productivity of their team of IT professionals.
Let’s look at some of the ways in which project managers can help software development teams achieve their best, most productive work.
1. Establish Clear and Measurable Goals to Increase Productivity
Goals are specific and measurable objectives the team wants to reach—and they’re invaluable in helping to increase productivity. These goals align with business objectives to ensure the project delivers something of value that meets the client’s needs.
When it comes to planning, goals are the foundation for determining tasks and milestones. For each goal, the tech/team lead specifies the tasks required to meet that goal. Managers also allocate team members to each of these undertakings and set deadlines for the respective jobs.
Project managers need well-defined goals. The SMART model—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based—is a good goal-planning framework to follow.
A goal must be specific in that it clearly states what needs to be accomplished and how. An example could be to “grow the number of monthly website visits by improving on-page search engine optimization.”
Measurable goals are also quantifiable. For example, “Increase the number of downloads of the mobile app by 20% by increasing ad spend for Facebook campaigns.”
Further, when managing projects, leaders must determine whether the goal is achievable, given the available resources. If not, they need to modify the goal to align with their existing capabilities.
Moreover, a relevant goal should also take the “why” into account. For instance, “Increase the number of downloads of the company app by 20% by increasing ad spend to Facebook campaigns. This is because mobile app users spend twice the time browsing the store catalog that web visitors do.” Lastly, time-based goals need to have a timeframe associated with them.
Using Metrics to Increase Productivity
Managers have several metrics they can use to evaluate team performance and increase productivity:
- First, code coverage determines how much of the source code executes when it is being tested. The higher the code coverage, the less debugging the team will have to perform.
- Next, cycle time shows the amount of time spent working on a task.
- Another valuable metric is velocity, which indicates how much work the team can complete within a sprint (usually a two-week cycle).
- Lastly, the sprint burndown measures how much work is completed during a sprint.
2. Develop a Communication Culture For Remote IT Teams
The recent pandemic abruptly forced teams into a remote work environment where traditional communication methods were no longer enough. Instead, they had to rely on remote channels, such as email, which made team communications inherently difficult, thus hindering productivity. As such, the spotlight fell on tech/team leads and their responsibility to ensure that employees enjoy the same collaboration opportunities—whether remote or face-to-face.
Remote work is challenging in that it largely relies on asynchronous communication. With this approach, employees send a message to a teammate without expecting an immediate response. Asynchronous communication destroys the opportunity for quick “cubicle huddles” that fuel collaboration and increase productivity. On the other hand, synchronous communication allows teammates to communicate in real-time using tools such as chats or video. The benefit of synchronous communication is that employees get feedback immediately. Thankfully, there are various strategies that can help overcome communication problems.
To break down communication barriers among remote teams, managers must provide tools that empower the team to collaborate at a moment’s notice. For example, instant messaging tools are great for synchronous communication as teammates get feedback without having to wait. Another essential tool is a video meeting platform where the team gathers in a virtual conference room.
3. Create a Collaborative Workflow for Nearshore Teams
Large IT projects require frequent communication, mutual trust, and regular status updates. This is essential to creating a collaborative workflow and increasing productivity, making the partnership mutually beneficial and fruitful. Here are some of the best ways to establish a collaborative relationship with a nearshore development team to boost the impact of your IT project as a whole.
Firstly, keep meetings regular, but brief. Consider a 15-minute “daily scrum” where team members share information on the latest developments. For instance, what has been achieved since the last meeting, what needs to be done before the next meeting, and what potential obstacles might arise. These meetings are critical to maintaining project momentum.
Further, make the most of chat tools such as Slack or Wrike, which are far more useful and productive than emails and phone calls. Backlog meetings are another key feature of team communication that helps keep everyone on the same page as regards project requirements, product development/backlogs, and estimates.
Finally, make sure to hold sprint reviews to assess how software engineers are progressing with the product. This is where you get to make sure that the development project aligns with your vision.
4. Offer Professional Development Opportunities
Professional development can take several forms, all with the same purpose—upskill employees, improve their confidence, and increase productivity. Training is a way to advance employees’ skills and increase their opportunities for promotion. At the same time, professional development also benefits the company because it keeps team skills up-to-date.
Some of the common career development opportunities are free and can be incorporated into daily activities. First, in pair programming, one person is the “driver," and the other is the “navigator." The driver controls the keyboard and writes code. The navigator observes and watches for accuracy. This approach is especially helpful for improving problem-solving skills and helps new software developers acclimate to the team. Next, code reviews are when developers review and evaluate each other’s code. The goals are to promote collaboration, give developers feedback on their work from experienced team members, and improve their coding abilities.
These approaches do not replace traditional methods, such as virtual training sessions. However, many of these courses are self-paced, and employees can train from any location with an internet connection.
Use Growin to Increase Productivity
Efficiency is key to the successful delivery of software products. To optimize competence, teams and project managers must continually find ways to increase productivity. This is especially important in remote working environments, where communication can be challenging. Leaders can do a lot to improve productivity by providing functional communication platforms that foster virtual collaboration. These platforms should also help establish a streamlined workflow, facilitating consistent and frictionless communication between everyone on the project.
Growin is an IT consultancy group that can help increase your productivity by hiring expert talent and building nearshore development teams. With a nearshore development team, you can take advantage of different time zones to increase productivity—and keep the project moving when your team is offline.
Contact Growin today to find out how our software development services can help make your team more efficient and productive!