The Whip and the Carrot

Work harder! Work faster!

Has anyone ever asked that of you and your team? How did it make you feel? Did it motivate or demotivate? Cause inspiration or decline?

Software engineering, like many other forms of technological and scientific work, can be opaque to those that are not skilled in it. Whereas you can watch a stonemason carve a statue, it can be difficult to observe how development work is progressing. “Just what exactly are all these people doing all day? They look pretty relaxed, right? Can’t they just work harder and get this over the line quicker?”

Sigh. I’m sure you’ve been there. Let’s pretend you’re there again.

Let’s imagine that the CEO pulls you aside and tells you that she thinks your team just isn’t ...

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