Productivity can be a deciding factor in what you achieve in life. Or, a meaningless buzzword. Totally depends on how you approach it. What we want to focus on here is the fact that personal productivity is totally different from the collective success of an entire organization. If we talk teams, tracking performance requires clear-cut metrics that work for all. In other words, encouraging people to maintain personal productivity is essential, but it doesn’t help maintain the productivity of a business.
Let’s see what actually does. How do you know the collective effort brings desired results to you as a company? What metrics and productivity software should you use to measure team success? And how do you know you wouldn’t be more productive in a parallel universe? All the answers in a minute. In the meantime, you can think of a cool name for your imaginary universe.
Why team productivity matters?
The short answer is so that you could avoid doing it all wrong. Many people think there’s one very straightforward way to estimate business productivity — output divided by input. Look at the resources you’ve put into it, and then compare them to what you’ve achieved. While this might be an okayish way to keep your revenue controlled, it will never help you stretch the team’s productivity, achieving as much as possible with what you’ve got.
Team productivity is all about people. As long as you help them do great work that aligns with their personal goals, your business will flourish. Atlassian created a nice guide on workplace productivity where they refer to the fact that 9 out of 10 people agree to be paid less provided they can do more meaningful work. Productivity tracking helps you learn what “meaningful work” actually means to those people, and use it to benefit your company’s progress.
How to increase the productivity of team members
Be a Jared of Silicon Valley, the guy who gave up a cushiony job to join the team of weirdos. Importantly, the weirdos who believe they can build an outstanding startup. Even amidst the garage chaos, Jared remains this highly ethical idealist who keeps track of the numbers, teaches the team how Scrum works, and always stays in the know.
Okay, your situation is obviously not that dramatic. But the essence is the same: Provide your team with the best tools available, let them do whatever they love doing, and make sure you know what that is. In the next section, we’ll explain how to translate Jared into actual metrics.
The top 4 essential metrics for teams
Let’s skip the part where we tell you that all metrics should be based on particular conditions. Our goal here is to give you five ways to make sense of what your team is doing. You can tweak these metrics as you like as long as they are adding value to your strategy. Without further ado, here’s what you can start doing today to enhance team productivity:
Service/sales productivity. Think of the measurement units that define the value of what your company creates. It could be the number of products sold, the number of requests completed, the time it takes to serve one customer, etc. Or maybe a combination of those. By keeping track of these measurement units day after day or month after month, you’ll be able to evaluate performance.
Number of mistakes. In development, there’s a notion of escaped defects (the number of software bugs that the team missed over a specific period of time). You can actually apply it to any work process. And it definitely is the best fit for companies where accuracy is super important — like banks or insurance companies. Importantly, before enforcing it internally, make sure the team is aware of the definition of “mistake” in the context of a specific metric. Is it a missed deadline, a missed task, or a completed task that has a mistake? Be specific here.
Time management effectiveness. This one is about your predicted and actual team productivity, based on personal estimations of team members. If you’re striving to boost results with productivity software or time management apps, this metric will serve as a perfect baseline. You’ll be able to see the amount of work your team can complete using specific tools.
Customer satisfaction. For those companies that prioritize client touchpoints, tracking how satisfied those clients are can be super effective. Note that if you want to turn this into a metric, you need to create a flow for consistent client satisfaction checking. This should not be a one-time thing. Run regular customer interviews or take some time every week to analyze feedback forms — you can play it in many ways.
Setapp does it with a handy Feedback form integrated with the desktop app — anyone who uses Mac apps via Setapp can leave comments or rate the service via Help > Provide Feedback. The essential point is that the higher level of customer satisfaction, the more productive your team is.
How to measure development team productivity
For those in tech, there are great frameworks that highlight many productivity metrics you can use. Agile covers a good bunch of them, including the following:
Velocity. This is the word you’ll read in every article if you google “how to measure team productivity in Agile.” For a good reason. Velocity shows the amount of work a dev team usually completes in a sprint, a set period of time defined within Scrum. By monitoring velocity, you get the general idea of whether the team maintains its average productivity over time.
From To-Do to Done. If deadlines are tight or you have to prioritize quantity over quality for some reason, track the time it takes to move from “to-do” to “done.” This is also a nice control measure to combine with your core quality-focused metrics.
Feature usage index. A great fit if you’re rather focused on the customer perception of what your team creates. Feature usage index shows how people interact with specific parts of the product or functionality, which will subsequently impact the “what” of your development backlog.
Team happiness index. A very overlooked yet important metric of all Agile methodologies. If your team works in Scrum, it’s easy to facilitate team happiness tracking within regular meetings called Sprint Retrospective. Make sure you give your team a chance to express what feels right, what feels wrong, and what they would like to do more. This will surely enhance the commitment and, eventually, boost productivity.
If you’re curious about more agile metrics, read this detailed guide on Medium.
Best team productivity apps to assist you
One of the main goals of measuring productivity is to make your business better-faster-stronger over time. Naturally, you can’t achieve it if you don’t make any changes along the way. Experimenting with new productivity apps, adapting metrics, and embracing new tools is essential. And it’s perfect if you have an extensive toolkit like Setapp to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the best team productivity tools, all available with a single license.
Pagico, best task management app
If you manage teams and processes, you’re the first person who’d benefit from Pagico. And so would your entire team. One of the best productivity apps, it combines project management with a handy to-do list. So it’s generally a great tool to have at your fingertips to get things done. Here are the key capabilities:
Manage projects of any size. Bring your notes, emails, and tasks to one spot. Cross-link and create hyperlinks to combine related information. Apply filters whenever you need to focus on specific content. It’s full-scale project management inside one desktop app.
Contact management. Need to add some faces? Pagico integrates contact profiles, which you can customize flexibly or organize into project-related groups.
Visualize your timeline. You can choose to quickly jot down tasks so that they appear on your daily board, or create extensive activity timelines with custom notes and agenda.
Sync data. Due to built-in Workspaces, you can easily sync data across your Mac and other devices. You can also use it to share your work and collaborate with the team on specific projects.
Timing, productivity timer that works on its own
Whether your team works remotely or in the office, collective success very much depends on self-discipline. Timing can help everyone know and understand their actual performance. It’s one of those best time management apps that work in the background, measuring productivity. We’ve learned that time management can be a very effective metric — and Timing can actually automate it.
The best thing is it requires minimum effort on your side. Simply tell Timing what project or task you’re working on, and it will start collecting insights. No need to start or pause any timers. In the end, you’ll know how much time you spend on specific types of work, and even what apps or websites you use to get your work done.
MindNode for effective brainstorming
There are always those people who are more productive when they visualize things. While Google Docs might be perfect for jotting down ideas, its visualization toolkit is simply boring. This is why we encourage you to use MindNode instead. The app lets you create beautiful color-coded mind maps using words, photos, links, notes, and whatnot. Record a core idea and branch out subordinate ones in a click. MindNode also works pretty well for team brainstorming — you can export mind maps to virtually any format or share them via the free web service myMindNode.
Setapp for Teams
MindNode, Pagico, Timing, and tons of other Mac software can be shared by your entire team with the Setapp for Teams subscription. Actually, not shared. They will be able to use all the best organization apps on their own, discovering and adopting new tools they like. The great thing is you can bring Setapp for Teams apps to as many Macs as possible using a single manager account. Time and cost savings are pretty insane — make sure you try it for 30 days free.
It’s fair to say that a smart productivity tracking strategy helps you stay vigilant. And that’s the secret sauce behind long-term presence in your niche. If you can ensure this vigilance with the best productivity apps and tools, your revenue won’t just plummet once a stronger competitor appears. It’s very likely your best employees will stay with you — and you’ll reap the benefits you deserve. May this be a generous reward for all your hard work and effort! Take care.