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Improve and utilize team motivation to achieve business success

Blog 2019 / 08 / 16

Improve and utilize team motivation to achieve business success



Background

Why should we work on team motivation? Should we work on team motivation because the management is humanitarian? No, of course not. We are here to do business, we are not here to do charity work. Then why should we invest resources to increase the motivation? Believe me working with team motivation is a costly (in terms of money, time, effort, logistic etc) operation, this is never cheap. Then why should we do it? 

We should work on the team motivation precisely because we are here to do business. Team motivation directly contributes to company profit. In this article, we will discuss why team motivation is crucial for business. 

Flawed goal

While working with team motivation, we make some common mistakes. First mistake is that we generally do not identify the real reason of why we should do it. The main goal is not clear to us. We believe we are doing this because we are good people and all our activities, presentation, efforts etc circle around this purpose which is not a right one. 

In today’s business world, everything is measured with money, a tangible number, everything is cost & benefit and this cost & benefit is always measured with concrete numbers. When we present a case to the management out of “humanitarian” reason, the management can never (even if they want) accept it if that is not associated with monetary benefit. Everything is costly and our resources are limited. 

So, we need to find out what business goals can be achieved through team motivation program, then our all activities need to circle around that business goals and then & only then any program can be successful in a modern business organization. 

How team motivation contribute to business goals 

Minimizing cost by less employee turnover

Employee turnover is very costly. If you work on certain management roles, then you can understand the cost of employee turnover better than others. Whenever a new employee comes, it takes time for him to be really productive. This is not about understanding the project and technology only, this is about learning company dynamics, building interpersonal relations etc too. Getting really and effectively onboard is a costly process. 

If your team is motivated, then employee turnover will be minimal and you can definitely get business benefits from it. What we often forget is that profit is not increasing the revenue only, profit is also minimizing the loss too.  

More productivity, sustainable pace and more revenue

Got surprised? Yes, we can be surprised because we are often habituated seeing more productivity in a pressurized environment. Yes, that can be true, if you create pressure on your developers, testers and other members of your team, they will likely work more but for a certain period of time. If you want to sustain the pace of development, then you have no other choice but to keep your team motivated. 

Once a team is highly motivated, their productivity will increase so much that you will wonder. I have seen many teams who were previously unmotivated and their productivity was not good enough; but later the same team became a motivated one and their productivity became so awesome that all the stakeholders had no other option but to become happy with them. Often the journey from a demotivated team to a highly motivated one is not an easy journey, that journey will be discussed in some other article.

So, what does more & sustainable productivity mean? The more & sustainable productivity mean higher productivity for a long period of time which will eventually lead to more client satisfaction which will eventually lead to renew of contracts, more projects from the same client, better market reputation which would bring more new contracts. 

See? If you want to earn a lot of money, you have to keep your team motivated. High motivation & high productivity are not the only factors to make client happy but these are among the crucial ones no doubt. 

Prevent project failures

When a team is formed and a project is started, we often forget to work on develop and sustain the team motivation. We focus too much on client satisfaction, requirements gathering and analysis etc. We take developers’ motivation as guaranteed and there we make one of the first major mistakes which would eventually lead the project to a failed one or not a very successful one. 

Nowadays, lots of software projects fail or can not become as successful as want. We develop many processes like scrum, kanban etc but we are still not being able to make our projects as successful as required. We can not make the stakeholders (the client, the team, the users etc) happy, at least somewhat happy. Have you ever wondered why so it?

There are many reasons behind the failure of a project, lack of team motivation is one of the key factors. 

I have rarely seen that a project is failed due to poor team but I have seen numerous times that a project is failed due to  demotivated team. If a team is not motivated, then the major fault lies with management, not with the team in most of the cases.  

So, what does demotivated team mean? Demotivate team means less productivity, poor product quality, poor client-dev chemistry, lack of proactiveness and ownership and many other negative vibes. A proactive team can easily tackle these negativities whereas a demotivated team can not do it and as a result, the project may end up being a failed one. 

Increase in client satisfaction by client-team chemistry

A motivated team is often a proactive and responsible team. They are easy going, friendly and confident. They do not despise the client. They feel free to communicate with the client in an easy and friendly manner – this is not common because a motivated team is not common. A motivated team proactively suggests improvement areas to the client, they participate in discussions with the client on various topics for the success of the project in many other ways. In a word, a motivated team engages with the client as much as possible by which a rapport between these two parties are formed and this rapport plays a crucial factor in increasing client satisfaction. And also, more client satisfaction means more money in many ways- I believe I do not need to explain this!

More profit through optimization of the development

A motivated engineer is often a proactive engineer. He makes reusable components, services and libraries, write automated test cases which will minimize the regression testing time up to great deal, working on automated deployment process, do R&D with various tools & technologies that will maximize the development speed for the next project and so on. In a word, a motivated engineer plays with many things which will benefit the company eventually. 

I am not saying that a less-motivated engineer can not do these things. If guided properly, a comparatively less motivated engineer can achieve such things too. But what I am saying is the output of a highly motivated engineer for such R&D type stuff would be much more than a less motivated engineer. 

So, suppose your development processes are improved, new tools and technologies are introduced, etc. So  when you will be working on the next project, the development time will be required less or much less than it would require otherwise. 

And we all understand the significance of this. Minimizing the development time means increasing the profit up to great deal. 

Less Office Politics

Office politics is a challenge up to different degrees for more or less each and every office. There are many reasons behind office politics which are not a topic of this article. In general, the more motivated a team is, the less office politics there. One of the most effective ways to minimize toxicating, counterproductive office politics is to keep your team motivated. 

Does client satisfaction contradict team motivation?

It may appear to the managers that if we are fighting for the team, then we will end up dissatisfying the client. Or if we focus too much on client satisfaction, then we have to end up pressurizing the team by trying to entertain client’s all requests including the invalid ones. But this does not necessarily have to be the case.  

Believe me, the client and the team are not two contradictory parties, rather than both the client and the team are one the same side, both of them want the project to be successful. But they may think differently and so, many-a-times, there are clashes between these two entities. 

The fight between the dev team and the client has become almost a universal truth because of lack of ability to see each other’s perspective and lack of knowledge on each other’s domain. The managers can and should play an effective role here to minimize these gaps. 

Neither client nor team can understand each other due to various reasons. The managers (or scrummaster or communicator or account manager or by whatever names they are called in different cases) need to create a balance by bringing the team and the client on the same page by subtly educating and/or counselling both the parties. Managers need to play the role of a marriage maker and s/he needs to create a happy marriage between the client and the team. Once the marriage is made, then the manager (Ilike a marriage counsellor) needs to help both the parties to remain happy through continuous grooming. 

How the chemistry between the client and the team can be developed and nurtured – that will be discussed in a different article in details. 

Anyway, the expected role of manager described here can be achieved by any team member (one or more). Someone has to carry the lantern. 

So, once the chemistry between the client and the team is established, then both the parties can be happy at the same time. 

Conclusion

Whenever we want to do something in a modern company, this has to be associated with business goals. Team motivation program is no exception. So, we need to be aware of the monetary benefits that can be achieved through working on team motivation. If we can identify the business goals and make a plan surrounding it, only then we can bring required stakeholders on the same page and achieve it. 

Author

Arafat Sultan, Project Manager, Monstar Lab Baangladesh. If you have any thoughts about this article, please let me know at arafat@monstar-lab.com.bd

 

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