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Defining Productivity through the Prism of Project Management

Embedding a project management policy in an organization is the first of many steps that will help you leverage the immense potential of project management for your business. The choice of the right methodology, project manager and project management software, and impressing upon employees the need to scrutinize, align, evaluate and monitor their activities within project management ecosystem has become critical to an organization’s success. A project management culture also supports the strategic business plan, which the organization has laid out to meet its growth objectives.

One key determinant of the effectiveness of organizations to manage projects is productivity. The question, “Has project management helped improve employee productivity?” should be uppermost in the minds of managers. But productivity seen through the prism of project management has various forms.

This productivity could be tangible or intangible and therein is the difficulty of measuring change in productivity levels of employees’ vis-à-vis project management. So how can you accurately assess employee productivity:

Measuring Attributes Not Productivity

Do the hours put in by the employee help you assess the levels of productivity for your organization? Do more hours mean more output? Does high productivity mean better quality output? Does improved productivity mean better project efficiency? Does it reflect in better customer support? These and many other questions will help you pin down the measurable attributes of productivity. These attributes will differ across businesses. For e.g. a pizza vendor would consider the number of pizzas delivered as an important measure of productivity, but for a web design firm the quality and ROI of its web designs will have a role to play in defining the nature of productivity of its employees.

Time Span

You cannot measure productivity without evaluating it in a time-bound manner. You need to measure productivity through a time span rather than evaluating it at a particular point of time. A monthly productivity report is much better suited for identifying whether your employees are productive. What works best is identifying specific attributes that will tell you the whole story behind your organization’s efforts to be more productive. Thinking of these attributes as your productivity metrics and tracking them over time will give you a deeper understanding of productivity. More often than not, it is the project management software that can help you zero in on the attributes that you need to measure, monitor and evaluate.

Turnaround

In organizations where turnaround time of projects is of the essence, the speed at which projects are completed can be an indication of improved productivity. But remember, this speed shouldn’t be at the cost of quality. For example if it’s a software development project and certain sections of the team are spending a lot of time dealing with changing requirements, productivity takes a hit. In this case, making sure there aren’t a lot of unnecessary interruptions affecting the project timeline will boost productivity. The fact that a project is not facing unnecessary interruption is an indication that people are doing their jobs properly, which means they are becoming more productive.

Customer Satisfaction as a Measure of Productivity

The true test of the efficacy of project management is stakeholder satisfaction and primarily the satisfaction of its customers. If you are meeting customer expectations, that does in a way mean the levels of productivity that your employees are bringing to the table are acceptable or really very good. In order to meet customer expectation, everybody who’s worked on the project needs to exhibit conformance to project requirements and an ability to deliver on their assigned tasks. Measuring customer satisfaction by monitoring positive feedback, keeping track of repeat customers etc. tells you the project team are producing what they are expected to produce, which indicates productivity of the highest levels.

Satisfaction of the Team

Customer satisfaction is necessary but so is employee satisfaction and in project management parlance, team satisfaction. This satisfaction can directly be correlated to improved productivity. Demoralized employees do not exhibit high productivity. On the other hand, employees with better morale are more productive, that’s a given. So, if you’ve got an effective project manager who can keep the team spirits high, you know you will have a better, more productive team on your hands. Productivity in this case can be defined as a subset of employee morale.

Value of Project Management Defines Productivity

Work out the Return on Investment of your project, Economic Value Added, Time to Market, Process Errors, Employee Turnover, Customer Profitability, Defect/Error Rate and other parameters for measuring the value of project management. You will find productivity playing an important role in how these parameters score. If the value of your project management and its deliverables is positive, you can be proud of your organization’s/team’s levels of productivity.

Wrapping Up

If your business is not in the habit of looking at productivity through the prism of project management, it might be missing out on a tremendous opportunity to boost strategic business growth. The great thing about the project management is you can focus on quality output rather than just output defined in very general terms. You can even link this productivity with a string of diverse parameters, all of them playing a huge role in the performance of your business. This essentially gives you a more comprehensive understanding of workplace productivity, what makes it tick, problems, and how to go about enhancing it.

Author Bio:

Avyakta is an MSc graduate by education. She is a professional writer in the domain of learning and education. She has completed her masters in Biochemistry from Bangalore University and is currently working as content developer with Simplilearn Solutions Pvt Ltd, which is one of the leading providers of professional certification courses. The courses offered by Simplilearn address the unique needs of working professionals. She has previously worked with a publishing house ande-commerce firm. She is based out of Bangalore and has an experience of 4 years in the field of content development. Her work has been published on various sites related to Project Management, IT, Finance, SAP, Quality Management and more.

 

 

 

 

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2 comments

  1. This is a very good description of productivity. Reading between the lines I endorse the message that the purpose of a project defines (in the first instance) what you should be doing vs what you are/could be doing.

    So once you know you are doing is the right thing, then being as efficient (productive) as possible delivers real value. However this doesn’t mean maximizing productivity everywhere. In a project, the quickest way of delivering a project is to focus on its critical path as it represents that sequence of interdependent (both resource and logical) activities that represent the longest path to project completion. It isn’t surprising that many projects fail to achieve this focus because they question the integrity of the schedule, use earned value to measure project progress or allow work to expand to fill the time allocated.

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