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I thinking about how increase developer's commitment to release and create release cycle as a game for more fun in office.

Current suggestions

  • Building tower from bricks
  • Climbing on some hypothetical everest, where each camp is release stage
  • Some badges system, like StackExchange system
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Continuous Integration is lot of fun ;) – user2567 Dec 16 '10 at 13:40

Can't we just have developers who understand why a proper release process is important and do it out of a sense of professional pride?

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When you are first implementing a process with a group it takes some time to ease them into it if there is a drastic change over their old process. Offering some sort of token incentive to get them to give the process a try can go a long way. – rjzii Dec 16 '10 at 14:27
@Rob - I do understand that but I kind of think it's the wrong approach. They should be engaging with this because they really understand it's the right thing to do and because they want to do the right thing. Adding a game element undermines that and potentially you will have people doing the right thing for the wrong reason and when the novelty wears off they'll revert. – Jon Hopkins Dec 16 '10 at 14:29
@Jon Hopkins - I tend to agree as well, personally I'd rather have the team go out for lunch upon reaching a successful milestone than having them worrying about a number that ranks them against their peers. – rjzii Dec 16 '10 at 14:35
This site is a community of people that love programming. For many, programming is just work and anything to make work fun with few negative consequences should be encouraged. – John Straka Dec 16 '10 at 14:39
@John - Curiously in my experience people who do these things for a living rather than out of the love actually get the need for process more. Because they see it as a job they often see the bigger picture better than those who see processes and bureaucratic and getting in the way of their coding. Anyway, have had my say now so shall be quiet... – Jon Hopkins Dec 16 '10 at 14:57

Hudson supports something similar

Take a look at the Hudson continuous integration server. It has plugins that support games to that developers get points for successful builds, but lose badly if they commit a broken build.

Might be better than building towers...

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Just be careful you don't make developers scared to check in ;) – ChrisF Dec 16 '10 at 13:43
@ChrisF And also don't tell them where the plain text file is that allows them to edit their (and their colleagues') scores. Oops! Darn it. :-) – Gary Rowe Dec 16 '10 at 13:45

You can create a puzzle with an image representing your system in a visual way. And then after each release you will add pieces of puzzle to the appropriate parts of the system. That game would need clear vision of what you're building and work good designer.

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Obviously those in charge have not provided the proper motivation to make everyone follow this standard. Punish one, teach a hundred. I'm not saying it's the same level, but this is one of those necessary evils like filling out a time sheet. You do it right and on time or you have to go.

Now, a game that encourages everyone to enter quality code for those release cycles would be fun. Maybe the code review process could be like stack overflow. Your code is basically the assumed question "how good is this code?" and everyone gets to review, comment, up/down vote with points and badges, tshirts and bragging rights. There can be some scoring to see if it is good enough to commit. Write code and get it evaluated along with taking responsibility for reviewing others is pretty much what programming is all about in a team environment. Teamwork is more than just cubicle location.

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I'm sorry, but your current ideas sound like bullshit managerial metaphors to try and trick your underlings into caring.

Building tower from bricks

This one reeks of a thin veneer of false incentive. A physical reminder of the work ahead and behind. I understand the theory. It's supposed to make it fun and give people a physical thing to take pride in. But I have never seen such a ploy work. At best it comes off as "yeah, that's Bob's thing, he likes to see how we're doing". At worst the reinforces the cynical ones to feel like they're being treated as stupid children. Even as as child I could see through this sort of bullshit.

Climbing on some hypothetical everest, where each camp is release stage

As depicted as what? A chart with a mountain in the background? Same sort of managment fluff as the brick tower. If you want to make your motivational powerpoint slides more cute, sure, go for it. But "cute" doesn't get code out the door.

Some badges system, like StackExchange system

Now, this one I had to contemplate. At SE, I come here of my own free will and participate because I care. ie, I'm already motivated. The bronze badges are mostly bullshit incentivators to go try out all the different aspects of SE. The 'nice answer' and 'good answer' badges I actually do kind of care about. Because those are a judgement of my peers. Nameless, faceless peers that melt into the masses in a way that is completely unlike a small development team. You could try an anonymous employee of the month submission.

But if you want to gameify code releases, you should actually incentive your coders. I wouldn't particularly hand out money. See RSA motivate. No, if the team makes a goal, give them a reward. Real rewards. From wearing jeans, free pizza, extra time off, an Xbox in the lounge, choosing their next project, or actual money. Let them all submit reward proposals and vote on what they want. Veto what you will and then organize a tiered reward system which makes meeting and beating deadlines a game with actual rewards. Without real rewards, gamification only works on the gullible and easily deceived.

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