Productivity has always been one of those things that I feel strongly about when it comes to running a business.
Now you talk about giving people the right tools and finding the right job role for them all day long, but the one thing that never fails to increase a team’s productivity in my experience comes down to processes.
Let me give you an example.
Several years ago we had a little problem here at OpenCRM. Our sales team and our projects team would get annoyed at each other because each one thought that it was the other team’s responsibility to get the real nitty-gritty details of a development specification.
So basically, someone would come to us, wanting some development doing and our sales team would spec it out and then pass it over to the projects team to iron out all the real nitty-gritty details, i.e. what the new fields would be called, where they would sit on the page, etc.
The sales person thought that, by understanding how the new development would work, their job was done. The projects team thought that a new piece of work would only land on their desk when it was all mapped out and ready to go.
They were both wrong.
We found that by analysing the process that getting the specification for a new piece of development needed our sales and projects team to work together much more closely than they previously had to get it right the first time.
By looking at a process where our productivity wasn’t as good as other places in the business, we found missed communications and blurred ideas of responsibility. I spoke to the people involved and we introduced new steps in the process to clear all of this stuff up.
And now it works better than ever from start to finish.
But it goes beyond just that one process. The productivity of the whole development cycle started to improve. Our developers had clearer plans to follow and the dialogue between our project managers and customers was smoother.
It’s like I said at the beginning, having the right people and tools for the job is important, but you’ve got to make sure your processes are working for you if you want to improve your productivity.