- Posted by dan on August 25, 2011
I've just finished reading a really interesting article, about how NPR are letting developers play, doing what my company would call Build it in a day
I think this is really encouraging. My company takes place in a survey called Great Place to Work GPTW and management really care's how we do and literally have meetings and discussions with everyone about coming up with ways of making it a better place to work. Obviously being the developers we are, Google's 20% time is the dream. It didn't take that long with copies of Daniel Pink's - Drive being passed a round, before there was an event dubbed Build it in a day which much like NPR's model, consisted of posting your ideas up and trying to rally a team around it. Then some discussions of what we could realisticly pull off in a day, for the following work day we'd have to do a quick presentation on what we'd done.
Watch this quick video, which really puts a nice summary to the book
I strongly agree that autonomy, mastery and purpose are really important motivators. I know some disagree and think that money's all important and for some it is. Some plan their careers around money and how much they should be earning etc. But I think for developers well at least some developers we like solving hard problems and building cool things. So given a purpose that involves solving many hard problems. The freedom to try and solve it in the way we think best and the ability to master skills and learn new one's along the way makes for a highly motived and productive development team.
Suffice to say our build it in a day was an amazing success, we had lots of things from an RFID Scrum board, to funky algorithms that did all manner of interesting things. It was such a success that we're soon going to be doing a 2nd one.
I hope you're motivated to try it yourself. Give your boss a copy of Daniel Pink's - Drive. Don't promise the next GMail, but say it'll be a real motivation booster, maybe you could even label it as a team training day? I'm guessing a truck load of Pizza's and a few beers is a lot cheaper than a training day. Good luck and hope it goes well.
- Posted by dan on February 10, 2011
Not to long ago had a meeting at work about reward and recognition. The usual methods of reward came up, bonuses etc. Performance related pay, I was in the camp that wasn't really keen on extra money as an incentive. Before you think I'm crazy the reality is that everyone would have a pay cut in basic. The last 10% of your salary being made up for in bonus.
That was the proposal anyway. That didn't appeal to me.
For me and others like me I've always thought that time and freedom are more valuable. I've long wanted the fabled Google 20% time, dreaming about the cool things I could do in this time. Well Drive by Daniel Pink seems to more elegantly explore there ideas and other things relating to motivation. He does on to describe research done by psychologists that challenges our decidedly outdated views on motivation.
The three main themes are:
The idea being that you'll be more motivated if you have greater autonomy at work and more control over the way you work. Some people will think this is the same as job enlargement but the book would disagree with this assertion, claiming enlargement is from an old way of thinking. It doesn't completely write off the bonus, it can apparently work in some instances, but mainly cites that in today'd world where increasingly we're in a knowledge and idea based economy the carrot and stick method as it refers to it isn't as effective.