Tracking Productivity Doesn’t Mean Cutting Your Best Resource

Tracking Productivity is not always as an apples to apples comparison – but it’s worth it to figure out the fruit you’re looking at!

Tracking productivity can take all kinds of forms, figures and spreadsheets. It doesn’t always give you the perfect picture, but no matter what your looking at, checking out the way your people are coming together and what they’re contributing has gotten easier and more worthwhile.

That doesn’t mean you should jump to easy conclusions.

The cost of your people is probably a number you can easily name. What was last month’s total payroll, after all?

But a similar number cannot be named when it comes to evaluating the hours your company just received. We can call that number “productivity” and tracking productivity should not come at the cost of cutting your best players.

Tracking Productivity Across Teams, Shifts and Departments

Calculating and recording labor costs for every team on every project is a must. Lots of software developers and marketers will try to convince you – and they’re not wrong. Without clearly understanding the resources you’re deploying you will simply not get a clear picture of  the most cost-effective and efficient team that you can put toward any business goal. That’s true in software development as it’s true in running a retail operation or any small or mid-sized business. The fact is, every larger business is probably way ahead of you.

But you can still compete – and even beat them at their own game.

Most managers will tell you to start with payroll, but the place to start is with your chief revenue generating activities. The goal is ultimately to develop a greater insight into your employees’ behavior and output so that you can make better decisions about managing and directing them.

Don’t Jump to Short-Term Savings Based on Staffing Cuts

At least not without carefully considering the costs. They may be a lot higher than you bargain for, and even with relatively low-skilled employees.

Managing growth and performance is not always a matter of cutting costs particularly when you have experienced staff who’ve been with you for any length of time. Lower staff morale, job-insecurity and short-term blows to esteem can show up quickly in flagging numbers all across your spreadsheets. Rather, when tracking productivity, you need to carefully consider the morale, attitude, and disposition of every team member, or perhaps leader, and figure that into your caluculations.

There is no known Project and Portfolio Management tool that will accurately measure or reflect the human value you get from good team leaders. They do a job, and they keep everyone else excited about it too. That’s really the art of management, and no science will make up for that kind of value. Optimizing and managing a diverse and multi-skilled group of teams still requires a human touch.

Understanding duplication and overlap of skills and capabilities takes insight into your market and your workflow processes. All of them. And all at the same time.

Likewise, understanding employee attributes and costs distributions are not something you learn in an MBA program or that come hard-coded into your PPM. Tracking productivity across all of your teams and projects is something that’s worth doing for the next project, or for the end of this one. We’ll continue in the next post with more on how you can do it, better.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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