Self-motivated team

    Motivation is a word that each of us perceives in our own way. Someone immediately begins to think about self-motivation, and someone about a prize due to him for the implementation of the project. But today I would like to touch on a different kind of motivation. Team motivation and more precisely even team self-motivation.

    As you know, many flexible methodologies strive to protect the team as much as possible from external interference and give it complete freedom in the implementation of the project. Naturally, by external interference we mean the bureaucratic apparatus of the company, and not effective communication with customers. The same Scrum (on which we tried to work) ideally assumes that in mature teams the role of the scrum-master should be diminished more and more than the team goes into a special state - a state of self-motivation.

    In this regard, I would like to describe my little experience working in a team that, in my age, has come closest to this special state of team motivation. Unfortunately, no effective interaction between the team implementing the project can smooth out the blunders of the company’s management, and therefore, after working for a year, I had to leave it. But now the post is not about management errors, because as you know, there are no one-sided guilty people, but rather about how to achieve this state of unity in the team, so desired for us.

    How we did it:

    1) Isolation from politics in the company.
    It is advisable to fence off all the internecine wars waged in the upper echelons of power of the company. In our case, we were geographically distant from the central office, and our team leader took the brunt of the top management. Whether it’s good or bad, I don’t presume to evaluate, but the team rallied it strongly.

    2) Freedom to change roles in the team.
    Each team member could take on any role and fulfill it during the iteration. Oddly enough, but after each person visited the "skin" of the scrum master, as such a scrum master we generally ceased to need. We all began to be happy for holding the daily status of the rally, retrospective and other team practices.

    3) Strong desire for learning.
    Once a week, we tried to conduct self-training, where any member of the team could talk about any technology or practice that he liked, where one could quite argue.

    4) Continuous review and rethinking of the work done.
    At the end of each iteration, we gathered and discussed what could be good in our work and what could be improved. But we did not stop at just discussions. We started an action plan and appointed those responsible for their implementation. This did not always work, but in the long run it brought enormous benefits.

    5) Listen to every opinion.
    Whatever the argument, they always tried to understand the current problem in as much detail as possible. Rarely did without emotions, but everyone tried to come to the best solution of all possible.

    6) Ongoing review of team goals.
    Just focusing on the successful completion of the project brings an incredible spirit of cohesion to the team. For us, this was the moment when we stopped concentrating on external problems, which we could not change much, but began to think more and more how to improve our part and increase the efficiency of our work.

    7) Joint rest.
    Several self-organized field events (bowling, karting) and we have a completely different team.

    As a result, the application of all these practices, we came close to the ideal - to a self-motivated team. A team in which each player daily increased his awareness and involvement in the project (or at least tried to do it). I am sure this will help you significantly increase the effectiveness of your teams. And most importantly, it will allow you and your colleagues to enjoy their work more.

    As an afterword, I would like to note that it was very sad to watch how the elementary lack of funding for the team extremely quickly consumed all the benefits of self-motivation and led to severe demotivation. But this is a completely different story.

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