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Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in the Agile environment | David Tzemach

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

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

Intrinsic motivation explained

This is behaviour driven by personal internal rewards without needing an external boost to increase motivation. This motivation is related to a person’s desire to succeed and achieve a particular goal. The key to this type of motivation is to ensure that each team member has the chance to meet expectations as a member of the team and accomplish their personal goals. This will most likely increase both their own and the team’s results.

Extrinsic motivation explained

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation 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 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. I have learned throughout the years 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.

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