For programmers motivation is really important. It can make their effectivity much higher and it can make them loyal to the company. That means motivation is money. Motivating programmers also costs money, but it is done properly then it makes more benefit on long term. There are things which are difficult to change: topic of the project, due dates etc. But there are several things which are easy to change, several of them does not cost anything. This point is not only for managers, who have usually the power to change these things, it is also for developers to make initiative or to be able to choose the best work environment for themselves. You need to take into account, that motivation is like health: if it is there no one realizes it, but if there’s a lack of that it generates terrible issues. Let’s see the points
- Regular feedback session
Everyone need a feedback about his job, even if it is good and even if it is bad. It simple makes it feel that it is important what they are doing and suggestions about how to make it better are always welcomed. Try always give positive and negative points in the same time, not only one of them. As a programmer you can ask your manager for a feedback session any time. It costs nothing, but some short time.
- Doable goals
It is nice to set some goals for the developers: learn a new technology, reach project goals, make the development more effective (for example by creating tools). It is important that it should be doable inside the given time frame without a lot of stress. The topic of the goal should be something which is also wanted by the developer, that’s what is making the motivation. At some companies there’s a certain time frame every month to work on such topics. If your manager is not cooperating in such activities you can set up such goals for yourself. It cost nothing but some short time.
- Opportunity for trainings
A programmer needs to learn always about new technologies, soft skills etc. The working environment need to support it by providing trainings, books, e-learning courses etc. It has some costs but it has also a lot of benefits. Costs can be kept low by organising the trainings internally held by more experienced colleagues of the company. You as a developer can always offer the do such trainings for the team and handle all these trainings as an opportunity to learn something new.
The freedom to choose the trainings
It is also important that the developer needs to have the freedom the decide what he wants to learn and which trainings he want to attend. To push someone to a training is never a good idea.
- Flexibility in work place and hours
For most of the working models home office and flexible working hours are total doable with some limitations (core hours, maximum allowed of home office days/week etc.). And the best: it costs nothing. Let the developers live with these opportunities.
- Career opportunities
It makes a lot of developers to get new roles in the future: senior developer, software integrator, mentor of new colleagues, software architect, technical lead, team lead, project manager etc. So your environment needs to have a lot of well-defined role which are not meaning a new level in the hierarchy in all case, just some additional responsibility and give the developers to get such roles in case of fulfilling certain requirements. It costs nothing, but increases the motivation of a lot of people. It is important to know that salary and career are most of the cases not correlating. In a lot of cases being leader at a small company pays less than being a simple developer a big/better working company. It’s always up to the situation of the company.
Opportunity to change between projects
To work always on the same project can be boring. Let’s give the opportunity to the developers to change project if they want to change.
- Free fruits and coffee
It costs less than 1% of the salaries, but it makes developers much happier if they have free fruit, coffee, tee etc. in the kitchen. Then why not?
- Proper technical environment
It makes people really demotivating if you are always need to wait because of your slow computer, your build is also failing due to a buggy build system, it in uncomfortable to work because of too small display or simple having a slow internet connection. Always try to avoid all such issues to keep the team motivated.
Good IT support
It is making developers mad if they are wasting too much time with solving IT issues: install programs, setup printers, configure the network etc. Let’s have a proper IT team who can overtake all of these tasks.
Every team needs sometimes team events when they can get known each other better. It is always making them motivated. And the best: at a point they will anyway start to talk about work. So let’s organise such events. You can organise such events for your team as a developer as well.
Of course salary is also important. More is better, but what is important: it shouldn’t be much less than the market average with the specific skill set. Because in that case people will leave even if everything else is fine.
Give as much freedom to the developers as possible. It makes them use their creativity and it will make a lot of benefits on long term.
- Challenging projects
It is of course important for everyone on which project they are working on. The main goal here is that the project should be challenging. A project which is challenging for one programmer is not necessarily challenging for an other one. It is something to pay attention at resource allocation.
- Modern technologies
Try to avoid the usage of technologies from the stone age. Try to always use the newest version of tools and languages.
Clean source code
Everyone hates to work with spaghetti code. So keep your codebase clean to keep the developers motivated.
After finishing this list I realized that this list is also good to evaluate workplaces and opportunities. So before starting somewhere try to get information about these points and it can help you to make the right decision.
What is motivating you as a programmer? Did I miss something?