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“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
This well-known quote draws our attention to a common mistake people make when managing their business operations. Investing our resources in automation can lead us astray if we don’t first take care of maximizing the efficiency of our teams. Luckily, there are tools that can support us in our pursuit. In this article, we will discuss the definition of efficiency as well as the importance of individual performance evaluation. We will also introduce a tool for Jira that can help you increase your team’s efficiency.
The above question might sound contradictory at first. Isn’t a hard-working team automatically an efficient one, too? Or the other way round – doesn’t efficiency naturally equal hard work? These two terms frequently get confused with one another. And it’s actually no one’s fault. As modern humans, we tend to think that our hard work will surely pay off one day. And if it doesn’t then… Well, apparently, we just haven’t been working hard enough! Right?
If you’re familiar with this mindset, you also probably already know that things are not always that simple. Sometimes hard work is not enough. It must be supported by a skillful work organization. Only with these two things combined, the true long-term success is within your reach. Strategic organization of work that with minimum effort, brings the maximum effect, is what we call efficiency.
Having said that, let’s go back to our original question. Is your team efficient or is it just hard-working? Is it structured and organized in such a way that it can reach its full potential? And how can you support it in its growth? Since each and every team is different, there is no one universal recipe for success. However, there are some things that you can do to identify your team’s possibilities and limitations, and make the best out of what you have.
When discussing efficiency, there is a tendency to focus on what needs to be done and when. However, there is a third crucial element that should be considered in this equation – the people responsible for specific tasks. In other words, along with asking “what?” and “when?”, you need to also ask “who?”
Since teams are usually working together to achieve shared goals, it’s easy to focus only on the overall effectiveness of their effort, without analyzing the individual performance of each person involved. This tendency is even deepened by the fact that measuring individual performance requires specific tools designed to serve this purpose. While it demands some time and some resources, diving deep into the analysis of the team’s dynamics and each person’s individual input can significantly change, if not completely transform, your team’s efficiency level.
There are several efficiency-related questions that can help you diagnose issues connected to individual performance evaluations:
Even if you hire a team of highly qualified specialists, at the end of the day, we’re all just humans. We have our human talents and human limitations. It’s only natural that the same task can be completed in different ways by two different people. It all might sound obvious, but in reality, these nuances can easily be missed, if you don’t pay close attention to every aspect of your team’s work. To distribute tasks in your team smartly, you need to observe its members closely and be aware of their capabilities. Someone might be a little too slow in completing one type of task, but bring great value to the other. Noticing such details, and adjusting your team organization and structure based on this knowledge, can help you significantly increase efficiency.
Every manager wants their team to work like a well-oiled machine. However, it’s difficult to reach such a level of organizational perfection. There are and always will be delays, unexpected issues, and inefficiencies. Some of them are out of your control. Your job is to identify the bottlenecks that are solvable and find the way to optimize them. The reasons for such issues vary, but one of the most reasonable places to start is examining your team’s structure and the work dynamics within it. Sometimes a simple change can elevate your workflow, and solve recurring problems.
Should you decide on outsourcing?
It certainly does feel good, safe, and stable to have your own people taking care of every aspect of your business. While their work is the foundation of the company and nothing would be possible without them, it is still important to evaluate their work in terms of how much profit it can bring. Sometimes outsourcing can serve as a great way to support your team in the areas that require additional optimization. However, to decide on outsourcing you need to first be well-informed about the current capabilities of your team, and the areas that are lacking coverage, as well as the reasons for these limitations.
At last, it all comes down to money. After all, we want our operations to be profitable. Each working hour of your employee has its cost. Therefore, these hours need to be distributed as efficiently as possible. Your challenge is to make accurate time and cost estimations based on data. It can be collected by tools designed to serve this purpose. The more detailed and accurate your data is, the better calculations and decisions you can make. It then translates into the success of your team.
Sometimes the greatest challenges can be solved in the simplest of ways. In the case of team efficiency and individual work evaluation, there are three main sets of data that you need to combine and analyze in order to find the weak spots, and optimize them:
What task are you analyzing?
How fast was the task completed?
By whom was it completed?
Although it might seem like these three pieces of information alone are not a lot to work with, notice how much data they can give you, once you compare them with each other. Knowing how much time your employees spend on each task is essential to understanding which elements can and should be optimized, and in what way.
For instance, if a team that you manage faces an overload of work, and it reflects in the delay of the project, you might want to take a closer look at the hours each of the team members spent on their tasks. While examining the data, you notice that one person takes a particularly long time to finish some kind of a minor task that stops them from helping the rest with more crucial matters. The said task is not complex and demanding, but it certainly is time-consuming. Based on this data, and your experience, you might come to a conclusion that this particular task should be outsourced. It will take the burden off of your employee’s shoulders and will give them more space to support the rest of the team in their tasks. Since the working hours of your employees are more valuable than that of an external assistant, it’s more efficient and reasonable to let them focus on what’s really important in your project.
By combining and comparing the data you can spot many issues of this type. Having such detailed knowledge, you can then make informed decisions and better prioritizations, and optimize your team’s work to increase its efficiency.
Worklogs – Time Tracking and Reports for Jira is an app created as a response to the needs mentioned above. It allows you to track the working hours of your employees, filter data according to your needs, and generate reports that will help you stay on track with everything that is happening. The three efficiency-related questions of “what?”, “when?”, and “who?” can be easily answered with the help of Worklogs.
Worklogs app gathers all of the data regarding users’ working hours in one place, and allows you to arrange it in the way most suitable for your needs.
By clicking on any cell in the table, you can view the details regarding what tasks specifically were the hours logged in, as well as the original estimation of each task:
Worklogs can be displayed in the form of a table, a pie chart, or a bar chart, to help you visualize the ratio of hours spent by users in the chosen project and period of time, what tasks were these hours spent on, etc.
Worklogs offer a variety of filtering options to give you an insight into any data, according to your needs. You can categorize information by issue type, project, epic, original estimate, priority, and many more. Additionally, you can choose from many first and secondary grouping options, to make your reports even more specific:
A feature particularly helpful for individual performance evaluation is filtering by a user or by a group. It allows you to track all of the working hours logged by a certain employee or a certain team in a chosen period of time. You are provided with a clear view of every hour logged by the user, and can easily check the details of Jira issues that they have spent their time on.
All of the reports generated in Worklogs can be saved and accessed at any given moment. Thanks to this feature you can compare different sets of data to draw more accurate conclusions. You can also export your reports to Excel (xlsx format).
Considering all of the features we’ve mentioned above, Worklogs can be a great assistance in the process of increasing your team’s efficiency. Not only does it allow you to keep an eye on every working hour of your employees, but it also provides you with tools suitable for individual performance evaluation.
Do you remember the efficiency challenges that we’ve previously described? Here is how you can approach them with Worklogs:
Worklogs for Jira provide you with quick access to the data of each of your users in the form of a customizable dashboard or reports. It allows you to stay on track with the users’ activities. With such data at hand, you can easily analyze the individual performance of each user, their efficiency, and the accuracy of the current task distribution. Consequently, you can make reasonable adjustments to the plan and reassign tasks, should you diagnose any issues.
In your Worklogs reports you might notice that, for instance, one particular task is often taking much more time than originally estimated. Having made that observation, you can then work to identify the roots of the problem. Is the task assigned to the wrong person? Is it blocked by other issues? Is it inaccurately described? Knowing where these blockers appear and which part of your team’s organizational structure is responsible for them, is essential in removing the bottlenecks.
Even if you consider investing in outsourcing, such a decision can not be made without a proper understanding of your team’s capabilities and limitations. To make the most out of outsourcing, you must first identify where to apply it. It requires a lot of strategic thinking that needs to be backed up with data. With Worklogs, you can easily access such data and analyze it.
All of the above operations are heading towards a shared goal – increased efficiency. As we mentioned before, efficiency is defined as the maximum effect achieved with minimal effort. Consequently, the higher your efficiency is, the more optimized your costs get. Worklogs provide you with access to historical reports, enabling you to analyze and compare data according to your needs. That way, you can make sure that you stay on the right track and constantly improve.
Individual performance evaluation is just one aspect of Worklogs’ functionality. Overall, this app can help teams to solve efficiency issues by providing visibility into team members' work, improving time management, facilitating accurate project planning, and increasing accountability.
Try Worklogs for Jira for free and make sure that your team’s hard work translates into efficiency!