What motivates you?

I’ve been attending the Nottingham Agile meetups over the last year. They’ve all been excellent, with loads of good presentations aimed at making us better software developers.

Last night’s meetup was about Scrum Masters (and how to be a great one). The talk – by the always helpful and insightful Chris RF – included an amazing video. It’s an animated short that includes a talk about motivation by Dan Pink. Here it is:

This hits on a whole load of points covered in my Systems Thinking modules with the Open University. Autonomy and responsibility are far better motivators than remuneration, and the evidence supports this. You can’t fix poor results by offering bonuses – fix the system!

I don’t think that Agile is a panacea for systemic issues, but it’s a good start. It helps to encourage conversations between stakeholders and it should help organisations understand where problems are.

The second half of the meetup included a whistle-stop tour through Kanban by Leigh White; and he showed that this way of looking at problems can be used with any methodology. I’m generally unfamiliar with Kanban, but it is based on systems thinking principles and it does look useful for finding bottlenecks and helping to improve flow. No scrums required (although I’m generally a fan of scrum). It was an excellent talk too – I really need to find our more.

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