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Motivating the Team Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 9:02 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Motivating the Team






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Post #798904
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 2:14 AM
Grasshopper

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Early in my career I had to do some data entry tasks and I hated the cobbled together system the company used. So I built my own data entry program for the company data. Pretty soon the guys in the field got hold of it and loved it. Spending time with them, getting their comments and feedback really spurred me on to make the thing better and better. Not to mention feeling pretty good watching all these professionals working away using my programs.
In later years dealing with a company building industry specific software I had a lot of trouble getting the developers to really understand how issues in their software were affecting our guys in the field. Talking to the coders themselves, they didn't seem that interested. I did convince a manager to send a programmer "out amongst the users" and the change was remarkable and very positive. The coder could see for himself how his stuff was being used and he developed a personal relationship with "real" people using his work. He was quite proud to see it all in operation
It seems to me that all the coding rooms I have seen are keeping the coders in dungeons and away from any real users - so how on earth are the coders really going to understand what the users' issues really are??? And how are they going to take pride in something they never see anyone really using?
Post #798990
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 2:15 AM
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Motivational talks etc only work for a short time in my opinion , I have been to loads , then the ra ra ends and you go back to work to apply what you have been shown and then ......

The eternal cynic maybe.

A better bet is to get that mundane code done by some tool and get on with the intersting & fun stuff. Employers should equip all developers with cool tools like SQL Prompt , and for code genration one of the many generators , like Codesmith . A data layer from any db in seconds , customised to your style and needs. Then add in a VS Sddin if you a C# / VB Developer like Visual Assist X .

All you have to do then is THINK and be creative , the mundane stuff just happens.

Like any tools , the 28 days eval simply scratches the surface , buy in and get the full advantage , they may not be cheap but neither is replacing demotivated staff who may leave through the mundane.

PS -- I have no connection with any of these tools other than as a user

Mike
Post #798991
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 2:57 AM
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Speaking from my experience it is the out of work experiences that make a team motivated, I have seen various attempts done by management to try and motivate teams. if the work is boring or repetitive, there isnt much you can do within the confines of work. to get motivated you need stimulation knowing that it isnt just another management engineered attempt to get people to work harder. I find that drinks after work, and lunches out, work better than anything that can be done in work time. how can you relax and get motivated when you have to either watch what you say or do.
Getting more involved in the business or having the opportunity to help others does help, but it only works so far and I have yet to see most companies allowing that sort of freedom.


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Post #798999
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 5:39 AM


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I am not a DBA, per se, even though I am the "main" administrator of our local plant's SQL Server system (I do have DBA help from Corporate IT if needed), but I call my self a programmer. I do get handed many new ASP .Net projects that for the most part use SQL Server as a data base back-end, but I absolutely love me job. I have been doing the same thing going on 15 years now and I have never grown tired of it. I love to take the "concept" of what management wants. That gives me a blank slate to create what I call some artistic piece of work. That is the way I view the projects. Plus some projects, like one I am currently working on, provide me with some challenges to learn new things. But that is how I keep things fresh; I am an artistic person (being into theater and being a writer on the side) and I view my projects as artistic pieces.

Brad
Post #799077
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 6:40 AM


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I cant speak directly for DBAs, but as a developer for many years I always responded to people the same way when they used to ask what I did for a living...

"I am a digital prostitute. I will do it for you any time, any place, any way you want it - for a price" and day after day that is what I did - pretty much the same thing over and over again.

These days, now that I oversee a large staff of developers I have found a couple things most important of all for my people - regular verbal thanks for their work, consistent positive encouragement, and ensuring they know my door is always open for any personal concern they have.

We should all remember that nothing any of us is working on right now is going to last. If its around for 5-10 years, you're very lucky. Its just bits and bytes and if you pull the plug, anyone's "extraordinary" work just vanishes. In short, we are not building pyramids that will be around for a few thousand years - we're just building digital kingdoms that have no physical existence.

With that in mind, do great work because that speaks to your own self-respect. Don't sweat or argue over silly particulars because none of the work is going to last. If you've got an inflated ego, leave it at home cause we are not curing cancer, or bringing peace to the world - in fact we're likely just counting widgets. Don't take yourself too seriously and have fun in the simple "doing" of the work. Most of all, put your family and friends first - they are people. What you do at the office is nothing more than shuffling electrons around.


There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
Post #799110
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 7:11 AM
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OMG Steve - you wouldn't have been a fly on *my* wall the last few days, would you?! Here's an excerpt from a cover letter I sent with my resume a couple of days ago..

"I know all companies talk about how important their people are, but haven't yet come across one that actually means it. Yours' has a ring of conviction about it - casual atmosphere and no dress code tells me that this company would rather focus on the things that really matter - a good productive environment where work ethics & working as a team matter more than clothes and working by the clock.

I am not afraid of hard work - in fact, more often than not, I am unable to separate work from leisure.

I've been working closely with SQL Server for the last 8 years. However, the scope of my project is such that I have not had occasion to use many of the new SQL Server features. I am also somewhat jaded - I have worked on a single project the entire eight years and currently feel that I am flogging a dead horse. I did push myself to get my MCTS SQL Server 2008 Developer certification, but it was purely on my own steam."


My co-worker insisted that I would never hear back from the company because he wouldn't have been able to get past words like "jaded" and "flogging" dead horses...I'm thumbing my nose at him right now because I heard back from them the very next day!

To stay on topic though...I am all I've got..for motivation! Since the only thing that brings me any joy at work is SQL Server, I've decided to study for and get as many SQL certs as possible.
As for finding a company that cares...looks beyond numbers at its people...it might be a tad easier finding the Holy Grail!

"Digital prostitue"...I love that...I finally have a name for what I've been doing all these years...wish I could use that on a resume or cover-letter!!!








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Post #799131
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 7:18 AM


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The little formula I put up there says something like a motivated employee is a function of three factors more or less: employee attitude, manager interation and corporate environment.

Regarding employee attitude, my observation is that our profession is sprinkled with some people who have inherent motivational issues who perhaps defaulted to technology because there is some excitement to be had and it might seem easier to deal with than digging ditches, clearing out the stable and so forth. The way this plays out is that the techie tends to neglect the aspects of projects that aren't interesting - and tends to focus only on the parts that are exciting to them.

To those, I think an attitude adjustment is needed. The attitude that I think is healthy is that working for a company, one is charged to be a steward over some of the technical assets of the company. Good stewards keep the company in the safety zone and does what's needed regardless of whether or not one finds certain tasks interesting or not.

Regarding manager interaction - I think managers would do well to not just tell team members what to do and set them to work - but explain the value that each project will create for the company so the employee clearly sees what value they're creating. Also, a manager should curb the notion that the team couldn't do without them and their ability to make decisions. Employees are often very capable of making decisions. When possible, I think they should be given a chance to make key decisions and take the credit and responsibility for it.

Regarding corporate environment, I think some executive teams play a game called "take all the credit and assign all the blame." If that's the case, then even employees that are internally motivated can become demotivated by such an environment. There are definitely toxic environments out there. One idea is to give executives a book called What got you here won't get you there which outlines a lot of bad habits often exhibited by executives that have helped them get to the position they are in - but will keep them from reaching the next level of success because they're toxic. Perhaps they'll have an epiphany and help change the environment.


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Post #799138
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 8:22 AM
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I have been in and out of IT over the years. I have had a number of positions in IT (QA, Help Desk, Programmer, etc.), currently writing reports (using Crystal Reports). I have to find value in what I do. I have been frustrated over the years to watch a project that I have spent hours on, only see it dropped for one reason or another. I try to chalk it us as experience.

I have had clients that I have given a solution to their problem practically kiss my feet, but management never recognizes my (or others) achievements. Get a paycheck, go to the next challenge.
Post #799200
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 8:40 AM


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Showing appreciation is important, but it's more meaningful if it's specific, timely, and sincere. "Nice job" is positive but not particularly meaningful. I once wrote a brief note of appreciation to a colleague and noticed it was still displayed at her usually spotless desk weeks later. I had no idea it would mean that much to her. You don't need to be a manager to show appreciation.

p.s. Silverofx: It's Jeff Moden, not Jeff Morden
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