Eurostar > Day 2 > The Carrot or the Whip – What Motivates Testers – Tafline Murnane #esconfs by Tafline from

Tafline did a great short introduction about herself and how passionate about testing she is.
Tafline suggested that what interested her were the people who come to work, clock in, go home. Chug through the motions.

If we can hook in some goals for these people as well as the really inspired ones then we can create a team of motivated testers.

Carrots or Whips?

Support them or whip them in to action?
Tafline said she is more motivated when people say she is not allowed to do something.


Tafline did a survey as a lead up to this presentation and related the results back to Maslow's hierarchy of needs to see how we as testers are motivating and motivating.


What motivates people depends on the people and their individual goals. You have to find out what motivates people on an individual levels.

You need to identify their goals and find the ones that match the company goals or business goals. Things that motivate you, might not motivate your team or peers.

Tafline then introduced the Hierarchy of Needs –

Tafline's survey results are:

Over 70% of the respondents reported Self Esteem as a motivator
then 50%+ for Self Actualisation
the others were much lower

Basic Survival

Very few people reported biological needs.
Many suggested competitive salary.
Comfortable Environment
Flexible and Sensible Hours

How to do it ->> Provide the above
How common ->> 39% mentioned biological needs, 15% mentioned money

Safety and Security

Job Security, Stability and Protection
Predictable Behaviour
Safe to make mistakes
Secure Environment

How to do it ->> Protect Your Team
How common ->> 30% – less common

Love and Belonging

Friendship, teamwork
Welcoming atmosphere
Easier to communicate

How to do it ->> Lead by example, Law of reciprocity (ask nicely, approval, team building)

How common ->> 45% more common


Respect and Self Respect

How to do it ->> Enable strengths to be recognised and respected (reward, appreciate, responsibility, take interest)
How common ->> 73%

We've struggled to gain respect as testers. This could be why we are asking for it much more as a key motivator.

Self Actualisation

Desire to become everything a tester is capable of

How to do it ->> Support Testers (Achieve goals, accountability, deadlines, challenging and varied work, Problem Solving, Career Progression, Training, Conferences, Mentoring, Build teams that testers want to be part of
How common ->> 58% Second most popular.


Tafline suggested that the film Office Space should be compulsory learning for all people in IT (she was joking). Couldn't agree more.

She introduced the concept of IDEA Teams


Test Management
Performance Testing

People earn idea points which convert to $$$$$$ if they come up with innovation and ideas etc. It's an interesting concept.

Tafline then introduced the motivator of Career Progression.

1. Where are you now
2. Where do you want to be
3. What do you need to get there?

Rewards for Finding Bugs

Avoid rewarding defect counts.
Better to reward value.

Task Boards

Excellent way of showing the state of the projects.

Not Enough Time

Reported as being a massive demotivator. Not giving people enough time to do the job right is a huge demotivator.

Peer Review

Can work as a motivator or demotivator. Tafline mentioned the Good News, Bad News, Good News Sandwich

Bug Fix Bingo

Didn't realise Tafline worked for the same company who released the legendary Bug Fix Bingo


This was a fantastic talk by Tafline. Really great content, great delivery, passionate topic. The fact that this is evidence based is superb. Great to get some real world insight to our testing community. The survey could do with more responses but Tafline knows this and is opening up the survey for further responses soon : keep an eye on her site.

Couldn't help but include a link to the Dan Pink video that partly re-enforces Tafline's findings. Really enjoyed this session. Next for me -> The Test Lab