Staying productive in today’s environment can be quite challenging given the number of ever-present distractions, right at our fingertips. Social media, mobile games, chat apps, the internet … all these can either help or harm our daily output. As such, team productivity faces similar challenges; if one or two people aren’t actively contributing, the entire team is affected.
As a business owner/manager, one of your main responsibilities is ensuring that your team’s productivity is constantly optimized and that they crush their daily goals, every single day.
So; how do you help every software developer on your team go above and beyond their required daily output?
How Important is Productivity?
Productivity is defined as the amount of output you produce per unit of input. A productive software developer will often have several advantages going for them including; better office benefits, personal satisfaction, higher pay, the boss’s favor, and even increased popularity among their peers.
The sooner it takes them to complete the development process, the better it is for their respective company—especially considering the fact that competition is always fierce, all the time. Faster companies will always have an edge over their competitors.
Quality is important, but so is consistency and regularity. Go too long without producing new products, and you risk your consumers losing interest.
Thankfully, there are many ways to increase the speed of development without sacrificing the quality of the output. Instead of increasing the number of developers on your team or increasing required work hours to 10 or 12 a day, you can turn to tools, outsourcing, and other such strategies to keep both quality and production rate high. You should also look into business systems and models that allow your developers to get the most out of their standard workdays.
Ultimately, it’s the team members that will define the team’s overall productivity. The ideal software developer is one who solves problems quickly and more efficiently than others. But of course, realistically speaking, they’re still human beings. They can’t be 100% perfect, 100% of the time. As the manager, you need to help manage their productivity levels.
Here are 7 of the best ways to do so.
Giving proper feedback is a skill you need to master and a habit you need to get in to. Regularly informing your employees of their performance, their status, and ways they can improve can significantly improve their productivity level—as long as it’s said in a way that encourages and challenges them to do better. Putting them down for mistakes or making them feel like they’re lacking in anyway is not constructive criticism; it’s just criticism, and it can potentially be detrimental to your team.
Proper feedback one of the cornerstones of effective team management.
That doesn’t necessarily mean feedback should always be positive, though, because then that cannot be considered management. You just need to communicate thoughtfully and be aware of your language choice when you give both compliments and corrections.
Nurture a Supportive Environment
There are many ways to offer valuable support to your employees. For instance, you can provide emotional support when they’re unfairly criticized or ostracized. You can provide material support, such as upgrading their equipment or providing newer models. You can also provide lifestyle support by allowing a more flexible, output-based schedule if the employee asks for a better work-life balance.
As the manager, you nurturing a supportive environment sets an example for your employees to follow. They will, in turn, learn to be supportive of each other, ultimately boosting overall team morale.
Lead by Example
There’s nothing more demoralizing than seeing senior leaders misbehave in the workplace. Employees are often energized and inspired when they see a leader who not only talks the talk, but is also perfectly capable of walking the walk. On the flip side, a difficult, hypocritical authority figure can incite nothing but fear, resentment, or—worst of all—a complete lack of respect. As a manager, it’s important to remember that employees and fellow managers are always watching. If you want to inspire a productive workplace, you need to lead by example.
Appeal to Employees Emotionally
The management should never withhold recognition and praise when it’s needed the most. There are actually people who believe that recognition is an even more powerful motivator than money. In fact, many would agree that emotional support can provide the broadest gains not only for the employee but also for the entire organization.
Provide Incentivized Opportunities
Employees at all levels need to have economic incentives if you want to increase productivity. It’s not unusual for the management to only focus on the economic incentives of senior-level partners. Oftentimes, this oversight can make newer employees and junior-level colleagues feel slighted and undervalued. Although seniority is a sign of dedication and loyalty, you should still give credit if credit is due. If lower-level members work just as hard as those above them and produce excellent results, you should encourage that level of work-ethic as best as you see fit. That is, of course, if you expect them to continue this intense commitment to the success of the company.
Set Expectations for Each Team Member
Gather your team members and have a 1-on-1 conversation with each of them. During your meeting, discuss the priorities and determine their roles. Don’t forget to mention their expected contribution to easily reach the team’s goal.
By having these conversations frequently, you can give feedback to people when it comes to managing their time more effectively. It also lets every single software developer in your team to further improve the way they work.
If they begin to feel overwhelmed, pushed, or stressed, the tension will show—which is you need to touch base with them every so often.
Some experts recommend that the management reduce the number of meetings to increase productivity. However, you still need to make sure that information can flow smoothly within the team. One way to do that is by ensuring that communication is done through one channel only. It should not be fragmented to prevent confusion.
Take note: e-mail should not be your main communication channel. Finding information effectively is difficult if everyone talks through a cluttered e-mail thread. Instead, you need a user-friendly messaging app like Slack, Rocket chat, Hipchat, and so on.
Ultimately, productivity can make—or break—a business. The presence of it promises success, whereas the lack of it can be worrisome and ominous. As an owner/manager, it’s up to you to ensure every day productivity is always optimal. You therefore need to learn to implement systems and procedures that encourage it while simultaneously finding solutions to neutralize systems that detract from it.