March 5, 2015

Performance and Motivation of Developers


Knowing a team’s motivation and drivers and ways of fostering them is important for a unit’s success. Hiring intrinsically motivated people is a manager’s dream. However, this is rarely the reality. Not all teams can be solid star/top performers, but usually a mixture of bar-raisers and the mediocre and everything in-between.

Top performing engineers are “self-motivated”. They bring their own energy into the job. Such people always look for the most innovative solution and use the best methods for development. Star performers are truly inspired by what they do. Most managers should not have a problem using their motivation to build a great product. The challenge is to keep such people motivated. You need to make sure:

  • Their achievements, persistence and creativity are appreciated.
  • They work on new and innovative projects. Getting stuck in something that will bore them is a performance drawer.
  • The way they handle work (finding the best way to do something with passion) is shared by the management, co-workers etc., and is a corporate virtue.
  • Provide cross-training possibilities.
  • Let such people do research and create the future! Most of the time it is better to build on a ready solution than to develop something from scratch.

Unfortunately, people who are naturally self-motivated are fairly rare. The challenge is inflaming motivation in all of your team. Everybody has the power to make a change and everybody can achieve more, should they believe so and work for it. A few tips to remember when you try to do that:

  • Demand more. “This is excellent, but not enough.” They should understand that the corporate standards are to achieve extraordinary results and ordinary such are just the basics. You need to show them they are on the right track, but need to pick-up the speed.
  • Make sure you acknowledge their work! Otherwise, they might get more demotivated.
  • Challenge them. They could be bored. Think of interesting tasks or rephrase the tasks you are currently giving them. Try to spark creativity.
  • If they are giving 110% and performance is still down then the problem is the way they are doing it. Make regular checks in such cases until the work is done efficiently.
  • If a developer is performing well, the motivation will go up as good results bring happiness. Use this by focusing on smaller milestones for shorter time periods. This way positive results can be achieved faster.


ScaleFocus Motivation Team