How To Boost Motivation When You’re Working With Software Engineers – Forbes
May 9, 2019
Finding, hiring and retaining talent is no small ordeal. Every relevant business operating in this digital-driven era needs different levels of technology to succee d. This reality leads to a massive need for skilled developers capable of fulfilling the numerous data science, front-end and back-end development and QA testing roles that require their skills.
Now imagine that in this challenging scenario, your business finds — or already has — a thriving software engineering team. In that case, you need to cultivate the appropriate conditions to keep your engineers interested and motivated. In my experience, motivation is the single factor that can ultimately influence your team’s performance and the quality of their work.
Managing my own IT company, plus my more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry, has given me the insight to understand what keeps the wheels of a driven team going. Here I’ll share some practical tips to keep in mind when you need to lift your software engineers’ morale.
The Starting Point
This might seem obvious, but offering competitive salaries to your workers is something that can’t be ignored. Money by itself might not be enough to keep everyone satisfied, but it is important to maintain adequate salary levels so that it does not become an issue or a deciding factor for anyone. Providing other benefits like free lunch at the office or work from home flexibility are other great ways to jump-start a fruitful environment.
Understanding Adequate Project Management
Developers need enough flexibility to work at their own pace, and they value having enough independence to find a way to solve their tasks. Here the role of the project manager is crucial because they have to make sure that objectives and deadlines are still met and that client needs always remain a priority. Project managers should guarantee that teams are working under the best possible conditions and should support them by solving any issues that may arise during the process, especially those related to client involvement.
In other words, it is essential to have the right people in charge — and hierarchical structures are key — but having fluent conversations between these managers and their developers is even more important. Make sure that software engineers understand and have a full vision of the project. You can achieve this by providing detailed specs and maintaining realistic deadlines. Working towards a clear goal is far more rewarding than executing specific tasks. It is important to give both context and ownership to encourage a broad understanding of any project, and to make developers feel invested.
Likewise, encouraging good communication and open dialogue will make everyone feel more valued. Recognizing a job well done and celebrating milestones will promote a sense of empowerment, and simply respecting your team’s ideas can also do wonders.
Creating A Suitable Work Environment
Motivation comes with creating an appropriate workflow that invites productivity and effective results. Setting up an inviting work environment implies, for starters, minimizing all possible distractions that may arise daily.
Another crucial factor is establishing a layout for excellent team relationships and contributing to building a strong sense of community among peers. Instilling a collaborative mindset, providing the appropriate resources and working with top talented developers is a recipe for success. Also, creating space to share feedback and process improvement is highly relevant. You can study that feedback to measure employee satisfaction and learn how you can improve.
When you’re managing a technology company (or any company) it is crucial to build a structure that can enable career growth and present long-term potential for your software engineers. Everyone wants to have something to aim for. This can include taking on exciting new projects, acquiring more responsibilities, working with top clients or using innovative technologies and frameworks. Set everyone up for success by providing training and other educational opportunities that can help developers continuously improve their technical skills.
The Importance Of Psychological Safety
Google’s People Operations Department has spent years researching how to build the perfect software team and understand not only how people work, but also how they work together. After analyzing everything from how frequently particular people eat together to the best managerial traits, psychological safety appeared as a vital aspect for team motivation and functioning. This concept refers to a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” The power of giving people a common platform and operating language should never be underestimated, and HR managers should work on creating a sense of psychological safety to improve the team’s morale and drive.
The Puzzle Of Motivation
Boosting your developer’s motivation is no easy job, but you can now better understand the different elements that influence this process. Improving both the work environment and your project management skills will enhance your software engineering team’s spirit and profoundly impact their performance.
As Dan Pink said in his famous Ted Talk, the new operating system for businesses revolves around three elements: autonomy, mastery and purpose. My advice is to remember that providing enough freedom for creativity to arise and generating opportunities for progress to occur are also essential parts of this challenge. When you tackle motivation, increased project success and business prosperity will inevitably follow.