Featured Image by Austin Distel on Unsplash

The title of this post is a bit vague. I agree it doesn’t give away much. Having managed teams since 2015ish, I have finally come to realise that as managers, one must make sure that their team members have an environment to thrive. A place where they can grow, be stretched just enough to feel proud of their achievement and not too much where they feel, work is taking over their life. It is not just about getting something done or achieving a target, but it is more about how you get there in a way that your team is committed to it rather than forced to it.

Then I read about the BICEPS model. Little had I known about this amazing research done by Paloma Medina who formulated this. When I first heard the acronym, I thought it was a joke. Until I learned that it wasn’t.

The BICEPs model is about expressing the core needs for human beings at work. Not all those needs are equally important to everyone. Some may need something more than others.



We all want to be part of a group, community and want to be cared for and not being discriminated against.

Personally, I do need this for me. I need to be part of a group with whom I can talk without being judged or discriminated. I would like to celebrate my team member’s b’day by getting them a cake. I would like to go on vacation thinking, people have got my back, they will take care of the stuff that I own, because that’s what we do.



We always seek to improve ourselves. We tend to want to get better at something or the other, maybe it is just a fad, maybe it is one of those things you did as a kid but never explored further.

Personally, I love enriching my knowledge about what services are available with a cloud provider that we could exploit to replace our legacy system, there by helping us worry less about how to get engineers to maintain that monstrosity. I work towards improving my physical fitness by working out and running regularly. I like to try a dance move that I see on instagram, just because I felt like maybe I couldn’t do it.



We love a bit of a choice, control and ability to make decisions that matter to us. I mean, if you felt like you didn’t have a choice, you would be frustrated. If you were an American, you might even say something “it is my right according to the x amendment”. Just kidding. I just keep hearing such things on the news when people talk about controversial topics.

Personally, I would like to be able to make a choice on something that would determine how my team and I work or release software. I would want at least team level autonomy, to decide what process we follow, how we prioritise. Even outside of work, I love my ability to choose when I go for a run vs when I do a workout. If I were in a position where I had very limited control over what I can do for my team, I would not be working in that organisation for long.



We tend to seek the ability to make contributions towards our team and we also want equal recognition for it and also would love to see reciprocation from others in the team in the same way too. We want the responsibilities of those at the same level to be the same.

This is crucial for everyone. So I am not very different. If I felt that my manager is favouring a peer, just because that person talks louder than everyone else in the room, I would be extremely disappointed. If I felt like I was being asked to take on more work load because someone else in the team was not skilled enough, it would be infuriating. I would want my team members to be treated fairly on a daily basis without any bias due to gender, colour, race or the lack of a degree.



Most people like routine and would not like too many changes at once. We should be able to see a direction, a vision etc. Changes need to be taken in gradually.

Personally, I love change, in terms of software changes. However, when it comes to changes to plans and priority, it can make me really worried as I am the one who has to deliver this disruptive news of a priority change to my team. Again, I have to be clear, I am not talking about change in requirement while working on a story in a sprint. What I am talking here is about a need for a longer term view. There has to be a roadmap or vision that stays the same at least for a few months, as to what we are trying to achieve. This gives the team a direction and something to look forward to, which is great for me too.



We all like to be valued. If one starts feeling that they add zero value then, one loses self esteem and it can be very hard to motivate oneself again to back to track. Similarly, this is where sometimes job titles start showing significance.

This is probably the most important need. It is important for me to be able to demonstrate value to my team and my company and be recognised as the one who brought that value. Although the recognition part does not happen all the time, I would like to ensure that I have played my part in achieving something that we all wanted so badly. Not getting recognition sometimes, can be alright. But when it is consistent, it can be frustrating.

I know you could have read the official summary from Paloma Medina. But I wanted to summarise it from my personal point of view.