Tag Archives: Productivity tools

How to get the most out of a small IT staff

ProductivityAccording to our 2012 survey of IT professionals and IT management, small IT staffs are one of the biggest barriers to success. In the survey, we asked two questions:
1. What are the biggest problems or challenges that your company deals with?
2. What keeps you from addressing those challenges?

Can you guess some of the most common answers to question #2? Most of them sounded something like this:
– We don’t have enough staff
– No time
– IT staff is too small

While IT department size is a perpetual problem for many companies, it seems to be getting worse. More and more companies point to limited staff as the reason they can’t accomplish what they want to accomplish.

So, if your company is dealing with this problem, what’s the answer? How can you get the most out of your small IT department? To help you out, we posed this question to some people who deal with small IT staffs on a regular basis. I’ve included their advice below, as well as some of my own. I hope you find it useful. Continue reading

5 common problems that kill IT productivity

ProductivityDo you ever come to the end of a busy day and feel like you didn’t actually accomplish anything? Although you worked hard all day, you feel like you have nothing to show from all of that work?

Chances are, you got caught handling minor, yet essential tasks that kept you from tackling more important projects. Maybe you spent the day supporting untrained users, running end user reports, or trying to fix yet another problem with your company’s old, patched-up legacy software.

Tasks like these have a few things in common: They are necessary, yet time-consuming tasks that could (and should) be avoided. More importantly, they keep you from working on essential projects that could ultimately improve the company’s bottom line.

In other words: They keep you busy, but not productive.

How can you avoid these “productivity killers” and instead focus on essential tasks during the work day? First, you must identify which tasks fall within this category, and then you must figure out how to avoid them. So, what are some of the most common productivity killers? While it varies across companies, here’s a list of 5 productivity killers that commonly plague IT departments: Continue reading

Meeting immovable deadlines

Save TimeDepending on which research firm you believe, anywhere from 50-90% of IT projects are completed late. While I could rattle off any number of reasons for this, I think that (much of the time) it boils down to one problem: Being late is an option. The deadline is viewed merely as a suggestion…it’s not the end of the world if it’s missed. We’ll just inform management that the project is running behind schedule and then set a new deadline.

But, what if being late wasn’t an option? Continue reading

10+ ways to be more productive

ProductivityI recently spoke with someone who used to be a corn and soybean farmer (before he got into IT, strangely enough). Anyway, he mentioned something that I didn’t know: Tractors are incredibly expensive. I knew they were expensive, but I didn’t realize they were quarter-of-a-million expensive.

Yet, you don’t see farmers out in the field farming by hand. Why not? Because they realize that even with the high cost, tractors are infinitely more productive than the alternative. They can make far more money with a tractor than without one. Continue reading

8 ways to reclaim your focus at work

ProductivityI frequently write about tools to increase productivity in the workplace. However, the most valuable tool of all is perhaps the most overlooked: Your mind. It’s a very complicated tool. Some days, it works great. You have no problems focusing and you’re quite productive. Other days, it feels like your mind is still at home sleeping.

Why does that happen? Perhaps more importantly…How can we fix that? Continue reading