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11 Ways to Improve Your IT Team's Productivity

By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, CIO
February 06, 2014 09:21 AM ET

CIO - How can CIOs and IT executives help their teams be more productive (besides providing them with free food)? Here are the top 11 tips -- from CIOs, IT executives, productivity and leadership experts and project managers -- for getting the most out of your IT team.

1. Set goals -- and be "Agile." "Be Agile in your goal setting," says Zubin Irani, cofounder & CEO, cPrime, a project management consulting company. "Have the team set goals for the quarter -- and break the work into smaller chunks that they can then self-assign and manage."

2. Communicate goals, expectations and roles from the get-go. "Provide your team with background information and the strategic vision behind [each] project, activity, task, etc.," says Hussein Yahfoufi vice president, Technology & Corporate Services, OneRoof Energy, a solar finance provider. "Not only does providing more background and information motivate employees more, [it makes them] feel more engaged."

"Everyone on the team should know what the target is that they are shooting for and what success looks like at the end of their journey," adds Tony McClain, executive partner and client advisor, Geneca, a custom software developer.

"They must be crystal clear on the part they play in [the project] and how they will help the team get to the finish line," McClain says. "It is critically important that every member of the team know and understand what they are a part of and why they exist as it relates to your organization."

3. Provide tools and and infrastructure that promote collaboration and efficiency. "This is basically the cardinal rule for any IT manager," says Wes Wright, CIO, Seattle Children's Hospital. "Even the best team is only as effective as its resources and systems that they use day to day," he says. "If you want to get the most out of your IT team, invest in the proper tools. Deploy incredibly secure, yet user-intuitive solutions that will cut down on manual hours and improve accuracy in identifying network problems."

"Implement a structure that gives shared visibility and metrics to development and IT teams, so the health of an application [or project] is easily viewed by both teams once operational, and issues can be resolved more rapidly," says Andi Gutmans, CEO, Zend, which helps companies develop and deliver mobile and Web apps rapidly.

"Having technology resources that allow communication across branch offices/locations when working on a cross-office project is a must," adds Aaron Weiss, director of Marketing, HP LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions. "IT managers and CIOs [should be able to easily] share project status reports or information updates ... via cloud document management systems that allow teams to easily provide updates to the status document."

Furthermore, "CIOs can improve the organization's efficiency by implementing a platform-agnostic solution to let users sync important work files and access them from any device, anywhere, anytime," notes Ross Piper, vice president of Enterprise Strategy at Dropbox.

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