The people involved in your business are extremely important to its overall success. They’re the driving force behind you achieving your overall vision and so it’s crucial that you get the best out of them and the overall technology function.
But how do you do this?
I believe there are 12 ways that you can make significant improvements to your tech team to make them hyper-productive.
Let’s take a look:
1. Don’t micromanage your team
If you’re looking after the technology function in the business – whether you are a CTO, CEO, founder, Tech Lead…you need to ensure that you don’t stifle your team by constantly questioning their every move. Instead, address the real question of why you feel the need to micromanage in the first place. Next, put a strategy in place to make sure you don’t do this in the future.
How do you do this?
Understand what really motivates your team. You’ve already put your trust in your people by hiring them in the first place, so trust that instinct and find a way to take a step back.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create the best environment for your team to flourish. Micromanaging can often create more problems than it solves.
Become a servant leader – someone who serves their team by understanding each individuals’ personal needs, motivations, abilities…etc. By being a good leader, your team will follow you.
2. Get your team to deliver work in small chunks
When you are running a technology function it’s really important not to overwhelm your customers by delivering too much to them at once. Instead, deliver smaller chunks of work throughout the process. It’ll mean that they can digest each part, give you timely and valuable feedback and ensure that the work is on the right track.
3. Always keep track of the end output goal
Whether your business is producing a product or software, your goal is to be successful in both the timely delivery of the goods and also to ensure that the work serves its purpose.
The value has to be achieved so the goal here isn’t simply to follow a process, but to produce successful outcomes. Always keep your eye on what those outcomes are.
4. Encourage one-to-one conversations
Encourage your teams to have one-to-one conversations, either face to face or over video using a software program such as Skype or Zoom. Video is a great way to create a personal bond in the conversation. Having a well connected team that bond with each other will lead to increased team productivity.
5. Focus on intensity, not overtime
Your team will be happier if they can work more intensely when needed, but not necessarily having to repeatedly work overtime.
If your team are repeatedly working overtime they will overextend themselves. This will almost inevitably lead to quality issues and low morale.
Teams will appreciate intense periods where they can work closely, collaborate and then at the end of the day, switch off, take a rest and come back revitalised and ready for the challenge of the following day.
6. Keep it simple
Focus more on the things that you shouldn’t be doing rather than the things you are doing. Let me explain…
Encourage an environment where you and your team regularly review what work could be stopped. For example, look at where you’re wasting time. By proactively focusing on the things that are wasting time, this will give you a great opportunity to increase the time that the team spends on the right things.
Also, be vigilant when it comes to spotting work that you’re doing that doesn’t add value to your client.
Clearing away the things that are less relevant allows you more available time for the team to be doing the right things.
7. Trust your team
Your team are there to do their very best in the environment you’ve given them. If you try and second guess them, it’s not helpful and it can slow them down. They’ll be then second guessing themselves and not moving forward.
Stop this and everyone will move forward together.
8. Deliver what your customer really wants
There’s a clear way to achieve this – it’s by delivering results to your customers early and often and getting immediate feedback. After this, adjust and repeat the cycle. Updating your customer every week or two is really beneficial – you don’t need to worry about things falling off track or misaligned expectations. Regular updates, reviews and feedback cycles will continuously improve what you’re doing and the final outcome.
9. Have a strong base
When you build a house, you don’t just focus on the nice furniture. You also have to have strong foundations and fix things as you go along. Your tech team should always be working from a strong base and using that as the platform to then bring in designs and features on top. If the basics aren’t solid and ongoing problems aren’t addressed, it will cause bigger issues for you later on.
10. Be open to change
When a customer wants something, it’s your job to consider how you’re going to deliver it. Embrace this by being nimble and open to change. There’s no point in continuing the direction that you’re taking if it’s not right and you could be spending your time more efficiently elsewhere.
11. Increase the closeness to the customer
Keep customers close to the project. Have an open feedback loop where the customer can provide requirements and feedback – this could be by them directly participating in the team or providing some of the requirements needed for the final delivery. By doing this, you’ll create a feedback loop and ensure that the customer is part of the story that you’re going to deliver. Don’t break the telephone wire!
12. Continuously improve
Be careful not to fall into the trap of blindly following a process just because it’s the norm. At the end of the week, analyse the positives, ask your team what went well and what they could have done better and turn any necessary improvements into action.
A hyper-productive tech team will enable your business to scale faster and run more efficiently. It’s all about focusing on the needs of your team and making sure that they are well looked after.
A motivated team is one that will be working most efficiently for your business.
Here’s a video of me talking about this topic…
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