If you manage a team, you’re probably well aware of the invisible threat of downtime and overtime in your schedule. Unproductive or non billable time can mean big losses for your business, but how can you try to limit it? Productivity is never an accident, but can be cultivated with minimal stress. The right project management system can go a long way in helping you uncover and eliminate unproductive time effectively. Here are 5 ways that project management systems can help your business achieve optimal productivity.
The first step to improving your team's billing time is to find what productivity tools will work for you. It’s important to decide how your productivity can be measured and benchmarked - you’ll want to target a few key metrics that are important to your business.
This article from the Harvard Business Review archives gives some insights into how this can be done. One of the key examples the author provides is labour hours per output, which could work for your business.
While you can spend the time working on your productivity calculation and collecting data, project management systems will do the heavy lifting for you with plenty of productivity measurement tools inbuilt. WorkGuru has real time metrics that you can use to measure productivity without stress. With a plethora of recorded metrics to choose from, a good project management system will give you all the data you need to benchmark and measure in real time.
The problem with a lot of productivity measuring techniques is access to data. Having to manually compile and compare timesheets, invoices, hard costs and other data can be a huge time sink and an opportunity for mistakes - that’s if all the information is available in the first place.
Having a complete project management system means that all the information is already at your fingertips. There is no need to pull data from multiple sources, or even analyse and compare manually. With easy to use dashboards you can quickly assess how many hours were put into a project compared to how much was charged for to easily see if your team is producing a profit with their labour.
With all the info you need ready for analysis, you and your team can use metrics collected on each and every project to understand what works well and what often goes wrong. Uncovering these pitfalls is key to understanding how your productivity can be increased.
Looking at your projects can help you see if there are any tasks that repeatedly take much longer than expected. Identifying this is the first step to solving the problem, from here you can create a list of possible solutions to enact - a “productivity to-do list” for your business. Perhaps there are more efficient ways to perform the task and the time taken can be reduced, or the task is far more complex than predicted and it is necessary to bill more.
Once you have enacted the changes necessary, you can use your metrics to measure the improvement. Because this data is being recorded as part of your everyday business you can get a passive look at your day-to-day operations easily and with no disruption.
While you are managing your productivity within your projects, a project management system can also help you manage your pipeline to try to minimise downtime. With a constant visualisation of the work coming in, you can make informed decisions around how hard to chase new work, or how many staff members you need to have on rostered on for the coming week. Because you’ll have an idea of the work coming in, you will be able to minimise your team’s downtime.
If you are in a position where you are unable to fill downtime with billable work, being able to predict this ahead of time means that you can input other activities, like team building meetings or brainstorming sessions to generate new work.
Effective project management systems help eliminate downtime by reducing the admin between billable work. By automating many administrative tasks and making it much faster and easier for staff to enter information needed, your team’s time is freed up to produce more output. This means more completed projects and more revenue generated each day.
For example, the stock management side of WorkGuru helps save your team time by integrating stock and projects together. This allows your team to draw down from stock in a few clicks, while automatically updating how much stock is now available, and how much the project is costing based on the parts used. This keeps your systems up-to-date and accurate with little human intervention.
If you think that project management systems could help your business, reach out to WorkGuru for a demo today.
Alternatively, read more about how your productivity can be improved in our recent blog: 5 Ways Tracking Time Makes You More Productive