We have all heard of and perhaps even experienced the crippling effect of bottlenecks on an organization. The term “bottleneck” pertains to any situation caused by both personnel or technical issues that delay the realization of a project. These situations can be instigated by a department being overcrowded with work, a technical malfunction, or even stress that reduces the productivity of the entire team. 

In general, the system’s capacity is measured by the capacity of the bottleneck. This state can be damaging both for the team’s inner workings as frustration mounts and tempers flare and the image presented by the company externally. Nobody wants to appear incompetent after all! Added to this are the financial burdens such bottlenecks entail as profitability can drop significantly. In this article, we will go over steps for identifying bottlenecks, how to solve them and how Teamdeck fits into the solution for this conundrum. 

How to Identify a Bottleneck

The quickest way to identify a bottleneck is to look at your company’s workflow and identify whether work is realized smoothly or in bursts. The latter situation is symptomatic of the problem. Something to note is that bottlenecks shouldn’t fear you because they are commonplace in any company. Although they are a cause of frustration, getting annoyed will only prevent you from solving the problem effectively and in better time. Interestingly enough, most bottlenecks occur during software testing and quality review processes. 

Techniques for Managing a Bottleneck

The first step in wrestling back control during a bottleneck is to monitor the situation closely and identify the most pressing issues. The wrong way for approaching these problems is to approach them quantitatively. If we blindly throw money and human resources at the problem, we are unlikely to solve the issues. It will be just a waste of time and effort. First, you need an appropriate diagnosis. Only then you should take steps to address the problem. Solutions should be qualitative in nature. Once we identify the elements that are contributing most significantly to the bottleneck, we can enact appropriate solutions. Let’s identify some common solutions to combating bottlenecks: 

1. Reconfigure the bottlenecks focus

Employees who are in the midst of the metaphorical storm should be designated to deal with the most critical problems. Dealing with minutiae at this point will cause significant delays and incur more costs. 

2. Introduce overtime if necessary

This is a highly unpopular opinion and may result in disgruntled employees, but this can help relieve the problem as a short-term solution. You can use it sparingly as a quick fix, but overworking employees can result in frustration and burnout. The focus should be to concentrate on ideas that ensure the efficiency of the system as a whole without abusing the workforce. 

3. Keep detailed logs on resource deployment

This includes both human and material resources. Maintaining records of what is happening will allow you to pinpoint activities where resources are wasted on non-value-adding activities. 

4. Introduce detailed procedures

Crafting best-practice protocols that every employee will familiarize themselves with will allow for better time management, less downtime, and in the case of high turnover, will allow for new employees to quickly get up to speed with more experienced workers. 

5. Get rid of outdated technology

Keep up with the newest technological achievements and tools. More efficient technology will allow your workers to focus on other aspects of the production process and route efforts to the more problematic elements of the bottleneck. 

6. Put the right person in the right place

Allocating additional personnel to the problematic link in the production chain can help ease the bottleneck. This, of course, has to be done with a fair degree of planning to ensure that the person with the right know-how is onsite to offer solutions. For example, if the marketing department has access to only one busy graphic designer, hiring a second graphic designer will help resolve the issue and put the marketing department right on track. 

7. Coordinate employee absences

Holiday seasons are synonymous with employee absences piling up. This is detrimental to organizational workflow. Coordinate vacation times with employees beforehand to avoid crippling departments through large-scale absences. 

8. Solve management issues

Common causes of bottlenecks are poor leadership decisions and lacklustre organization at a managerial level. For example, in an organization where one person is responsible for juggling multiple departments, they may be the chokepoint where the bottleneck occurs. Delegating the decision-making processes to a different employee will reduce bottlenecks as you will make decisions quicker. This, of course, requires the person who is the cause of delays to relinquish their micro-management tendencies! 

So How Does Teamdeck Fit In? 

Teamdeck is ideal for coordinating bottleneck management due to the way it incentivizes efficient workflow practices. It is a perfect tool for managing resource allocation, employee shifts, and absences. You can solve the problems mentioned above, such as choosing the right people for the problem, simply by using Teamdeck’s function, which allows allocating human resources based on their experience, expertise, and availability. This permits long-term planning as you can analyze your organization’s structure over long periods. Also you can be fully aware beforehand where potential problems can arise because of personnel shortages. 

Also beneficial for maximizing employee effectiveness is the program’s function that permits monitoring employee workloads regularly. Team leaders can always be aware of their team’s current workloads. This allows for delegating employees who have more free time to assist those burdened with too many assignments. Another valuable feature is Teamdeck’s ability to monitor your expenses regularly. This is crucial when combatting bottlenecks that have an adverse effect on a project’s budget. 

Bottlenecks and Company Health 

Bottlenecks are inevitable even in the most efficient of companies. Technical malfunctions, employee absences, and the myriad of other potential problems that arise happen everywhere. Of course, searching for technological or organizational solutions are crucial... But it is also important to remember about the mental health problems that employees and team leaders can face during a bottleneck. One of the most important “do not’s” of dealing with bottlenecks is allowing for aggression to dominate the problem-solving process.

It is much too easy to allow anger to dictate the discussion. Unhealthy inner company dialogue can severely affect company performance and cause severe problems that will carry on much longer than the bottleneck. An immature emotional response to delays in production can result in employees experiencing higher levels of stress, leading to burnout and depression. An unhappy workforce will be incapable of solving problems. It show less enthusiasm, and the team may seek employment elsewhere in a worst-case scenario- creating even more issues that will need to be dealt with. Taking into account the prevalence and ubiquity of bottlenecks, management should encounter the problem with empathy and understanding. Achieving this will be the most important step in solving any organization’s problems. 

The Vicious Cycle 

Despite being a vicious cycle that will raise its ugly head now and again, bottlenecks are an essential part of any company’s growth. Since they are unavoidable, we might as well embrace them and treat them as opportunities to reflect on the various aspects of our organization. They are the fuel of progress, allowing us to explore new technological solutions or managerial styles. That will help us regain productivity and temporarily iron out the most annoying creases. We live in a golden age for dealing with these issues as the technological revolution of the last 30 years changed the way we work and solve problems. 

Bottlenecks are not a problem without a solution

Giving us among others, innovative programs like Teamdeck for dealing with organizational issues at the workplace. At the same time, a growing sense of corporate responsibility and ethics has become more predominant. Today more and more managers understanding the underlying power of treating employees with dignity. These two advances in the corporate world have resulted in the above-mentioned tools and tips for dealing with bottlenecks. It is human nature to find solutions for problems and we will never run out of crises to solve, so we might as well solve them as humanly as possible. 

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