Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tester's Musings: Motivation to Test?


Our organization like a lot out there are going through a lot of change. Recession, doing more with less, hiring freeze, no raises, etc are just a few reasons as to why organization cant do better with motivating people. The traditional trends used to be give a bonus, provide, raises, give lots of time off, not ask people to work overtime or pay when people have to work overtime. With this new face of economic pressure there are very few options left.

I feel I am getting caught up in this where I am demotivated from doing my job. To pull myself out of feeling the misery I started looking for things that motivate me. Here is a list of few things that helped me
  • Good Team: Working with a project team that is motivating really helps. I feel that if my project team can support me and have my back that I will do anything to support them. Creating a good team is key to having engaged employees. The trend with spread of agile shows that companies have recognized this.
  • Rewards: yes I just said companies don't have the money to give rewards but then its not always about money. For me getting an unexpected half day off or not having to take personal time off when I need an hour or two to go visit a doctor speaks louder and tells me that my company cares about me. Working from home is another reward that I feel helps with in this economy and motivates me to give my best to my company.
  • Customer voice - we hear a lot from customers when things go bad and we get their issues as defects that we have to fix immediately. Our company asks us to look at why we missed a defect. Recently our product owner shared a letter from a customer who thanked us for the work we do. They said they depend on us to do their job. This letter motivated me to make sure I do everything I can so I will have a few more happy customers. I am glad they shared the positive note from customers. I needed that to get through a few long days that I had to put.
  • Employee Voice - President of our division met with each and every employee. I have been with this company for over 6 years. We had a lot of good years and this past year has been hard with all the financial changes (we are a lending based software company). When our president sat down for half hour with every one of us I felt like someone was there to hear my voice. He sat down and asked me what was working, what was not working and how can he help? Just the fact that he listened to my voice made a difference. I came out of the room feeling like the burden from my shoulders were taken. I don't expect miracles because I vented to the president. But just knowing that someone was there and can be reached if needed makes a big difference.
Every time I feel like giving up because I don't see immediate results or feel the work burden is going to kill me I am going to look back at my motivators. I have this listed printed out and posted in my office cube. I will not let this economy demotivate me. I am looking forward to better days but for now I am happy with what I can get.  

2 comments:

shilpa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shilpa said...

[6:59:02 PM] James Bach: Hi Shilpa,

For me, the motivators are a little different. They might map onto your list, but maybe from a different angle.

My motivators are:

1. The feeling of being needed. (Perhaps this relates to your "good team" category) I don't have much discipline, but I also don't want to let people down.

2. Good reputation earned. Reputation equals money, in the long run, but it also supports my self-respect.

3. The feeling of becoming more powerful as I hone my practice. Every project, every day, teaches me something. I will quickly lose interest in a project if I'm not learning, but that rarely happens because there's so much to learn.

4. Self-respect... This is why I don't lie to my clients. This is why I don't do silly things like count test cases even when my clients ask me to. Without self-respect, nothing else matters much.

Things that are NOT motivators:

1. Conventional behavior. I'm suspicious of doing things that are ordinary and normal unless those things make good sense to me for other reasons.

2. Threats. Well, threats are sort of a motivator: I become motivated to attack the guy threatening me.

3. Money. I wish money were a motivator. I would have a lot more money if it were. However, I've learned that money can only entice me to do something that I already want to do. It's more of a prioritizer than a motivator.

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