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How teams become productivity champions in 2016

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Project management is evolving. Big data, convenient tools and an increasing adoption of cloud technology, analysis and data collection is now within reach like nothing we have seen before. The idea is to make smarter and more informed decisions, faster. Get rid of hurdles, focus on what is important and let software do an increasing amount of the boring and repetitive work. Many managers can already for example leverage the data derived from work within their organisations to help their employees increase productivity and improve leadership.

The development and new capabilities doesn’t go unnoticed. Project managers and business leaders are fully aware of the value it can bring, with a staggering 96% of business leaders believing that this technology drives efficiency.

In today’s dynamic working environment and with the plethora of technological tools available, project management and collaborative work can also be a tremendous challenge. What should you focus on in 2016 to best use technology in order to get things done with your team and achieve your goals.

Obstacles of collaborative work
Our Chaos Theory research study highlights the consequences of inefficient ways of working, which can cost organisations up to approximately 20 working days every year in wasted time. What’s more, this follow-up study demonstrates that those within a business that are most likely to suffer as a result of wasteful practices are employees (57%) and customers (48%). Inefficient processes can also have serious implications in the long term, affecting an organisation’s growth and bottom line.

One of the issues hindering teams’ productivity is that employees need a number of tools so they can implement cross-organisational initiatives, including numerous intranets and applications. This often causes fragmentation amongst teams and their communications, and results in wasted time and duplicated efforts. As more and more people collaborate on a single project, keeping up with tasks and deliverables becomes a challenge.

Managing workloads in world of distributed teams
A crucial aspect for many teams’ success, is that workloads within the teams are effectively managed. That is necessary to deliver value and a key for many to exceed expectations.

An example of this may be when a project manager plans out the team’s day counting on 100% availability, when in reality employees may have crucial commitments related to other projects, meetings, training sessions or holidays which shrinks their workload capacity. Ultimately, this inability to overview real workload can have negative effects on projects, resulting in them not being delivered on time or on budget.

Work smarter not harder
In a bring your own software (BYOS) world, where data is spread over several sources instead of being located in just one data source, online workspace or primary dashboard, managers ultimately will waste time looking through a number of sources so they can find the necessary information and understand what employees are working on. This lack of visibility and insight, creates difficulties when prioritising tasks, allocating work and ultimately motivating your team.

Nowadays, managers are increasingly expected to work harder in addition to taking on extra responsibilities. In fact, every second project manager is taking on tasks outside of the main role, meaning less time is spent on actually managing projects. The spread of global teams and new technological advances mean that if the way they work does not change, chaos will pursue in the form of missed deadlines and delayed or diminished return on investment.
So how to do it then? How to tackle distributed teams, on numerous ever-changing platforms? To conclude, don’t fight the trend.

Start by evaluating how to make the BYOS trend work for you and your team; how can your specific set of tools be integrated? What data can be shared? Can we make use of usage data? In many cases there are integrations already prepared.

In this fast changing world, 2016 is the year to begin to master workload management. Strive for balancing your team and minimizing the damage from bottlenecks. Software dedicated to support this task is starting to emerge, and here’s how it can be used in project management.

By eliminating outdated tools and finding new unified processes and solutions project managers can leverage their most important asset – their teams - to become productivity champions.

This blog is written and sponsored by Planview.


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