With remote working being more common in the modern working world, it is becoming harder for line managers to gauge their teams mental wellbeing at a glance. Gauge.it aim to give users an anonymous way to raise issues and concerns about their working conditions as well as provide daily feedback on their overall mental state.
What it does
Line managers are given a tool that allows them to create a group of their direct reports. At a time set by their line manager, each member will receive a feedback card where users can anonymously rate their day on a 1-3 scale and provide comments on situations they enjoy or have a concern with. This data is provided to the manager on a weekly basis to help provide an overview of their teams mental wellbeing. For example, a manager may notice an unhappy trend on certain days that include a lot of meetings or users may leave feedback letting their line manager know that deadlines on the last few projects have been too tight and is causing them a large amount of stress.
How we built it
Gauge.it uses a bot, hosted on an azure app service, to interact with users and present metrics to the manager/owner, in a personal tab built using React. Data is stored in a CosmoDB and is sent to the app service through a function app. A cron job is used to track when feedback cards need to be sent to a team.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest challenge involved the different time zones. Managers set a time that feedback cards are sent to their group and depending on their time zone, would not match up with the time our UTC server would use. In order to keep the data anonymous, Gauge.it does not let users submit cards after the day they were requested, and data is not displayed to the manager until the day after feedback was created. To resolve this, We needed to track the timezone of a group and convert times, and possibly days, the cards will be sent and feedback collected, in order to preserve the users anonymity.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We found that creating a group and then requiring all members of that group to find and install Gauge.it was not a good experience. After some UX sessions, we found that the best approach was to have the manager create the group and then each member of that group would have Gauge.it proactively installed onto their Teams and sent a card welcoming them to the group, explaining what the application was for and what they could expect going forwards. A fallback mechanic was put it place to allow users to install Gauge.it manually if required. (This also allowed them to freely delete and reinstall the app if they wanted)
What we learned
Through the development of Gauge.it we were able to find features of the bot we were unaware of, such as the proactive installation, as well as some limitations, such as being unable to proactively install an app if it requires resource specific consent. We learnt about ways to break anonymity and how we could prevent that from happening within Gauge.it. For example: putting a minimum limit of 5 members to a group and only presenting the data to the manager the following day. Gauge.it also allowed us to learn more about subscription keys for function apps to help with security and prevent any unwanted API requests.
What's next for Gauge.it
Currently, we are in the process of adding a licences to Gauge.it so we can sell the application through the Teams app marketplace as well as App Source. Once our paid tier is in place, we have a road map planned with additional features we didn't want to add into version 1. These include:
- Allowing line managers to add a custom message to the feedback card
- AI integration that will track trends and feedback and offer possible next steps/solutions
- Multiple groups for one manager to split their team up into projects they are working on
- Ways to export/archive historic data
- Allow team members to add in ad hoc feedback.