Managing Dispersed Development Teams for Productivity


services company that employs approximately 4,500 people worldwide) >develops software used to monitor and check the integrity of filters used in the production of pharmaceuticals>.  During any given project, the development team might consist of people in the Massachusetts-based headquarters, but also others scattered around the world and in different time zones.  Millipore’s BioProcess division uses a task management software system that enables members of the project team to record their tasks in a relational database, allowing them to be prioritized, assigned, and completed with detailed documentation of pertinent discussions, notes, attachments, and a record of the time spent on each task.

Regardless of their time-zone or location, members of the R&D staff can instantly view and organize their assignments, create and update tasks, and collaborate with other team members. Reports and live views are easily generated for a variety of organizational needs. In addition, management can quickly get a snapshot view of the of individual user or project workloads,  identifying bottlenecks, balance workloads, streamline group communications, and better leverage his employee resources to ensure development projects are completed by their due dates.

According to the team leader of this group, the net result of using task management in their software development process is, “Good communication and ultimately a great audit trail for our customers.”

Productivity – Remote and Local

Overall, to address the efficiency problem of teams – remote or local -- instead of limiting access to the Internet or trying to monitor an employee’s every keystroke, managers need to seek new, more flexible alternatives for helping employees become and stay productive.  By automating and managing work processes and making them transparent to the entire organization (including who’s doing what, when it’s due and whether /by how much it’s overdue), project managers can boost overall efficiency and help workers answer the most basic productivity question:  “What are the most important things I need to do today?”   When project managers help workers prioritize tasks and when everyone -- from the CEO down to team members around the globe -- gets a report at the end of the day highlighting whose projects or tasks are overdue and who or what they’re dependent upon, people are far less likely to waste valuable hours during the day Web surfing instead of working.

Rich Bianchi is President and Founder of Alexsys Corporation, an innovative provider of team project management software.  Prior to founding Alexsys Corporation, Rich spent 10 years leading critical projects for large organizations like Bull and Honeywell.  He has several patents to his credit for the Honeywell mini-computer emulator on UNIX.

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