Exploring Motivational Differences between Software Developers and Project Managers

Sharp, Helen; Hall, Tracy; Baddoo, Nathan and Beecham, Sarah (2007). Exploring Motivational Differences between Software Developers and Project Managers. Technical Report 2007/13; Department of Computing, The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00016063


In this paper, we describe our investigation of the motivational differences between project managers and developers. Motivation has been found to be a central factor in successful software projects. However the motivation of software engineers is generally poorly understood and previous work done in the area is thought to be largely out-of-date. We present data collected from 6 software developers and 4 project managers at a workshop we organized at the XP2006 international conference. We collected this data using the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT). RGT originated from psychoanalysis and allows researchers to uncover the detailed building blocks of peoples' attitudes. In this investigation we elicit RGT data focused on attitudes to motivation. We compare the motivation attitudes of software developers to project managers. Our findings suggest that project managers and software developers think differently about motivation. It is very important for successful project outcomes that project managers understand that developers may be motivated differently to themselves and that they manage developers' motivations appropriately.

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