thin line flat design of power of business essential items and office desk things, organization process for success project development. modern vector illustration concept, isolated on white background.The word productivity has never been as fashionable as it is today and it becomes extremely important when it comes to fierce competition in a market with so many competitors.

But, contrary to what many people think, productivity is not only related to producing larger quantities of products or serving more customers. Productivity today involves efficiency and, in order to achieve it, it is necessary to invest in technological innovations to guarantee the quality of the service and products, optimizing the processes. It is the well-known of doing more, with less and without losing quality. An arduous task, but perfectly achievable if the correct resources were used.

Workflow

Even before you set goals to increase productivity, you need to know the real working conditions of the company, your workflow, to identify the most overburdened, time-lagging, and employee sectors, and to find bottlenecks in the production process.

Workflow is the sequence of the work process, the process by which each recent activity must go through to get to a conclusion. This process may involve several people and sectors of the same company and, therefore, it is extremely important to establish rules and to create automation mechanisms for tasks that allow time saving and avoid reworking. The leaner the workflow, the better its efficiency.

There are a few ways to assess whether your company's workflow is efficient or not. In order to do so, you can use some simple indicators that will alert you if they start to roll back.

  • Compare what was planned with what was carried out - If the company can accomplish more than 75% of what was planned, the workflow can be considered efficient;
  • Measure the number of hours dedicated to each activity - It is possible to find out the ideal time to perform each task and to identify possibilities to reduce the time without losing quality;
  • Measure rework - can be caused by several factors, but the consequences will always have an impact on productivity. You must identify the reason for the mistakes and adjust the processes to reduce the company’s rework.

There are many tips and techniques that help increase your company's productivity so let's talk about some of them.

Pomodoro Technique

This technique is based on the idea of ​​dividing workflow into small blocks (of 25 minutes, called “pomodoros”) that allow to increase concentration and to give more agility to the brain. The first step in applying this technique is to create a list with pending tasks. You need to use a timer, or alarm clock, set on 25 minutes. Choose one of the tasks from the list and work during the 25 minutes marked on the timer without any interruption (no social networks or messages on the phone). When the alarm rings, stop and take a 5-minute break in which you are told to stand up, walk a little, and have a glass of water, for example. After the 5-minute break, take up work for another pomodoro (25 minutes). And every four pomodoros take a longer break, about 30 minutes, before returning to work. After you finish a task from your list, mark it as “done”.

This technique is interesting to ensure focus on work or study, but mainly can be used as a planning tool, because over time you will be able to identify how many pomodoros you spend to perform a certain task and so you can better plan your use of time.

It is also possible to make adaptations to the method, but it is necessary to maintain the main idea that is the total focus on a single activity during a period and to make intervals between the pomodoros.

Project Management System

Project management is essential for the expansion of the productive capacity of the company and with its use there will be more focus and control in the services offered to clients. Good project management software allows the creation of task lists in an effortless way and the possibility of managing them demonstrates the progress of projects so that all those involved on them can follow and verify their commitment and that of their work team. In addition, it performs task-time measurements, compares planned and performed activities, and provides an up-to-date schedule for managing the company's human resources. The project manager will monitor the project stages and monitor their progress, managing costs, deadlines and difficulties presented by the team. The project management system greatly helps companies keep up-to-date schedules and deliver quality services with more organization and productivity.

ERP Management System

It is a tool that helps companies a lot in business management, being a great differential for small and medium enterprises in overcoming the challenges and obstacles of everyday life. The ERP system allows the complete integration of company activities essential for its proper functioning as stock control, sales system, invoice issuance, tax payments and cash flow control. The business management system still gathers all the information about the company and generates reports on its current and future situation helping the managers in the important decisions.

By following these tips your company will be able to increase productivity and profitability while maintaining the quality of services and products offered. Do not waste time and put these ideas into practice.

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businessman leaving work to go to the beach, holidays, ball, palm treeThis is a guest article by Elizabeth Harrin. Elizabeth has recently published a review of ITM Platform on her blog. This article contains affiliate links that don’t cost you extra.

When I’m on holiday I want to be, you know, actually on holiday. Enjoying my vacation time, chilling out with a cocktail and a barbeque and playing ball with my kids. I don’t want to be checking emails, dealing with phone calls from my project sponsor or still doing project reports from the cabin in the woods because no one else can possibly write them in my absence.

I know our roles as the project manager is important, but the project can’t stop when we’re away. It’s not good for you to be using your relax and recharge time to do work. You deserve a break.

However, it’s easy to say. It’s less easy to do, because so much of the project management part of our roles isn’t straightforward to delegate to someone else, and often we don’t have anyone to delegate it to. That example of writing project reports while I was on holiday: that actually happened. The report wasn’t even that good because I wasn’t in touch with the team to get a real update of what was going on.

So how can you get a proper break without your project falling apart without you? Here are 5 stress-busting tips for before your vacation so you can go away and enjoy yourself with confidence.

1. Get On Top of Your Schedule

It feels a lot more comfortable to go away if you are leaving your project schedule in a good state.

An up-to-date schedule means that everyone will know what tasks they need to work on while you are away. To be honest, they’ve probably got an idea of what they should be doing anyway, but having it there accurately on the schedule means they have no excuse!

If you still have tasks without assigned resources, assign someone so that it’s on their radar while you are out of the office. If you need to, take some time before you go away to explain what the task is all about and how you expect it to be done. Use that conversation as a way to confirm the delivery date with them as well and to check that your estimate is realistic.

2. Handover the Important Stuff to Someone Else

If you are lucky, there won’t be anything important happening while you are away. You’re a project manager, so you’ve probably planned your holiday at a time where it is going to have a minimal impact on the project.

Unlike me, who went on maternity leave just before a two-year software development project went live (that was some handover).

However, if there is anything that is outstanding or is presenting as an issue, brief someone about it. You might have a number of people you talk to: don’t feel that your handover has to be to one single person. Your project sponsor might pick up some of the issue management. A workstream leader might chase down outstanding tasks. Your project coordinator might be briefed about staying on top of the action log.

Write down as much as you can when you’re preparing your handover because people forget. Include key contact details of people who can help them so that they don’t automatically speed dial you with problems.

You can also let them know what they can ignore. Someone might complete a project task, for example, but if it’s not on the critical path the work could sit there until you come back to deal with it. Try to set some clear guidelines about what should be actioned or progressed and what can wait. Trust me, a lot of it can wait.

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3. Set Your Out Of Office Message

Set expectations from the beginning about you being out of the office. Change your voicemail message so that people calling you hear that you are away from the office. Add an autoresponder to your email system so that people who contact you get a response saying that you are away. This all helps to manage your colleagues’ expectations so that they aren’t frustrated that you aren’t replying straight away (especially if that is what they are used to). It also gives you some breathing room as you’ll know people are being told where you are and what to expect in terms of a response.

If you have a deputy or someone who can handle the majority of your tasks, or urgent queries then include their details in your messages. Check with them first though! Personally I wouldn’t set up a rule to forward messages on, but if that’s the culture of your organization then get that created and working before you leave on your last day.

Remember to turn off your out of office responder and reset your voicemail when you get back. Just put a note in your diary to do it on the day you come back from holiday, and then no one will leave you voicemails saying that your message is out of date.

4. Talk To Your Sponsor

Even if you aren’t handing off any work to your sponsor, pop some time in their calendar to meet with them and discuss the plans for when you are off. Let them know your vacation dates and who they can turn to in an emergency.

If you are happy for them to contact you while you are away, let them know – and give them your vacation time contact details if necessary.

The aim here is for you to go away knowing that your sponsor is confident that everything is in hand and that you have it all under control, even if you aren’t physically there for a week or two. Again, this is all about managing expectations.

5. Plan Your Return

Block out the morning of your first morning back. Book yourself out so that your diary is full and no one tries to book you to attend a sneaky meeting.

This is your time to catch up. Review all your emails, get back into the swing of things, log into your project management software and check on the team’s progress. Having this buffer on your first day back is a huge stress reliever. Even if you do spend some of that time on the phone to the help-desk having forgotten the password for your laptop.

With all these plans in place, you can go away and have a fantastic time on your vacation. As much as it might feel like the project will grind to a halt without you there, it probably won’t happen. The chances of you coming back to a total disaster after a fortnight off are remote, especially if you’ve worked through these tips and put your plans into action for a smooth transition away and then back.

The team will no doubt be glad to have you back and I expect you’ll have a stack of emails to read, invoices to approve and tasks to do. But at least your forward planning will have made for a stress-free holiday and time to recharge before you get back into the daily management of your project.

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