Yesterday I heard a great quote:
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
To the moon
The modern version of this quote might be: Think about the people who helped build the Saturn rockets that took us to the moon with the Apollo missions. They didn’t work on those projects because it was their job and people payed them to do it. They didn’t just follow tasks. They worked on the project because they loved to be part of this amazing voyage. Every single NASA employee is in love with space and space exploration and they do their absolute best to be part of it.
This should be the same for (Agile) software development:
Don’t hire programmers and give them tasks, tell them about what you want to achieve! Enthusiasm is contagious, it is the perfect catalyst to boost productivity. When people are hired to do tasks, they do the tasks, nothing more, nothing less. When people are hired to reach for a certain goal they’ll express creativity and ingenuity. They will suggest improvements and you’ll end up with a much (MUCH) better product.