How can you do more with less? What do you need to track and measure to determine effectiveness and efficiency? Jinfo's director of research, Robin Neidorf, explains.
Do more with less
If you're not measuring how much time your team invests in its full range of activities, it will be nearly impossible to achieve that much-desired goal to do more with less.
Nearly every team Jinfo works with struggles towards some variation of this goal. Many information teams have lost head count, yet are experiencing no reduction in service expectations.
Still others have taken seriously Jinfo's recommendation to invest at least 10% of their time on planning for - and developing the needed skills for - the future, but can't figure out how they can revamp or shed lower-value work to make that happen.
Yet, when I ask information managers how they measure where team members spend their time, I rarely get a satisfactory answer.
A handful report that they have some time measurements associated with responding to research queries or other specific tasks or projects, but that only accounts for one portion of the overall workload. I can count on one hand the number of information managers who have a comprehensive view on how the most precious resource of their team - its time - is being spent.
Measure then make changes
If you work with a financial adviser, one of the first things they'll probably ask you to do is to start tracking your expenditures carefully, at least for a few months, so that you can see the reality of where you spend and how well it reflects your values and goals.
The same approach works for optimising your research service: if you want to change your results - do more with less, become more strategic, enter into new lines of service like data mining and AI - the required first step is to study current time investment. Only then can you:
Put it into practice
Try it for three months. Track everything. Use existing workflow systems, or try one of the many free tools out there to collect the data you need to look today's reality square in the eye.
Then call on us to help: Jinfo Consulting can assess current investments against user demands, future goals and available resources to make the significant changes required to do more with less.
Recent Subscription content of particular interest to our customers involved with optimising teams of researchers:
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This Research Focus provides analysis, expert articles and product reviews on the state of play for current awareness services. (October - December 2017).
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