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During the past few years, the work of Dan Pink has been broadly adopted as a foundation for success when building agile teams. His work shows that intrinsic motivators are far more important that extrinsic (money, nice offices) motivators. These intrinsic motivators are:
- Mastery: People want to get better, to develop their skills so that they may be effective at what they do. In Disciplined Agile this is supported by a learning-oriented approach where teams regularly reflect on how well they are working, where teams explore new ideas and technologies through spikes, where people are responsible to share their skills and knowledge with others, and where teams purposely explore both the problem and solution domains in an evolutionary manner. Additionally, the Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit promotes the strategy of people being “T-skilled” generalizing specialists who have one or more specialties but also a broad knowledge of software engineering and the domain that they are working in.
- Autonomy: People want to be able to direct their own lives. In agile this is best represented by the principles that teams should be self-organizing and they should own their own process. Disciplined Agile enhances these principles by pointing out that self organization must be tempered with appropriate governance and that to effectively own your own process teams need light-weight guidance (via DA’s goal-driven approach).
- Purpose: People are motivated by goals that are bigger than themselves. On Disciplined Agile Delivery teams the first milestone is to come to a common vision with your stakeholders, a vision that guides the team throughout construction, a concept that is captured in DA’s Fulfill the Team Mission process goal. Furthermore, DA’s enterprise awareness philosophy promotes the idea that teams should look beyond themselves to understand and then do what is best for the organization that they work for, instead of what is convenient for them.
Just as there are factors that help to motivate individuals, there are dynamics that help to motivate effective performance on teams. The most succinct description that we’ve found come from the results of a study within Google describing what they believe to be the five key dynamics of successful teams:
- Psychological Safety: Team members need to feel free to take risks and to share ideas without fear of recrimination. Disciplined Agile team members have the responsibility to respect one another, to have humility when they are interacting with others, to run experiments, to work collaboratively, to share their skills and knowledge with others, and to be receptive to learning new ideas and skills from others as well.
- Dependability: Team members need to be able to count on one another. Everyone must work in a trustworthy, open, and honest manner. Disciplined Agile team members have the responsibility to work in a trustworthy manner, to fulfill their commitments, and to provide information in a timely manner even if the work is incomplete.
- Structure & Clarity: The vision of the team, the roles and responsibilities of the people on the team, and the plans for how the team will work together must be clear. Disciplined Agile teams are self organizing, albeit with appropriate governance to guide and enhance their efforts, an implication of which is that they are responsible for their own structure and bringing clarity to their own domain.
- Meaning of Work: The team should be working on something that provides meaning to them. A solution delivery team will work on developing or configuring a solution that adds real value to their stakeholders; an enterprise architecture team will develop, support and evolve a vision for your organization; and a data management team will support and evolve the information assets within your organization. Different teams with different goals will find different meanings – IT isn’t just about creating potentially shippable software.
- Impact of Work: The work that a team does needs to matter, or as Dan Pink would say the work has purpose.