Written by Helen RylesSummary
- No-Code is a low cost lever you can use to increase productivity
- You can add no-code in two ways, either through your existing team or by hiring
- Using no-code to automate tasks adds valuable breathing room to a busy team
- Discuss no-code in your team and allow team members to share their hidden skills
- Become confident in no-code with small projects to build proof before sharing with the wider organisation
- Focus on tools that are simple to see immediate results
- Find out what solutions you need to build, where are the problems and bottlenecks
- Use no-code tools to track and analyse current workload
- Identify, automate and eliminate your most common repetitive task
- Use the capacity unlocked through no-code to better support your team’s continual development
- Keep a record of the no-code skills gaps your team has and what you could build if they were added
- Become a more self-sufficient team, keep track of the types of no-code solutions you need
- Utilise the tools you already have access to by checking on existing software subscriptions
- Look for areas of demand - your busiest points in the year and your busiest team members
- Use your knowledge of skills gaps, high demand and needed solutions as part of the hiring process
- Both technical and non-technical teams can benefit from the power of no-code
- No-code widens the scope of who can solve a problem
- When you have solutions to build but are missing skills, it’s time to hire a no-coder.
Estimated read time: 15 minutes
Managers - if you’re looking to make your team more productive but you’re on a tight budget, then this is for you! Your team is not just busy, they’re overwhelmed and they’re looking at YOU to deliver a solution. To improve their working environment, increase their work capacity and their potential for great achievements too!
Perhaps you feel that your team is already quite productive in some ways but are you prepared to pull all the levers that you can? If you want a more productive team you need to get the best out of the resources you have. What would it take for your team to do better, deliver consistently on time, save money, reduce stress and open up more capacity. Somehow you’re always rushed and it becomes a cycle. You’re too busy to have time to work on freeing up more margin, so the cycle continues. To help your team step up to the next level you need to find something that can change and then learn how to implement it alongside your existing workload. The change you need to make is adding no-code to your team. Either through building the skills of your current team members or hiring for the skills that you need.
You might wonder, is it even possible to do more if they are already at capacity. Your team only has so many hours in the week to work on what you want to accomplish. Traditionally additional capacity was unlocked by quickly approving overtime. This is a tactic managers regularly use but costs escalate rapidly. Instead of adding more hours at the top of the funnel, look how wasted time throughout the standard working week can be recovered first. No-code can automate less important repetitive tasks to return that time back to your team. Automation creates the breathing room that you need first, to be able to implement the next step which is building upon existing team skills.
Hiring automation experts might be out of the question in the current global situation, so let's look at your existing team and their skills. Teams have both active and hidden skills. Their active skills are they ones you know about and that they use in their daily work. Their hidden skills are ones lying just under the surface, untouched by the needs of their day to day role. Things they’ve learned in other jobs, from colleagues in other departments, through hobbies and side projects. Your team members have a rich and varied employment history and there is always something valuable you can gain by giving them the permission to step beyond the confines of their current job description. Hidden skills are an untapped resource that only needs the right team culture and environment to be developed. Once you discuss the concept of no-code and tools within your team you’ll be amazed at how many of your team members will step forward with enthusiasm to give examples of what they’ve tested, built and worked with before. You likely already have no-coders in your team, you just need to ask.
Encouraging these kinds of open conversations outside of your team can be difficult. As a manager, that’s one big hurdle you'll need to leap when you’ve successfully managed to unlock the capacity inside your rushed, permanently behind the curve team. Inertia is powerful within big companies and it takes time to turn the tide but people will start to ask how you did it when they see the changes. There will always be some people in your organisation that are tough to convince but you will be on a path that brings clear benefits. As it stands right now, sticking to the status quo is a tempting thing. Your mindset needs to change first before you can alter the opinion of others. You need to find a needle that you are confident that you can move within your own team before tackling the wider organisation. No-Code is the needle that you can move all by yourself. With no-code you can implement incremental changes that come with minimal cost and no disruption. As soon as you’re confident of your team's abilities to deliver rapid results, you’ll have compelling evidence to share with the wider company. Proof that moves you closer to hiring a no-coder. More work may get piled up but your once static processes now evolve quickly.
If you’re worried about adopting no-code because it is a step outside of your comfort zone, then that’s a valid concern. Staking your reputation on something you’ve only just started learning about is daunting. You want to make rapid improvements but the cogs in large organisations move slowly. So you need something that you can freely implement, within your existing budget spend that brings value quickly. The results from implementing no-code solutions can be seen in just a few hours. Best of all it builds up on the existing skills within your team. Uing packages like Google Suite and Office that everyone is already trained on. You’ve likely got people in your team who are proficient to an advanced level in these packages but they rarely get the chance to step outside of their routine to create, build or improve. The benefits of no-code are almost immediate.
Before you can understand how no-code can help you and your team, you need to identify the problemsmissing skills, repetitive tasks & bottlenecks in your team. You can’t develop a clear solution until the problems themselves are clear.
Start becoming more observant of where your team’s time is spent. If you have a team of 5 and they work 40 hours per week, you need to know exactly where those 200 hours are being spent. Are you always waiting upon other departments skills or the approval of a specific person so that your team can carry on? Is there a shortage of skills that you rely upon within the organisation as a whole? Who in your team is most in demand and what skills are they providing? Perhaps your team is the one in demand and you dislike promising more than you know you can deliver. If your team is a bottleneck in itself this can be exhausting and it’s important to acknowledge that your team needs more slack to make it a more enjoyable environment to work in. One that isn’t always operating at 110% capacity. You can use no-code tools to track and analyse your existing workload so you can find out exactly where your team members are spending their time. Simply by identifying your single most popular request - you can start to plan a highly targeted no-code solution that will deliver powerful results.
Usually training courses are presented by HR as an opportunity to help teams level up their skills. While formal training is valuable, these courses don’t help when you’re at capacity. How can your team take time away from a busy department for days. Even with in-house training you can’t stop your own work to train others up. You need to tap into no-code tools that are easy to learn, first to fix some of the most common issues. Then once you have more room in your team, training courses are then made even more valuable. You’ll soon have the ability to let your team members step away from their daily work more often to level up their skills. They can be fully focused on what they are learning without feeling guilty. No-Code is the pressure release valve that opens up room for all different kinds of continued professional development.
Bringing someone new onto the team with no-code skills would be perfect but you’re not necessarily the one who can decide to do that right now. You may be in charge of your teams deadlines and responsibilities but perhaps you don’t have the final say on the hiring budget. There are still some things you can do to prepare for when your team is next hiring. Be aware of what the common problems your team has and try to find a way to accomplish them with your existing team. As part of the investigative process you’ll inevitably hit on some skills that are sorely needed that you don’t have within your team. Keep a record of those no-code knowledge gaps and what could be accomplished with no-code if you were able to add those skills to your team. This information will support your case for hiring a no-coder. When you do get to the crucial point of hiring, don’t just hire for a particular skill before finding out if your team members have it first. Be sure to develop a well rounded team by hiring for the skills you don’t have and for ones that you have a clear plan on how to use them.
Start to become No-Code curious. Recognise when you see a task that can be solved forever with no-code and document it. Start to identify the tasks that your team undertakes that will reduce the most stress. Is there a particular point of the week, month or year that always feels chaotic or last minute? If you can foresee these occurring again in the future, you should plan to improve them. Look where those processes fall down and try to build something in your quieter periods that will make your crunch points become a breeze.
The best way your team can become more self-sufficient is to find out what no-code solutions you actually need. Wherever there is a long wait for your team, follow the process down to the end and see how much of it your team already knows how to do themselves. Do they have access to the software packages that they need? What software subscriptions do you already use within your company that you could get them access to? Utilise what you already pay for, so that you know that you’re staying within your existing suppliers. Asking around and ‘shopping within your own organisation’ is free. It just takes a couple of conversations to ask who is using what for each task. There is so much waste in between departments that are paying for similar tools that do the same thing. Find out what your company is paying for and leverage tools you have at your disposal - just by asking. At the very least you might find some ways to cut costs through subscription consolidation.
Who is your busiest team member and do they have the most in-demand skills. Try to create more breathing room and margin around those in your team. Is there another team member who can take a step up and get up to speed quickly? Look at their most basic and repeated tasks and find a way to eliminate them forever. Even a 20% improvement is a whole working day per week regained in time and energy. What are the most difficult tasks for you to deliver on? You need to know what talent exists in your team currently and where the gaps are, either so that you can pass those tasks into under utilised areas of your team or have the knowledge to hand when you do next start the hiring process.
Keep hold of the idea that no-code can change how you work. No-Code is most powerful for less technical teams. They are not yet used to solving their own problems and have never had access to a range of software and tools like technical teams would. Non-technical teams need to ask for the tools that they need and learn that they can change their processes to make their own jobs better.
Technical teams can also benefit from no-code. Even if you’ve got the skills within your team to write a custom coded app, sometimes you need to step back and realise that starting from scratch isn’t always the solution. You can protect your most talented infrastructure and development team members time by allowing the concept of no-code as a solution to exist in your team. Just because someone can code something - doesn’t mean they should.
You likely already use platforms like Stripe and AWS and Slack and other tools to support your workload. Recognise that basic tasks can be better solved with more approachable tools as it widens the scope of who can accomplish those improvements. This may be a struggle for those existing problem solvers to accept but encouraging your team to support the learning others and letting them step up solve a problem is the key to unlocking hidden productivity. Reducing their workload by removing the least technical & most repeatable tasks opens up their time to more interesting and conceptual projects that otherwise would have been left on the back burner.
Development teams may believe that no-code isn’t a robust solution but it is when your solutions are checked and documented so they are clear for other people encountering them. No-one wants a box of mystery adding to their team that nobody knows how it operates. You need to treat these solutions the same as any other formally developed system. Share wins with other managers and the appetite for more properly managed no-code solutions will grow.
The most common no-code solutions are data entry duplication being solved with a centralised form and speeding up data sharing between internal teams. Getting your team access to the right software stops them sending documents several departments over, just to convert them into a different format. All of these tedious, time consuming tasks do not need to be done over and over by a person. Automate and eliminate what you can!
The starting point with introducing no-code to your team is to talk about it. Discuss the tools, identify the tasks that you want to solve. Identify those in your team with an interest and encourage it to flourish. Enthusiasm and encouragement are the foundations of a supportive team that wants to work together to build better systems. When you have working examples of problems solved with no-code, share it with other managers. Promote it, be open to discussions on it and make room for it.
Once you have implemented some small projects you’ll see the options that no-code brings. When you have a list of solutions that you need and you understand the knowledge gaps within your team - you’ll start to look to bring the skills you need to complete them into your team. These tools and skills will start to make their way into your job descriptions and hiring plan. You’ll realise your next hire should be a no-coder.
If you’re thinking of hiring for a new role with a focus on no-code tools, you can post a job on the Makerpad job board.