What Motivates You?
January 8, 2008 at 4:44 AM
I'm currently working on a project that began in March of last year. A friend of mine is managing the project and after he brought me on, we decided to try and make things as pleasant and as fun as possible for the project team. I purchased a couple of novelties that we awarded developers when they broke the build or were deemed the most productive. We blazed through requirements and watched features get implemented swiftly. I was having a ball and it seemed the whole team was enjoying working on the project.
Around mid summer, though, something happened. Several, previously unknown, requirements were uncovered and while they were added to the project, the timeline was not adjusted. I marveled that in the space of about a week both motivation and productivity dropped noticeably. I felt my own attitude about the project begin to change and in asking myself why I identified a few things that motivated me and a few that did not.
What Motivates Me
- An opportunity to learn new technologies is always a motivator. Looking back, I've always been willing to put forth the extra effort and spend the extra time to stay as productive as possible while learning about new tools, languages or language features.
- Trust. When a task has been delegated to me and trust has been placed in me to get the task done, I've always risen tot he challenge. In fact, any gesture that communicates, "I believe in you and your abilities." is bound to motivate me.
- Organization. When a project is well managed and organized so that I can concentrate on what I do best (design and build software), I find I have more energy and apply myself better to the tasks at hand.
What Robs Me Of Motivation
- Repetitive tasks. Copy / paste, boiler plate code...yuck. Can't we automate this task and move on to something else??
- Micro-managing. I think of myself as a professional and I don't think its too much to ask to be treated that way. Ask me if I can perform a task. If I tell you I can perform it, let go of the task and give it to me. I'll give it back when it's completed. I promise.
- Surprises. Whether it's formal or not, there is always a plan. When I start a project, I may not know precisely what the finished product will look like and I may no be able to tell you precisely when it'll be finished but you can bet I have a plan. I need to know what constitutes a finished product and have some idea of how long the task will take. When the environment in which I'm working or the projects requirements are in a constant state of flux, it drains me of energy and motivation. Will the section of code I'm working on, right now, just be thrown away?
I'm sure you have your own similar experiences. What has motivated you, in the past?