Team productivity is a measure that describes how much output (results, products, etc.) a team has created with a certain amount of input (time or effort).
Team productivity is a measure used to observe how well the team is performing. Most of us are familiar with individual goals and performance reviews, team productivity tracking is exactly the same, but done for the whole team at once. Contrary to what you may think, the process of evaluating team productivity is not that difficult and in fact very similar to the one of evaluating individual team members.
You simply have to measure the quantity of work that was delivered by the team during a defined period of time or with a defined amount of effort. A simple example of this is measuring the number of products that were created by the team during one month. In such a case, the manager tracks this metric month by month and then compares the actual results with the set goals to understand progress.
The productivity metrics in the example above are easy to understand, however, they will not be used by each team. How you measure team productivity will depend greatly on the type of work the team does and the dynamics of the process. For example, teams working in extremely fast environments may choose to track productivity on a weekly basis. While those working with more time-consuming products will benefit from quarterly reviews. The units that each team chooses to measure also differ – it can be anything from tickets solved to new customers acquired.
When considering which units make the most sense for your team, it is always a good idea to take a look at the KPIs. You will want to track something that reflects what the team is focused on in the long-term.
By measuring the team productivity it becomes easier to understand what is happening within the project. A manager can see how the productivity differs from one period to another and then make actionable decisions to ensure good results are repeated and there are processes in place to deal with the disappointing ones. Also, by seeing how each team is performing it is easier to replicate the best practices in other teams and help them achieve the set goals.
Team productivity reflects how much output was created during a set period of time. It is a relative measure created by the management and the team. However, it does not reflect the team or company profitability and focuses solely on performance.
When measuring team productivity, be wary to only account for the work that yielded the desired results. You want to count the meetings that provided new customers, support tickets that were solved or closed, and only the products that were finished. This way, you will get a true measure of team productivity and not some inflated results.
To start measuring and tracking team productivity you will need to decide on a few things – what you will be tracking, how will you be counting, and what are the overall expectations. By answering these three questions, you will be able to begin observing team productivity and improving results.
The very first thing you have to decide is what will you be measuring. Is it the number of products finished, number of posts written, number of tickets solved, amount of code written? Look into what the specific functional team is doing and then come up with one or a couple of metrics that are the most important to track. Make sure this metric aligns with the team KPIs and encourages them to perform towards those KPIs instead of distracting from them.
Once you know which numbers to track, you have to decide on the best way to measure them. As mentioned before, make sure to only count the results that were successful instead of the overall number. While some failure is unavoidable, this will give you the true picture of the team’s productivity. Otherwise, by counting everything you will be measuring team effort instead.
Next up, think about what are the averages you would like to see and how often? Depending on the team function, this may be daily, weekly, or monthly averages reviewed weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Here, you really have to think about the dynamics of the work that the team is doing and pick a pace that works in their case. Reviewing too often will not show the real picture and reviewing too rarely will not allow you to take action when needed.
The last thing to consider before starting to measure your team productivity is the end goals. It is important to set the goals for your team to reach. If you have been working together for a while and you know what the team is capable of, set the first goal just a little above the average. Once they they reach it, increase it a little and then keep going by refining the process and setting new standards.
If this is a new team you are working with, try to estimate what the goals could be and then adjust them according to the team productivity results.
Once you have answered these three questions, you are ready to start tracking team productivity and making improvements to the business processes. Do not forget to review the results with your team and ask for their input on what has and hasn’t worked. This way, you will be able to get valuable insight and help them in improving team productivity in the future.
To help you and your team improve productivity, Teamhood offers a set of built-in actionable metrics reports. Each of them is designed to let you observe how well the team is doing compared to the that last three months and highlights what actions should be taken next. The inspiration for this report stems from actionable Agile metrics and carries the idea that reports should focus on both – showing the status and giving suggestions on how to improve.
Let’s introduce to the most common agile team productivity metrics, that deliver valuable insights on improvement possibilities.
A quick overview on how many items, estimated hours and estimated story points your team has waiting, in progress and completed. This gives you a general ideal of the project status and how well it is being executed.
This actionable Agile metric shows you how well your team is dealing with the set deadlines. The graph visualizes how many work items have been finished on time in the last three months and what is the average percentage of items being completed on time. Thus allowing you to better understand what can be expected form the team and identify issues if the percentage drops from the previous periods.
This graph takes into account all of the work items in your workspace and measures what are the longest times for them to be completed. The three percentiles show you the longest times that work items have been in progress and allow you to investigate the reasons behind it to shorten this time period in the future. This is a powerful graph that gives you insight into two specific things – what is the longest time you will have to wait for a work item to be finished and which of your processes are taking longer than expected.
In this graph, you can see how much time it takes to complete work items from the moment they were created to the moment they are completed. Again showing the highest percentiles and the average of the last three months. With this at hand, it becomes easier to give estimates to your customers. As you know what are the longest times to complete each work item and can take that into account when setting deadlines.
This chart shows how many items were created and completed in the last three months. To make sure team productivity does not drop you should aim to keep these numbers more or less aligned and do not overwhelm your team with a never-ending list of tasks to do.
Lastly, Teamhood is designed in a way to show both the analytics and the possible solutions on how to improve your team productivity. In the Actionable items section, you will be able to see all the blocked, late, and stuck tasks. They are arranged from the most problematic ones to the least, thus allowing you to quickly identify what are the main blockers in your team productivity metrics and focusing the whole team’s effort on removing them.
This is especially convenient as the section gathers problematic tasks from the whole workspace into one place and lets you solve issues a lot faster.
Create your free Teamhood account today and try the actionable metrics for yourself!