DILO (Day In the Life Of)

Improving Team Effectiveness by Analyzing Daily Activity


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If you are concerned about effective use of organizational or team time – and who isn't? – tracking what's actually done by whom, and for how long, is a simple and straightforward way of getting answers.

By paying close attention and recording people's activities over a period of time, you can learn a great deal about how time is spent in your organization:

  • Is the majority of the day spent purposefully?
  • Are energies focused on goal-oriented tasks or on the most enjoyable or easiest tasks?
  • Are people working at the right level of detail?
  • Is work being delegated effectively?
  • Are workloads and expectations in line with one another?
  • Are the majority of the activities planned or spontaneous?

DILO Analysis is a useful technique for doing this.

As well as evaluating in detail the effectiveness of activities, DILO Analysis also gives a greater understanding of the roles that people play within an organization. This alone can help team members work together more effectively. For example, if you find out that Tom spends over a quarter of his day responding to employee inquiries, you might think twice about interrupting him unless it's for something really urgent. Or if you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, sharing DILO information can help you decide whether there are people you can delegate jobs to or ask for assistance.

DILO can also be used to:

  • Identify what isn't getting done.
  • Understand what is standing in the way of effectiveness.
  • Identify future roles within the organization.
  • Assist workforce planning and job design.
  • Help develop job descriptions.
  • Identify job enrichment opportunities.
  • Determine how best to share resources.

The real power of DILO is that it opens up dialogue about what should be done and by whom. Some of the results will be surprising: What we think people spend their time on, and what they actually do, are often two different things.

Using DILO Analysis

Step 1: Determine Your Scope

The scope of your analysis is determined by your objectives; the processes, activities and functions to be analyzed; and the people who need to participate.

Are you looking to improve a specific process? Or reduce stress for a specific team? Or looking how best to deploy new resources? You'll get the best out of this technique, if you start by clarifying the objectives of your analysis.

Once you have clear objectives, you can determine which teams and individuals need to be involved. Where practical, involve several people who perform the same key activities: You can learn a lot from the different ways people carry out similar roles.

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