Improving the productivity of knowledge workers What are the opportunities? Workshop at Durham Business School 17th Sept 0830-1300 To attend contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
ITDF workshop The key challenge from the recent survey of IT management was: realizing benefits from current systems and information. The opportunity: a workshop session to share ideas and opportunities with colleagues The workshop will tackle Knowledge Worker Productivity There will be input based on recent research, but the design of the session will focus on enabling members to work together to share ideas & experience Timing and format: 9.00am - 1.00pm on 17th Sept 2010 at Durham Business School (tea & coffee from 8.30 & lunch at 12.30)
There are big variations in the productivity of knowledge workers Based on studies of 600 software developers from 92 companies… Individuals The best people outperform the worst by 10:1 The best performer is about 2.5 times better than the median Teams There is also a 10:1 difference in productivity among software organisations What if this 10:1 difference applies in other knowledge work scenarios? DeMarco, Tom. (1999) Peopleware : productive projects and teams. Dorset House Publishing
Knowledge economy – knowledge work ‘the unique contribution of management in the 20th century was the 50 fold improvement in the productivity of manual workers… ...the most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is to similarly increase the productivity of knowledge work and knowledge workers’ Peter Drucker1999.
Knowledge work productivity: context Realising benefits from current systems and information was the top priority from the recent research project ‘Do more with less’ ‘Sweat the assets. ’ Many of our users / customers are knowledge workers: Lawyers, accountants, academics, doctors, professionals in other public services, senior managers, consultants, IT professionals… Workers who rely on skills and knowledge to get the job done; they have discretion how to do the job. Most organisations have modern, reliable technologies in place (?) But are we getting the most out of these investments?
What do knowledge workers do?
What do knowledge workers do? Attend / lead meetings Travel – to customers, suppliers, conferences, other work locations Communicate – face to face, phone, email, instant messaging…. Handle interruptions Work in project teams – co-located, virtual Take decisions Write reports / prepare presentations Do administration – expenses, travel booking….
What tools do knowledge workers use? Pen and paper Phone / mobile PC / laptop / tablet pc PDA Email / Outlook Internet Word PowerPoint Excel Often use email and Microsoft Office for 20+ hours a week Often receive 20, 50 or even up to 200 emails a day
Key issues How can we enable individuals and teams to focus on the ‘task’; the work they do to create value? How can we enable individuals and teams to get more out of general technology / systems? Demo / discussion Then consider eg Individual activity – eg reports / presentations Meetings / committees Teams Virtual working (meetings, teams) Sharing knowledge / good practices What are the challenges in developing specialist systems for knowledge workers?
Questions (1) What business & IT initiatives have you taken to enable professional/ knowledge workers to concentrate on the ‘task’ (ie their activities that create value)? What action have you taken to enable knowledge workers to increase their productivity by exploiting standard desktop and mobile technologies (Microsoft Office etc)? What about: Individuals? Meetings? Committees? Teams? Virtual working?
Questions (2) Who is responsible for improving knowledge worker productivity in your organisation? How does the help desk contribute? How are new ideas and good practices shared? How is knowledge worker productivity tackled in individual / departmental development plans?
Questions (3) How does the approach to systems design / development change when knowledge workers are key users? How do you approach implementation / managing change in knowledge worker scenarios? What are good practices post implementation to sustain / develop benefits realisation in knowledge work scenarios?