Forget the carrot and the stick.
The most important thing is creating the conditions favorable to self-motivation, creativity, and productivity. So simple to write, hard to execute. You can read a lot about motivation but most of us fail in the execution.
If the team members know where the company is aiming they can suggest proper improvements. And they are also able to execute them.
Will do aspect is important here. So the question hereis: how to motivate? To me, the Performance review means”how to motivate team members”. To deliver better features, shortly. And yes, this is hard to measure. You can try to measure it through a number of pull requests or a number of changed lines of code. But this is just a shallow view. Do you want to review people with the shallow numbers? Or do you want to deliver real product changes? Be honest.
Being motivated is not a state. It’s still changing. Just like people.
It’s like setting a purpose and a way. Feeling of demand and desire to hit the target. If the team is motivated then they have a feeling of how to hit the target. The Issue is that sometimes the team is not able to do that. Simply because the leaders are not listening and the followers start struggling and complaining as they are not able to contribute.
Leaders and followers
I highly recommend changing the leadership roles in the project so that team members get to understand that sometimes they need to be pushy and sometimes they need to follow the leaders. Not everybody is ready for this kind of change. Not everyone is ready to switch from leader to follower mode.
This leader mode means that every team member is actively contributing to achieve the desired goal. It’s like a handle ship ruddler. Any member can steer a bit or more, but he/she always must have a reason for that. As everybody in the team knows the target, everybody can complain about the direction change.
Avoid the Errors
Is your team spending more energy on avoiding the failures than they do to achieve the proper results? This is the best way to lose motivation. Of course we are monitoring the applications and there are errors. We all know that sometimes it’s necessary to fail and there will be many errors and wrong ways, but the most important thing is to focus on excellence and bring the results. Don’t punish the mistakes and failures, we are humans and we are ready to fail but we also know how to deliver excellence.
See company strategy
What is most important for the company? That’s the question. A crucial one. I don’t want to do what I think is good for me as an individual, but what is important for the project itself. Most developers make mistakes here. They think more about tech, programming languages and new technologies — not about the business. They might care about cool features. But is it important for the project itself? Feelings are bad, always make decisions based on the numbers.
Keep the overall company strategy in sight and try to link it with the personal goals and values of the team mates.