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Software Team Hierarchy of Needs

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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a theory that classifies and orders human motivation, from basic needs like food and water to the apex of self-actualization. A similar hierarchy can be applied to software development teams, highlighting what is needed to advance to a higher level of performance.

Originally presented at UMBC in mid-April 2015.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Software Team Hierarchy of Needs

  1. 1. Software Team Hierarchy of Needs Bill Havanki
  2. 2. People have needs In 1943, the psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a theory about what motivates humans.
  3. 3. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs • Five levels of needs • Needs at a lower level must be satisfied before an individual is motivated to satisfy needs at a higher level • There is motivation for several needs at once, but one need will “dominate”
  4. 4. Software teams have needs too In order to succeed, a software team also has needs The goal is for the team to function at the highest level
  5. 5. The idea for this talk A software team will reach the highest level by satisfying its needs, starting from the most basic and working up
  6. 6. Level 1 Physiological Physiological
  7. 7. For humans • air • water • food • clothing • shelter
  8. 8. For software development • computers • networks • facilities • development tools • mission
  9. 9. Level 2 Safety Safety
  10. 10. For humans • personal security • financial security • health • insurance / support
  11. 11. For software development • version control • unit tests • requirements / user stories • document standards • coding standards
  12. 12. Level 3 Belonging Belonging
  13. 13. For humans • friends • love • social connections
  14. 14. For software development • automated builds version control • continuous integration version control • integration tests unit tests • release / sprint planning user stories • code reviews coding standards, version control • design documents document standards
  15. 15. Level 4 Esteem Esteem
  16. 16. For humans • respect • self-esteem
  17. 17. For software development • automated releases automated builds • system tests integration tests • schedules plans • design reviews design documents
  18. 18. Level 5 Self-Actualization Self-Actualization
  19. 19. For humans • self-fulfillment • realization of potential • become the most you can be
  20. 20. For software development • creation of high-quality code • elimination of many bugs • accurate prediction of deliveries • happy customers • happy management • happy developers
  21. 21. Level 6 Self-Transcendence Self-Transcendence
  22. 22. For humans and software development • peak experiences • identify with something greater than the self • altruism / service to others
  23. 23. Wrap-up
  24. 24. Social aspects • Team / management / company culture is just as important to address, oftentimes more important than technology or process • The purpose of software and ethics surrounding it heavily influence motivation
  25. 25. Overall idea more important than details • Mapping from human needs to software development team needs is far from exact • The placement of some needs is questionable • Principles and ideas of the hierarchy more important than precision
  26. 26. Thank you! Bill Havanki •https://www.linkedin.com/in/bill havanki •havanki4j@gmail.com

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