SPACEMAP – organising a motivational environment

23 Feb, 2018
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Introducing the SPACEMAP! A ‘map’ to gain insight into motivational problems within an organization/department, so that coaches and managers no longer have to talk about vague motivation problems, but instead tackling the lack of autonomy within the teams.
The map consists of generic ‘work factors’ that are required to create a motivational environment.

SPACEMAP - organising a motivational environment

the SPACEMAP was developed by Xebia coaches

We want to understand and give meaning to our life (which is our motivation). But we get distracted by hygiene factors.


Hygiene work factors are everything that can hold you back. These are work factors that are mainly visible when absent. When absent, employees will complain about these factors. In due time, this can even result in an increase in sick days or a higher turnout in organizations.
These work factors are basically what we need before we can be motivated.

Psychological Safety

Ever since Google has researched this subject, there has been enough information about this. So I will be brief and explain this factor as setting a positive work environment where people feel appreciated and safe to experiment and learn.
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People require (job) security and clarity. Work expectations have to be clear to everyone. When work expectations are unclear, this will make people feel insecure about their job. Are you doing a good job? If you comfortably dare to answer "yes", you’re probably fine with that part. Job security is important both inside and outside your current employer. Do you have a healthy set of competencies and skills, so that even when you are fired, you can easily get a new job? In that case, the job security at your current employer will become less relevant.


This is mainly about honest compensation. Do you make enough money for the work that you do? And do you carry enough responsibility? Compensation becomes a sensitive job factor when you work with people who make more money than you but deliver less value to the company. Or colleagues with a higher function title, with little understanding of their own job. Even people you meet at parties and conferences have a big impact on whether you feel fairly compensated in your day-to-day job.


Do you have access to the correct resources and tools to do your job? Do you have your own workplace, or do you have to get up way too early to claim your table, because your manager has heard some nice things about ‘flextime’? Environment is mainly about the things that you need to get your job done in a way that you could be proud of. Do you have access to the right software and a new laptop? Do you have access to printers, coffee, brainstorm rooms, whiteboards with markers? Anything that can help you with your job.


Given that we all want a meaningful life, the following work factors can be directly accredited to this goal.


We want to grow and become the best version of ourselves. We want to learn who we are, what we can do and what our limits are. As Edward Deci and Richard Ryan say in Self Determination Theory: "People are active, development-oriented organisms who behave to encounter challenges, to toy with danger, to experience more facets of their being, including, at times, pain and displeasure".
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Autonomy is the need to be self-directing, to have the freedom to decide how you live your life. The need to be able to do the right thing, the right way. To take control over your life.
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  • Autonomy – Taking the wheel


We want to know how our efforts can have an impact. We want to understand how our efforts can contribute to a greater cause, to something bigger than ourselves.
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The SPACEMAP excludes:

  • Lack of specialists knowledge (we can’t build this story without a performance tester!)
  • An out of balance team (We have too many testers in the team, what can I do?)
  • Personal problems.



For those interested: at the next BDD NL meetup, we will use the SPACEMAP to understand motivation in BDD and you will learn how to use the model yourself to solve the motivational problems at your own client.


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