For more productive teams, get back to basics

by Stephen Danos

There have been countless studies on how workers can increase productivity and deliver more value to their companies and businesses are trying everything from new tools to better processes. While there are more and more potential levers to pull in the quest for productivity, you’ll do best when you keep two powerful yet simple basics front and center: accountability and clear expectations.


A woman writes a to-do list at a desk.

Clearly articulating who owns a task and when it is due can have a broad impact on your business. Knowing how to prioritize work tasks, being prepared with solutions instead of pointing out problems, and keeping a regular audit of your responsibilities are a few indicators that you’re good at your job.

At the team level, regularly communicating about accountability and deadlines help employees prioritize tasks, establish dependencies, and keep track of performance versus goals.


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The importance of accountability


Young workers talk during a meeting.

Clear expectations help teams deliver clear results. Managers who track the right performance metrics and know where task responsibilities lie gain insight they need to plan and adjust based on project status. Smartsheet enables teams to do so much more than project management; it helps people create a foundation for how they organize work.

Keeping people accountable through centralized information — whether through a portal, dashboard, or Smartsheet’s various popular integrations — allows project stakeholders to contribute the right metrics so that teams make better-informed decisions. And giving team members all have access to real-time project status can result in “clear pressure” — employees holding themselves and their teammates to a higher standard.

With a single source of truth documented through Smartsheet, teams can integrate dashboards into their daily standups and know who’s responsible for metrics reports, approvals, status updates, and everything they need to hit their deadlines. All without being distracted by endless email threads or enduring unproductive meetings, two all-too-typical occurrences that cost companies money.

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Expectations drive speed to action


A man reviews a Gantt chart on his desktop computer.

Your calendar or project timeline is no doubt packed with deadlines, milestones, or go-live dates, as most workers juggle multiple projects with varying urgency. To keep track it helps to have a work management platform to alert stakeholders, whether internal or external, when project tasks are complete, on schedule, or at risk.


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For example, a construction project manager needs to consider many separate but related factors from planning stages through execution. She would be dealing with multiple contractors and material vendors that all depend on each other to complete their part of the project on time.

Any delay could end up driving up the project’s cost, so it’s important to have the ability to immediately alert stakeholders when a dependency is behind schedule. Crucial workflows can be visualized and accelerated with Smartsheet — through automated actions, dashboards, and more — and shared with customers and vendors on a need-to-know basis.

Read about how Karyopharm Therapeutics uses dashboards to ensure their cancer drug trial information is up-to-date and to track how project statuses impact the company’s bottom line.