This blog post will explain some tools that me and my team at Incentergy are applying for exceptional productivity. Most of them are not specific for IT and can be used for a lot of situations in life.
1. Eisenhower Matrix
The american president has to be efficient. One of them even invented a productivity tool often referred as the eisenhower matrix. It is a 2×2 matrix with the dimensions urgency and importance. This means that you can categorize your daily task into these classes. Every class gets an own treatment. Most of the time you should work on important but not yet urgent task. So basically it tells you that you must stop procrastination to become efficient.
2. Pareto Principle
The pareto principle sometimes also referred as 80-20-rule says that 20 percent of the input are responsible for 80 of the output e.g. with 20% of software features cover 80% of the users use cases. We already covered one application of this rule for campaign optimization. This method can be used for all things that do not have a linear relationship but an logarithmic relationship. For example this is the case for words used in a language. When you are learning a new language you should start with the most popular words. Most of the time 2000-3000 words are already enough to get most of the conversations.
3. Time does not equal value
Bad managers often expect that working time correlates with productivity. A lot of studies show that this is not true. For the long term teams with a 40 hour week are more productive then teams with a 60 hour week. Further a talented person can only work around 3 hours a day creatively. The rest of the time they have to spend with busy work. A recent study also showed that a quite workplace boosts the productivity by around 10%. So it is not about working longer but about working smarter.
Flow is a state coined by psychology research. It describes a situation where the worker is fully dedicated to the task he is working on.
Flow is a very fragile state already the slightest interruption can destroy it. Flow is especially required when working on core functionality that is kind of complex. If you are good you are going to spot inner patterns of the problem you are working on and you can apply standard solution instead of superficially reinventing the wheel.
5. Time constraints
A lot of people tend to procrastinate or to be to perfectionist but it is about getting things done. Especially in engineering and software development you are not going to know if you solution fits the customers needs until you deliver. A very good practise is to have continuous deployments e.g. weekly. To deliver most recent features and put a time contraint on developers.
We have also more rules e.g. you are not allowed to break a compilation of the code for longer then 1 hour and the whole build has to be working again after 8 hours. This forces everyone in our team to deliver working code continuously and our internal processes will make sure that customers will receive it in short cycles.
Incentergy secret tips:
Here are some routines that we developed at incentergy as secret ingredients to our team productivity.
We do regularly sports e.g. I am currently writing this blog post on a ergometer.
Sports saves are lot more time then it costs. At incentergy we are jogging together in our lunch break. We are discussing business and technical solutions. This strengthens our team, keeps us healthy and makes us live longer. A nice side effect is that we have to pay less absent days for our workforce.
Don’t be a victim of the not invented here syndrome
Software can be easily copied and process models for all different kind of business activities are available. Some are even enforced by law. Don’t be stupid and use these public available assets e.g. this blog tells you a lot how to solve different problems.