Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in the Agile environment | David Tzemach

The best Agile teams are built from people who work together as one unit. Each team member has both the technical and the personal skills to allow the team to become self-organized, cross-functional and self-motivated.

These are all big words that I hear in almost every Agile project, but the criteria to make a great Agile team can’t be achieved without the team being motivated to achieve the common goal.


To be able to create a highly motivated team and ensure it is sustained throughout the project, it is essential that you understand the two types of motivation we must encourage within a team to promote success, both intrinsic and extrinsic.


Intrinsic motivation explained

This is behavior driven by personal internal reward, without the need for an external boost to increase motivation. This motivation is related to a person’s desire to succeed and achieve a certain goal. The key to this type of motivation is to ensure that each team member has the chance not just to meet expectations as a member of the team, but also accomplish their own personal goals. This will most likely increase both their own and the team’s results.



Extrinsic motivation explained

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is external motivating factors such as vacations, bonuses, salary increases or just getting a paycheck at the end of the month. We can treat this type of motivation as a desire to do something in order to achieve a specific reward.


To allow the team to become self-organized, cross-functional and self-motivated, we must cover both motivation types while searching for a balance between organizational and personal goals. One thing I have learned throughout the years is that there are no shortcuts. We must know our employees and the factors that motivate them. This is the only way to achieve both personal and team success.