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Summit: Workplace Productivity Tools

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Attendees of the 2009 Indianapolis Productivity Summit spent the first afternoon session talking specifically about Workplace Productivity Tools.

One of the most important elements of modern organizations is the production, maintenance and lifecycle of documents. This ranges from the informal diagrams on a whiteboard or a post-it note to the detailed, legalistic language in a contract, a client proposal or a warning label. Document creation, editing and review requires tremendous amounts of time and energy. Studying the nature of documents can help companies and individuals focus their efforts more effectively, as each work has a distinct purpose and role.

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The group also debated the value of meetings. With a focus on productivity, Slaughter Development advocates that all meetings should have one of two objectives: brainstorm ideas or make decisions. This approach better ensures that everyone involved is a true stakeholder with a genuine interest in the outcome. No routine meeting should be used for a routine announcement.

However, many participants pointed out that difficult information should be relayed personally. No one should be fired by email. Bad news is out of the ordinary, and anything which is unusual cannot be made more efficient. Furthermore, if information is difficult it probably requires discussion which will result in individual action. Therefore, using a meeting to announce layoffs is not actually a mere announcement. It is an opportunity to discuss the challenging situation and encourage stakeholders to submit ideas and make personal decisions. The two-sided logic for meeting agenda still stands.

The group also reviewed some specific tools to assist in communication, workflow and coordination. This included a quick demonstration of TitanPad, a collaborative, real-time text editor, as well as Basalmiq Mockups, a service for rapid prototyping of user interfaces. Both tools stress informality and rapid results. These concepts are far more important than the systems presented. The best results emerge when people can propose, debate and discard ideas as quickly as possible.

Many more topics were covered in this session on Workplace Productivity Tools. If your organization needs to focus on more effective ways to work or wants to identify the right systems for current and future tasks, reach out to AccelaWork.

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