Improving Productivity

Leonor Urena

Productivity is often used as a buzz word in business, but there is no getting away from its importance. Yes, productivity is a vital element of any successful business, team or even individual, but improving productivity will require you to understand what it is.

So what is productivity?

Productivity has been defined as the efficiency of a person, machine or system, converting input into output. What causes and effects productivity can vary, but there are common themes between them. Although Agile has previously been seen purely as a tool for software development, an increasing number of businesses are adopting Agile methodologies and practices across a variety of areas of their operation and seeing an increase in productivity and success.  

How does Agile affect productivity?

Agile impacts on productivity indirectly by targeting the way that employees and teams work, communicate and react to one another and their work environment. It is the key to improving productivity! In this blog we are going to look at just a few of the ways in which Agile techniques can improve the productivity of your business.

Improving Productivity

Retrospectives

One of the main philosophies in Agile focuses on continual improvement, which is instigated through a number of practices including something known as retrospectives. Retrospectives are team meetings that take place at the end of each sprint/iteration of a project in order to review the progress that has been made. All team members are required to attend and typically ask themselves three questions:

  • What went well?

  • What didn’t go as expected?

  • What action do we need to take to improve the problem areas in the next stage of the project?

By holding retrospectives the team can identify ways to improve, leading to more streamlined processes which result in improved productivity.  

Strong Skills

Teams can only be productive if members are able to work with one another effectively. Therefore Agile places huge emphasis on the importance of strong teams and the skills needed to create them. One of the primary components of teamwork is communication and Agile practices help to facilitate robust communication between team members. Some of the methods used include:

  • Creating a culture of honesty and respect in the work place, so that all team members feel able to speak out about any issues affecting or preventing the team’s ability to reach their next goal.

  • Empowering team members by creating an environment where by decisions are made by the team for the team, which in turn encourages members to be self-organizing and take ownership of their work.

  • Insisting on collaborative work spaces such as open plan offices and break out spaces, and facilitating effective ways for non co-located teams to stay in touch and be part of group activities.

Many studies have shown that teams that communicate better work more efficiently together, resulting in an improved product and improved productivity.  

Multi directional mentoring and skill sharing

Agile processes focus firmly on creating teams that are more valuable and create a larger impact as a whole rather than as individuals. Senior team members are just as able to learn something from newer recruits, and so Agile advocates multi-directional mentoring, sharing skills across the whole team so that there is a strong knowledge base and that any member of the team can confidently address any part of the project. This means that if team members are away or indisposed, work can be reallocated and progress won’t stall, ensuring productivity remains at maximum velocity for the duration of the project.  

Motivation

There is no doubting that; generally speaking; in any aspect of our lives the more motivated we are the more productive we can be. The same can be said for Agile teams, but rather than looking at outdated ‘carrot and stick’ methods of motivation which often only encourages employees to do only as much as is necessary to reach the incentive, Agile uses unique and truly motivational practices to drive team members to:

  • Take ownership of their roles and responsibilities

  • Accept mistakes, learn from them and move forward

  • Want to do a good job

One of the biggest motivators is praise and recognition for contribution to success and so Agile commits to celebrating achievement with individuals and the team as a whole, making them feel valued. Doing well at work creates job satisfaction, boosting morale and motivation which in turn leads to increased productivity.   These are just some of the ways in which Agile methods and practices can indirectly improve the productivity in your business. Want to know more? If improving productivity is important to you, CONTACT US today and one of our expert team will be happy to help you discover how your teams could deliver top quality products faster and more efficiently than ever before.

agile-literacy

About our guest writer

Sustainable Games
I am an Agile coach with a passion to help teams to collaborate, strategize, cooperate and to deliver solutions that are in direct support of strategic initiatives. An agile transition is all about people and interactions and that is my concentration. I apply gamification, and proven techniques to motivate teams. Through these techniques I support teams to drive specific behaviors that contribute towards more effective, productive and harmonious working relationships regardless of the methodology or framework used.

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