Monday, January 25, 2010

Visible Progress the Best Motivator

Scrum uses a burn down graph to track progress. Turns out this is a powerful motivator.

An article in Harvard Business Review discusses a survey of 600 managers on motivation in the workplace.  The number one motivator from manager's perception is recognition for good work.  However a multi-year study tracking workers has a very different finding.  Contrary to manager's belief workers define that progress is the top motivator.

"On days when workers have the sense they're making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak."
Note the removal of impediments in the quote above.

The article supports the Scrum practices of tracking progress every day, of removing impediments, and of celebration of progress toward the companies goals.

An interesting TED video is Dan Pink's talk 'The surprising science of motivation'.  Where he also describes how our common understanding of motivation via rewards is contradicted by the science on motivation.
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