This usage case was written by our user Blanca Cano Gonzalez for Spaans Levende Tale, the association of teachers of Spanish language. Learn how to coordinate the work of students with Kanbanchi.
24 April 2017 4
Top 10 Kanbanchi Team Tips for Productivity Improvement
If there is one thing that we have constantly strived for in the Kanbanchi team it is continuous productivity improvement.
This might seem like a simple task but the truth is that introducing productivity improvements to any team is something that needs some time and effort put into it. Having said that, we have seen noticeable benefits thanks to the following tips.
1. Avoid Meetings
Meetings are one of the biggest time drains around, with endless hours wasted all over the world every single day. Indeed, some sources suggest that workers waste an average of over 30 hours every month on unproductive meetings.
Therefore, instead of planning a meeting we always think on other, more efficient ways of communicating the information first. This usually means finding out who needs to know the information and heading for a cup of tea or coffee with them.
If you definitely need to have a meeting then you have to be sure that it is effective and serves a good purpose. This means getting a tightly structured meeting with discussion points that lead to solid action points being taken away. Allocating an agenda-taker who keeps things moving along is a smart move.
We also recently discovered the benefits of the Lean Coffee approach for our rare “formal” meetings. I would definitely recommend that you give it a try.
2. Do Something You Are Passionate About
Have you ever noticed that you are far more productive when you do the tasks that you enjoy? If it is something that you are genuinely passionate about then you probably whizz through it with a smile on your face.
We understand that everyone in our team has different likes and dislikes. Because of this, we try to give everyone a chance to carry out the tasks that they prefer rather than lumbering people with stuff they hate.
When you think about it, this approach makes a lot of sense. If I have a job I hate but my colleague would enjoy then a simple swap can make the day far more productive for both of us.
Of course, there are still going to be times when you need to do something that isn’t your favourite task. Yet, we find that it is usually possible to let everyone enjoy their day far more and do a better job by concentrating on what they most like.
3. Set Deadlines/Estimates and Be Sure Your Colleagues Are Aware of Them
A huge amount of time can be lost if your colleagues are sitting around waiting for you doing something. Or what if they have to keep chasing you up to find out how you are getting on?
The approach that works best for us is to first off all work out whether a particular task affects someone else in the team. If it does then we estimate how long it will take and then let the other person know.
This is easy enough to do by using Kanbanchi boards to collaborate and to set reasonable due dates.
4. Use Collaboration Tools
There is no doubt that better, smoother collaboration among team members is one of the big changes that has allowed us to increase our productivity levels. There are numerous different collaboration tools around that you can use to make it far easier for your team to work together.
Of course, we use Kanbanchi and find that it is perfect for letting us organize our projects and make the most of each day. Each company is sure to have different needs in this respect, so be sure to take some time to think about what exactly it is that you need.
You might find that you can get some extra help with the likes of video conferencing tools, document sharing tools and other easy ways of working together.
5. Say No When You Have To
While it is undoubtedly nice to be able to help others, this can have a nasty knock-on effect on your productivity if you aren’t careful. It is clear that sometimes saying “no” is the only sensible option to take.
This might mean telling a colleague that you can’t help or advising a client that what they are asking for is unreasonable. By trying to split your time between a new task as well as existing ones you will probably end up wasting time and not doing anything as well as you should do.
At times like this we always try and look for an alternative solution, by asking if a colleague can help or by suggesting a different approach. However, there are times when you can’t really do much more than say “no” and go back to concentrating on what you were doing.
6. Focus on the Most Difficult Things First
Do you know how some people eat the tastiest part of the meal first while others start off with the least attractive item? Well, we all tend to be like that at work as well.
Do you put off the most difficult tasks until the end of the day or do you prefer to get them out of the way right away in the morning?
There are probably pros and cons to each of these approaches but we are definitely advocates of getting the tough stuff out of the way as soon as possible. By doing this you will feel immensely relieved and can then carry on with the rest of your day a lot more relaxed and without any worries, which should make you more productive.
7. Cut Out Distractions
There is no doubt that distractions can cause people to lose a lot of time at work. Did you know that some studies put the amount of working hours lost per year for this reason at over 750 per worker?
These can come in a number of different forms, from loud noises to social media and colleagues who want to talk about the latest reality shows on TV. The sheer variety of different possible distractions at work means that it is difficult to deal with each of them individually.
In the case of our team, it seems that doing something we love ensures that distractions aren’t really a big issue. This goes back to the point about doing something that you are passionate about.
Clock watching and Facebook skimming become a thing of the past when you can sink your teeth into something that you enjoy every single day.
8. Be Flexible with Working Hours
It is a simple fact of life that we all work better at different times of day. Maybe in your team you have highly creative types who are best late at night, or early birds who like to get everything organised first thing in the morning.
Here at Kanbanchi, we are as flexible as gymnasts in training for the Olympics. Everyone is completely free to come and go, working whenever it suits their lifestyle and their creative muse.
Of course, while working flexibly is a fantastic way to boost productivity, it also brings with it a responsibility to let colleagues know when we are going to finish jobs or give estimates. Provided that we all communicate well it really doesn’t matter if we only cross paths for an hour or two here and there during the day (or night). Also we have an option of working from home occasionally.
9. Take Breaks During the Day
Trying to work to a high level for 8 or 9 hours solid just isn’t going to happen. It is human nature for productivity levels to plummet when we get tired or bored from working for too long in one sitting.
This is where our wonderful kitchen comes into play. It is to this area that we can head in order to benefit from the recuperative powers of tea and coffee at any time of day, when we feel as though we are starting to wane.
Those colleagues who prefer to get their muscles pumping during a break can use one of the exercisers in the office to clear their minds and get their energy levels back up again. I guess everyone has their own preference for how to spend their breaks, so the secret is in finding out what works for you.
10. Concentrate on One Thing at a Time
Trying to multi-task is one of the worst ways of getting a productive day at work, which is why concentrating on one thing at a time is such a smart idea. Of course, no one is perfect and this is one of the productivity issues that we still struggle with at times.
Sometimes the urge to try and do everything all at once is hard to resist but it is something that we are working on. Currently, I would probably say that this is definitely one of our main productivity weaknesses.
Hopefully all of this will help to show that increasing productivity can be fun as well as having a tremendous positive impact on your business at the same time. If you feel like Kanbanchi can help you, feel free to check out the app.