The new year always arrives with incredible promise. There is nothing like “starting fresh” with a new calendar year in order to feel the power of getting more done and achieving personal and professional goals.

According to most experts, setting concrete steps toward a goal is critical to actually making improvements. Working in the exciting field of product development means that we are all acquainted with the importance of measurable goals.   

As we start the new year and you’re feeling the need to undertake positive change for your team or your entire organization, we have put together a small compendium of top tips we often hear on how to boost productivity and streamline processes – letting you get to market more quickly.  

We hope you have a great new year and find these tips useful! 

Getting More Done Requires Effective Team Communication

Who hasn’t dealt with the “c” issue? Whether taking feedback from a spouse or a colleague, effective communication is essential to good working relationships. When it comes to product development the stakes only increase.  

In order to avoid misunderstandings that not only could damage relationships, but jeopardize launch dates, good communication remains a cornerstone of successful product development

When it comes to the importance of communication, you are not imagining things – the data bears it out. 

A recent survey by Inc.com found that good communication can be one of the main differentiators between unhappy employees and a 12% hike in productivity.

The takeaway from the survey? Ambitious employees, aka the employees critical for any organization to retain in order to achieve growth, need the benefits of effective team communication. These employees are seeking real-time feedback, engagement from management to improve and be coached and to develop skills they can use on their job and in their careers.

Another sign of the importance of communication? The Great Resignation and the labor shortage especially bring focus to communication as many workers cite quitting from toxic work environments that don’t “recognize employee performance,” among other issues.

In order to improve communication with and between employees, organizations need to make an intentional effort to get better. Like any endeavor, results only come from setting goals and taking steps every day.  

When it comes to improving communication, one step many organizations are taking is reassessing their legacy communication tools. Just as snappy, short abbreviated texts like “LOL” and “TTYL” have supplanted emails and phone calls in the realm of personal communication, so have Slack and other shorthand tools accelerated and abbreviated communication in the professional realm.

Adopting digital tools can help fill the communication gap and make it easier to share information employees want and need. (Here at Onshape, we agree.) 

Select the Right Collaboration Tools

Resolutions are hard to achieve – in personal life as in business. As a result, it is important to prioritize. Organizations and leaders and individuals must assess what is most important and take steps to laser focus on that goal. 

When it comes to selecting the right product development technology, there are often no shortages of choices. Different software vendors will promise you the world in return for a signature on the dotted line. As firms that have invested in file-based CAD know all too well, that signature can lead to a waterfall of financial commitments that seem without end.  

In addition to the expensive upfront hardware required to use file-based CAD, firms need to be ready for annual software upgrades and maintenance. This usually requires bringing on a dedicated IT person or being content to have your best and your brightest engineer take time away from developing products in order to upgrade software and troubleshoot crashes among other issues. They also have to be prepared to use product data management (PDM) systems that take time to manage and money to implement.

Workers can be frustrated by information and app overload at work, which can ultimately dampen productivity and morale and prevent focus on more important tasks, an harmon.ie study found. This holds true for product development teams who complain of wasting valuable time with IT and PDM processes

To remedy this, leaders should identify the tools that are absolutely necessary and retire ones that have no use. When presented with new issues, don’t run to a new tool. Explore whether existing tools have a solution. If something new needs to be adopted, create a plan to test it out in a set amount of time.

Tools The right tools can make all the difference when it comes to business productivity.

Don’t Run From Change: Embrace New Tools

Let’s face it, despite what the experts say, change is never easy. Old habits die hard. Whether in the personal or professional space, people have a comfort level with what is familiar.  

When it comes to product development, too many firms have grown comfortable, and many have come to admit, complacent, with their current technology. They cling to the old ways of doing things because that’s always how it’s always been done – or because they don’t trust new technology.

The fact is that change can be good. And when it comes to product development, change is often critical to improve processes, optimize development and accelerate time to market. At a time when customers expect fast, personalized service, many firms realize they need to change how they develop their products to move more quickly and efficiently. 

Additionally, if the challenges and turmoil of 2021 taught us anything, it is that we need to be flexible and agile to prepare for disruptive times. To do that, we should rely on systems that work. Despite doubts, things like the internet and the cloud are fast becoming the tools to rely on.

The adoption of cloud-native tools and digital innovation will continue to grow in 2022, according to Gartner, a technology research and consulting company. What that means for your business is more options, better services, and the opportunity to transform your business.

How Onshape Can Help You Reach Your 2022 Goals

As we all know, sometimes advice is easier to give than it is to follow. We hope these pithy insights on some of the technology challenges facing organizations are helpful to you and your organization in the new year. 

Check out how Onshape can help your product development team achieve these goals and more by watching the webinar, "6 Ways to Boost Engineering Productivity". In it, Onshape’s Michael “The Professor” LaFleche discusses how Onshape can help any product development or engineering team be more efficient and flexible. 

In brief, the six ways are:

  1. Implement cloud-native tools to prevent file copy chaos

  2. Stop using email and post-it notes for design communication

  3. Share design information earlier in the design cycle

  4. Cloud-native tools are less reliant on specialty hardware and are far less prone to downtime

  5. Consider non-blocking data management

  6. Use reports, dashboards, and live information to make better decisions more quickly

Get the in-depth look by watching the entire, on-demand webinar here. 

Boost Engineering Productivity

Learn how Onshape can help you and your team significantly improve productivity.