Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How are you motivating people

I just finished watching a presentation on Ted by Daniel Pink on motivation in the workplace. He sited a study that found that for anything other than simple mechanical tasks, the higher the reward, the poorer performance got.

He mentioned three things to motivate people effectively; autonomy, master, and purpose.

  • Autonomy is the desire in people to have control over our own lives
  • Mastery is the desire to continue to improve on a skill or set of skills
  • Purpose is feeling like your part of something important, something bigger than yourself
As I listened to this, I realized he was describing the team structure in agile project management. The team is self-directed, deciding among themselves how they are going to accomplish the work as opposed to being assigned tasks from a command & control project manager. Along with this, they are self-motivated and empowered to learn and improve their skills. Finally, any good project starts with a vision, defining the purpose for their work.

When I'm giving presentations, I talk a lot about how you can improve productivity by following an agile process. I often refer to a study done by the Standish group about how many software features are never used (45%) and that by not building features that aren't used through a prioritized backlog, you increase productivity.

This study provides another reason why agile works; the agile team is motivated the right way to perform rather than provided incentives that have the opposite effect. So next time you're trying to get your team engaged, think about this. Are you going to throw money at them or provide the intrinsic motivators that will really get them to perform?

1 comment:

RNB Research said...

Effortless shot. Its a very nice and informative post. Keep it up!!!!