56

If you aren't paying people, you really shouldn't expect them to stay around. If you want to give someone equity in exchange for payment; it should be a large amount of equity, and it should be spelled out in a contract, that stipulates the vesting period (if they aren't getting any money it should be an accelerated vesting period tied to milestones), but ...


45

TL;DR: The main problem is the toxic culture of the company. You can't improve the team's behavior without addressing the toxicity of the environment. You need the company's leaders' full support on this. You can present them facts and solutions, but if they don't care (and from your question it is obvious they don't) and don't fully support you, then you ...


14

Your primary job is to manage expectations. It's your fault to have such high expectations, so negotiate with the client. You may have tight deadlines only if they are connected with external factors (like media promotions, legal regulations, etc.) and not just because the client wants it as soon as possible (the client always wants it as soon as possible). ...


13

I've served as a project manager on several software development teams, and the analogies I like best are these: I'm the sweeper on the curling team. Or: I'm downriver from the team, clearing the big logs that are going to slow down progress. Think about it this way: Software developers bring a set of very specialized skills to the table, and when ...


13

The team members understand perfectly how the company "works" and have no reason to change their behaviour. Why would they want to work harder for no reward just because you tell them? If the project is has delivered nothing but mission creep in 3 years, its real value to the company is zero. team members are acting like they are doing a favor to me ...


11

The key to motivation is to remove the money from the table. So you have to pay enough so the developers don't think about the money, and then to rely on intrinsic motivators such as recognition, self-development, etc. If you use percentage or even mixed model, you focus people on the money, and not on the product. On the other hand, it's great to share with ...


11

Senior Management Owns "Tone at the Top" Modern governance frameworks like COBIT, COSO, and others all describe some variation of "tone at the top". Basically, it boils down to the fact that in business, senior management owns all of the following: Responsibility for the project's success or failure. Responsibility for the design and operational ...


10

Lots of good answers already, but one thing I think may be missing is customer feedback. Developers will initially be enthusiastic at solving technical problems, but to sustain their enthusiasm they need to feel what they are doing is worthwhile. The best way to give them that feeling is to ship your product to real customers and to get regular feedback. ...


9

TL;DR Gamification is inherently competitive, which is contrary to the "succeed or fail as a team" concept that underlies many agile methodologies. That doesn't mean it's a bad idea; it just means it's not well-suited for use with frameworks like Scrum or Extreme Programming. Your mileage may vary with other methodologies. Competitive Nature of ...


9

Get the team committed to the business goals In the long run, you should get the team committed to the business goals so much that they voluntarily step up to do what it takes to accomplish them without worrying too much about what their job position is. In the short run, here are some things you can try: Challenge the development team to automate part of ...


9

You've identified a risk, and a possible solution. I'd refrain from considering your solution (more documentation) as "the" solution and ask them to apply it straight away. You're working with a team of experts, which will likely have a different point of view on the matter, so do not expect to be able to "motivate" them into doing what you want... engage ...


9

Equity only? Well, you haven't made it clear just how "good" (your word) the equity is, but yes, likely the lack of anything tangible in terms of compensation is one of the factors involved here. But it's probably not the only one. It also sounds like you are running a virtual team, so it makes it easier for the individuals to fade into obscurity because ...


8

Robert Austin wrote a short, devastating little book, Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations, that neatly demonstrates why and how most personal measurement systems are doomed be either at best distortionary or at worse actively dysfunctional. The problem is that you're introducing personal measurement. Under selected circumstances, that can ...


8

You are creating a cause and effect between a lowering morale and motivation with doing certain tasks. My first reaction is you are creating a cause and effect that does not exist. Every job in the world has tasks no one likes, or tasks with which one might feel less competent, or tasks that causes some anxiety or worry. They may not like it but it does ...


7

TL;DR While Kanban practices can be used successfully for discrete projects, the Kanban framework is best suited to ongoing, queue-based processes. To be used properly in iterative development, you need to implement effective feedback loops for your processes and raise the visibility of your project's input queue. Kanban in Manufacturing Kanban has its ...


7

Similar to other answers, they key thing to understand here is that: Money is a motivator, but only up to a certain point. Once people's basic needs are taken care of, money is no longer a major motivator. Other factors (such as esteem and self actualization) become more important progressively. Contrary to some of the other answers, this thinking is not ...


7

I was working with a similar setup and it wasn't that bad at all. We knew what to expect, and somehow we felt that our work has a purpose, because we needed the money at that time. Unfortunately, when one brings up the money based motivation topic up, the other immediately pulls Daniel Pink's book, which is excellent book, but how one interprets is very ...


7

@Mamoo is right. A new and junior project manager does not have the authority or influence to jump to a solution and ask the team to implement it. Even as a two decade project manager I wouldn't try to impose a solution on the team. As PM you have to help them to find their own solution. To do this you first need to get them to identify the problem. Until ...


7

I'm a manager of a software development team who was a designer. I started with almost no prior knowledge of writing code, other than simple html and CSS. My initial view was that they are the experts in their field and I am an expert in mine. I am just using my PM expertise to help them become more efficient and better organised, so that their skills can ...


7

Stop Abusing Velocity I know it is not common for management to rely on velocity as a measure of productivity. But in this company, velocity and individual points are how teams and individuals are evaluated. So, you know the company is doing the wrong thing and following an anti-pattern, and yet you're expecting a different outcome. That isn't reasonable....


6

Value is Not Automatic What value do project managers provide a software development team? In practice, project managers may or may not provide any value to the development team. Just like any other role in an organization, the PM role is just as much a victim of organizational hiring practices and the bell curve as any other role (such as "software ...


6

The good news is that money has been shown to be a very weak motivator in many studies. The increase one may exhibit by money is short lived. A guy named Daniel Pink argued that motivation is intrinsic and can be divide into three factors: autonomy mastery purpose Start your research here. This doesn't mean you can ignore the money. You need to meet ...


6

TL;DR If your employee truly is bored, and one or both of you think this is actually a problem that needs to be solved, ask her for solutions that suit the both of you. The path to professional self-actualization for both of you starts with communication, collaboration, and alignment. You need to address those dynamics before you can properly measure or ...


6

Just to give a different perspective/possibility than David Espina's Answer... What I'm reading happened is this: Problems occurred You assumed (without talking to the contractors?) that more planning, updates, and roadblocks would fix the problems. The contractors didn't agree with you. The contractors are doing everything they can to ignore the new ...


6

First of all i really enjoyed your question Sergey Yakovlev to the point of giving an upvote. It appears to me what you really try to understand is How are people motivated to do their work at work? I assume if you found out money is really a game changer, you would do all the possible efforts to get that into the hands of your workers. From that point ...


6

I liked Todd A. Jacobs', Tiago Martins Peres' and some others' answers, but I wanted to add to them. While this isn't a complete answer I think it is too much to place in the comments, so perhaps consider this a supplement to the other answers. Startups, especially unfunded startups, are not the same as established businesses. Equity, especially in such an ...


5

It is a poor workman who blames his tools. The false premise underlying this question annoys me; I have rewritten this answer several times to try to take out the withering sarcasm and the ire, but I think that ultimately it is more honest and effective to admit that I am working hard to be respectful while I am annoyed. I have worked on teams that rely ...


5

Focus on accomplishing the Sprint goal Scrum is not just about completing stories. It is about delivering business value. So, you should start by discussing and agreeing on the Sprint goal. And then, the development team can have further discussion and negotiation with the Product Owner. For example, the development team can propose dropping some bells and ...


5

Documentation is always the stepchild of development. Although you could simply order them to do it, there are a few points to take care of when you want to motivate them: Demonstrate the problem Have they ever seen the problem? Right now it's an abstract problem. You think something might happen in the future. You will have better chances if you can provide ...


5

How to keep the team motivated Ask the team. Chances are, the team knows both: What they want to do What improvements to their process would help most ...far better than you (or, most certainly, strangers on the internet) ever could. So ask them, discuss, and then ensure they're empowered to actually carry it out.


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