As a project manager, one of your core duties is ensuring your team stays productive on projects. And while every project manager has a different philosophy on how best to manage a team’s productivity, there are common threads among them that serve as an excellent starting point for developing your productivity strategies to improve team efficiency. Check out the tips below to help you and your team improve project productivity.
Lay out projects in advance (and set priorities early).
Also known as the Planning phase of a project, devising project layouts in advance lets you look at a project’s big picture and will help you prioritize deliverables according to team availability, capacity, and priorities. Tasks and workflows can be subject to change, but the more concrete you can get this project plan, the better.
Write down all the required project deliverables to be completed, then break those down into smaller tasks and go from there. Whether you prefer using to-do lists, kanban boards, waterfall visualizations, Gantt charts, or something else, pre-planning projects like this will make it easier for you to manage risks and keep team productivity as the project progresses.
Set clear goals for stakeholders.
Open communication and clear goals for your project team members can make or break the productivity of a project. At a project’s kickoff meeting and subsequent stand-ups, be sure that each member of the project team leaves knowing precisely what their action items and priorities are. People work better when they can clearly visualize the objective towards which they’re working, so ensuring everyone knows what’s expected of them is a surefire way to improve team productivity.
Know what motivates your project team.
We often think of project management strictly as a set of theories and practices to ensure project success. Still, so much of project management is about people and how you, as a project manager, can motivate those around you to do their best work. Do you have a colleague on your team who is feedback-focused? Make sure to thank them for something specific that they contributed to the project. Maybe you have a task on a project that lies outside the scope of a team member’s typical duties, but you know it aligns with their future career goals. Ask if they’d like to be responsible for that task to get some experience. Knowing how to make your project members excited to work on a project is essential to cultivating a more motivated team.
Collect data on projects past and present.
Another core aspect of project management (and a great way to improve team productivity over time) is looking at project results and data and making improvements based on that information. This is most easily examined by utilizing a project management platform (like Asana) or records to see which deliverables took the most time to create and why, which phases required the most work and other metrics that will help you design project plans in the future. Remember that data is neutral and essential – if something didn’t work or took longer than expected, you don’t have to see that as a negative. Instead, think of that information as advice for how to execute projects in the future. For example, perhaps you underestimated how long it would take to build a webpage for an event associated with the project; you’ll now take that information with you to give that task ample time in the future.
If you’re considering a project management career, the Asana Project Management Certificate from Pathstream gives you the essential education you need to excel in a project management career. Students in the program will learn what it takes to execute a few items on this list (like project planning and using project management software) and more project management techniques taught by field-qualified professionals.