Why motivation is more important than skills

Software development projects are always a challenge especially so if they are realized very fast and with the help of agile practices. By far the most important skills inside the team is the motivation to take the bait and the willingness for taking responsibility of his own work. Technical skills are necessary but by far less important. Skills are always teachable and every technical skill can be learned by everyone if he really wants it. But if you are not believing that you can successfully finish your work or it does not matter what you do, the project is nearly lost. Software projects are always a very uncertain territory and you have to change your path very often. For not getting lost it is essential that you know what your target is and you really want to reach it.

Currently I’ve the problem that my team has skilled and experienced members but the motivation to finish the project or to throw in more than the minimal acceptable amount of work. The project is already on a critical path but no one cares. The reason is in this case that trust in the success and the usefulness of the project was lost shortly after the start of the project (or never existed). The company management changed the path sometimes, feature creep is happening and there is definitely not much trust and expectation that the result will be finished in time and is valuable. So there a lot of external consultants, internal company struggles for influence and some unmotivated teams. So how could this problem solved? In my opinion only in that way that you have accept the current situation, appeal to the professional pride of the team members and try to finish all with less than the real existing amount of capabilities. After the finish line, full stop and rethink the whole eco system because it makes certainly no sense to go one step further.

This is the first time that I have the situation that the environment to realize a software project is so poisoned that the willingness to finish a project is nearly zero. I heard such stories from bog development shops as they could be found in large companies for internal software but it was new for me that you can paralyze also small teams completely. For the future I know now that the only way to solve the dilemma is to react on the first singes inside the team and fight back internal or external attacks on the moral. The last possible solution is to stop the project as soon as possible because otherwise it will become a tour de force


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