I consider introducing some gaming elements to a project. The team does Scrum and it would be nice to add some more motivation, so I was thinking about set of rewards which would favor teamwork and complying with company's best practices.

What are the pros and cons you can think of?

Edit: Talking about rewards I meant assigning some virtual points for taking "proper" way of doing things. Some points can be rewarded for one person actions but more for the action of the whole team. Points should be exchangeable for team party, long lasting gifts or other benefits.

For example: if a team has problems with being punctual then I would consider smaller reward for one person being punctual for the whole sprint but greater amount of reward for all the team members being punctual. Another example is DoD (definition of done). In some parts it depends on creativity and good will rather than on "make it by the list" behaviour.

  • be more specific of the "set of rewards" you're going to use
    – yegor256
    Apr 26 '11 at 20:21
  • 1
    Careful. Rewards systems work with some teams, not others. Make sure they will work with your current team. I'd also advise against giving rewards for doing things that must be done - like being punctual.
    – gef05
    Apr 27 '11 at 15:26
  • I was rather explaining the idea than giving an example of a reward but it's advice worth taking. I think gamification is the most important part of my question. You can see gaming system in PMSE as well: badges, points, official rankings, privileges. I was hoping to get some feedback from people who already did that and could share. I didn't expect questions about the rules or the idea itself but assumed "gamification" explains a lot. Apr 27 '11 at 15:46
  • Base your approach on the Stack Exchange principles, as Stack gamification has worked so incredibly well. Mar 9 '12 at 15:14

You aren't specific with what exactly you want to try out but as long as you treat it as a kind of experiment you can't really go wrong with it. However it would be rather hard to discuss how exactly it may affect the team.

When I think about experimenting I assume that:

  • You don't plan to introduce gamification (or any other idea) as top-down, do-what-I-say kind of thing.
  • You want to discuss it with the team and get their buy-in first.
  • You're going to evaluate impact of introducing new practice, or however we call it, and adjust it according to feedback you get.
  • You're prepared to throw it out completely if it doesn't really work or people don't like it once they try it.

With such attitude the potential upside is, at least theoretically, big. However you can't take any upside as granted. And you can't expect to fix or improve any specific area either, at least as long as you discuss a general concept and not specific implementations.

On the other hand, potential downside is rather limited as you just invest a bit of time, probably not that much since you plan to use gamification during tasks you do anyway -- it's more a different way of doing old things than completely new things to do.

I believe the value you can get from such experiment is more dependent on the attitude you have than on specific technique you're going to implement.

UPDATE (after examples were added to the question): Why not to let the team decide the rules of the game? It would definitely work better, and would be accepted easier as well, if the team came up with rules of the game. Your role would be just correcting the course if they're going too far. Btw: if it won't be fun people will less likely play it, so don't be totally strict in terms of drawing the border between rules which are proper and those which are not.

  • Good assumptions. I am not 'do-what-I-say' kind of guy. Mostly I am afraid of mixed nature of the team. It is composed of younger generation as well as a bit older one. So buy-in and outcome results will probably not be a binary 1/0. Apr 27 '11 at 7:18
  • It never is either 1 or 0. That's why you need buy-it from the team and not just from a few individual team members. Let them decide as a group. You'd likely have a bunch of people who are totally devoted to the idea and those who are reluctant. But then, why not let the former work on buy-in from the latter? Apr 27 '11 at 7:20

If the team uses Hudson, The Continuous Integration Game plugin might be useful, if code-quality metrics are important (and tested in build)


For those of you who are interested in RedCritter Tracker, here's an article I found which includes a video and screenshots of the gamefication functionality.


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