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How to measure team productivity: A guide for managers and leaders
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How to measure team productivity: A guide for managers and leaders

Discover how to measure team productivity—including the strategies, metrics, and tools you can use to make it your own.

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Meet Sarah: A leader of a highly collaborative tech startup with a team of seasoned developers, creative designers, and marketers. 

Sarah knows it's important to measure team productivity to benchmark and improve employee performance. But, understanding team productivity isn't as simple as plugging it into a formula.

For example, dividing a team's output by their input doesn't necessarily equate to productivity or account for the quality of their output. So, how does Sarah–and leaders like her–find a way to measure productivity that suits her specific team needs? 

There’s lots of advice out there about how to measure team productivity, but it’s useless if it doesn’t make sense for your teams and business. Leaders need to understand, communicate, and implement what productivity looks like and can be for their teams, and measure success against relevant goals. 

In this piece, you'll learn how to measure productivity as well as the strategies and metrics you can use to tailor it to your business. This way, you and Sarah can set a standard for measuring productivity in a way that makes sense for your team—and reach new heights together. 

Make work more productive and fulfilling.  
Switchboard lets teams collaborate in project rooms before, during, and after the meeting's over. 
Learn more

3 steps to measure productivity for your team 

There’s no one-size-fits-all way to measure productivity because every team is unique. But there are some building blocks you can put in place to help figure out the best ways to measure productivity for your team.

So, use the following advice as a guide to figure out what makes sense to measure for your teams. Let's dive in. 

1. Set goals that make sense for your business

By setting clear goals that make sense for your team and business, you create a shared understanding of the team's desired outcomes and achievements. This helps keep efforts aligned, avoiding miscommunication and duplicated efforts. 

When specific targets are set, individuals are also more likely to take ownership of their responsibilities and be mindful of their contributions to team productivity. Research shows that when people are included in more detailed communications at work, they're nearly 5 times more productive

It's crucial to make sure your goals are detailed, measurable, and achievable. You can do this by involving stakeholders, leadership, and your team in the goal-setting process, and gaining insights into their perspectives and challenges.

For instance, a sales manager might set their team a clear measurable goal of booking five customer meetings per week, with clear details about the type of customer being targeted and why it’s important for the business. Discussing this goal with senior leadership will ensure it’s aligned with expectations and the needs of the business in order to hit wider company objectives (like winning a certain amount of business in Q2), while discussing this goal with team members will help to identify if there are any obstacles that need to be overcome in order to make it achievable.

Now that you've set realistic goals with your team, you're on track to creating your action plan for improving team effectiveness

2. Choose which team productivity metrics to track

The next step is to select the team productivity metrics you want to track based on your specific productivity KPIs and goals. You might also consider industry benchmarks that give you insight into metrics that are widely recognized and accepted in your line of business. 

Remember: It's important to track metrics that reflect actual outcomes and results, rather than merely measuring activities. For example, instead of tracking the number of emails sent or hours logged, consider tracking customer satisfaction ratings or cycle time.

Here are some suggestions of metrics you can use to track and improve team productivity:  

  • Planned-to-done ratios: Compares the planned work (tasks, projects) against the actual completed work. It indicates how effectively the team is meeting its planned targets, highlighting productivity gaps and areas for improvement.
  • Cycle time: Measures the time taken to complete a task or process from start to finish. It provides insights into the efficiency of team workflows, helping identify bottlenecks and optimize productivity by reducing unnecessary delays or wait times.
  • Customer satisfaction: Assesses the level of customer satisfaction with the products or services provided by the team. It can be measured through customer surveys, feedback, or ratings. Higher customer satisfaction indicates better team productivity, as it reflects the team's ability to meet customer needs, deliver value, and maintain positive relationships.
  • Employee satisfaction and engagement: Measures the level of contentment, commitment, and emotional connection employees have with their work, team, and organization. It assesses how employees feel about their overall work experience, job roles, workplace culture, and the extent to which they are invested in the organization's success.
  • Team performance: Monitors the effectiveness and efficiency of a team in achieving its goals and objectives. It provides insights into how well a team collaborates, communicates, and delivers results.
  • Workload balance: Examines the distribution of tasks and responsibilities among team members. It helps ensure that workloads are evenly distributed, preventing overload or underutilization of individual team members. 

3. Choose which strategies you should use to measure productivity 

All too often, companies implement very precise, complex strategies to measure productivity that don't acknowledge or account for the real problems managers face. That's why strong leaders adapt how they measure productivity to their specific team goals, needs, and operations. 

Here are some strategies you can use to measure productivity and improve company and employee performance. Again, the strategies you choose will depend on your team and goals. 

1. Use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)

OKRs are a goal-setting framework that helps teams define ambitious objectives and measurable key results to track progress. 

OKRs are typically set on a quarterly basis to encourage short-term focus and flexibility. But, depending on your needs, you can also set annual OKRs with quarterly check-ins. 

By setting specific objectives and measurable key results, teams know exactly what is expected of them, allowing them to concentrate on the most critical tasks and outcomes. With clearer communication, you can also increase employee well-being and productivity. 

Let's put it in perspective: Suppose tech leader Sarah has the objective to increase monthly website traffic. So, to track her progress, she comes up with three key results: 

  1. Achieve a 25% increase in organic website traffic by the end of the quarter.
  2. Implement a content marketing strategy that generates a 20% increase in referral traffic.
  3. Launch a successful social media campaign that drives 15% more traffic to the website.

Now she has a clear strategy in place to reach her objective as well as increase team productivity surrounding it. 

How to measure it

To measure OKRs, assess the achievement of key results against predefined metrics and regularly review progress towards objectives. 

Using the example above, let's investigate how Sarah can measure the success of her OKR at the end of the quarter:

  • For the first and second KRs, she can monitor website analytics to track the increase in organic and referral traffic based on various marketing efforts and SEO optimizations. 
  • For the third KR, she can monitor the website click-through rate using social media analytics after launching her social media campaign.

After analyzing the success of her key results, she can then determine if she's achieved her OKR. 

Before this step, however, Sarah needs to hold weekly check-ins throughout the quarter to discuss progress, share insights, and brainstorm new ideas to improve results. 

2. Track team performance

Team performance metrics quantify the output, quality, and efficiency of team members' work, providing objective indicators of productivity. 

Team performance KPIs (key performance indicators) include: 

  • Quality
  • Communication
  • Efficiency 
  • Employee engagement and satisfaction
  • Adaptability 
  • Connection

Regularly monitoring KPIs facilitates a culture of continuous improvement. Additionally, teams can identify areas of underperformance and implement strategies to enhance employee productivity and efficiency.

How to measure it

Measure performance metrics by defining relevant KPIs and regularly evaluating individual and team performance against those metrics. 

For example, let's say one of Sarah's KPIs for team performance is employee engagement. So, she'll be looking at the level of commitment, motivation, and satisfaction of team members, which can have a significant impact on overall productivity.

For instance, one day, Lee, a junior developer on Sarah's team, came up with an idea that seemed too radical at first glance. Instead of dismissing it, the team listened intently and realized that it had potential. Combining Lee’s innovative concept with the expertise of the senior engineers, they crafted a groundbreaking solution. 

The project's success wasn't just measured by its innovative features, but also by the sense of fulfillment and camaraderie that engulfed the team. They celebrated each milestone together, including the end results but also the process that got them there. Based on Sarah's KPIs, she knows she has a high-performing team.

Pro tip: Use Switchboard to improve team engagement with a truly multiplayer experience. The ability to jump into spontaneous 1:1 chats with your team, ask icebreaker questions during meetings, and poll your team to see how they're feeling, means you'll never miss a beat when it comes to connecting with your team.
Switchboard polling feature in a team meeting
In Switchboard, it's easy to gauge employee engagement and satisfaction by asking your team how they're doing during meetings. Source: Switchboard

3. Evaluate planned-to-done ratios 

Planned-to-done ratios measure the percentage of projects or tasks that are successfully completed within the allocated time and resources.

Tracking planned-to-done ratios helps identify potential issues early on in a project's life cycle. If the ratio deviates significantly from 100%, it indicates that the team might be facing challenges in completing tasks as initially estimated. This also helps you identify areas where resources might be underutilized or overstretched.

How to measure it

To get the planned to done ratio, you divide the number of tasks that should have been completed against what was accomplished. You then turn that figure into a percentage.

Planned-to-done ratio = (Actual Work Done / Planned Work) * 100

4. Gather stakeholder feedback

Customer or stakeholder feedback provides insights into the impact and value of the team's work from an external perspective.

How to measure it

Measure customer or stakeholder feedback by collecting feedback through surveys, interviews, or reviews and analyzing the sentiment and satisfaction levels expressed.

Common surveys include: 

  • Customer satisfaction surveys, which measure the overall customer satisfaction with a product, service, or experience
  • Net promoter score (NPS), which measures customer loyalty by asking customers how likely they are to recommend a product or service to others on a scale of 0-10
  • Customer effort score, which assesses the ease of a customer's experience with a product or service
  • Customer experience (CX) surveys, which capture feedback at different customer touch points to assess the overall experience

5. Conduct employee surveys

Employee surveys collect feedback from team members to evaluate their perception of productivity, work environment, and potential areas for improvement. 

For example, let's say you want to understand the impact of teamwork on productivity from your team member's point of view. You can simply ask them how working together with their team impacts their work, for a qualitative understanding of your data on team productivity. 

How to measure it
  • Measure employee engagement. Conduct regular engagement surveys, analyze participation rates, and monitor changes in employee morale and satisfaction. Analyze the responses, identify common themes and track changes in employee satisfaction over time. 
  • Investigate employee workload and burnout. Employee workload and burnout metrics assess the balance between workload and available resources, helping to prevent burnout and maintain sustainable productivity levels. Measure employee workload and burnout by tracking hours worked, overtime hours, vacation or leave taken, and monitoring signs of exhaustion or disengagement through regular employee polls and check-ins. 

How Switchboard helps improve team productivity

When you use Switchboard for project meetings, you can unite your people, tools, and files in one place. The best part is, persistent rooms save your work so you never have to prep the same meeting twice. 

For example, let's say Sarah opens a project room in Switchboard for a team sprint planning meeting. She can enter the room before the meeting and open all the browsers and tools she needs. This way, the amount of time spent usually toggling between different tabs during the session goes toward advancing the project. With everything in view, it's also easier for her team to see active projects as well as their project roadmap, side-by-side. 

From Figma designs to reference documentation, Sarah can facilitate a seamless meeting transitioning between her tools and documents, while her team actively works on them together. After the meeting's over, everyone can go back into the room and get project updates and meeting information—and access one source of truth. This helps her team do more with their time async and in real-time. 

Switchboard room showing multiple browsers during a sprint planning meeting
Switchboard lets collaborative teams work together on anything from sprint planning and design reviews to client management. Source: Switchboard

Team productivity begins with your workspace

Strong leaders like Sarah know that to measure team productivity, you need to make it personal to your business and team. They also know that generic advice on measuring productivity won't help if they don't enable their teams with the right workspace.

That's why leaders should know what productivity means for their teams, explain it clearly, and find ways to achieve it. For example, you can do this by setting goals, choosing which team productivity metrics to track, and selecting strategies to measure productivity. 

And, when you use a workspace like Switchboard that lets team members work side-by-side and pick up right where they left off, you can hit the ground running on team productivity before the project even starts. 

Make work more productive and fulfilling.
Switchboard lets teams collaborate in project rooms before, during, and after the meeting's over. 
Learn more

Frequently asked questions about how to measure team productivity 

What is a correct way to measure productivity?

There isn't one way to correctly measure productivity. A team's and company's productivity depends on a variety of factors including the amount of work individual employees can accomplish within a certain amount of time and resources. However, it's important to come up with a way to measure employee productivity that makes sense for your business, teams, and timelines. 

How do you measure productivity in an agile team?

In an agile team or environment, the focus shifts from measuring individual output to assessing the team's ability to deliver value and achieve goals collaboratively. For example, some productivity metrics in an agile team might include: 

  • Cycle time
  • Burndown chart
  • Velocity 
  • Throughput
  • Escaped defects
  • Customer satisfaction

What are the metrics to measure team performance?

Some of the most common metrics to measure team performance are: 

  • Planned-to-done ratios
  • Cycle time
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employee satisfaction and engagement
  • Team performance 
  • Workload balance

However, there's no one-size-fits-all productivity formula you can use to plug in a certain number of hours or a certain number of employees and get a magical productivity number.

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