This project started with an observation: communication within a team is nothing short of essential to its success, but communicating is getting harder and harder these days for team members who are not used to work together.
Indeed, for a couple of years now, remote and hybrid work models have become more and more popular. And that's perfectly fine! They brought many wonderful changes with them. However, one must admit that these new ways of working have a main drawback: it has become very difficult to get to know your colleagues when you do not spend your workdays together.
What if your new developer needs help from a senior member of the team? What if they have a specific question for the Product Manager?
Developing trust and getting comfortable enough to ask for help takes more time nowadays than it used to, when small talk and coffee breaks were the norm.
With this project we were looking for a new remote-friendly way to spark true teamwork. To reach this goal, we were willing to bet that other teams are just like our team, we all have one thing in common, no matter where we are from... Everybody likes games!
With Elements Versus, we aim to create bridges between team members through playful contests.
Our idea is that people who play together work better together.
What it does
Elements Versus lets Assignees and Reporters play a game of "Connect 4" directly within their common Jira issues.
These games can be enabled or disabled on whole projects, or just for specific issues. For example, if the admin only wants to let people play on special occasions, such as a Release or when an Epic is completed, a JQL filter can be used to make it happen.
Elements Versus also keep the scores on the whole Jira instance with a public Leaderboard which tracks the results of each game and displays the rank of all the players.
How we built it
Elements Versus uses:
- Forge trigger
- Forge modules
- Custom UI
Challenges we ran into
Setting up a Forge project with 3 developers at the same time was a bad idea, which considerably slowed us down at the beginning.
The development in itself went pretty smoothly. The hardest part, by far, was to stop ourselves from having too much fun. Indeed, the app today has way fewer rainbow and unicorn emojis than it had a few days ago! Keeping the balance without going overboard with the in-game jokes was, for sure, a challenge we were not expecting.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Before starting this hackhaton, we set a challenge for ourselves: develop the full app, with 3 developers, in 3 days or less.
However, we are very happy that it actually took us 4 days to complete the app. This is still a really short time, and it let us had a little more fun with it that initially anticipated with animations, fun text prompts, and emojis.
What we learned
Our real job is software development, not game development. Working on this app for the hackaton was a welcome distraction, but it also helped us by teaching us new ways to look at what software can do.
We often hear about the ways app "gamify" the user experience to improve it, or to guide the users through an onboarding process. With Elements Versus, we actually tried to bring fun to one of our app for the very first time. It was a nice and easy way for us to try this new tool, and also to apply our usual way of working to a brand new context.
What's next for Elements Versus
What we build is a proof of concept. A fully working proof of concept, but one that can be improved upon.
Our next step will be to add more games to the app. "Connect 4" is fun, but we are not sure how many games of "Connect 4" can be played before it looses its appeals.
The good news is that their are many easy games that would fit perfectly the Elements Versus idea of bringing teammates together.
Who doesn't want to play "Battleship"?
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