With the mobile development world speeding up - tighter deadlines, pressure for final builds, I need it by Friday - it can often be challenging to stay on top of it all, especially while constantly trying to self improve and be the best business we can be. Bemo’s focus is always on providing quality service for our clients, and what naturally follows from this is the need to be productive in the way we work and the way we create.
Interestingly, productivity is something which seems to be ‘on trend’ in popular culture at the moment. But how can we apply it to business? And most importantly, how can we apply it in a way that keeps our employees and clients happy, while shipping the best products possible?
Productivity... What is it?
Defining productivity in a clear way is something which makes it more obtainable in practice. After a quick Google of the word numerous definitions are returned, all with the same basic idea - the rate of output for each unit of input, which can often be intertwined with efficiency. However, we see productivity as something more personal than just inputs and outputs - something which, when increased, can have positive effects that resonate throughout the entire company.
How do we get it?
As a creative industry, we are always seeking new ways to solve old problems, and increasing efficiency is no exception. We think we’ve got some great and creative approaches which can improve company morale, code quality and in turn, keep the finances in check.
Keep the Team Engaged
Different teams are motivated by different factors. Finding one to motivate them all can be challenging, especially when developing a product includes such a diverse group of talents. It is important to remember the value of each team in the company, and the positive potential impact an engaged and motivated team will have on project productivity.
One way to motivate and engage employees throughout different teams is challenging their natural strengths and talents. It is human nature to seek out challenges and value, so it makes sense that people perform at their best when they are given the space to explore their potential. It is also true that companies benefit hugely from having an engaged and talented team. So, it really is a win win to give your employees’ talents room to breathe.
An example of this in practice may be challenging the UX team to take a design pattern and rethink its impact on the overall mobile experience of an app. This not only engages the design team, but could also uncover new approaches that may not have been considered before, potentially leading to a better mobile experience in your apps now and in the future. In the same tone, encouraging developers to seek out new and efficient ways to solve an old problem gets teams excited and challenges their natural ability as logical problem solvers.
Of course, live projects are not necessarily playgrounds to test new ideas, but providing a space to explore new approaches to challenges can increase quality and productivity in the long run. Who knows - these explorative ideas could reduce steps in a process your company relies on, saving time and money, or even become the next key strength that sets the company apart from its competitors.
Think outside the office
There’s no denying that when a team member is an expert in an area of a project, productivity rises and and friction decreases. But in such a fast paced industry, expertise is quite transient, requiring a lot of passion and effort on the employee's part to maintain. However, a culture that encourages this passion and interest can be easily integrated into a company’s ethos and in turn, leads to increasingly productivity and interesting projects.
At Bemo, our team are always attending or speaking at conferences, networking at meetups or soaking up the latest tech announcements. In the past four weeks alone, our tech expert Neil spoke at ScotConf 2016, our UX designer Alex who runs Edinburgh Creative Mornings flew to Texas to the International CM Conference and we’ve kicked off our Bemo Breakdown series in which we translate the latest tech announcements into digestible infographics for our social media platforms.
All this alongside our usual workload - phew! If all of our team are busy with external projects, how could it possibly increase productivity? It’s exactly that involvement that makes our in house work exceptional. Our team is given time to explore these opportunities and it translates to a talented and enthusiastic team. This means our projects’ productivity, both in terms of code and design standards and overall team development, is increasing. And we’re damn proud of it.
Explore new software and frameworks.
When recently starting out on a new project, our designers decided to explore two new tools for the wireframing process. We had always used the same method for getting our vision for an app to clients, but with such a selection of new and interesting applications for displaying prototypes, we thought it was worth our time to check them out. Each designer drew up a section of the app’s architecture using their new platform of choice and presented their final high fidelity wireframes to each other. The pros and cons of each platform were identified, and one was chosen to continue the process with.
It was an interesting exercise as we were able to see whether the software worked for our teams within a live project scenario. It also improved our productivity because the tool we chose ended up removing a whole extra step which we had been using previously. Success!
This idea can also be applied to frameworks or libraries. In fact, a similar process is currently underway by a member of our development team in preparation for a new project. Exploring the newest technologies, frameworks and software can make the team's life much easier and often leads to increased productivity in unexpected areas. An added bonus is that we can use the information we found through these testing phases and apply it to future projects - what might be beneficial for one project might not be productive for the next. Clearly identifying the areas which each new tool is strongest in allows us choose wisely for each project down the line.