Cultivating and Aiding Team Productivity

Making sure people are, and feel, involved and integral.

It’s usually not hard to kick projects off to a good start. People generally get excited about making something new, something good, something better — whether it’s big or small. It’s a chance to try out the latest and the greatest, a fresh challenge, and a change of scenery. As you get into the flow of it, however, it can be a lot more difficult to keep the momentum going and the morale as high. Maintaining productivity becomes a challenge that ultimately defines the success of a project.

Don’t focus on the problem area.

That title probably sounds like bad advice but let me put it in context. Problems often run the risk of deflating morale. Bad feedback, a big change in direction, and plenty of other stumbling blocks — listing everything that could go wrong on a project would take a very long time. None of this is heaps of fun to process, even to the most avid problem solver. It’s also fairly rare that absolutely everything on your project is going terribly wrong all at once (or it should be). If that is the case, even more reason for the team to really pull together and do some firefighting! If it isn’t though, the chances are there are quite a few successes that are now being overshadowed. There’s also likely quite a few areas to still be comfortably progressed and developed, that have faded to the background. Keep momentum and productivity flowing by changing the plan. Re-shift focus, see what can still keep going while the problem needs solving, try keep people calm and productive and take a step back.

Now focus on the problem area. Properly.

When you’ve managed to salvage as much of the momentum as possible and re-built a certain level or morale and productivity, tackle the problem properly. It’s easier to be calm when you know things are still moving forward. The answer may be relatively straightforward but if it isn’t sit down and pick it apart. For example did the key stakeholder take a strong stand against a solution the team had come up with? Develop that into specifics, what did they not like about it and why? Is it simply an education piece to help them understand the value and context or is it valid feedback that needs re-addressing?

Keep people close to the end game.

Lastly, an area that gets overlooked but has a huge impact on buy-in and productivity, is the team and stakeholder’s proximity to the direct results of what they’re working on. If people know why they’re doing something and care about it yielding good results, they work differently. Introduce the team to the direct beneficiary and let them hear the vision first-hand. Whether that’s a client who needs a website rebuild or new feature that’s being commissioned within a product team, make sure everyone is close to the end game.

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Gillian Sibthorpe

Gillian Sibthorpe

Product Manager @ Sky Betting & Gaming