If you’re Cosmo Spacely and need to measure the productivity of one of your sprocket production teams, you have an easy task. All you have to do is figure out how many shippable sprockets the team produces in a given time period.
If you really want to get fancy, you can even figure out numbers like how many sprockets each employee produces per hour, or how much revenue the team generates per employee.
In the non-Jetsons real world, project managers and small business leaders face a much more complicated task when attempting to measure team productivity.
While project management software can help measure and improve team productivity, forward-thinking project managers need to take a more holistic approach.
For one thing, your business model is much more complicated (and real) than Spacely’s Sprockets.
For another: True team productivity can’t be measured by sheer output alone.
A holistic approach to team productivity
Most small business leaders and project managers want to think the best of their teams, but without an honest assessment those teams could be woefully underproductive, or causing each other to miss their organizational goals.
By focusing on improving communication, positivity, efficient time use, and customer satisfaction, project leaders can significantly improve team productivity.
Here’s an example. Say you have a top performer who exceeds their personal goals every quarter, but their negative attitude drags everyone around them down, and they refuse to help their co-workers get better by sharing information.
On the surface, this employee appears to be highly productive, but their net effect is dragging the team’s productivity down.
Why you need a big-picture team productivity report
Your team has a diverse range of talents to tackle a complex array of challenges. Your team members have good days and bad days, go on vacation, and have children. Their productivity might slow down while they learn new skills, then exceed previous productivity levels when they get back up to speed.
These are all good things. They’re the hallmarks of a thriving, growing business.
But this doesn’t mean that you can just say, “It takes different strokes to move the world” and leave your team to roam freely.
You still need to gauge their productivity so you can identify areas for improvement, help team members who need it, and reward top performers. And you need to do so in a way that helps your business grow, without requiring you to babysit your employees.
There is a place for specific, metrics-based production tracking for your industry, and which metrics you track depends on whether your team is selling business software, or writing code, or producing sprockets.
But you also need a big picture look at your team’s productivity that isn’t based on industry-specific metrics. The point of this exercise (including the interactive survey below) is to get a wide-angle view of your team’s overall productivity wellness.
What makes a productive team?
To obtain an overall productivity report, we’ll gauge your team health in a series of indicative metrics around collaboration, revenue, customer satisfaction, time tracking, and team mood.
Free team productivity report
So now that you know what goes into team productivity, let’s see how your team is doing.
Download and complete this questionnaire to see where your team stands.
How’d you do?
- If your team productivity is in good shape, that’s great. Keep reading, learning, and doing what you’re doing to foster a positive environment where your team can communicate and collaborate and use their time effectively.
- If this exercise was a wake-up call, though, don’t be discouraged. Productive teams start with good leadership, and good leaders recognize when changes need to be made.
Can you think of any general indicators of team productivity that this survey didn’t address? I’m eager to hear your feedback on how project managers can build more productive, happier teams. Connect with me on Twitter at @AndrewJosConrad.
Whether your team is like a group of Spacely’s finest after a space retreat, or a bumbling group of clowns from Cogswell’s Cogs, our project management blog is jam-packed with the latest insights on team productivity to help you improve.
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