How To Motivate A Development Team

One of the most important aspects that pushes work forward to success is motivation. This works as much in the world of software development. On one hand, there is internal motivation – from the company to employees. On the other hand, there is motivation that’s initiated by the software owner, the client of the company. Both kinds of motivation result in aspirations to create a perfect product.


This isn’t said just for the sake of a witty remark. One of the greatest things said about motivation is ”Only taking away the things that make people dissatisfied, will simply result in people having neutral feelings towards their jobs.” Indeed, providing a development team with various ‘goodies’ does work for positive motivations and improvement of the product. When a software owner really wants the team to work under the most comfortable conditions, it comes out as a win-win. It doesn’t work only between employers and in-house employees, it has become a part of outsourcing as well.

Do you want to motivate your outsourced team in the correct way? The small bits of precious motivation for harder work can be brought into relationships right from the start. The very first motivator is bringing an interesting project with challenging tasks, opportunities to handle these tasks, and promising tangible results. But since generally custom software projects are pretty unique to a certain extent, this point is a relatively easy achievement. A great idea is all it takes for a result-oriented team to become enthusiastic.


#1. Get It Right With Requirements And Deadlines

Bad requirements and unrealistic deadlines can force even the best developers to build garbage. In fact, the better the requirements are documented, the happier the users will be with your product. If things are vague with requirements, work with the team to figure out and document them. Things can go nowhere without a good specification.

As for deadlines, lack of time can be compensated by the time required for testing. But in fact, no good development company would go for evidently unrealistic deadlines without warning the software owner. Be careful with deadlines. Only the fact that another contractor offered a 5-month job done in 2 months, it doesn’t necessarily mean quality, and very often goes contrary.

#2. Make The Team Feel It’s Their Own Product

Allow creativity and experience of developers into the product. Nobody likes to be underutilized. On the contrary, the nature of good developers is directed at learning new things, applying their knowledge to the full, and being proud of the result. Of course, the team must aspire for a perfect product from the start – that’s their job. But here it’s all about taking relationships above the ‘neutral feelings’ level.

#3. Take Developers’ Ideas Seriously And Let Them Have A Voice

Designers, developers, and testers have the technical knowledge and insights that you may lack. You can engage them easily by allowing them to suggest. Backed up by facts and expertise, it can be invaluable for the product in the first place. This makes the team feel it’s their own product, makes them want to bring it to a new level. It’s not the presence of activity, it’s the result that matters for every one of you.

#4. Keep The Atmosphere Positive

Always look for the way to fix problems and avoid too much stress from both sides. Stress is one of the greatest demotivators for all of us. There must also be challenges to avoid procrastination and suchlike, but there must always be an opportunity to solve them. Problems, be they of technical, financial, communication nature, discourage both parties. But there are no insolvable ones, and it’s vital to keep the atmosphere positive.

#5. Bonuses And Rewards Always Motivate

When a business owner and a software company have lasting and fruitful relationships, it is a common practice that the client makes ‘surprises’ for the team, such as various gifts, money for teambuilding activities or even computers. Such rewards and bonuses can be given during the timeline of the project, when a team passes an important milestone, up to release of the product. Knowing your team well brings you closer to each other. The team in fact has all the reasons to get megamotivated and return the client’s favor as a better product.

There are many motivators that matter more than just good salary. Be open and let the team know your expectations. Be realistic and create trust, since you’ve chosen the contractor. Show you care about the work environment of your designers, developers, and QA engineers. Measure and celebrate success together. Knowing your team, you’ll know how to motivate, since it’s an individual thing, despite the general advice. Oh, and there also is your project manager to help you with that.