If only you had more hours in the days….or more dedicated project resource, right?! These are common issues when running a project. But increasing a project’s output shouldn’t always be about working longer or working harder, but instead working smarter. For starters, every discussion doesn’t need to be a meeting and every comment doesn’t need to be an email. Shortcuts aren’t always a bad thing when it comes to project administration and documentation. In fact, software actively now supports automation of such tasks to free up project resource to focus on the real project work. Allow us to take you through some of the project areas where small changes can make big differences to project productivity.
1. Setting up a project:
Project productivity starts right at the beginning. We believe there are efficiencies to be made as soon as a project receives sign off such as:
Integration of systems
Getting up and running on a project can take up unnecessary time, which can be the source of frustrations when stakeholders are keen to get started. If you want to hit the deck running, then ensure the business’ CRM talks directly into it’s project management software or Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool. This saves double handling between sales and the delivery team, a steady flow of information and a smooth experience for the client. At Mission Control, our system is native to Salesforce, meaning by simply marking an Opportunity as ‘won’, a project will be auto generated. This means all relevant information is carried across, so the project team is fully informed from the offset.
Use existing IP
It’s likely your business has run projects before so instead of reinventing the wheel each time, lean into the IP that’s already there. This relies less on individuals to consider each critical stage of the project and instead collates information from across the business. Save time by generating a project with Mission Control’s Project Request feature. Simply create a project from a template or custom build one pulling in key aspects from others. This saves time and ensures nothing is missed. For custom projects, when it’s all finished, simply save as a Project Template for future reference.
2. Running a project
A critical part of effective project management is data – capturing, tracking and learning from it. These insights allow us to continually improve project delivery and implementation. But capturing that all-important data, if not done smartly, can significantly add to project time and directly impact overall productivity…and profitability. This is where automation comes in – the more project admin you can automate, the better!
Automate the admin:
Perhaps one of our favorite automation features, Mission Control’s Meeting Manager, automatically records time for everyone who attends scheduled meetings. It’s that simple! This means no discrepancies in how long the meeting ran for and no timesheet admin for the meeting attendees, allowing them to focus their efforts on any actions resulting from the meeting instead. Another key benefit of Meeting Manager is the collaboration it supports. By capturing key meeting discussions (and outcomes of), it becomes a valuable resource in always keeping the team up-to-date – without the need for multiple discussions to get up to speed.
Tracking time is essential to know how efficiently a project is running. It also helps to identify where productivity is low and where there are potential areas for improvement. Mission Control’s Timesheet function provides a hub for the project team to see what time they have available to them and what tasks are due in a given week. Time can also be added via our Case Integration function which automatically aligns Cases with Actions to save doubling up on data entry. A project’s overall time performance can then be viewed as a snapshot in the PMO dashboard to see your Cost Performance Index (CPI) and Schedule Performance Index (SPI) drawing on data like billable vs non-billable hours against budget. This can be viewed at an overall project team level or go right down to individual task as needed.
Break it down
Research suggests that the average person is productive for just 2 hours and 53 minutes in an average 8 hour work day. So, you don’t want your project team using up unnecessary brain power on tasks like ‘to-do’ lists and task prioritization. That productive window should be focused on the hard tasks – where project resource can bring their true expertise. Mission Control’s Daily Digest delivers a personalized list of actions for the day ahead so there’s no unnecessary thinking time spent figuring out what needs to be done. And because it’s daily, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming, just manageable smaller tasks that all contribute to the overall project delivery. Furthermore, they can apply filters to key productivity features such as the Kanban Whiteboard and Action Pad so they always see the actions they’re responsible for.
Consider your communication channels
Meetings are a great way to collaborate but can also be a source of lost productivity by taking team resource ‘off the tools’ and into a broader discussion. Consider if it needs everyone involved, could it be a stand-up meeting or is it a quick IM with a project colleague? The key to boosting productivity through communication is making sure everyone has the right information, at the right time – no more, and no less. At the start of a project, ensure everyone on the project is clear on what channels are to be used for what purpose. This eliminates confusion and sets expectations for the all-important flow of information. Being built natively on the Salesforce Platform, Mission Control leverages Chatter throughout, ensuring you and your team can collaborate in context of the specific area of the project that needs attention.
3. Project debrief
Understanding where productivity was high and where it might need improvement moving forward is essential to be able to continually evolve a business’ project management offering. Perhaps productivity could be improved by reviewing certain processes, introducing business cadences or upskilling certain project resources. The right data and insights will allow your business to make an informed decision to boost productivity based on your circumstances.
Lose the complacency
If projects are delivered on time and on budget, it’s easy to adopt an ‘if it ain’t broke’ mindset. At Mission Control, we believe in always asking; ‘is there a better way?’ This doesn’t mean change for change’s sake but rather always looking at how to improve and grow as both professionals and businesses. The industries which we operate in are continually changing and the reality is the way we manage our projects needs to adapt accordingly. We love Mission Control’s PMO dashboard for the top-level information which it serves about a project’s performance. All project KPIs are captured here – from billable hours through to milestone timeframes – allowing you to compare actual performance versus anticipated performance. It’s here you’ll be able to gain true visibility on areas for productivity improvement.
Boosting project productivity doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul in how your organization runs a project. With small changes and tweaks here and there, your entire team can benefit from improved and more consistent productivity. Chat to our team today about how our tools could support greater productivity for your next project.