Archive for January, 2008

George Dinwiddie wrote about agile compensation yesterday. I agree with the idea’s he is writing about, I don’t agree with the link he points to. That compensation list is all about personal compensation. In fact some of them kill team momentum. So I wrote my own compensating tips.

A good team compensation:

  1. 1) is Value based

    I think a good compensation is value based: a team is compensated based on the results they deliver.
    Good results ==> good compensation.
    That brings back the discussion “what is a good result?” In a lot projects “what is a good result” is not clearly defined. Team members don’t always bother fighting this. If their money is involved, I’m sure they will demand a better definition. And they will demand it at the start of the project.

  2. 2) encourages team behavior

    No compensation based on personal heroics. Some people write clever code that nobody understands. Some people pull all nighters and don’t show up the next day. Most of that behavior is bad for a project. People should be not rewarded for this kind of behavior.

  3. encourages working for the good of the whole

    People that write unit tests, refactor code, …

  4. 3) helps improvement of the team

    Writing wiki pages explaining hard part of the code, start organizing reading sessions. Sometimes this also means doing nothing so that other team members can learn.

  5. 4) is well understood at the beginning of the project/year.
    So that at the end of the process, people know why they got what they got .
    When they feel accountable for their compensation, they will work on it.
  6. encourages people to stimulate eachother so that other team members get higher rewards .
  7. encourages teams that help other teams while reaching their own goals.

Update: you might also be interested in my post about intrinsic motivation.


When creating teams,  motivating people is important. I think Intrinsic motivation (motivation coming from the inside) is much more important then external motivation.

IT people care a lot about their work. Hell, we create a lot of Holy war’s because we care so much.

This summer my 5 year old son  was learning to swim. He enjoyed the challenge. He wanted to tell people I can swim. He was proud of what he was doing.
He did not need me to motivate him (Not to say that a little encouragement did not help.)

Actually when I promised to buy him a pair of swimming glasses when he could swim he lost interest in learning to swim.

==> I killed the intrinsic motivation by offering external motivation.

Because that intrinsic motivation is so important with people, a big part of BootCamp (Now rebranded as Reboot) is focused on Personal alignment. When people know what they want and what their team mates want, creating a shared vision is easy.

And we all know that a team with a shared vision will be much more productive then a team without a vision or a team with a "management vision".

Mike Griffith wrote about a free Mastering Personal Agility Webinar. I missed it, but I think I would have liked it.
I will definitely check out Christopher Avery’s  book: “Teamwork is an Individual Skill

So what motivates me? I enjoy creating a team, where people create great results. Seeing people go the extra mile because they want their project to succeed. That’s what I want from my work.
My personal alignment is Peace. I want to feel more peaceful. Creating such a team might give less peace (as we have to go through the Storming phase)

I don’t mind because the peace there is before such a team is not really peace for me, it feels more like cold war.

Now it’s up to you, what motivates you?

Update: if you are interested in Intrinsic motivation, you might also be interested  in my 7 tips to compensate a team