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11 ways to improve your IT team's productivity

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Feb. 7, 2014
CIOs as well as other IT leaders and productivity experts share their top tips for improving workflow and getting the most out of your IT teams

Furthermore, "CIOs can improve the organization's efficiency by implementing a platform-agnostic solution to let users sync important work files and access them from any device, anywhere, anytime," notes Ross Piper, vice president of Enterprise Strategy at Dropbox.

4. Streamline workflow — and reduce unnecessary tasks. "Teams want to deliver big things and sometimes we just need to eliminate the barriers," says Charles Galda, CIO, IT Technology Centers and Services, GE Capital. "We have a program called TAP (Technology Accelerating Productivity) that gives simple tips on how to use technology better, from finding the best time for a global meeting across time zones, to getting travel logistics to Outlook seamlessly," he says.

"We have another initiative to continually review manager approvals, notifications, etc., so we know when they no longer add value and can be eliminated. Eliminating unnecessary steps keeps employee momentum moving forward, making us faster and more agile in responding to customers,"

Furthermore, ask yourself — and have your department heads ask themselves, "Is every form, report, status update, email, memo and meeting really necessary?" says Steven A. Lowe, Founder/CEO, Innovator LLC, which provides custom software development, IT consulting and IT staffing.

"If a task to be done does not obviously and directly contribute to the goal at hand, see if it can be simplified or omitted," Lowe says. And "ask the team for suggestions on ways to streamline the processes and what still-necessary tasks could be done by others."

5. Hold regular team meetings — but beware the excessive meeting trap. "This is an opportunity to share the departmental vision with the team and get everyone on the same page," notes Mazin Abou-Seido, director of Information Technology at Halogen Software. "We've found that by sharing the big picture [at monthly and quarterly meetings] it gives the entire team a better understanding of what we're trying to accomplish and encourages everyone to work together to achieve common goals."

Just be careful about falling into the excessive meeting trap. Schedule regular team or department meetings for either once a week or once a month, and make sure that the day and time are reserved on everyone's calendar.

6. Reduce reporting and don't micromanage. "You hired smart, talented people because they could get the job done. Now let them do it," says Jonathan Bruskin, principal consultant and program management lead, Excella Consulting. "Micromanagement and oversight can kill creativity and morale," he notes. "CIOs, execs and PMs [can] increase their teams' productivity by communicating goals and clearing administrative obstacles."

Also, "reduce the amount of reporting they need to do, so that they can focus on getting work done," advises Christian Buckley, director of Product Evangelism at Metalogix, which provides content infrastructure software. "If more than 10 percent of their day is spent reporting on the work they are doing, something is fundamentally wrong," he says. "Constantly review and refine reporting to keep your metrics optimized."

 

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