"We have an IT group of 100-plus individuals with vast amounts of knowledge on multiple topics," he says. "In an effort to share that knowledge more effectively, we've begun to push the use of team and personal blogs. We have SharePoint, so this is a very easy site to create. Even without SharePoint, though, there are free tools available via the Web Platform Installer that make it easy for any organization to disseminate its knowledge."
Enterprise social networks like Yammer, Spigit, and Clearvale allow employees to collaborate on projects and create a common corporate culture, no matter where they may be physically located. For example, employees at gaming network IGN Entertainment's U.S., U.K., Australian, and Canadian offices use Yammer internally to critique each others ideas, says Greg Silva, vice president of people and places for IGN.
"Yammer gives our leadership team the opportunity to see which employees are consistently contributing ideas and adding to the conversation," he says. "And because we operate in multiple locations worldwide, it gives our employees the opportunity to engage in any discussion, no matter where it started."
Bienvenido David III, CEO at Java development company TeamEXtension, uses Harvest Co-op, a Twitter-like tool that allows his team to track in real time what anyone is doing at any time.
"We use it more for keeping track of resources instead of keeping track of projects or tasks," he says. "If someone is working on something that's not planned and might affect a project -- like side requests from bosses, miscommunicated tasks, or work delays -- we catch that immediately. We all think about our day before we start, then enter our agenda into Co-Op for that day. This extra communication channel helps get everyone in sync and improves our productivity."
IT productivity win No. 8: Dream a littleThe last productivity booster doesn't sound like one at all, but it can provide the greatest long-term benefits: Keep yourself open to the next great idea.
"Spend time being geeky," advises Enterasys's Casselberry. "We try to get folks to spend 10 percent of their time just looking for new stuff. Many times these geeky new tools end up making something you do way easier and save you more time overall. It's like exercising: If you find the time to do it, you actually end up being more productive (or so my doctor keeps telling me)."
Likewise, Srail says he encourages News Corp.'s software engineers to devote 20 percent of their time to "doing their thing."
"This is an idea borrowed from Google, but definitely applicable," he says. "It stimulates that little creative part of the brain everyone's got, keeps engineers happy, and has often resulted in better ideas than the product team could think of. Also, it's important to acknowledge that 20 percent will probably be about 10 percent most of the time, but that's far better than the zero percent that weighs down so many great ideas."
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This story, "Quick and easy productivity wins for IT" was originally published by InfoWorld.