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What is the Best Way to Incentivize a Team of Developers?
How do you motivate peers to become better developers?

Aside developer's tasks, there are minor stuff that each developer should do.

In our company, the project leader spends some time with each developer to guide them on how to do several stuff, especially on inexperienced ones.

Of course each developer has their tasks, but also they have notes that either they or the project leader noted. Those tasks can be like:

  1. You should change the flow of this method,
  2. I don't like the way you solve this issue,
  3. Consider a faster solution
  4. etc.

Those notes of course can be noted! But laziness is an issue, even if the developer has the abilities required.

My question is: How do we 'force' them to become more hypochondriacal than lazy?

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marked as duplicate by Mark Trapp Jan 11 '12 at 3:34

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

People are lazy - accept and get used to it, and use it to your advantage

Make it easier to do the right thing than the wrong thing. Make it as easy as possible to do what you want them to, anything thats harder than it needs gives them a reason not to do it.

Show them how and why you want the information. Show them that is is being used, far too much time is wasted filling in forms and doing things that never get used for anything useful. Show them the benefits of doing it, and the problems of not doing it.

I all else fails, stick and carrot. Reward good behavior and punish bad behavior.

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"punish bad behavior" In this market? If my boss told me I was being reprimanded for not giving more comments in a code review, I would just go find a new job. What sounds reasonable in the OPs post may in reality be a bunch of political BS... we will never know... we only have his side of it. –  CrazyDart Jan 11 '12 at 0:24
Yes. This. (well, except your last line, which I didn't notice til I read the other comment.) And possibly consider the fact that if laziness is an issue, it might be because you're asking for something that genuinely isn't worth it. –  pdr Jan 11 '12 at 0:26
@CrazyDart You have read too much into it. As a general rule, to get people to do what you want you need to not only reward them for doing the correct thing, but also discourage them from doing the wrong thing. That's all I was saying. In some countries (workplaces), you might get fired for an "offense", in others, you probably suffer nothing more than a disinterested look from your superior. The flip is that for good behavior you might not get fired or you might get a big bonus. Only the OP knows what culture exists in his workplace. –  mattnz Jan 11 '12 at 1:38
@mattnz Good point, I guess its all about context. –  CrazyDart Jan 11 '12 at 16:52

Stop worrying about how to force people and start thinking about incentives. As they say, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"

How about offering a $100 bonus to the team member that submits the best notes each month? I'll bet you will be amazed at what a difference that makes.

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That sounds great, but what if I am already making good money. Honestly, if my boss told me he would offer $100 for submitting good notes, that means the cost of submitting no notes is $0. If you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair... make the minimum 37. –  CrazyDart Jan 11 '12 at 0:19
CrazyDart: If you look at the CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies you will see that virtually all get big incentive bonuses, so do most all great salesmen. If incentives didn't work, do you think anyone would pay them to salesmen? –  JonnyBoats Jan 11 '12 at 0:33
@JonnyBoats: although I don't necessarily agree with all CrazyDart's comments, your argument doesn't really fly. CEOs get anywhere from 33% to 75% of their annual income from bonuses and other non-cash awards. For sales guys it could be about the same. Don't know about them, but I do have an MBA degree and did cover corporate governance in great detail. What percent of your income does that $100 check represent? –  DXM Jan 11 '12 at 4:50
I cant agree more with @DMX (except the part that he doesnt agree with me... I always agree with me ;-) I guess what I was trying to say was $100 a month for someone who makes over $100k a year is just an insult. I would be insulted. Give me a 5% bonus, and then you might get me to put on a pink tutu and jump through a hoop or two. –  CrazyDart Jan 11 '12 at 16:46

You are never going to change the nature of the person. That said you can find creative ways to motivate people. One of the biggest tasks a leader has is to motivate his/her people to do their best work. If they dont agree with your coding practices perhaps they are being lazy like a child rebels against their parents for a rule they dont like or understand. For some people incentives help. For others when you offer incentives, they can justify not doing 100% because they dont want/need the incentive. Its often a bad practice to create a culture that thrives on incentives. Perhaps you need some management training on how to keep people motivated. This is an age old problem.

Personally, I know that I get burnt out on projects. When I am burnt out, I dont give 100%. What makes me work harder is doing something different. This could be just a differnt part of the code, different application, or finding a new job.

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Is your team disciplined as a group? If yes then it shouldn't be that big of a problem. The person in question should know what is expected of them. It is hard to be lazy when everyone around is doing the right things. Peer pressure can be stronger than rewards or punishment. The problem may be that the discipline is not known.

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