What do the best productivity apps for teams achieve? The proliferation of apps based on the humble to-do are useful for individuals, but they’re less effective for reporting upward or collaborating with teams in a larger company.
Jay Jamison is senior vice president of Strategy and Products at Quick Base. The Cambridge-based company he works for enables users to build custom business applications and productivity apps for project management, data management and more, without learning to code.
“[Productivity apps] are ultimately trying to provide a way for individuals to get work done at a higher quality, more quickly,” he said.
Present Accurate, Current Data
Anybody who’s worked for a larger company has had the perplexing experience of emailing and asking colleagues for the latest version of a spreadsheet or report.
Jamison is no exception.
He spent part of his early career working in Asia for Microsoft. Then, he depended on getting accurate information about each market.
“When I was getting data, it was really important for me to be able to filter to the data relevant to Japan, where I worked,” he said.
He argued the best productivity apps for teams today reduce the amount of time people spend hunting for the latest reports or project information.
“One of the first challenges you often have when you’re trying to be productive is finding out who’s got the data and is the data up to date?” said Jamison.
Create Your ‘Aha’ Moment
When an individual finds a great productivity app, he or she can use it almost immediately. After all, it takes only your fingerprint to download a shiny tool from the App Store.
That’s not going to help you at work though. The biggest problem with apps for teams is convincing the right people to use them.
A direction from management that, “This is how we do things” isn’t enough either.
A Quick Base customer survey found 81% of workers consider it “very important” to be able to choose their tools and technologies.
Jamison recommends creating an “aha moment” whereby teams realize they will save either time or energy by using the productivity app in question.
“We need to show them how this gets so much easier, so much faster, so much simpler,” said Jamison.
He pointed to the example of New Orleans 911, which reduced paper-based processes after using a custom productivity app built on Quick Base. The developer behind the app cut emergency services dispatch times by 10%.
Show The Status Of Projects
The humble to-do list is unlikely to help a manager who needs to review the progress of a project and how each team member is performing.
Many of today’s successful productivity apps for teams enable both teams and managers to see the status of each project stage and find the right information when they need it.
Jamison cited a Kanban board that “provides a very easy visual way to see the status of something and enables [teams] to move it from…in-progress to complete.”
Successful workplace productivity apps also enable team members to collaborate on the data underpinning the app, such as the latest sales projections.
“Irrespective of any tool…we’re all drowning in data and drowning in activities that people can ask you to do,” said Jamison.
“Different types of charts and reports that provide status updates…that can be shared out is key.”
In short: The best productivity apps for teams reduce administration, solve problems and enable teams to achieve their goals faster.
Anything else is just another task for your to do list.
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