Tuesday, April 25, 2006
When considering agility in terms of creating products, motivation is one very important aspect of being able to work on something effectively. Getting motivated to start working on something is easy, but keeping yourself motivated to succeed is another issue all together. Most of the times, getting motivated to start is easier than keeping at it.
Have you ever heard the phrase "keep walking"? It might be a rip-off of a liquor ad, but that's something easier said than done for a few reasons:
- Starting to walk takes effort. The effort involved in motivating yourself to walk is usually trivial, but nonetheless exists. It's usually easier to start walking if you already have directions, and when you have a clear path to where you're going. Getting started usually is a very exciting time, when the anticipation of the outcome is the highest.
- The first challenge is the most crucial. Let's say you're already walking, and you suddenly realize that the path you've taken gets a little steeper than the first few steps. You weren't able to anticipate that it would be this hard, and the response to the first challenge is the best indicator of the quality of the people involved. When you get the first challenge done with, it will define the whole mood of the journey.
- Delays induce anxiety, and "are we there yet?" becomes annoying the first few hundred times. We know that patience is a virtue, and not all people are patient. Yet the driven are also people, and annoying them doesn't get you too far. Perhaps a better question would be "where are we now, and where are we going?" rather than just plain "are we there yet?".
- Being there is never enough -- and be prepared to be never there. Directions can change over the course of time, especially if the journey has already taken a while. Maybe instead of the highest peak of Mt. Everest, you settle for the closest you can ever get because you're all losing fingers the higher up you go. Or in the case of software, all the features earlier requested seem to be too much for what is required, and the list is cut short -- or worse, the original features are removed and the project completely changes direction.
Just like altruism, being driven is something in-born to a person (or developed over a period of time) but it can be a quality which an IT company can adopt to not only project an image of passion and committment, but also as a means of motivating the work force to become productive as a part of the company.
The ends justify the means -- but when the ends change, the means change. When walking, keep an eye on the destination and the other on the path.