Long gone are the days when managers used email as the main source of communication and collaboration with their teams. The number of software tools companies use for business processes has skyrocketed in the past few years.
According to Siftery, tech giants like Uber, Facebook, and Apple use a whopping 140 to 175 different tools between their teams on a daily basis. Juggling information, data, updates, and messages between multiple apps has clearly become the new norm.
While this type of workflow surely may seem more appealing than an inbox filled with hundreds of emails that could have been simple tasks on Asana or cards on Trello, it also comes with a price. That price is time and productivity. Managers spend an average of 8 hours per week making information available to different teams in different tools, reporting, updating, and endless meetings. This gives managers virtually no opportunity to save time.
On one hand, teams like marketing, engineering, software development, sales, and operations have different needs when it comes to software, and adopting tools that meet their individual needs can improve performance. Yet the increasing use of multiple tools can also be overwhelming and surprisingly make it harder for managers to save time and collaborate between teams.
Here’s why (and what to do about it):
When you work with teams who use different tools to manage their workflow, you’re constantly flooded with notifications, messages, updates, comments, and submissions at all hours of the workday. Multitasking between multiple tools throughout the day means you’ll be spending more time dealing with these distractions than on your own objectives.
Although multitasking can feel productive, studies show that’s merely an illusion. It typically takes people 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on their work after being distracted. Since your brain requires time to adjust from one task to the next, multitasking across several tools can decrease productivity by 40%!
Duplicating Data All Day, Errday
Product managers, project managers, or managers in general often have to duplicate and re-enter data across tools to ensure information is accessible to various teams.
For example, a manager may have to gather customer feedback from Wrike, and re-enter it in JIRA for the development team’s use. Unfortunately, this can take hours. Assuming that it takes 6 minutes to duplicate a task between tools and refocus on whatever you were doing before, having 10 such tasks means you’ll spend about 1 hr per day duplicating information. That comes to roughly 5 hours per week on data entry alone.
In fact, PM’s that use 2 or more tools spend over 100 hours a year importing data and updating information across tools. That’s practically a whole MONTH of copying and pasting! As Simon Cowell would say, “it’s a no from me.”
Generating Reports Is a Pain
Being a product or project manager means you’ll likely be tasked with reporting on the progress of multiple projects. When data from different tools are not all available and accessible in one place, managers spend a huge chunk of their time preparing and creating reports for upper management. This’ll easily take an hour out of their week.
As a result of using multiple tools, managers may struggle to monitor KPIs, and waste time collecting data for charts or graphs to represent progress across separate teams. We won’t even mention that having 264758 tabs open to manage all this information is not for the faint of heart.
Meetings: Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That
When working with multiple teams who use different tools, communication tends to be isolated to each tool. The crucial updates and information about progress are locked away in silos. This means status meetings are necessary to collaborate and keep teams up to date. Managers typically spend 1.5 hours a week on status meetings, as well as 30 minutes actually looking for the location of the tasks they need to update.
On top of that, managers spend hours training employees to use different tools, learn new software, and teach new collaboration processes!
The Solution: Sync Your Tools to Save Time!
Clearly, the use of multiple tools in a workplace is not only distracting, but very time consuming. It’s crazy to think dealing with updates, meetings, reporting, and duplicating data costs managers an average of 8 hours each week. That’s an entire workday!
This’ll have you wondering: should you continue balancing the benefits and tradeoffs of using several tools, or should you just stick to one to save time? Unfortunately neither option is lucrative.
A good win-win solution is to simply sync multiple tools together. Syncing your tools means:
- Fewer distractions from multiple tools: Information such as updates, notifications, messages, tasks, and comments will be automatically synced between every tool used by your teams. Employees will get live updates in the tool of their choice, every time a (relevant) new action is performed by a coworker. This eliminates the need to endlessly open and close windows. The best part is, you can use rules to choose what gets synced or not, to ensure that only relevant information gets transferred between teams.
- Data is available and accessible all in one place: This removes the need to duplicate and transfer information, and makes generating reports for upper management much quicker. Syncing ensures that KPIS get streamlined into the tools that work best for each team, letting you effortlessly consolidate data directly in the tool you’re working in.
- Fewer status meetings: If you sync tools, you’ll also be able to build a project roadmap across multiple tools or projects, which gives everyone a live view of progress and lets teams collaborate seamlessly. This eliminates the need for frequent status meetings.
- Tasks can be delegated across tools: You know what will save managers a heck of a lot of time? Delegating task to separate teams, in separate tools, at the push of a button in your own tool.
- Less time training: If employees can stick to one tool that best meets their department’s needs, there’s no need to spend hours training them how to navigate others.
Syncing multiple tools not only lets teams benefit from using the best software and gadgets, it allows managers to save time – a staggering 8 hours per week – and leaves them with an extra workday at their disposal.
In the words of Forrest Gump, that’s all we have to say about that.