The concept of work gamification has been generating a buzz for a while now, becoming increasingly popular. Our experience in introducing similar game-based solutions in student organizations let us see first hand how gamification increases motivation and engagement, and changes attitude towards work. We believe it to be a successful, cost-effective, and attractive way to boost both productivity and morale and hoped to introduce gamification in our software house. We were pushed to action by implementation of task-time logging. We have noticed that gamification offers more detailed data about business processes and employee productivity, while bringing benefits to employees in the form of recognition with rewards, morale-boosting friendly rivalry, and increasing pride in their work. The wish to implement gamification to improve our own work lead us to creating Trophy.

What it does

Trophy is a gamification app designed for Jira Cloud which encourages motivation and productivity through friendly rivalry and rewards.

For leaders and managers, Trophy provides aid in consolidating processes and rules deployed across teams or organizations. It can ease introduction of new, or modification of existing processes. Furthermore, Trophy provides a new way to both encourage and measure efficiency.

For employees, Trophy introduces a unique game-like layer of achievements for effectively performing everyday tasks, thus boosting results.

Moreover, it can increase employee satisfaction and pride in their work. It also rewards loyalty and helps build attachment to the company.

Through the form of a game, Trophy inspires a community of employees involved in company life. At the same time, it takes away negative perceptions of Jira actions as mundane.

With Trophy, players can:

  • score points for specific actions in Jira.
  • receive points directly from a Jira administrator as a special recognition.
  • be awarded with ranks after crossing point thresholds. Ranks can be tailored to your company profile. You can create themes - laid back, like Wizards or Knights, or formal, like Expert.
  • be awarded with achievements for excelling in specific actions.
  • view a global ranking of users, including points and ranks.
  • view public profiles of other players, including ranking position, points, ranks, achievements, points history chart, and activity history.
  • view their personal Trophy profile, including points, ranks, achievements - current and in progress, activity history, and points history chart.
  • subscribe to native web browser notifications on desktop about their Trophy progress.

How I built it

In terms of creating the application, after brainstorming during an internal hackathon, we have combined the most valuable ideas from two teams into Trophy. Once we established features that a gamification app should offer to best suit individual needs of any organization, we set out to create a PoC version to present as a pitch. After receiving feedback from business, management, UX, marketing, and technical teams, we created the ready-do-deploy version of the app, driven by the huge amount of enthusiasm for Trophy we have seen from our initial audience. In terms of implementing the application, it can be divided into three parts, the server side, frontend, and a PostgreSQL database. The server side was created with, Java, Spring Boot, Atlassian Connect, Firebase Cloud Messaging, and Amazon S3. In the frontend, React, Typescript, and AtlasKit UI were used. We used the benefits of hot module replacement in JavaScript and hot swap in Java, which made writing code much more efficient and more enjoyable. During development, ngrok was used to make the app available in the Cloud. The final deployment took place on the Heroku platform. The entire development process was managed in a next-gen Jira project integrated with Confluence.

Challenges I ran into

Developing Trophy provided us with both creative and technical challenges, such as:

  • accommodating both business and technical aspects to create a flexible and coherent tool for both managers and employees.
  • designing an optimal user interface, as it is especially crucial to us that Trophy is visually appealing and vibrant, and at the same time intuitive.
  • defining actions so they could be scored and rewarded with achievements. We had to track actions of individual users in Jira and provide configuration flexible enough for each company to adapt the game to their needs, but intuitive and accessible enough so that a non-technical user can administer it.
  • working under a strict deadline, made more challenging by the small size of our team.
  • prioritising and picking a core of the most important features for the PoC application and plan a roadmap, and app versions for the future.
  • overhauling our way of working and overcome obstacles in communication that come with remote work, imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trophy is our first completely remotely developed project.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are proud that we have created a user-experience oriented application that non-invasively uses processes in an organization to provide a wide range of benefits, both to the organization and its employees.

In terms of development, we consider our accomplishments to be:

  • vast elasticity and freedom of configuration, letting users tailor various gamification aspects to their precise needs, from scoring actions, through custom ranks reflecting the company profile, to creating achievements.
  • push notifications that further boost dynamic interaction with its users and improves the link between Jira user interface and user activity.
  • visually attractive and intuitive interface design. Inspired by Jira Cloud Next-gen, it is neat and practical while offering a wide range of actions.
  • As Trophy is the first application that we have created from idea to release, having overcome all challenges, we are immensely proud of it and are looking forward to further developing and perfecting the app.

What I learned

Developing Trophy was full of new experiences for us. This is our first app for Jira Cloud! It was an extremely valuable learning experience that allowed us to greatly advance our skills and learn new technologies and solutions. Thanks to Trophy, we explored:

  • development for Jira Cloud
  • integration possibilities offered by Jira Cloud
  • Java 11, as Trophy is our first project in this technology
  • implementation of web push notification
  • the use of AtlasKit in creating modern and user-friendly applications -Next-gen Jira projects

In terms of the process of developing and application from start to finish, we have:

  • polished our management and organizational skills while creating our action plan, meaning roadmap, backlog, and versions.
  • gained insight into all aspects of app development
  • learned more about the importance of the iterative nature of software implementation - thanks to this, despite the resignation from some features in the core version of the app, we have provided an application that offers key solutions.
  • found out that remote work can be as effective as regular work - a source of optimism during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • improved our teamwork and communication skills, as we have not worked together in a team prior to this project.

What's next for Trophy

As Trophy is full of potential, and we are full of motivation and zeal, there is plenty on our roadmap.

We plan to steadily introduce new features that will enhance the Trophy experience:

  • teams - creating teams of players, setting intra-team goals, action scores, achievements, and ranking. Team leaders will be able to create a custom Trophy game for their team.
  • seasons - cyclic reset of point tallies
  • cups - a new type of reward
  • virtual currency and a prize catalog players can choose from
  • gamification onboarding of new employees
  • missions - a mechanism to support the implementation of individual and team goals
  • updating rankings in real time
  • integration with other ecosystem applications, such as Bitbucket and Service Desk
  • integration of rewards with Slack - letting users receive Slack messages about their or their coworkers achievements and badges
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