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Renegade AT&T Contractor Increases Productivity By a Factor of 4

OK so maybe "Renegade" is a bit of an exaggeration. But here's the scoop on how I was able to complete 4 times more conversions than the average on the team.

My first project during my second gig at AT&T...the one I was hired for, was a conversion project in which our team had hundreds of technical courses that needed converting from one of several old templates to a new one that was compatible to the new learning management system (LMS). Along with the conversion came the new launch process which was very complicated not well documented. I had to make sure I was on top of this prior and post launch process. 

In the past few years I have used many task management tools and decided to put a few to the test to see which one would work best for this. In the end I found that Google Docs was actually the best solution. 

"So What I use Google Docs(GD) all the time?" You say.

This may seem like a shock but at the time this was started, GD was actually blocked by the firewall, AND I was using a hand me down windows xp machine with IE6 and office 2003 B.C. The pain of that system was only relieved by the blessing of being paid hourly.

Personal Laptop and Open Wifi to the rescue!

One of the advantages of being a contractor is that we are allowed to use our own tools if we deem it necessary to complete the job at hand. It's actually part of the legal definition of independent contracting. Don't ask don't tell is a good way to think about going this route, because after all few middle managers really understand this or if they do, choose to treat it as a grey area that is never enforced (which is true). 


How To Get 4 Times More Done.

Document the process using a spreadsheet you build after running through a couple of times end to end.

Bookmark and paste links to storage or server locations. Map them if it helps.

Create a factory process where you produce batches of deliverables that you perform the same task on each one sequentially instead of doing the single deliverable in a siloed approach.

Use collaborative tools whenever possible to cut down on email swarms. Once you open your email you will likely get sidetracked from your critical tasks.

Using Google Spreadsheets for Productivity.

While a GD spreadsheet was used by me personally, in the case of this project, modern collaboration methods weren't going to work. The firewall did not allow for Basecamp or Google Docs. In this case I used proactive communication with my manager to keep their comfort levels to the point where I could work undisturbed. 

If you've read this far into this post you might be interested in this resource around using google spreadsheets for project management.