What is the best way to motivate creative teams (design / developers) in a specific project?

I'm taking my first step in leadership by managing an internal project (I'm working as UX architect and agile project manager). We are will redesigning our company website and some internal tools. The company is small and has shallow hierarchy, although the general culture is not very fast faced. I already built good rapport with dev and design team but they don't report to me. I noticed this trend in previous jobs that I worked as a resource and would like to avoid: 1-if the project is super structured with a lot of pressure ,dates, and specific roles are given, production is faster, but people tend to burn out and creativity, innovation , risk taking diminish, authority starts to get questioned when people feel that tasks are being assigned add no value to improve the product. Projects with this approach have high quality (in terms of quality assurance) but low quality in terms of product. 2-On the opposite side, lack of structure and deadlines also diminish motivation, nothing is finished, people try new things but they tend to procrastinate and walk around the hard parts or just give up. The relationship between managers and production is usually good but the output is mediocre. What is the best way to motivate people in agile development to achieve great success? What I will try to do: 1-Give little structure by assigning roles to a multi disciplinary team, instead of distributing tasks. So for ex. one designer is responsible for both design and vision, so I'm giving him control over his work confined in his space 2-Allow people to fail and have regular meetings to discuss in group what is wrong with the project. 3-Get feedback from users for each sprint (3 weeks), even for low fidelity prototypes, to make sure it's not a one person (me) perspective or just our teams opinions, I got this from HCD methodology. We are doing internal and external qualitative interviews 4-celebrate and reward achievements or any behavior that adds value to the project (outside of the box or what was planned). 5-Do work team work building events (get the folks to a beer night which I already did and people told me that it was a very good practice) Is there anything also that I do or avoid to make me more Successful?


I think you have a great start here - you seem to be detail oriented in both the "do's" and the "don't's" , and are genuinely trying to find a balance between task orientation and relationship orientation. In some of my work with tech teams, I have found the technique that is most illuminating is perspective taking - it leads to an uncovering of internal and external motivational factors, a better inventory of challenges and more concreteness in short and long term strategies. Give me a call and I'd love to explain how this can help your team members gain a sense of accomplishment and intrinsic/extrinsic motivation to both the project as well as the company.

Happy to explain more, and good luck to you on the project!

Arjun Buxi, M.A.

Answered 8 years ago

As an engineer who leads a team, I really appreciate challenges from management. That is, challenge the intelligence and creativity of members in tasks that are really hard. The most disheartening thing as an engineer is having to do simple, grudge work. I suspect it is the same for a designer.

The best way to implement this is to have a task set with goals, then bonus areas for each task. For example, Task A is to create a website menu and cookie crumb navigation for the web site. Task A bonus is to have it customize itself based on user behavior.

Engineers love to be challenged with doing new things that are more complex than the typical build this and do that work.

I can help give concrete examples based on the scope of your work and the goals you need to accomplish.

Answered 8 years ago

Looks like you are invested in the success of your team. My recommendation is to identify their specific intrinsic needs. (ie. acceptance/belonging, sense of achievement, autonomy, respect, new challenges, etc). Once you've identified their individual needs/interests you work to fill them with options related to tasks/structure and in return they will fill your needs/interests including higher performing team that deliver rapid results highlighting your ability to effectively motivate and empower diverse groups of people and positively impact the bottom line.

Answered 8 years ago

One of the things I have found successful is effectively communicating your vision and then having the team develop a strategy on how you will accomplish this. For example I work in a healthcare field, I am challenging my marketing department to change lanes on how they have been marketing in the past and to step outside of that comfort zone they have had. This has awaken them to a different mind set. We get stuck in ruts from time to time. Knowingly or unknowingly. It is our jobs as leader to awaken those stuck in ruts and get them back to your vision. I recommend you reading The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, if you haven't already. It will give you a great idea about how to stay positive and motivate not only yourself but your team! Good luck!

Answered 8 years ago

Never criticize failures and give an abundance of praise for successes.

I am not trying to sell you on calling me. Really, I am pretty busy with my businesses and consulting. However, I need more info before I could have a greater impact in helping you.

Ask, Ask, Ask, then Ask again.

Here is $10,000 worth of information for free and in a nutshell.

Concentrate on the 3 M's. There are actually 7, but 3 will do for now. These are Market, Message, and Media. They come in that order.

Who is your target market (customer, clients, buyers, users, etc.)?
Tailor your laser focused message for this target market.
What is the best media mix to get your message to that market?

Here's what you do...first, make it an offer that is so incredible that they cannot resist. Secondly, do all the work for them. Make it so easy to make the purchase now that they can do it virtually without effort. Thirdly, give them an incentive to act right now. Fourthly, offer an almost unbelievable guarantee. Fifth, offer a bonus for acting now. There are many other incredible steps, but these steps should help the novice to the professional sell anything.

Whether you are selling B2B or B2C, you have to focus on selling to only one person. You can actually sell to one person at a time while selling to millions at a time. They are one and the same. Don't get off track, what we call digital marketing selling is just selling in print. And that has not changed since Cluade Hopkins wrote "Scientific Advertising." Really long before he wrote the book.

The secret to success: I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the biggest names in business, celebrities, actors, entrepreneurs, business people, and companies from startup to billion dollar operations. The number one reason for their success is doing what they know and love while doing it in new, creative, and innovative ways.

Ask, Ask, Ask. Have thick skin and learn from each "mistake." In a short while, the market will tell you what you need to do and who and what you need to ask. But get started now even if that just means asking a contact on LinkedIn.

While you are thinking, think big and think of something at least 1% better, newer, or different. And being cheaper is not a winning strategy.

Make decisions quickly and change decisions slowly..unless you are actually going off a cliff.

Remember these two 11 letter words...persistence and consistency. They are two of the most important tools ever invented.

Treat everybody you talk to and everybody you meet (including yourself) like each is your number one million dollar customer.

Bootstrap when possible and reasonable. Read "How To Get Rich" by Felix Dennis. Or better yet just remember the camel's nose in the tent story.

However, sometimes you just need to make a deal.

Listen, in any business you have to take some chances and some risks. Make sure you don't need a license and go for it. Remember, timid business people have skinny kids. Paraphrased from Zig Ziglar.

Best of luck,
Take massive action and never give up.

Michael Irvin, MBA, RN

Answered 8 years ago

Organizations assemble teams to complete projects on a temporary basis or as a permanent fixture in a department. The projects may include reducing scrap or waste, increasing safety, or developing a new process for the company. A team must have a leader to operate efficiently. The leader provides one voice that directs the activities of all members. While the group does work together to achieve the team goals, only one leader can guide the group toward that end. An efficient team requires short-term and long-term goals. Each member of the team must have a clear understanding of the group goals and the steps to achieve those goals. Team members must have feedback on their performance when completing tasks. Each team member can correct his performance only when he understands the areas that require improvement. The leader should evaluate the team and its performance as a group to work out problems as they occur. For example, a leader should address conflicts between team members as soon as possible to prevent damage to the morale of the group. A team with high morale works for the good of the group to accomplish the project goals.
Create a reasonable timeline for the project and offer rewards for meeting benchmarks. For example, a project manager for a software development team might divide the task into three phases: design, coding, and testing. You likely have a clear vision for how you want the project to proceed, but they might have important insights you lack. If you ignore the team’s opinions, the members will lose motivation as it becomes clear you are disconnected from their on-the-ground experiences. Be empathetic when you see the signs of exhaustion. While threats and intimidation might spur the team momentarily, tired and worn employees benefit more from a chance to recharge and regroup. Maintain a positive atmosphere by highlighting the significant progress already made and by encouraging your team to view the problems as temporary and fixable.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

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