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Win $100 Worth of Software Development Books!

21/09/2008

Books
Attention, dear readers…

This is your chance to win $100 worth of software development books!!!

Here's how…

As an Amazon.com affiliate I earned a little money, thanks to my nice little post on the Top 100 Best Software Engineering Books. It's not a spectacular sum, mind you. So there's really no need to start expecting free diners next time you see me. But the Amazon gift certificate I got last week is sufficient to buy myself a small number of new books.

But the point is, I already have lots of new books! In fact, my backlog of unread books is so large and voluminous, I suspect that the sheer mass of it has disturbed the operation of the Large Hadron Collider. (You might have read about that in the news.)

So I thought, why not send someone else a number of great new books? It would make me feel good; it might attract a couple of new readers; it would make at least one person to like me a little better; and it would definately reduce my stress…

Well, here's the deal: in my quest for knowledge about people management, I am looking for interesting answers to the following question:

What is it that gets you motivated to do your job really well?

Is it the pat-on-the-back from your boss' secretary? Is it the box of candy near the coffee machine? Is it your users sending you postcards from Brazil?

Each of us is different. And many of us find their motivation in things that are most unexpected. Therefore, I would love to hear some interesting answers to that question. An official jury (probably some of my colleagues) will evaluate your answers, and the most inspiring answer will be awarded $100 worth of software development books. (note: the selection is to be made from the titles in the Top 100 Best Software Engineering Books.)

Please email your answer to me. Of course, you can also post it as a comment on this blog. The deadline closes this Friday, the 26th.

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Latest, greatest and favoritest posts:
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This article is written by on in People & Motivation. Jurgen Appelo is at Happy Melly. Connect with Jurgen Appelo on .

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  • Vasileios Dimitriadis

    What keeps me motivated to do my job better each time is simple and very common amongst devs: my love for software. My pat-on-the-back for doing a good, professional job and my pledge to do better next time.
    Thank you!

  • Ramesh

    A token of appreciation from the all the stakeholder when a milestone is achived.
    Thank you!

  • http://eashi.wordpress.com Emad Alashi

    Adding a real new value to the world, by doing something I enjoy (software)!
    When my work-output is:
    - used more often
    - an important part of the project
    - making users feel more happy about their lives
    - …
    I surely feel motivated.
    And if it was less important, less valuable to users…surely I will be less motivated
    Oh…Being human too; environment and money counts as well ;)

  • http://www.fpt-soft.com Red River

    There are 2 things that made me always do my job with the most creative responsibility, direct to best result (although not alway really well), they are:
    - My passion for software engineering, especially in PM methodology & Process. (although I started my career with developer position and currently I still love to do design & architect work)
    - The 2nd thing is desire to contribute ability to my company, to make it become a well known corporation in the world. At that time, you may haven’t heard about it, but in next few years, you will :)

  • Brad Schafbuch

    Internally I’m motivated by my own desire to learn and create quality software. In regards to motivation from external factors, I am most motivated by trust from a manager. I am especially referring to times after a project is completed… if the project was done successfully, being trusted with another critical project and more responsibility on the project is a great motivator for me!

  • http://itscommonsensestupid.blogspot.com Ngu Soon Hui
  • Michael

    I’m motivated by the fact that, compared with all those google engineers and a-list bloggers, I still suck. That’s ok, since I’m still at the beginning of my career, but I want to get better constantly. Young-and-still-hungry, I guess.
    Also, looking back I’m always proud of beautiful code. Solutions that just seem right, are simple, elegant and give you that pride of craftsmanship.
    Working with other great software engineers is important too, to get their respect and to discuss interesting ideas (unfortunately, finding such an environment seems to be hard).
    I know I should have said something about user experience (because well, they somehow matter, too), but I do client work and thus can’t design the look and behavior of the apps (which is a pity because they would be a lot better), so I have to use the code to express myself.
    Hope that helps.

  • Sung

    Listed in descending order
    1.) A word of “Thank you” from end-users
    2.) Peers who are not afraid of trying out new technology
    3.) Supervisors/Project Managers who shields you from dealing with unnecessary tasks or meetings

  • http://www.ambitiondesign.com.au Christopher Hawkins

    I do what I do so I can’t get the damn thing done; then go off and play with XNA or something else fun.

  • Sonja

    What gets me motivated to do my job really well?
    The people around me.
    First of all my co-workers. As projectmanager I try my best to make work as easy and as fun as possible for them. The great atmosphere that provides even in busy weeks makes my day.
    Secondly the customer. I try my utmost to deliver on time, and according to expectation. The biggest reward is a compliment from the customer for the great work the entire team has done.
    Thirdly it are my friends and family. Being able to say we did a really cool project, and we really do some extremely cool projects, is a reward in itself as well.
    But for me most importantly is the CEO of the company I work for. Starting at this company as an intern as the fourth employee I got to work closely together with him. He is the shining example I try to live up to. And he inspires me to do my work just that tiny bit better every day.
    He motivates me by painting a clear vision of what the future should be like. Not forgetting current problems or past issues, but always focused on a clear vision of the future.
    Helping getting to that vision of a great future is why I go to my work happy every single day.

  • http://rejeev.blogspot.com Rejeev Divakaran

    For me there are two aspects to the ‘motivation’ factors
    (a) What motivates me to take up this job/continue in this job
    (b) What motivates me to do my responsibilities better in the current job (so long as you in the current job)
    And there are hygiene factors (presence is not a motivation but absence is very big de motivation) for each category
    Factors are listed in the order of priority (initial ones higher priority)
    (a) Motivation for continuing in the job
    1) Compensation – Salary and other benefits
    2) Scope for learning – Typically after period of time your incremental learning will diminish in the project unless you change role. Rotating employees in two years would be good for employees (but not sure if it is good for employer in terms of productivity)
    3) Location preference and probably inertia is some thing dis courage changing jobs
    Hygiene factors
    1) Relationship with manager – once it is broken. You better leave. Otherwise it is mutually destructive
    2) Office politics
    (b) Motivation for better performance
    1) Ownership and ownership is publicly highlighted – If you think you are responsible for something you will do your best to make sure it goes well
    2) Appreciation – if you get a good word from somebody you will be in good spirit for few days at least and will perform better.
    3) Success – It has a self-catalytic effect. One success will boost your confidence
    4) Nature of the job – tasks interesting to you will done with more enthusiasm than jobs you don’t like. For me personally I like jobs with problem solving nature. I try to avoid job require tracking and documentation (like most of the programmers)
    Hygiene factors
    1) Poor infra structure – hardware, Internet etc
    2) Failures (see point 2 above)
    3) office politics and relation ship with manager

  • Krishnan Thodla

    1. Learning – I love to learn new technologies and new ideas – if the job offers me enough scope to learn new things (technology, ideas, domain knowledge) – then I am motivated.
    2. Flexible working arrangement – if I am unable to make it to work because of (a) traffic (b) car trouble (c) health issues (I can still work, but can not come to office to work) – and the office is ok with me working from home, this allows me to be more productive.
    3. Appreciation for ideas presented by me.
    4. Good work environment – minimal noise, not too formal, good lighting, excellent chair (very important – you are sitting on it throughout the day).
    5. Most important – treating me as a human and not as another “Resource” by project managers.

  • Krishnan Thodla

    1. Learning – I love to learn new technologies and new ideas – if the job offers me enough scope to learn new things (technology, ideas, domain knowledge) – then I am motivated.
    2. Flexible working arrangement – if I am unable to make it to work because of (a) traffic (b) car trouble (c) health issues (I can still work, but can not come to office to work) – and the office is ok with me working from home, this allows me to be more productive.
    3. Appreciation for ideas presented by me.
    4. Good work environment – minimal noise, not too formal, good lighting, excellent chair (very important – you are sitting on it throughout the day).
    5. Most important – treating me as a human and not as another “Resource” by project managers.

  • Minseok Choi

    What is it that gets you motivated to do your job really well?
    “Its not the strongest of the species that survive, but those most able to adapt.”
    Charles Darwin
    My answer is Adaptation.
    I’m willing to retire as a proud computer programmer when the time comes to me.

  • http://www.caffeinatedCoder.com Russell Ball

    Jurgen et al.,
    Great idea for a contest.
    In hopes of snagging the $100 for myself, I have written not one but TWO posts to answer your questions.
    First one for anti-motivators: http://www.caffeinatedcoder.com/motivational-anti-patterns/
    Then one for motivators: http://www.caffeinatedcoder.com/the-driving-forces-behind-my-coding-compulsion/
    In summary…pick me…pick me!

  • http://www.lifescaler.com Bogdan Nicolau

    The biggest motivation is pride. It’s the same as the samurai philosophy, or, if you prefer, the basic instinct that some (hopefully many) humans have, to always try to outdo themselves. You can work in the worst conditions possible, having the worst supervisor or colleagues, it doesn’t matter. It’s the honor code that binds and also, and most importantly, you. You’re the biggest motivation to yourself.

  • Jamez Soh

    A person with final stage cancer looking at you…
    the poor guy on the streets who havent eaten for an entire day…
    A villager who drinks muddy water daily…
    kids without clothing and flies all over their bodies…
    children who tasted their very first piece of chocolate…
    A VOIP call talking to families you havent seen in years due to work…
    Seeing people do funny things in this box … (youtube shown on a CRT)
    seeing you have made a difference in this transient life, and you didnt waste the 86400…

  • Murphy

    What a pity, I missed the deadline. Can’t resist to answer, though:
    Q: What is it that gets you motivated to do your job really well?
    A: The possibility to do my job well.