Gamifying DevOps Practices

How can we ensure that everyone in the development team is engaged, motivated and deliver robust products in a shorter development time?

Gamifying DevOps Practices

🏆 The answer is Gamification - the craft of Human-Focused-Design [HFD]

The reason why we call this discipline Gamification is because the gaming industry was the first to master it. Since game designers have spent decades learning how to keep people consistently engaged with repetitive activity loops, games are a great source of insight into HFD. We could go back centuries to learn what game designers can teach us about creating compelling, playful experiences.

Recently, gamification has found its way into our software engineering practices at SalesScreen. With the purpose of building a more innovative, sustainable and uplifting model, below you will find the steps we have followed to implement Gamification in our team.

  • Define DevOps activities
    Some of our main activities as developers are: Pull Request, Pull Request Review, Pull Request Merged, Project Design Completed, Project Task Completed, Bug-fix, Pitch contribution, Help a colleague etc. We use these activities as measurable indicators.
  • Integrate with GitHub
    This integration helps us get real time data when a developer creates a pull request, reviews or merges one. Every team has a code hosting platform and these activities are similar worldwide.
  • Use the game elements to our advantage
    Here comes the fun part about SalesScreen. We have so many amazing elements that we use to fulfill the purpose. Check them out below ⬇️

🏆 Achievements

As we know, code reviews play an integral part in optimizing your code and eliminating a significant amount of technical debt. For this reason, we use achievements to encourage developers to do code reviews. As of now, we have 2 main achievements called “Review Lord” and “Review King”.

You can unlock the Review Lord achievement once you review 5 pull requests within a week. The progress gets updated every time a developer reviews a PR. When you reach 5, you get notified in your browser and in your mobile app. The system also creates a Feed post where all your colleagues can like, comment and show their support. Now that’s what I call a motivation boost!

💰 Coins

But it’s not over 🙈 By unlocking this achievement, you also get 20 coins in the virtual currency of SalesScreen.

You can use them either to buy an item from the Rewards store or Endorse someone.

🔥 Streaks

Repetition is a key learning aid because it helps transition a skill from the conscious to the subconscious. That’s why we have implemented Streaks on our achievements.

When you unlock an achievement several times in the row, you are on a streak. This will be visible in the system and you can also share it on social media. In order to maintain it, you need to unlock it again.

Streaks are a perfect way to build a healthy habit or your daily/weekly routine.

🧠 Conclusions

Let's recap on all the benefits we are seeing from implementing gamification in our DevOps practices.

  • Instant recognition from the whole company
  • Lower number of bugs in the backlog
  • Better quality from less technical debt
  • Avoiding bad practices like merging PRs without a review
  • Encourage developers to express their ideas in pitches
  • Improved communication
  • Powerful educational effect to adopt new behaviors/practices
  • Reduction of manual overhead and standardizing processes
  • Easy to track consistent behavior
  • Building a cooperative and positive working environment

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