30 January 2008

How Do You Measure Productivity?

Before we speak of measuring productivity, we must define it. Productivity is how much work is output per unit of time that is input into the system.

In its simplest format, you could represent productivity as the following equation.

Work
----- = Productivity
Time

Measuring productivity is useful in careers where you bill per hour or portions thereof, like lawyers or accountants. However, productivity measures have a place in every office. With productivity software, you may see exactly where the time is input and how much work is produced.

You may take it further and look into productivity performance, patterns and trends in performance over time that you may easily recognize. When you identify time-stealing tasks, you may want to optimize the task, cross train workers, or split the task into component parts for a team to complete.

This software is not spy ware. It does not track keystrokes or generate logs of data to be used to embarrass your workers. It is a tool to be used to increase productivity. Like all tools, you must first learn to use it. Think of the groups of which you are a member when you work. Perhaps you are in charge of website maintenance, producing reports on Internet sales, and tracking abandoned shopping carts.
  • In the first position, or group, you may use FrontPage or other web authoring software.
    • The software knows you are doing web work when, for example, you open FrontPage, use the FTP client or access the CPanel.

  • For the sales reports, you use a spreadsheet and you may want to know how long it took to set up the report and how long it took to produce the graphical representations for your report.
    • Excel may be the cue that you are doing a sales report. You may have to add a keyword so the program recognizes that you are doing graphics and not crunching numbers.

  • The last task may entail analyzing web logs with the shopping cart software.
    • Use of the web logs or shopping cart software would signify you are now working the abandoned shopping cart portion of your job.
With the MeasureProductivity software, you may associate certain software tools and/or keywords with your different groups (roles). However, you do not need to specify keywords and software programs before you use program. Just install the software and let it run in the background for a while. Then you can tweak the associations the system has established between your roles and the software you use.

From the reports the software generates, you may see where you are spending your time and how productivity increases or decreases over time. You may develop a productivity standard for these tasks that will let you plan your work more effectively. If you see that working with logs is a problem as they are being accessed, you would schedule this task for Friday afternoon. If you do your best critical thinking in the morning, you would examine the logs then.

You can identify training needs and necessary software or capital acquisitions using this software. If it takes one hour to setup the report and two hours to generate the graphs, you may need better software, more training or a reference manual.

Eventually, you should be able to state what the productivity standard is for each task, whether performed by you or someone else. On the other hand, your employee may use the software to show that tasks assigned consume more time than in their work week.


5 comments:

Hye said...

I really do agree with everything you said. Work over time equals productivity indeed. I do practice them but sometimes, I forgot :(

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Harish said...

Very Simple,
Just mesure you work with working time, Productivity will come automaticaly.

teresa said...

Concise and simple formula. All we have to do is add more on work and time for more productivity.

meg said...

Good post, sort of reminded me I haven't been really productive these days. Thank you for sharing.

Nurana Niarcos said...

It is a nice and simple formula, as a bit of effort means spend whichever time for it outcome.

it is as well a great blog, thanks for the information and your visit.

Regards,
Nurana Niarcos

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