How to Increase Project Productivity: 9 Actionable Ways
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How to Increase Project Productivity: 9 Actionable Ways

Post Author - The Toggl Team The Toggl Team Last Updated:

Project productivity measures how efficiently and effectively teams complete tasks and reach goals. 

It’s one of the best tools in a project manager’s toolkit to track and improve every project in their pipeline. By measuring and improving productivity, project managers can avoid scope creep and keep projects on schedule—and on budget.

In this article, you will learn nine ways to increase project productivity and how Toggl Plan and Toggl Track can help you do it. 

Let’s dive in.

What is project productivity?

Project productivity is a metric that shows how successfully teams work and achieve project goals. 

Measuring project productivity by looking at how effective and efficient teams are is important. 

Effectiveness focuses on the final project outcome, while efficiency evaluates how well a team completes tasks in terms of cost and time. 

Why is productivity important in project management?

High productivity levels can lead to better outcomes, satisfied clients, and successful projects.

Here are some key benefits of prioritizing productivity in project management:

  • Increased efficiency: Productive employees get more work done in less time, which reduces project duration and costs. 
  • Improved quality: Productive project teams have more time to focus on quality assurance to refine their outputs and deliver higher-quality work. 
  • Better profitability: Productive teams use their resources and time more efficiently, which can lower operating costs. 
  • Higher team morale: Achieving goals efficiently can boost morale and job satisfaction, which can also lead to increased productivity. 
  • Happy clients and stakeholders: Meeting project deadlines and delivering quality work consistently makes clients and stakeholders happy. Satisfied clients are more likely to trust the team with future projects, which ensures long-term success. 

How can you increase project productivity?

Here are nine ways to increase project productivity. 

How to increase project productivity.

Let’s look at each one in more detail. 

1. Set realistic goals

The first step for increasing project productivity is setting realistic goals. 

This requires a solid understanding of the project’s scope, available resources, and team capabilities. When goals are realistic, team members feel more motivated and less stressed, which improves efficiency and productivity. 

To set realistic goals:

  • Ensure that each goal is clear, measurable, and time-bound to give direction to your team.
  • Regularly review and adjust project goals if the scope changes or project management challenges arise. 

This adaptability keeps goals achievable and the team focused and productive. 

For example, a software development team needs to create a new mobile application. 

A realistic goal for this project could be: “Complete the mobile application prototype by Q2. Ensure it includes user authentication, profile management, and basic navigation functionalities. This prototype should be ready for initial user testing by the end of June.”

This goal is clear as it specifies what the prototype should include. It is also measurable because you can check the presence of key functionalities. And it is time-bound with a deadline at the end of Q2.

2. Break the project down into smaller tasks

Dividing the project into manageable tasks makes it easier for team members to stay focused and productive. 

This approach helps project managers plan better and assign tasks effectively without overwhelming the team. 

With a project management tool like Toggl Plan, it’s easy to break your project down into smaller tasks. 

You start by setting up a Project Timeline:

  1. To create a new Project, click the ‘+’ sign on the sidebar next to the Projects section.
  2. Give your project a name
  3. Enable the Timeline view and click “Add” to create the Project.
Toggl Plan screenshot.

 Once the Project Timeline is ready, you can start to add tasks to it. To create a task in Timeline view:

  1. Click on the highlighted timeline area or click and drag to add a multi-day task.
Toggl Plan screenshot.

From the task properties tab, you can:

  • Add clear, descriptive names to tasks
  • Use color coding for a clear overview of tasks
  • Set start and end dates for tasks and track task progress
  • Assign tasks to specific team members and group tasks by project for clarity
  • Add tags and segments to add extra task information and add an extra layer of organization

You can also create task boards in Toggl Plan to track and plan your work in a visual, organized way. 

To set up a Project Board:

  1. When creating a new project, enable the Board view and click Save. 
Toggl Plan screenshot.

On the new Board view created, you can see the task status, who’s responsible for it, any scheduled tasks, checklists, and task notes. 

Toggl Plan screenshot.

3. Allocate the right resources to each task

Resource allocation involves assigning available resources effectively across tasks within a project. The term resources usually refers to the people in your team as well as time and budget. 

Resource allocation is important in project management because it helps complete tasks on time and on budget and without overwhelming your team.

Proper resource allocation improves project productivity by maximizing the use of limited resources, reducing downtime, and preventing bottlenecks. 

Toggl Plan makes it easy to identify available resources with its Team Timeline feature. 

To access your Team Timeline in Toggl Plan, you need to create a team first.

  1. To create a new team, click the ‘+’ sign on the sidebar next to the Teams section.
Toggl Plan screenshot.

The Team Timeline gives you a clear visual overview of available team members to assign tasks according to workloads. 

This timeline will also tell you:

  • Who’s responsible for which tasks and when they are working on it
  • Which tasks belong to a project
  • The task status and its deadline

These insights allow you to assign tasks to the right team members to maximize team productivity. 

4. Encourage collaboration

When team members collaborate and work together, they can solve problems faster and come up with more creative solutions. 

Collaboration creates a shared sense of purpose in a team. It can not only improve communication but also reduce mistakes and misunderstandings.

Here are five ways you can encourage team collaboration:

  • Create a culture of open communication and respect
  • Use collaborative tools to share information easily and increase transparency
  • Set common goals and celebrate team achievements
  • Encourage diverse viewpoints and disagreement
  • Create an environment where everyone feels valued and heard

In Toggl Plan, it’s easy to collaborate on projects and stay updated using the Comments feature. 

Toggl Plan screenshot.

Here, teams can leave comments on tasks and mention people in a workspace to give updates or ask questions.

5. Avoid overloading resources

Giving too much work to team members can overwhelm them and lead to burnout, which is a recipe for low productivity. 

To avoid this, project managers should give each team member a manageable workload and check they are not overstretched. 

Toggl Plan has an Availability Overview feature to give full visibility over team workloads and resource availability. 

Toggl Plan screenshot.

On this view, you can see:

  • Percentages and a bar visualization that shows how booked a team member is
  • How many available hours each team member has left

The bar visualization turns red when a team member’s availability is stretched, making it easier to spot when a workload is overbooked. 

You can access the Availability Overview by clicking the Show Availability button on your Team Timeline. 

Toggl Plan screenshot.

6. Avoid scheduling conflicts

Scheduling conflicts happen when two or more project tasks are set simultaneously without enough resources to cover them. 

When team members are double-booked, one of the tasks must wait, leading to delays and lower productivity. 

Here are some quick hacks to avoid scheduling conflicts:

  • Schedule regular check-ins to review task progress and upcoming work.
  • Set clear priorities and ensure the team knows which tasks have priority to manage overlapping deadlines effectively.
  • Use project management software to get a clear view of everyone’s tasks, schedules, and time off.
  • Allocate resources wisely based on team availability and skill sets.

Toggl Plan’s Time Off feature offers a clear overview of who’s available and who’s not for accurate project planning. 

Toggl Plan screenshot.

This feature shows a conflict warning every time a task and time off overlap. When a conflict happens, a notification appears on the timeline to tell project managers they need to assign the task to someone else.

Toggl Plan screenshot.

7. Spot bottleneck tasks

Bottleneck tasks can negatively impact productivity, so you want to identify and manage them. 

With Toggl Track’s Detailed report, it’s easy to spot tasks that take longer than expected. 

Start by tracking time spent on tasks in Toggl Track. You can do this using the timer, the manual mode, the Calendar view, or inputting a duration. 

Here’s how to track time using the timer:

  1. Type in what you’re working on
  2. Select the relevant Project or Task
  3. Click on the pink play icon
Toggl Track screenshot.

You can also integrate Toggl Track with Toggl Plan and start the timer directly from Toggl Plan, as shown in the screenshot below.

Toggl Plan screenshot.

After you’ve tracked time spent on tasks, you can access the Detailed report for a better look at your time entries. 

This report shows data as a list of editable time entries. You can access this report by clicking the Reports tab and then going to Detailed from the top center of the screen.

Toggl Track screenshot.

You can filter these reports by user, project, and task so you only see relevant information. 

8. Delegate work when necessary

The more skillful a project manager is at delegating work, the more productive their team can be. 

Why?

Here are four reasons why task delegation is good for productivity:

  • Increases efficiency: When you give tasks to team members based on their strengths, they work more efficiently.
  • Boosts morale: Delegation shows trust and can increase team motivation and job satisfaction. 
  • Skill development: Employees can learn new skills and take on challenges that lead to professional growth. 
  • Improves time management: Delegating makes room to focus on strategic planning and important tasks. 

To delegate work effectively, a project manager should identify the right tasks to delegate. These tasks are less critical and can serve as developmental opportunities for team members.

Delegation can also be done through automation or outsourcing work to third parties. An example of using automation to outsource would be through chatbots and software. Outsourcing work to third parties could mean hiring a freelance content writer or an external IT firm. 

Using Toggl Track to spot bottlenecks, as shown above, and delegating those tasks effectively can increase project productivity. 

9. Create accurate time estimations

Accurate time estimations build a strong foundation for using resources efficiently, setting realistic deadlines, and avoiding burnout. 

However, creating accurate estimations is something many project managers struggle with. They either don’t have the right tools or lack the enough needed to realistically estimate work.

Team leads can use Toggl Track’s Project time estimates feature to solve this. 

You can set up custom hourly time estimates for projects and tasks and track their progress.

To make time estimates in Toggl Track:

  1. In the popup window that appears when creating or editing a project, go to Time Estimate. 
Toggl Track screenshot.
  1. Set your hourly time estimate. From here, you can also create task-based estimates.
Toggl Track screenshot.

Toggl Track’s Project Dashboard gives a quick overview of project progress and estimated vs actual time.

Toggl Track screenshot.

In Toggl Plan, you can view the Project Progress Overview showing task progress and estimated vs actuals.

Toggl Plan screenshot.

With this data, your estimates are more accurate, and your team can perform better and more productively. 

How do you measure project productivity?

Here are some key ways to gauge productivity in projects:

  • Milestones tracking: Milestones are important events in a project timeline. Monitoring how well employees achieve milestones helps measure the project’s progress and productivity. Delays in reaching milestones can show potential productivity roadblocks. 
  • Time tracking: Tracking how much time the team spends on project tasks and comparing the actual time against the estimated durations can show high or low productivity areas. 
  • Deliverable quality: Measuring the quality of project work through customer feedback or peer reviews can also show how productive a project is. 
  • Monitoring employee progress: This involves monitoring how well employees are doing their tasks and moving towards project goals. 
  • Client satisfaction: Happy clients mean the project met or exceeded their expectations and can show whether a project is productive. 

What factors affect project productivity?

Let’s look at five key factors that affect project productivity:

  • Team skills: A well-skilled and diverse team can tackle various tasks efficiently, increasing productivity. It’s equally important that project managers know how to assign project tasks to the right people to maximize output. 
  • Project management skills and tools: Teams who use project management software have access to project planning and monitoring features to boost productivity. But, poorly chosen tools can complicate these processes and lower productivity. 
  • Communication: Clear and constant team communication ensures everyone understands their roles, deadlines, and project goals. When miscommunications happen, errors, rework, and delays impact productivity. 
  • Work environment: A supportive and positive work environment motivates team members to perform at their best. Factors like work-life balance, recognition, and growth opportunities can increase productivity. 

What can hinder productivity during a project?

Productivity can drop due to many reasons, including:

  • Unclear objectives: When project goals are unclear, team members may struggle to understand their responsibilities and the project’s purpose. Without clarity, they can waste time and effort working in different directions and on non-priority tasks.
  • Poor communication: Effective communication means the team is given clear project instructions, deadlines, and any other key project details. Without these, misunderstandings and mistakes can happen, which can delay project progress and reduce productivity. 
  • Lack of team cohesion: A supportive and cohesive team environment increases motivation and engagement. When this is missing, members may feel isolated or undervalued, decreasing their productivity and enthusiasm for the project. 
  • Bad habits: Procrastination and poor project time management can severely impact project progress. These habits disrupt workflows, lead to missed deadlines, and lower productivity. 
  • Burnout: According to Isolved’s Fourth-Annual HR trends report, 72% of employees say burnout has impacted their performance. Burnout can significantly decrease productivity and lead to higher employee turnover.

Over to you

A lot goes into project productivity. 

With the right planning and project management tools in place, you can maximize your team’s performance and deliver every client project on time. 

Sign up for a free Toggl Plan account to see how it can:

  • Break projects down into tasks and easily track progress
  • Assign resources effectively based on availability
  • Avoid scheduling conflicts and identify bottleneck tasks
  • And (much) more! 

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The Toggl Team

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