How to Motivate Your Software Development Team

The software industry is just like any other. It relies on its employees to deliver so the company can continue to thrive and bring in profits that contribute to the growth of the company. That being said, leading your team in a way that is motivating and encouraging is a necessary part of project management.

Bonus systems with clear and realistic objectives

Most companies have a bonus system set in place as a way to reward employees who went out of their way to deliver on their work. The system needs to be realistic, while above-average performance standards. It needs to be well-known when an employee is eligible for a bonus, and the criteria outlined clearly.

The criteria can be such that bonuses are rare, or they can be monthly and accessible or be a rare occurrence for extraordinary performance. But one thing needs to always be set in stone:  Promised bonuses should be delivered in the promised time frame. Leading your staff on with a promise of a bonus to motivate them to temporarily grind out more work and meet the business objective is ultimately damaging. Not only is it one of the best ways to kill your employees’ motivation but a quick way to lose both their respect and their trust. How can you expect their loyalty if you do not deliver on your promises?

Acknowledging and praising good results

Bonuses and monetary benefits are not the only way to motivate your employees when they performed well. When your employees go the extra mile in their performance, do not let it go unnoticed. Speak to them, and while not inflating their sense of confidence unnecessarily, show them that their efforts are appreciated and noticed.

You can either talk to them, mention them in a casual office conversation, or send an email to the team with subtle praise. It doesn’t take much, but this makes the person who put effort into the work on a daily basis feel like they are a part of a team and working towards the right objectives.

Friendly environment

The working environment needs to be serious when it comes to delivering work. And the objectives and working conditions need to be professional. And of course, respect between colleagues of all ranks alike is common courtesy and a display of basic manners. 

On the flip side, a too-strict environment can be sterile and can negatively affect the teamwork aspect of the development process. Your employees need to be able to work together. And to do that successfully they need to know each other well enough. Organizing events, supporting team activities, and assigning work that requires teamwork is a great way to create a friendly environment and build a good company culture.

Open two-way line of communication discussing issues as well as 

I have heard this in almost every interview, on every job I have ever applied to. Communication, both for feedback and correction, is announced as a constant thing. And it is promised to be a two-way pipeline for communication. 

The employer should give feedback timely, not only when it is “evaluation season”. If you give the employee the opportunity to fix a wrong approach immediately, rather than wait months to learn they are doing something wrong, the chances for improvement are much higher. This benefits both you and the employee for more than simply 

Clear communication of the overall goals

Having a two-way channel for communication is helpful when discussing issues with the production process. However, it is not the only need for communication. Your employees need to be familiar with the overall project goals as well as the short term execution plan. This helps them succeed by directing their initiative efforts towards the goal of the big picture. They need to have the project goals as they start out in addition to receiving the necessary information when it comes to any changes that come and go with the production flow. 

The way to make the most of your employees’ work is to give them a clear direction and on time so they can keep it in mind when working.

Present challenges and showcase expertise

The company’s growth is tied to productivity and expertise with its employees. And this is particularly true in the context of the product delivery, where a smart and efficient solution is more valuable than the grinder solution. 

People grow by being presented tougher challenges over time and continuously jumping higher to meet the bar. So raising the level of the work demanded, gradually within the reason, of course, will motivate your employees to improve and find solutions to more difficult problems over time. Another approach can be creating an inside competition, carrying out internal training and presenting opportunities for your developers to showcase their expertise.

Support collaboration and innovation

Project management demands collaboration. You can guide your employees to work better as a team if you periodically couple colleagues they do not communicate too much with. They get to know each other and become familiar with who has strong expertise in what area. This further creates a foundation for productive collaboration as they now know who to turn to when it comes to developing a product. 

The second aspect that is a must is nurturing innovation. Allow your employees to venture out with the solutions outside of what has been done. Of course, while maintaining the schedule and meeting deadlines, giving your employees to think of creative ways to solve a problem can make the biggest difference in the final project.

Welcome new ideas, even outside of the immediate work-scope

Your developers have likely been hired due to their experience, expertise and overall competency. With their background, they should feel comfortable to come to company management with ideas. Whether it is about making internal office processes easier with automation, ideas for a new project, a new approach to the problems you are trying to solve in the project you are working on.

Considering you hired them for their capabilities, you should trust them and create an environment where they can present their ideas and have a chance to implement them if relevant and approved.

Employees want to be valued

When it comes to developing strategies to grow your business, taking care of your employees should be at the top of your priorities. They are not only the backbone of your company but are directly tied to the prospective future and the revenue that comes with project delivery. 

Having a good employee retention rate speaks to more than just your company’s culture but also shows you value the people you work with. Inspiring loyalty in your subordinates is directly tied to whether they feel valued or not. So take the time and effort to show your employees that they are a valuable part of the team!

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