Motivating Developers – Understanding your Goals

From time to time I find my work to be routine and somewhat boring, each day I open visual studio and write code, and all that code starts to look the same at one point, feeling this way makes my day drag, and I’m having less fun doing my job.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeling this way all the time, not even most of the time, but it does come more often than I would like it.

When these times comes I need to find motivation, the inner feeling to make me try to do my best and try different things to get to the best result (and not just something that just works).

What I do is start thinking in terms of goals and not tasks, starting with the end in mind helps me see a clear vision of what I’m trying to achieve and not how – the actual development tasks.

Here are a couple of daily development tasks:

  • Use an RSA algorithm to encrypt communication
  • Write logs
  • Refactor code
  • Write tests
  • Write documentation

Does these sound inspiring ? these sounds BORING!

But if we rewrite these tasks using our goals we get a totally different perspective:

  • Enable our users to safely communicate and protect their personal data
  • Enable the possibility of reasoning about the system so we can give our users service more quickly in case of errors
  • Enable maintainability of the system such that we can respond more quickly to out users future needs

Telling myself the goals keep me doing what I do, I relate to the purpose  of what I’m doing a lot more then I do to the actual code writing tasks (even though I love doing that too!).

When nice way to incorporate this idea at the team level is in the daily scrum meeting (I suppose most teams are doing some form of scrum these days), before starting with the tasks and asking the 3 questions, start with the goal. Say something like “Good morning, out goals for the sprint is creating … to enable people to … , lets go over the sprint board and our tasks”.

The sprint goal should not be a speech, it should be a short sentence that embodies the essence of what the team is trying to achieve.

Repeating the message is important, although the team knows what their goals are this serves as a reminder and help them feel the importance of what they are doing.

As a last benefit, creating this goal helps the team unite as a group in order to achieve a common goal, as opposed to the feeling that each person works on his own stuff.

That’s it for toady, If you want to share your thoughts feel free to leave a comment 🙂







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