Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (349 mails)

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[opensuse-project] Re: Introducing the Freight Train
  • From: Jim Henderson <hendersj@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 May 2012 16:25:49 +0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <jp0ked$jcb$>
On Wed, 16 May 2012 08:35:26 +0200, Per Jessen wrote:

That might be true. OTOH, even with mentoring, stuff is complicated and
hard to get on speed with. You often have to work hard to find
something out, improve it, become an expert on. Thats exhausting. Why
would you do that? Because you personally want it or because people say
"wow - how cool, thanks!". I think that is the main motivator. And I
think we don't do that often enough.

Praise is an important management tool, but it has to be sincere, and
that is difficult to bring across in email. It also works best coming
from a superior. Praise from ones peers is a lot less effective.

Depends on the situation - peer recognition can work very well (and in an
OSS project, it's peer recognition that helps build the meritocracy
that's present in most projects). As a motivator, though, yeah - for
example, on LKML, praise from Linus probably motivates most people more
than praise from me would. :)

Nonetheless, you've got a good question here - what is the main
motivator for people to take part?

Daniel Pink's book _Drive_ provides some pretty good insights into what
motivates people to act. It's probably not completely comprehensive, but
I found it to be quite instructive.

I tell you from my personal experience as the author of Hermes: The
number of people saying something positive about Hermes to me is a
little of fraction of the number of people ranting nonsense. And -
interestingly enough - the less clue people have the more they rant.

And how many people actually did something useful to Hermes for example
instead of just talking? You don't want to know... How motivating is

Personally speaking, one word of praise easily outweighs any negative

I think perhaps an underlying commentary to Klaas' message is that often
times we don't even know about peoples' involvement in various systems
(or for that matter that the systems are there or what they do). I've
found over the years that in general, tech people often aren't good at
trumpeting their accomplishments.

Part of the reason for that is, I think, something I personally refer to
as "SME syndrome" (SME = Subject Matter Expert). When one knows
something well enough to the point of it being second nature, one tends
to think there's nothing special about the skills and/or knowledge

I've seen countless SMEs who have very poor self-esteem because they
think "anyone could learn this".

Of course, that's not a ubiquitous thing, either. I've also seen plenty
of SMEs who are rightfully (and wrongfully - usually because they're not
the SME they think they are) very proud of their achievements. :)

Jim Henderson
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