Sunday, November 15, 2009

Incentives versus passion

As I was riding home last Friday from TechEd Berlin with my colleague Gill, we were wondering why some of our developers pursue excellence relentlessly while another hits the door at 5:01 and doesn’t think about software development until tomorrow morning.

I hoped for years that there must be some motivator, some technique, or some dynamic that will affect people positively to simply care. But even after providing incentives like salary, wonderful co-workers, free pizza and so on doesn’t seem to motivate everyone to care about excellence. In contrast to this I see people who don’t get these incentives but work very hard. So there must be something else that causes these people  to ponder, read, and learn.

And this ‘something else’ is Passion. Loving software development, seeing software development as a craft, continuously looking for ways to grow as a developer are indicators that this passion lives inside you.

This leads me to one conclusion: incentives will get you behavior and results, but can’t create passion. That is something that is simply innately there or not there.

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