A few months ago, someone told me: “I’m just working the hours I’m required to work. Nothing more.” What a huge contrast with a project I’ll always remember: we got together to develop an new web survey tool, mostly after a full working day, without getting extra money for it.
In order to avoid frictions at home (“you don’t even get paid for all this extra work”), we told our WAGs we were out to play mini-football.
Where did this team get a drive that you don’t often see, even in billable teams? We had 3 things in common.
First: Louis Van Gaal would say: “We all put our boots in the mud.” Everyone wanted to work and picked up the stuff to do without fussing around about roles and functions. Although I was the project manager I helped out a programmer writing some code myself (the easy bits, but still). We were genuinely interested in each other’s work and we understood the impact of our own actions on the others’ progress.
Second: we were constantly piloting minimum viable products with real clients. The result on the field (even the errors) and the user’s feedback (willingness to pay, liking the product) were constantly used as oxygen for the project. No one ever sat programming or designing anything in his corner, without knowing what the end user thought of it.
Last but not least: we kept on reaffirming the uniqueness of our new tool and the true pioneer spirit we were building it in.
This pioneering spirit was reinforced by our interactions with end users and their experiences.
At one moment in the project, when one of the WAGs discovered we were working late, she ‘forgave us’ and even baked pancakes for FC The Unbillables. I guess pioneering passion is contagious and gives you more credit … in different ways.
P.S. What if someone is not willing to go the extra mile, regardless of pioneering passion and motivation efforts? You know what, his/her work will not even be 80% of what it should be. You can tolerate offdays, but in the interest of passionate team members: you can’t no offday attitude.