Great ways to motivate software developers

This post is intended for people who have a software development company or deal with software engineers and have trouble with keeping them motivated. It can also be a great source of finding new ways to motivate yourself if you are a software developer and you feel stuck and a little bit clueless and distracted.

Here at JSGuru we’ve been trying to crack the nut for a long time, and we think that we now have a high success rate with keeping our developers motivated and feeling energetic. Keeping people motivated is crucial for new business victories, and honoring those promises and fulfilling software projects.

#1 The first thing is… you guessed it, developer salary!

If you don’t cover this part, we can’t continue. When we start talking about almost any subject in the world, we quickly realise that we can’t do much without money. But let me tell you something, after a certain point a software developer’s salary does not matter. You can throw money into people’s pockets as much as you want but it won’t make a difference motivation-wise. After that point of your developer “not caring” don’t stop increasing people’s paychecks, start looking for alternative ways to keep them going while giving them a raise when they deserve it. Why I am saying don’t stop increasing the paycheck, people start neglecting money as a motivator, but in their subconsciousness, they are aware of the fact that they need to save money for kids, retirement and other long-term goals. This way you don’t leave them high and dry and show how much you appreciate their work.

#2 Life balance vs. Software development work and Flexibility vs. Rigidness

No matter if you run an offshore software development company or you develop the next industry disruptive product balance is the key. Again, you are probably saying “no sh**t”, but when deadlines and big realises come it’s important to remember this, and people tend to forget how much it’s essential. So, what is the solution? One part of it is that you plan and always add a little bit to the deadlines, so you won’t have to pressure people to stay late. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is what it is, there is a lot of work and people need to put in extra hours but this way you potentially minimise it.

Quick tip! Offer to test code so you could help shorten those late hours.

Another thing that you need to take care of how much flexibility you are going to allow in your software company. It would be great to employ only people that fit your culture, and you can quickly establish trust. This way things are getting done and you can be flexible enough and trust people.

#3 Involvement into projects and the degree of asking for opinions

Look, everybody likes to be asked for an opinion, and software engineers really like to give one, but for a good reason! You should ask them not only for the sake of making someone happy but because some of those pieces of advice can be amazingly fruitful. We do a lot of web application development for our clients, in most cases, those projects can last a long period, and features and improvements that our developers come up with are exceptional to say the least! So advice from this section is to ask for developers opinion no matter their position when making strategic or significant decisions.

There is one more important thing…
Software engineers must be able to speak their mind, and this is amazingly important! Look, if you get only one thing from this post, let it be this one. You must, I repeat you must create an atmosphere where people feel free to give their opinion with no consequences. This way you create an environment that is good for new ideas, ways of thinking and nourishes creativity.

#4 Let’s touch the subject of project management

It makes perfect sense that a more organised team is going to be more productive and there is less space for confusion, so why would your software development team be any different. Make that project management tight, I don’t mean deadline tight, but schedule everything in the best possible way you can. Keep in mind to add some time so everybody can do everything they should and perfectly correlate with each other.

#5 Offer space for career growth

There is nothing more discouraging than no in-house advancement opportunities for a software engineer. It can be a major cause of frustration, especially with so much potential in the IT industry. It’s important to show your company vision, to show where you are headed in the future so people can correlate with it, and see themselves in the bigger, broader picture. Your goal is to have individuals who are thinking long term, thinking about company future as much as you are. That bigger picture often involves them rising through the ranks in your software company. What are your obligations? You need to provide materials, training and mentoring necessary for those that have higher aspirations. But it’s important that you organise meet-ups, software developers training, certification opportunities, hack-a-tons too.

#6 Latest tools and choice of technologies

This aspect can sometimes be hard to solve. If you have more than a few software developers working in your team chances are that they have different technologies and frameworks interests. So, before someone starts working on the project explain in detail what exactly they are going to work with, and also check whether they see that technology/framework as something crucial for their future professional development. After you get assured that he or she is the best person for the job, if that’s really the case you get someone who’s going to be happy for a long time, and you are going to be happy for a long time.

There is another thing here! Try always to use the latest tools and proven technologies. There’s nothing more precious than a smile on developers’ faces when you tell them that you are using a new cutting age tool for the project. And that’s for a reason, they don’t have to worry if they are going to become software dinosaurs, but also they get a chance to play with the newest toys.

Conclusion

Software engineers are sophisticated human beings, and you as an employer, team lead or a project manager are interested in keeping your team performing at a high level. Not only that, we all wish to work in a place where everybody is happy and feeling fulfilled, no matter if we employ, or we are employed. To complete that puzzle, we must act as a team, help each other and sometimes go out of our way.

I’ve read in this blog post that “A fruitful and motivated developer needs an investment.” and this simple sentence is so true, treat your software engineers like this, and you will have hard-working, and caring people on your projects.

Thank you for your time, if you find this blog helpful and useful hit that ❤️ button! 😉