When it comes to increasing the operational efficiency in a group or a division of an organization, there could be plenty of methods, methodologies adopted to do that. However, here is an attempt made to identify a few. It is important to note that these could be already running now. However, here are a few collated.
On the tasks that we perform, if we pay close attention, there would always be a room for improvement. For example, in a project, have we ever thought about improving efficiency? Have we had a second look at the productivity improvement methodologies, consistent way of operational methods that support & improve the project execution and yield very high-quality results? And also, in a broader perspective, motivation for retaining good talents. Here are few:
Common Database Help Guide
A common database tool that can connect to any database with appropriate drivers, of course. This tool would help know & understand the data model well and a help guide. What Help Guide means here is, ability to see the table/field details just based on the input text that is queried against all the fields (text search) and display on those tables and field names. Field names may also have hyperlink so that, it might be having a foreign key relationship with other tables. For example, say, I have a field called, pmt_ben_name in a table called t_fwt_pmt with description field having the details like “Beneficiary Name for the payment”. If the user does not know the field name for Beneficiary, if a user searches with the text ‘beneficiary’, then, it would display the table name, field name(with hyperlink) in a tabular format. For an experienced developer in a project, it may be known to them. However, for new joiners, juniors in the project, this type of tool would help learn the system/application well and in less time.
Support Operation Application
Resource Management is always a challenge. Having a central place that captures & reports the resource details segregating groups/teams, it is really a one-click place. This central application can also include travel plans(completed, current, proposed), infrastructure information with needs based on the project requirement, junior resource requirements, recruitment data, staff utilization data maintenance & tracking. This can further be enhanced based on specific requirements. It is important to note that not all get access to all of these internal operations. However, it can be done by having appropriate entitlements & privileges. Thus, it reduces a lot of manual work with spreadsheets each time and delays in data consolidation & reporting.
Central Archiving Facility
Remember, we create files after files in a project, and we keep in them in our local disk or share them in the network(temporary files). This is in addition to our software configuration management (using VSS, Harvest etc.,)
Once the project is rolled out into production and running successfully for 6-12 months, not sure if these are deleted or archived, otherwise, it may consume more space in the local system or in the shared system in the network. To minimize the use of disk space by unused files, we can have an archiving facility running centrally. That can work like, scanning the unused files, say for, more than 6 or 12 months and can be deleted/archived based on the relevance. This way, infrastructure cost can also be handled well.
Intranet for each Group/Division
A place for the complete details on the projects, staffs who currently work on those projects, teams, brief profile of each of the staffs, team structure is spiralling up to the helm. This portal or website (whatever be the name) can be developed with rudimentary technologies or cutting-edge, latest technologies.
The advantage of developing such an application is two-fold: one, a system with required information is readily available and second, the talent pool is developed as juniors, staffs that are relatively less utilized in the project can contribute to this development, thus, making the talent pool very effective. This pool can further be leveraged in other projects where there are requirements for such skills. This can also be viewed as, retaining talent who aspire to work on latest technologies and development:-)
This is another important channel by which operational efficiency can be enhanced. Forums can be broadly classified (not restricted), into Technology, Management and Domain(Business), in fact, Softskill too.
For running these forums, homework has to be done first. This means, aspiring individuals have to be identified, simple goals have to be set for them and tracking for meeting the goals, sharing the progress with others. Softskill is one of the most essential skills that each individual has to have. The levels can vary depending on the relevance.
Awards and Honours
Yes, there could be a lot of such honours and awards being given to associates. The time frame for such a global ceremony may vary. However, if we do it every quarter specific to a group or domain that would really motivate the staffs well. The accepted truth is every individual requires acknowledgement/recognition. If we provide such a path to engineers, that would be a real launching pad for further productivity. And if this happens, in a Town Hall meeting, a sort of big gathering, the motivation & happiness for them would be immense.
R & D Centre
Dedicated Research and Development Centre for coming up with new innovations in terms of new software, products (could be specializing in organization’s line of business itself, or, something beyond that too), utilities/tools that help manage & run few of internal operations. The catalyst for this could be, use of Open Source tools.
As there is N number of open source software for almost all the requirements, those can be used for our research purpose too. This might lead to new products, new revolutionary whitepapers in the industry too.
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